Ah, the magic of the FA Cup hits your nostrils this weekend as a plucky team rolls into town willing to work hard and keep it tight, with dreams of nicking a goal and hoping their goalkeeper has the game of his life. And then thereÂ´s Tamworth who will fancy their chances.
Our first game of the new year at Goodison was one of abject misery. Depths which only Everton can take you to as they rolled back the clock to the early nineties with a performance of utter, utter sh*te. ThereÂ´s not many teams in the world that can claim they play worse with a gale force wind behind them rather than against them but Everton were more than proficient in this area.
The third round of the FA Cup is a welcome distraction and the footballing Gods bestowed a charitable tie on us. Now obviously we have habit of not so much looking gift horses in the mouth as widening the poor beastÂ´s jaw until dislocation and trying to crawl down their throat. Surely, but surely, we have enough put these to bed early doors?
Tamworth, also knows as the lambs, come to Goodison hoping to avoid the slaughter. Apologies there. They play in the Blue Square Premier League and qualified for the third round courtesy of a last gasp winner at Gateshead. The most famous moment in their history was winning the FA Vase in 1989, beating Sudbury Town. Famous ex players include Paul Merson whoÂ´s last game in his career was his sole appearance for them whilst on loan from Walsall.
To write this I obviously googled Tamworth. Nice place, with a dry ski slope too. The type of town youÂ´d saunter away to on the weekend with that five month old relationship girl youÂ´ve been with and struggle for conversation but with the right blend of grape and hops down her sheÂ´ll do all sorts of stuff to gratify you in the £58 a night B&B. Absolutely nailed that thereÂ´s a Beefeater or a Firkin pub where youÂ´ll take her for a slap up mean and order a steak off some clearly bored student who is serving tables to feed his ecstasy habit on the weekend.
Managed by Marcus Law theyÂ´ll certainly not be lacking in enthusiasm for this game. TheyÂ´re likely to play 4-5-1 with the striker being Kyle Patterson, who once laid on an assist while a team mates of Landon Donovan for LA Galaxy. How about that? Quite.
FA Cup third rounds were miles more better in the seventies and eighties on Grandstand with snow stacked on the sides of pitches and an orange casey ball getting belted all round the pitch. Where Sunday league met Professional Football, although the lines were fuzzier back in the day.
Five times, we won it five times. And for those lucky enough weÂ´ve got some boss memories tucked away about Everton in the FA Cup. ItÂ´s been seventeen years since the last time which is beards too long however I canÂ´t see that ending this year with the personnel we employ. I thought the same in 1995 though.
Which of them will line up against Tamworth? No idea. ThereÂ´s bound to be some squad rotation which is no bad thing as hopefully some of the younger lids or fringe players might do something that will get them a boost into the first team and disjoint the axis of dirge we currently have.
Injuries arenÂ´t going to help, with Jagielka ruled out for up to six weeks – itÂ´s now Heitinga and DistinÂ´s time to shine. On paper it looks to be a good balance but they are both prone to at least one or two f*ck ups in a game and that terrifies me in the Premiership. Maybe the recalled Shane Duffy may get an outing here?
Up front I think itÂ´s fair to say that Saha is not the favourite son of the Gwladys Street at present. CanÂ´t be blamed either as heÂ´s either not arsed or is horribly out of form at the minute. Or both. Stacquilarsi is not a Premier League footballer and I doubt he ever will be, as sad as it is to say. Thank f*ck we got him on loan but makes the Jermaine Beckford deal seem that even bit more puzzling. Never mind Yakubu. I wouldnÂ´t be surprised to see either Anichebe/Vellios and McFadden get a run out up front here, or even both. Viva 4-4-2.
I canÂ´t second guess the midfield but if thereÂ´s one good thing to come out of JagielkaÂ´s injury itÂ´s that Heitinga and Neville will not line up in the centre. ItÂ´s horrid and has all the creativity of thirty year time served civil servant. Osman and Rodwell are new injuries so you wonder how long we can keep holding Ross Barkley back for? HeÂ´s terrific. We seen that in pre season and our first game. He pissed the Villareal and Werder Bremen midfields for stretches of our games against them, so Tamworth might be worth a pop.
So in summary for team news, who knows? So here´s a photo of Cassius Clay training in front of some Everton fans down in that there London circa 1966.
In a season thatÂ´s staler than a pensionerÂ´s loft thereÂ´s a danger of apathy reigning supreme around our club. Whilst itÂ´s not a particularly wonderful time for being a blue theyÂ´re still your favourite weekend distraction – well apart from that one weekend in Tamworth. If we approach this game with that same apathy then were in danger of looking right tits.