Tuesday, April 28, 2009

As we all try to be positive in the wake of poor Phil Jagielka's injury here's a nice article about the adversity Everton have faced this season.

Another game, another catastrophic knee injury to one of Everton’s key players. The sight of Wembley hero Phil Jagielka writhing in agony around the Goodison turf was a sobering one for the Blues, coming just a week after the ecstasy of that semi-final win over Manchester United.

Injuries are a fact of the game. Every player who takes to a football field across the world knows that, should fate deal you an agonising hand, an injury could put you out for weeks, months or even threaten your entire career.

Thankfully such serious injuries are rare, but that makes it even more galling for Everton fans when your look at what they have had to cope with this season.

The campaign began without talismanic Aussie Tim Cahill who was still recovering from a broken foot sustained the previous March – the third spell out with such an injury in three years. The likes of Mikel Arteta and Tony Hibbert also had operations over the summer and that coupled with Moyes’ inertia in the transfer market, meant the side began the season with just 14 fit senior players.

Worse was to come. Nigeria international Yakubu, who hit 21 goals in his first season at Goodison, ruptured an achilles tendon at Spurs in November, instantly ruling him out for eight months. With the likes of Louis Saha, James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe also suffering minor niggles, Everton found themselves without any strikers. However a fit-again Tim Cahill and record signing Marouane Fellaini formed an unlikely, but effective, strike partnership.

A key cog in the Everton machine was Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard had finally regained match fitness and was arguably playing the best football of his Toffees career when again the injury curse struck at St James’ Park in February. A cruciate knee ligament injury put him out for up to eight months - another hammer blow. In the same game Victor Anichebe was the victim of a horror tackle by Kevin Nolan and was also ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a knee cartilage problem.

But once again Moyes, who has never dwelt on or moaned about the injuries, rallied the troops again and found another system which garnered more Premier League points and FA Cup wins. It reminds me of Rocky IV, when our hero took on steroid-fuelled Russian giant Ivan Drago. Punch after punch battered Rocky’s face and chest, but he continued unabated and unmoved. Everton have taken each blow full in the face but have refused to go down, bravely fighting on battered and bruised.

The icing on the cake therefore, as a reward for defying the odds, came at Wembley last week when Phil Jagielka tucked home the decisive spot kick to send Everton to the FA Cup final for the first time in 14 years.

If anyone deserved that moment it was Jagielka. The former Sheffield United man has improved dramatically under Moyes’ stewardship, becoming a first-team regular and establishing himself in the England squad. He also deserved to line-up for the final on May 30th, his injury is devastating both for the club and the player himself.

To put it into context take Vidic, Ronaldo and Rooney out of United’s side, or Gerrard, Carragher and Torres out of Liverpool’s starting XI, and you will understand how important the injured trio are to Everton’s fortunes. The entire spine of the squad has been removed.

Now I know all clubs have to deal with injuries but few have coped so admirably and with such a small squad than Everton. The fact they sit comfortable sixth in the table as well as reaching the Cup final (meaning they have qualified for Europe for the third successive year) is testament to Moyes’ man management and the resilience and determination of his players.

Jagielka’s injury is massive blow but if one club can cope, it’s Moyes’ tough Toffees.

Monday, April 27, 2009

BBC not giving Everton a fair crack of the whip?

Not sure if this is just paranoia or just me being gutted after a rotten afternoon at Goodison Park but it seems recently that Match of the Day are being a wee bit snidey to the blues in recent weeks.

After the Villa game they did an absolute hatchet job on Fellaini basically labeling him a thug (the week before our big semi final).

This week they seemed to just ignore a lot of the key issues of the Everton V City game, to be honest it was a fairly fair result but the manner in which it was achieved and how it was reported did grate. They barely touched on the possible fouls in the lead up to their first goal, they didn't bother showing the three incidents when City fans seemed to slap on of our players and tried to spin the outrage over an overlooked Robinho handball as Evertonians booing their own team.

