In celebration of Moyes’ ten years in charge of Everton, we’re dipping into the Dixie’s 60 archives to find some of our favourite moments.
This post was originally published by me on Jan 16, 2010.
Pele was woeful, Alex Young was worse, and Moyes will get Everton relegated
Fan 1: What about last season?
Fan 2: What about it?
Fan 1: They were rubbish. They were f***ing rubbish.
Fan 2: They weren’t that bad.
Fan 1: They were f***ing rubbish last year. And they were f***ing rubbish the year before. And I don’t care if they are top of the League, they’ll be f***ing rubbish this year, too. And next year. And the year after that. I’m not joking.
Fan 2: I don’t know why you come, Frank. Honest I don’t.
Fan 1: Well, you live in hope, don’t you?
The above exchange involves two Arsenal fans in “Fever Pitch”, and it could be any successful club. Whatever the team, there are always criticisms swarming around, often ridiculously exaggerated, like the hilarious Fantasy Football League sketch that portrayed Pele as a bumbling goon with two left feet.
Both love and luck are blind. At Arsenal two shots blindly deflected like Cupid’s darts into the back of Tim Howard’s net. Taking one point rather than three has riled some fans, myself included, but some take it too far, they jerk their knees wildly in a palsy of hatred – blaming the blameless, shrugging off reason, myopic in their anger. For them, the injuries are “no excuse” – neither are unlucky goals. Unbelievable though it may seem, there is a burgeoning online community of mealy mouthed Everton gripers, blindly in love with our motto – Nil Satis Nisi Optimum and seemingly unhappy with everything Moyes does. They flail their angry words as harshly typed criticisms of everyone from Osman, Yobo, Hibbert and Neville to Kenwright and Moyes. I too have hammered these players, but their criticism is constant, dogmatic and unflinching – Osman could score in every game and would still be hit with internet bitchiness. Marouane Fellaini and his feral afro until recently was a picture on a dartboard for many of these trolls. Now that he is playing well, it has been decided by some that it was Moyes’ fault that he wasn’t excelling, because he was playing him too far up the field.
On our 2-2 draw away to Arsenal: “Why oh why didn’t we win that one? Still far too many moments of maddening frustration for me.”
Also on our draw with Arsenal: “I truly believe it is Moyes’s fault.”
On ‘rumours’ Moyes is leaving: “Who cares if Moyes goes? Not me that is for sure, no more 10 men behind the ball, then hoof.”
This season getting points has been like panning for gold in the Mersey, putting in huge amounts of effort for little reward. A point at Stamford Bridge, one at the Emirates, nothing at Goodison against Liverpool – we could have had 9 points from these games, adding three huge scalps. Instead we got two points and the moaning continues. I’m used to occasional whining at the game; one man who used to sit in front of me leapt to his feet every time the opposition took a throw in, screaming himself hoarse, regurgitating “eh! That’s a foul throw!” again and again, but that somehow seems more eccentric, a more harmless gripe. In the last decade frustrations have spilled over to the web, where they fester and grow. When people pull on the anonymous balaclava that is the internet they are protected and emboldened – slathering everyone in negativity – was it always like this?
A look back through history shows that even Alex Young, the sainted vicar’s collar striker of the sixties, wasn’t liked by all. Did time bleach out the spots in his game, and flatten out the creases in his ability, or was Alex Young overrated?
“Alex has had a few critics during his time at Goodison – but there are fans who swear he is the best centre-forward in the country.” An entry in an Everton programme – 1964
Two weeks ago I sat down to follow the Everton – Burnley game. I couldn’t sit in the Glwadys, and I couldn’t stand in a pub. I couldn’t even beach myself on my sofa and watch the game as we weren’t on TV. Football of a different kind is the priority in Detroit. Instead I sat at my computer, and watched the progress of my blues online – on a fan-run Everton website.
It’s hard not to get angry when on sites such as this, one of many places you can go to through a computer that will leave you with a warped sense of reality. It is a home for trolls, the internet dwelling bottom feeders that the Times’ Simon Barnes tackled in an article a while back, in it he called them “people who specialise in posting mocking, sneering, cynical and hideously negative remarks.”
Barnes tackled the trolls who write comments about him, and with Everton there is a specific type of Toffee troll – the one who thinks that Bill Kenwright is a machiavellian genius, turning his nose up at a hailstorm of billionaire bidders, and that Moyes is a pea-brained tactical luddite.
These trolls aren’t unique to us: the boos that slunk around Stamford Bridge after a draw, the Man Utd fan who called his team “average” on a popular sporting site after they failed to take three points, are the marks of trolls in other clubs too. Yet somehow they seem more justified moaning at clubs like these. On a pauper’s budget Moyes has kept us competitive, those that compare our team to the 60′s School of Science, where we could splurge on the young star of the World Cup Final and we could buy happiness with a chequebook, are lunatics.
Can the Toffee trolls even be described as “fans” or “supporters”? In what way do their moans exhibit any kind of support? At the core of being a fan is a loyalty to the club, it may be temporarily frozen if there is mismanagement or the players abuse their positions, but without that support, what is left? Picture a comedian without comedy, a librarian who cannot read, a boxer who cannot punch. Picture a supporter who doesn’t support – and you are left with a Toffee troll.Tempers flared in the Everton-Burnley game, where we didn’t secure victory until the final ten minutes – before that the trolls started griping with jagged exaggerations:
Comments on the Everton – Burnley game, one that we won 2-0:
“If we cant beat Burnley today we should go down”
“0-0 at home against a side with just 1 point away from home all season a game that needs to be won. A game that could be won by any decent manager with a modicum of attacking intent and what does the wise one do?”
“Utterly Clueless “
“Anyone else worried about relegation? We are toothless against a poor Burnley team at home.”
The lunatics have already taken over the asylum, and they are writing mentally deranged missives daily, sneering at Moyes and his “apologists“. To the Toffee trolls who provide a constant backdrop of moaning, who tut and fret about “typical Moyes” and his supposed dithering in matches and the transfer market – take a step back. You are wrong. Typical Moyes? Typical Moyes is finishing fifth in the league. As whinge follows moan online – the moaners are eroding the confidence of the fans. These are seasoned and cowardly abusers, they hit online and in chatrooms so their abuse cannot be seen. To the trolls who pepper their moans over websites like particularly chronic dandruff ; you should be ashamed.
“Bill Kenwright is a disgrace and will destroy this football club.”
“substitutions have to be made, and typical Moyes does not make them! …”
“Well, I guess it had to happen: even after such an abject disaster, you just knew the apologists would eventually start to come up for air, telling us not to “over-react”, “Let’s get Real,”, and other wonderfully pithy sayings. Oh, and of course “Get behind the team” — which seems to be the pathetic last and lingering cry of the mediocrity-accepting Moyes Brigade. Well, for you lot, here is a special corner of the website for you to spout off too.” After our 1-1 home draw with Metalist Kharkiv, we won the second leg and progressed to the next round of the Uefa Cup.
“You lot just don’t get it do you? We have put up with this for nearly six years. We have no trophies, never had a cup run of ANY description and have suffered our worst defeats of this decade under this man. Yet you STILL come up with excuses for him. I did label Moyes a charlatan and that I stand by.”