As I clapped the players off the field, after what had been a good derby win against a poor Liverpool side, I reflected (those who are regular subscribers to my blogs will adhere that this is something I do a lot!) on what had been an anxious couple of days build up. With the takeover sanctioned on the Friday before the match, the confidence barometer had wilted slightly. Everton have an annoying tendency to lose games against teams out of form and low on morale, we also have an incredible knack of conceding goals against striker's who couldn't buy one previously, that match ticked all the above boxes.
Everton also have a manager in David Moyes who doesn't believe in hoodoo's, he got the team playing to their strengths, with a solid and disciplined team performance. For me the stand out performance of the day, came from Sylvain Distin, he's been on the end of a few jeers since his arrival but he was very impressive that Sunday afternoon, Fernando Torres probably could have applied for a restraining order by the end of the match, Everton's number 15 tracked him so closely.
The game itself wasn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but the atmosphere was electric as the fans of both clubs basked in the Autumn Sun. The result was a very important one though, with more than just local bragging rights up for grabs, even at this early stage of the season.
The following weekend Everton were again not playing at 3pm on a Saturday, I understand the rules about preserving attendances and to a certain extent respect them, but I'm a purist, football was made to be played on the sixth day at the 15th hour (and occasionally on a Wednesday night!). Anyway, Spurs away was going to be tough, they will have been buoyed by their second half display in Milan mid-week. I must take this point to thank Gareth Bale for his hat trick haul which considerably boosted my Euro Fantasy Football score, I love the fact that it turned out he just wasn't a very good defender.
Captain Phil received kudos from all areas of the media on Saturday for keeping Bale quiet in the lunchtime kick off, which in turn meant the headlines were reserved for Baines and Howard. Surely now when England next meet Leighton Baines' name will again grace the squad list, anyone who can hit a football with that precision is worthy of a place over a workman like Stephen Warnock? Leighton's brilliance from the set piece was overshadowed by Tim Howard's error of judgement, we all make mistakes and the US number 1 is too good to dwell on it. If previous season are to go by they'll be more saves than errors. To be totally honest 3 weeks ago, I would have jumped at the chance of a point at the Lane, so we'll take that as continued momentum for the visit of The Potters to Goodison Park at 3pm on Saturday (Yes!!!).
In between these results football fans were privy to the ugly side of the game, not another Karl Henry challenge but Wayne Rooney's contractual wrangle. I had 3 different feelings towards this in the 3 days the story unravelled, I raised an unsurprised eyebrow as at first it seemed simple and familiar, then I started to side with Rooney thinking, if I was 24 and my manager constantly treated me like a child, referring to me as "kid or "boy" and promises hadn't been kept I think I would become tiresome and want a new challenge. He even chose the night of a Champions League game to announce that he wanted to leave just hours before the match, his destiny appeared set as the fans began to turn on him.
On Friday, I became angry not with Rooney but myself, I should have stuck with original instinct, unsurprised. Rooney and Stretford had played, United, the press, everyone like a Violin agreeing a new 5 year deal with Manchester United worth a speculated 200k a week!
How much influence Wayne had on proceedings is uncertain, but I would suggest that most or the negotiating and game plan will have been left to Lucifer (Stretford). That man is bad for our game, in my opinion he should be prevented from practicing. Andy Cole shed some light on just how he works in an interesting article last week. http://tinyurl.com/27wlhqg
He is a silent assassin and agents like him are killing the game, gone are the days of agents with character like Eric "Monster Monster" Hall and his infamous client Christmas Parties
for Dean Holdsworth, Dennis Wise et al. Stretford's vision is to have his players as far away from reality as possible, to bleed them for every penny he can and then drop them when the bubble bursts, just like Bob Sugar in Jerry Maguire.
Everton have their own contract issue soon, with Steven Pienaar free to talk to anyone in January, so far his agent has proved to be more of a nuisance than a Stretford type. Moyes has good experience dealing with promoters now and will no doubt look at the Rooney situation and hope we would never get drawn into those type of negotiation tactics again.
This week I will be appearing on the Followtonians Podcast, those who are aware of Eric and Ped will know they have built up quite a following due to their hardwork and networking on Twitter. I'm expecting to be grilled on all things Everton and how a lad from London became such an ardent Blue. To learn more about the work the boys are doing please visit:
Also throughout November I will be growing a Moustache in support of The Prostate Cancer Charity in an event called "Movember" if you would like to sponsor me please do so on my MoSpace page:http://uk.movember.com/mospace/627550/
Thanks again for reading
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