A game against one of Mark Hughes' teams almost always leaves a bad taste in the mouth, I loathed him even when he was an Everton player and his teams are generally in his own image...it makes it even worse when you feel the BBC are trying to twist the knife.

Perhaps that's harsh...there is lots to be upset about from Saturday, not least of all the Jagielka injury. Another player doing their knee ligaments the week after a truly magnificent cup performance. It's just sickening. Just hope Arteta, Jagielka, Yakubu and Anichebe can come back from these injuries and that the rest of the team can cope in their absense. COYB!

Everton are now guaranteed a Europa League spot

Well that's a very very slight silver lining to a pretty thick ugly cloud. Having the sport guaranteed means we'll be able to nurse Saha, Fellaini and Cahill into the final.

From the official Everton website :

Everton are now guaranteed European football next season. The Toffees' run to the FA Cup final and their excellent position in the Barclays Premier League had made a place in the 2009/10 Europa League a probability.

But despite losing to Manchester City on Saturday, that qualification has now been assured. Chelsea beat West Ham 1-0 and secured a Champions League place. As a result, the Toffees will qualify for the Europa League through the FA Cup - regardless of whether they defeat Chelsea in the final.

The Europa League replaces the Uefa Cup and adopts a format that mirrors the Champions League. The Blues will now have to overcome a play-off round tie before entering a new format group stage.

The new-look league will have 48 clubs in 12 groups of four, with teams playing each other home and away as opposed to just once as it stands now. The top two in each group then join the eight third-placed Champions League clubs in a 32-club knock-out stage.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Everton's FA Cup Ticket allocation not enough

Everton have kicked off the now traditional April sport of complaining about their FA Cup final ticket allocation. 25,000 tickets isn't that bad for Everton because we don't have the huge corporate presence of other clubs.

Still it's going to be tricky to get a ticket...there were 32,000 blues at the semi and now everyone is going to want to go to Wembley. I've got a respectable loyalty level this season, should be okay...hopefully. COYB!!!

Everton chief executive Robert Elstone says he is disappointed at the ticket allocation given to the club for the FA Cup final against Chelsea on 30 May.

The Football Association announced on Thursday that both clubs will receive 25,000 tickets for the game.

Wembley has a 90,000 capacity meaning that 40,000 tickets will be given to what is called "the football family".

"We are obviously disappointed at the number of tickets we have received," Elstone told the Everton website.

"The challenge for us now is to make sure that these tickets are distributed fairly amongst the Everton fanbase."

Chelsea have revealed that the size of their allocation means it is unlikely there will be sufficient tickets for all of Chelsea's hospitality and non-hospitality season ticket holders.

However, they too said on their official website they intend to "ensure there will be as fair an allocation of the tickets as possible in line with the club's ticketing policy."

Tickets that are not allocated to either club are distributed to alternative groups which include the regional FAs and referees, sponsors and charity partners.

Last year, 17,000 tickets went to Club Wembley - the 10-year season ticket allocation which were sold to help cover the cost of building the ground.

The FA also revealed on Thursday that tickets will be priced in four categories: £34.30, £58.65, £78.30 and £93.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Everton V Man Utd : Review from a very happy Evertonians

This was our day in the sun and everyone knew it. I don't go in for all that best fans in the world rubbish. I don't care what the wider football media/public think about Everton & Evertonians...it's my fellow blues that count. I stayed in Hammersmith on Saturday and as soon as I got up on Sunday we were bumping into blues. A little glance/smile/nod or a proper "Come on you Blues!", it felt like our day from the off. We met up for a drink with loads of our mates, no-one was missing this one.

Train stations and pubs were all there "WHAT'S OUR NAME?" "EVERTON". The United fans milling around seemed to know to take a back seat, this was just another game to them. They didn't seem to begrudge us it (plus the enemy of my enemy is my friend). Loved every second of it, the sun shining down on all those royal blue jerseys. The buzz outside the ground was immense, people were just bouncing....it's understandable, it's pitiful that it's been almost 15 years since our last Wembley trip, the high spirits were brilliant. Obviously I hope for loads more days like this but I do hope we never get blase about it like our Manc cousins obviously were. Kids and big kids smiling and just enjoying being a bluenose (there's been plenty of times when it was difficult)...some of those young uns have been ripped by their rednose mates there entire lives. Well every dog has there day and this was ours. I now know that there is no upper limit on the size of a Fellaini wig.

