If we look at these games on an individual basis, there are of course circumstances which may have interfered with the outcomes of at least 2 of those games. The strange decisions of “the worlds best Referee” Howard Webb meant half of Everton’s team left with a yellow card against them. Where Webb left off, Martin Atkinson took a firm grasp of the baton, with the unfathomable dismissal of Jack Rodwell in the Merseyside Derby. Quite why Atkinson was chosen to officiate a match involving Everton, let alone the Premiership’s most notoriously fiery local duel, beggars belief, following his poor show against Manchester United in 2010 when he blew for full time as Phil Jagileka was one on one with Edwin Van der Sar, which would have completed an even more quite remarkable comeback, leading to an angry confrontation from the Everton management team. The exceptionally early bath for young Jack makes it difficult to judge how well we performed against Liverpool due to being down to 10 men for the majority of the contest. Thankfully the Football Association saw sense and overturned the red card upon appeal, meaning Rodwell would be available for selection instead of having to sit out the following 3 games.
I thought the international break may allow us to regroup and move on to the next task in hand. In hindsight it probably didn't help and was more of a hindrance than anything else. A lot of the 1st team squad were called away for respective qualifiers, meaning those left behind were perhaps still angry at the derby result but unable to focus elsewhere and try to redeem themselves for a fortnight.
Last weekend saw our first visit of the season to the Capital, and part one of a double header against South West London opposition with a trip to Craven Cottage this weekend. Everton went into the game at Stamford Bridge with a decent record against the Pensioners in recent years. However, Chelsea were obviously looking for some redemption of their own and their opponent dressed in Glacier Marl (apparently but it’s grey to me and you) left empty handed. Everton were not necessarily outplayed by Chelsea as we moved the ball around nicely at times but we were outclassed in the end and did ourselves no favours with some woefully questionable defending for all 3 goals.
This week David Moyes has boosted his ranks by recapturing James McFadden, who was available for free transfer as his contract with Birmingham expired over the summer. I suppose by default he has become our marquee signing of 2011, over a month after the transfer deadline as well, only Everton.
In my opinion, this is a good signing for us, it’s for the rest of the campaign, he knows the club well, he is still the right side of 30 (in Sporting terms) and has great ability, which we have seen flashes of in his 1st stint with the club. When we signed him 2003 he was the most sought after player from North of the border and had many options open to him but felt Everton offered the best opportunity. As it turned out, in retrospect we probably weren’t his best option at that time, he was a young player looking for a defined his role and keen to impress, we couldn’t offer those terms. Perhaps his will to play waned as he found himself in and out of the side without a determined position and soon grew frustrated as he felt he should have been established and progressing at that age, so he headed for pastures new, this is purely speculative of course but not totally absurd to assume something along those lines.
His long term injury may have helped him grow as a player and a man, from an interview I’ve heard since re-signing, he has stated he is keen to play anywhere in order to help the team and perhaps assisting him to secure a contract along the way, but that’s what you want from a player, a desire to impress. We need a goal scorer, whilst his record (averaging 1 goal in 9 appearances) wasn't fantastic, he is a natural attacker and is not afraid to shoot, something we have been missing for a couple of years.
Some may dismiss this as signs of the Clubs failures but give the boy a chance and lets see what he can really do, along with our main goal threat Louis Saha, the very young but promising Tolos Vellios and the unproven “Firecracker” Denis Stracqualursi, our strike force is starting to look a lot more well rounded and substantial than it did on 20th August.
Thanks for reading.
Follow me on Twitter @jackdoggydogg