Saturday and Everton win at Goodison Park. Following a humbling at the Emirates the boys regrouped and delivered what was needed to send Crystal Palace back to the capital pointless. Our record signing scored, Niasse continued to defy logic, while local boy Tom Davies received a much needed confidence boost with a goal and solid display.
Yet, most of the talk has been about certain under-performing Frenchman being greeted by a chorus of boos from the Goodison faithful when he entered proceedings.
Morgan Schneiderlin, one of many who have failed to live up to their promise this season, was treated as though he was part of the opposition rather than a Toffee as he replaced Idrissa Gana Gueye in the second half.
All over various social media channels there has been the great debate. Blues chastising Blues over the boos, while others defending their right to boo as they see fit. Big Sam has expressed his ‘surprise’ over the treatment of Schneiderlin, while ex-Toffee Michael Ball feels it was wrong.
— GrandOldTeam (@grandoldteam) February 11, 2018
My gut instinct would be to agree with our former left-back and Echo columnist. You don’t want to see your own players receiving the treatment normally reserved for referees and opposing players.
But this is not as simple as ‘yes it is right’ or ‘no it is wrong’ and, for me, you need to look at the player himself, the season we have had and the frustration of the fans.
This season was supposed to be the one. We were finally awake and ready to put the plans in place for reclaiming our rightful place as one of the leading forces in English football. Not many would have expected a league title, but an assault on the top four, decent run in Europe and maybe even a domestic final wouldn’t have been too much to ask for, would it?
Yet, we have had disappointment followed by disaster. Changing managers, gutless performances, all on the back of a huge spending spree. Mosh’s millions have been there, but seemingly with no direction. Players have been bought, not played or used out of position. Areas that desperately needed strengthening have not, while others over loaded. (I mean how many number 10s do we actually need!)
Then there is the man himself. Mr Schneiderlin. A gifted footballer so pivotal to Southampton’s endeavours Manchester United saw fit to pay almost £27m for his services.
A change in manager saw the former Saint slip down the Red Devils’ pecking order which paved the way for a 2017 move down the East Lancs Road to Goodison. I was buzzing! At last we were signing players of the calibre befitting of a club like Everton.
And for the first few months he justified that. Helping Everton finish seventh and qualify for Europe. His assured displays, reading of the game and incisive passing perfectly complimented the tenacious Gana.
This season has been a different story. Not just for Morgan, he is not alone in disappointing the crowd. But the problem for him is his talent and attitude.
You take Niasse. Never will he go down as a Goodison great but a positive attitude, humility and the never-say-die method of play has secured him a special place in Everton hearts. He never stops running and his gratitude of playing for our great club is similar to that of the also limited, but no less loved, Denis Stracqualursi.
At this moment in time, the heady days of the 1980s are a long way away. Growing up and supporting my club in the decade after was tough, but I always respected effort and commitment, even if a player had little else to offer.
Schneiderlin has more to offer and, this season, has decided not to. His half-hearted attempts at closing down against Arsenal was a sad and all too frequent occurrence of what the crowd has come to expect from the 28-year-old.
Not one player has been more criticised this campaign than Cuco Martina. Yet the full back has earned both praise and respect (from some quarters at least) for his 100% per cent commitment and attitude. Tom Davies, the next big thing? Massively overrated? You decide. But attitude and commitment, never in question.
So to sum up, I will not sit here and criticise any fan for booing a player, nor will I be joining the booing brigade, as that is not me.
But, Mr Schneiderlin, you brought it on yourself!