The team news also highlight the United priorities, were we ever going to get a better chance? Into the ground then, two behind Joey 'The Pieman' Parkinson, I even rubbed his head for look....I knew it was out day from that second onwards. "The City's all yours, The City's all yours...we're off to Wembley. The City's all yours" up those stairs and into our seat. Up in the Gods but who cares, the Evertonians were in early and the party started. Nervous at first but by the start of the second half it was rocking. As I said earlier I'm not into all that "Best supporters in the world", all I know is that those players knew how much we love them.

So ultimately we came up just short of winning the game properly, if Vaughan had put that late chance away...but then again they should have had a penalty. Vidic was immense for them and they kept us at arms length....but we had at least matched them. Neville put in a true captains performance whilst Jags and Lescott were superb. So it the penalty shoot-out. Arteta and Jo milled around geeing up the players, their mates. Rooney and Ronaldo were watching back home. Is that telling?

I reckon everyone in our end thought it was over...I didn't see too many long faces. We'd done ourselves proud, we all knew we'd had a great day, Cahill missed and we just started singing his name, no recriminations... It's Tim, we owe him plenty. But as it turns out this was our day...Berbatov took one of the worst pens I've ever seen, Bainsey takes on of the best. Ferdinand puts it a little too close and all of a sudden it's getting scarey. Neville and Vaughan both did it and so it comes to Jagielka, a player who has been beyond brilliant all year. We were so close to getting the glory, but it never happens to Everton, we are the bridesmaid not the bride. I could barely watch but Jags puts his head down and he scorches it in...it was like 30,000 fireworks had gone off at once in our end. Just grabbing anyone and everyone and screaming, I had tears in my eyes. It just went on for so long, finally looked round and the team were already making their way to the Everton end, the Mancs had somehow all left.

Z-Cars and Forever Everton rang out and we sang like loons, Amarillo and Hi Ho Silver lining...incongruous but who cares. Everton had done it...hadn't we? Yeah, we had...we never normally do it. Even last year when we set about Fiorentina and turned around a first leg defecit, we'd still managed to have it snatched from us...this is a team that earlier this season managed to equalise with the penultimate kick of the game and still manage to lose. But there you go...every dog has it's day. Moyes and his Everton may well be pushing against a glass ceiling but days like this come along and you see the pride, hunger & togetherness in player, manager and fan alike. Wembley again in May. Bring it on.

Superb article about Everton's semi final win

Finally got round to watching the Man Utd v Everton semi final again last night, was nervous watching even knowing the result. Interesting how your impressions are different after the fact. I thought we were a lot more comfortable in the first half whilst Fellaini was actually a lot more imposing than I'd originally thought. One thing that cam through loud and clear on the tv was the Everton support. It was a nervous affair but from the start of the second half onwards it was just a wall of noise from us. It's something that'll always stay with me.

Loving this:

David Moyes' Everton reach the FA Cup final

The days when Moyes was being questioned after a troubled summer in the transfer market and there was uncertainty over his own future before signing a new, long-term contract seemed an age away as he joined in the celebrations at Wembley.

And when Everton's players had not been at their best during the game, a seething wall of sound produced by their supporters stepped in to provide the missing inspiration.

Everton's fans have fashioned pessimism and long-suffering into a fine art but the wild scenes among those in royal blue at the final whistle suggested the long wait to grace a showpiece final had been worthwhile.

The coaches streamed back to Merseyside from London festooned in flags, scarves and smiles, with the supporters on board anticipating the chance to pursue greater glory at the end of May. They have waited all this time for a Wembley appearance and two come along at once.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Everton at Wembley

THat was just one of the best weekends ever.

Everton, I love you.

