I think I’ve seen the last of Goodison with my own eyes, and it makes me sad.
I live in the Midwest of the United States now, and when I return to England, family stuff takes precedence. I’m usually over during the summer, too.
A full throated Goodison is a special place, everyone knows this. Including, it seems, opposition players.
Ben Foster: “One thing I will say though is, if you can get on top of Everton early doors, the Everton fans are horrible to Everton players. They are horrible, they get right on top of them.”
Quite a few tweets have been furiously smashed out today about Foster’s comments. For me, the most interesting thing is that no one is really arguing that we boo our players, that we can be a hostile place to our own. What some are arguing, is that they pay for their ticket, so they can behave however they feel like.
But to say, “I pay my money, I can boo if I want” misses the point entirely. If everything is turned into a cold transaction, then surely just cold hearted performances are due from our players? Apathy begets apathy.
After all, they simply have a legal contract with the club. Loyalty, passion, fight, playing through injury – none of these things should be expected of our players. Nor should we moan when a beloved star leaves. He’s just moving for a bigger pay packet. Right?
Except that’s not the case. This week there’s been an avalanche of criticism for our supposedly gutless, heartless, cowardly players. That’s what we want, passion.
No, this way madness lies. We aren’t just subscribers to the Everton feed, silent partners as we watch our team spiral downwards. We’re fans.
Yes, football is a results business, but we don’t just gape in front of Ceefax to see results. We view results in context. Take a brand new manager, some new players, an equally large amount of injuries (two during the game itself), some cloven hoof Rafaball which needs to be coached out of the players, AND the fact that Newcastle had a full, baying, stadium behind them and we buoyed by their own signings and you have enough evidence to wipe the brine from your frothy mouths, becalm your jerking knees, and step down from the ledge. Take that sandwich board off and stop screaming on the street corner. The end isn’t nigh. We are better than the relegation dodging teams of 94 and 98. And Moshiri/Kenwright/Lampard/Tom Davies isn’t going anywhere…
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 club. Whatever the team, there are always criticisms swarming around, often ridiculously exaggerated, like the hilarious Fantasy Football League sketch – “Pele was Sh*te” that portrayed him as a bumbling goon with two left feet, with Frank Skinner laughing “And his real name was Edson Arantes do Excremento”…
Some tweet wildly in a palsy of hatred – blaming the blameless, shrugging off reason, myopic in their anger. Gbamin seems to be a particular favourite, when all he’s done is repeatedly get injured.
For them, injuries are “no excuse” – neither are unlucky goals or dodgy red cards.
Yes, this – truly dire – season getting points has been like panning for gold in the Mersey. But clearly, Lampard and his coaching staff will offer something different from Rafa and his lackeys. Newcastle was horrible, but why are we forgetting about Brentford?
When people pull on the anonymous balaclava and spray sawn off shotgun tweets they are protected and emboldened – but everyone gets peppered by the negativity. With Everton there is a specific type – the one who thinks that Bill Kenwright is a machiavellian genius in an M&S leather jacket , turning his nose up at a hailstorm of billionaire bidders and throwing phantom bids at players, chuckling while he trousers the fabled Arteta Money… Until of course, he accepted a billionaire’s offer, but even then BK is the bad guy, the one doing his very best to drive us into the ground. He got hammered when he told fans that they’ve had some good times. But we have. Who in their right mind prefers this rancid season to when we finished 4th under Moyes?
And away from the boardroom, what about the blues on the pitch?
Tom Davies, seems to get most of the phlegm flecked abuse, having taken over from Ross Barkley in the role of Great White Nope… I wonder if the booers are booing in absentia?
Was it always like this?
A look back through history shows that even Alex Young, our 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
Can those that boo our blues 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, without that support, what is left?
Surely the base level “job description” of being a supporter, the minimum requirement, is supporting your club. If you don’t, if you insist on booing because “I paid my money and you can’t tell me how to behave,” then are you even a fan? Do you fit the definition of “supporter”? Or are you just a moaner who needs to get out of the house on Saturday afternoons? A simple subscriber to Everton, not a supporter.
Picture a comedian without comedy, a librarian who cannot read, a boxer who cannot punch. Picture a surgeon who doesn’t do surgeries, or a bin man who never picks up rubbish…
Picture a supporter who doesn’t support . If things don’t go right for us tomorrow, I’ll be watching Goodison through pixellated digital eyes. I’ll be seeing us, once again, eat our own.
As whinge follows moan online and in the stands – the boos are eroding the confidence of the fans and the players too. These are seasoned abusers. To those who pepper their miserablism over websites like particularly chronic dandruff; and the vocal few who seem far more comfortable booing young Scousers and bemoaning our start, you should be ashamed.
Yes, you’re allowed to be scared. You’re allowed to do anything, but I’m pointing out just how detrimental this can be. I’ve heard from several people that we’re going down as a matter of mathematical fact. Other miserable soothsayers say that we’ll never go back up. That we’re ruined. Others say, what harm is a few tweets? Which at a stroke ignores the fact that social media campaigns can easily bleed into real life. The #27 years campaign, and others from the past, the uproar over Pereira, the sharing of ITK whispers, all have their genesis on social media.
Let’s support the team at Goodison tomorrow, and for the rest of the season.