Will write a proper post when I come back down to earth....but for now put the champagne on ice, we're going to Wembley twice.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another "Time Cahill says all the right things" interview

Tim Cahill interview

He also appreciates, he says, the heritage of a club that has participated in more FA Cup semi-finals than all bar Arsenal and tomorrow's opponents, United. More, even, than their high-achieving local rivals. "But I think it's difficult to be an Everton supporter with Liverpool in the Champions League every season, spending hundreds of millions. So when you see kids on the streets of Liverpool in Everton jerseys you're like, 'well done, son'. You're really proud of them because they genuinely support their local club. When we play derbies we see coaches coming from Norway carrying Liverpool supporters, but these are young kids whose parents have taught them what it is to be an Evertonian. It's the People's Club, for sure."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sir Clement Freud has died aged 84. RIP

Sad news this morning. Sir Clement Freud has died.

Broadcaster and former Liberal MP Sir Clement Freud has died aged 84. A statement from his family said Sir Clement had died on Wednesday evening at his London home.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, the actress Jill Freud, five children and 17 grandchildren. His funeral will be held next week. A grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Sir Clement had a varied career as a cookery expert, press columnist and radio game show contestant.

Such a sharp, witty man...a shame he'll never brighten our evenings on Just a Minute again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Everton dream team

A nice article in the Independent listing Everton's all time dream team

Everton dream team Not sure about the 3-5-2 but it's fairly impressive.


T.G Jones



Hillsborough : 96 footy fans...You'll Never Walk Alone

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I am not particularly fond of our red cousins. However rivalry is rivalry but blood is thicker than water. When it comes to things like Hillsborough and The Sun boycott then Stanley Park is barely as wide as a blade of grass. I took my scarf down to Anfield on Sunday and tied it to their gates, it was quite a strange goosepimple moment but I'm very glad I did.

96 fans who's only crime was loving their team and wanting to see them play, they never came home but they'll never walk alone.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Everton song

There are often attempts at releasing footy songs, most of them are pretty toe-curling.

This one is miles above all that and is pretty goon once they get into their stride and lose the phlegm-laden overly Scouse accents

The St Domigo Song

Now Saint Domingo was our name
The founders of the greatest game
When we had our pitch on Stanley Park
In season eighteen ninety one the Toffees history had begun
We beat them all and the football league was won

Lets look at ninety twenty five
We signed the greatest man alive
Dixie Dean he came from Birkenhead
A god like man it has been said, with sixty goals he knocked them dead
You think that's good ? well most were from his head

and they gave us Dixie, Lawton, Alex Young and Kay
They gave us Harvey, Howie Kendall, Alan Ball, Sharpy and Gray
and now most of the football greats have passed through Goodison's gates
to play football the School of Science way

In sixty six in London town the Toffeemen were two nil down
and Harry Catterick had to earn his dough
so Gabby Westie and Labone they fought and brought the cup back home
with Temple one and two from Trebilcock
and they gave us Dixie, Lawton, Alex Young and Kay
They gave us Harvey, Howie Kendall, Alan Ball, Sharpy and Gray
and now most of the football greats have passed through Goodison's gates
to play football the School of Science way

The eighties side by far the best we won the lot forget the rest
with Tricky Trevor, Brace and Reidy too
we had Psycho Pat, Sharp, Heath and Gray
Big Neville's ma's put the spam away
in Rotterdam a sea of white and blue

and they gave us Dixie, Lawton, Alex Young and Kay
They gave us Harvey, Howie Kendall, Alan Ball, Sharpy and Gray
and now most of the football greats have passed through Goodison's gates
to play football the School of Science way

In ninety five we come of age the dogs of war took centre stage
Waggy lifts the cup up with the boys
Big Duncs no fear he'll never run
so step aside or you'll get done
The People's clubs on the march with Davey Moyes

and they gave us Dixie, Lawton, Alex Young and Kay
They gave us Harvey, Howie Kendall, Alan Ball, Sharpy and Gray
and now most of the football greats have passed through Goodison's gates
to play football the School of Science way

copyright 2009 : 1878 The Originals

Russell Brand: The thrill of how the Premier League mighty are falling | Sport | guardian.co.uk

Russell Brand: The thrill of how the Premier League mighty are falling | Sport | guardian.co.uk

Like this article by Russel Brand about being a footy fan.

When in my life am I ever so consumed with passion, I reflected? Will I ever live a moment with such committal and unquestioning verve? When at Upton Park the Hammers score as they dutifully did, twice, on Saturday briefly I am lifted but my goal celebrations as a fan are succinct. Typically I rise from my seat during the build-up play, the momentum lifts us all in unison and then as the line is breached I'll maybe punch the air, one fist, or two if the goal really demands it, then self consciousness is again upon me.

Often I notice that fans around me are still jigging about but I have been returned, deposited once more in the ordinary. Like in orgasm, the release, the presence of divinity is fleeting and all too soon all that remains is the mind and its undying question – "is this it? Is this it?" Well, yes, I'm afraid it is. In life there is no second leg.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Clare Balding apologises for insulting Grand National jockey's teeth

Quite right too, that was a proper *cringe* moment.

BBC presenter Clare Balding has apologised to Grand National winning jockey Liam Treadwell after making fun of his teeth while on air.

In a post-race interview, Balding urged the 23-year-old to show his teeth and told him he could afford to "get them done" with his prize money.

A BBC spokeswoman said the presenter "had no intention whatsoever" of upsetting or embarrassing the jockey.

The BBC received 1,477 complaints from viewers over the remarks.

Treadwell won Saturday's race on 100-1 outsider Mon Mome. In the interview, Balding said to Treadwell: "Give us a big grin to the camera."

When he smiled, keeping his lips closed, she added: "No, no, let's see your teeth. He hasn't got the best teeth in the world, but you can afford to go and get them done now if you like."

Treadwell replied: "Well I could do, but I ain't complaining. It might be bringing on bad luck if I do that, though."

Evertonians, Win semi final tickets

Just seens this on Twitter so I thought I'd flag it up in order to help non-season ticket holders get their hands on semi final tickets

Win Man Utd V Everton Wembley semi final tickets

Best of luck blues.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tim Cahill is ACE

Brilliant interview with Tim Cahill love the way he answers the liverpool question. No disrespect but letting everyone know that he gets what it's like to be a good blue. I think we'll heard that quote a fair bit.

DR: Can you explain why you've become such a cult hero at Everton?
TC: Every time I score, the passion comes out and I try to relay that back to the fans and to the players and the staff at how grateful I am to be playing for such a good football club. I am part of the furniture at Everton but I don't take it for granted.
DR: It could be argued that you embody Everton, in that you punch above your weight. Is that fair or is that a slight on both your character and that of Everton?
TC: It doesn't matter. I take compliments and I take constructive criticism. Not everyone loves you. It's the way you react as a footballer. I use it all to make me play better.
DR: Do you think you might have won more honours and recognition if you'd gone to a bigger club?
TC: Is the grass always greener? Is it the right situation for you and your family and you as a player? I feel that I am achieving a lot at Everton. It's unfortunate that I haven't won them big awards. But who knows? Maybe one day. But beating Liverpool is like winning an FA Cup. Once you've played for Everton and know what it is to be a Blue, then you know what it means to beat Liverpool.
DR: You've had good battles in the Merseyside derbies. Those games seem to really matter to you.
TC: Definitely. I hold the record with Dixie Dean for being the only Everton player to score three derby goals at Anfield. I still hope to better it. Things like that, the fans never forget. [Ex-Liverpool striker] Ian Rush said that games like that make you a legend and to me that means a lot more than going to a club and being part of a trophy but not really recognised.
DR: Would you ever consider a move to Liverpool if they came in for you?
TC: Never. Never, never. No money in this world could convince me to play for Liverpool. That's not a lack of respect for Liverpool supporters or the football club. It's respect for the Everton supporters. You just can't do that. It goes against everything that I stand for. No chance.

DR: Arsene Wenger is a big fan of yours. What about going to somewhere like Arsenal?
TC: It's a different story when it comes to things like that. Opportunities arise and you either turn them down or you take them. The best thing for me now is I'm at a club that really likes me.
DR: What's the story behind your trademark celebration of boxing the corner flag when you score?
TC: It's from [fellow Socceroo] Archie Thompson. Archie did a kung-fu celebration and I said: "That's quality, I love your celebration." And he said: "Do it. Take it to the Premiership." So I adapted it and it's stuck now. Archie's trying to buy it back off me but he can't have it.
DR: You like to dedicate goals. You dedicated your FA Cup goal against Aston Villa to the people affected by the bushfires in Victoria.
TC: People mourn in different ways. I just felt I had to put that [black] armband on and go on that pitch carrying Australia on my arm. And then when I scored, [Everton captain] Phil Neville is pointing to my arm and the lads are cuddling me and it felt so magical; it felt like the weight had been lifted off my shoulders just for those few seconds.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Obama's gift faux pas

I didn't read this at the time but it did raise a smile. There are few things worse than giving someone a gift only to find out the person returns a much, much better present in return.

Apparently Gordon Brown present President Obama with a pretty splendid & historic gift :

Mr Brown's gifts included an ornamental desk pen holder made from the oak timbers of Victorian anti-slaver HMS Gannet, once named HMS President.

Mr Obama was so delighted he has already put it in pride of place in the Oval Office on the Resolute Desk which was carved from timbers of Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute. Another treasure given to the US President was the framed commission for HMS Resolute, a vessel that came to symbolise Anglo-US peace when it was saved from ice packs by Americans and given to Queen Victoria.

Barak Obama dvd boxset for Gorden Brown

To return the gift with something that could have been picked up in ASDA probably caused a few red faces in The Whitehouse.

South Korea Vs North Korea

The two Koreas are due to meet in the world cup qualifier, makes for an interesting fixture given the current political tensions.

Liked these bits in particular :

The two teams have played each other a number of times over the past year during the qualification stages for the next World Cup.

But North Korea's home matches have had to be played on neutral ground in Shanghai, because the North refused to allow the playing of the South's national anthem or the waving of its flags.


North Korea's travel restrictions on its own people make it impossible for fans to attend, even if they could afford it.

During past games, a group of South Korean volunteer supporters has been assembled to provide cheering for the visiting team from across the border.

Congratulations to Tim Cahill

Australia are the first side to qualify for the World Cup!

Offthepost : Australia Qualify

The Socceroos have become the first side to qualify for next year’s World Cup in South Africa after a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan. A goal from Josh Kennedy (no relation to Dr Karl) and a Harry Kewell penalty gave Australia the victory they needed to secure qualification with three games to spare.

The result will be a disappointment to Uzbekistan who were quite up for the game, you might remember!

We're going to Wembley! COYB!!!!!

Got my Wembley ticket this morning at 8:05am...had been in the queue since about 5:30am. Absolutely chuffed.

Am in Block 549 which is in the Upper Tier, am quite for back but who cares, there's not a bad seat in the place...Using the miracle that is the internet I've located a picture that's taken from row 5 of that block.

New Wembley Stadium, Block 549
With many thanks to Flickr user 'unruly chaffinch'

Here's my Twitter updates from the whole endevour

Tell me Ma, me Ma to put the champagne on ice. We're (hopefully) going to Wembley twice #everton
about 8:30am

Two Wembley tickets sorted. Sound as a proverbial pound. CoyB! #everton
about 8:00m

Queue growing rapidly. Don't think this club would know what hit them if we were ever actually successful. Steward's just brought me a tea...
about 6:30am

Ooh twenty in the queue now. I'm sure this makes for dull reading but it's keeping me awake. #everton
about 6:00am

At Goodison Park. Ten blues in the queue already. Birds singing. Could be worse. #everton
about 5:30am

I must be mad. #everton
about 4:55am

It has to be said that Everton have done really well on this whole thing, really fair allocation policy, loads of stewards keeping you informed (6am starts for them too), orderly queuing system and efficient service once you get there. Top marks to all the staff at Everton FC, they really looked after the fans on this one.