Throwing in this 'retirement' gimmick has screwed me right over, as one of the planned points of 'discussion' was how much that signing was never going to work out and wondering just how upsetting/depressing it must be for a player, especially a striker like him who relies on people to put him in, to go from playing with the likes of Pires, Gerrard, Lampard, Raul, Seedorf etc - where you know you're going to found and get chances time and again - to plodding around in off chance that Graham Dorrans or James Morrison (neither of who are the worst in the league at all) might just end up screwing a shot in your general direction once a game.
This thought first occurred to me a few years ago when we left Saha up on his own, as an injury ravaged 34 year old, sometimes with a midfield of Neville & Heitinga as a supply line and the bile that would get hurled at him for "not working hard enough" or not burying immediately the first touch he'd got for 20 minutes.
I suppose the message would be - don't rely on unreliable, moody French strikers in their twilight years....
Incidentally, in a sign of the archival research lengths I'm going to thees days, have a look at Real's squad from when Anelka was there:
Just classic names from start to finish. Makes anyone worth his salt want to start a game on Football Mangager under an eccentric Bolivian persona, go a mid-to-low table outift and get hammered 1-5 by them, whilst drawing solace from the fact that there looked promising signs from the forward line of erratically drawn together free agents.
|The original tactician|
Never went did I? Was suffering from my annual one-eye-blind-spell and spent the day listening to Radio 4 in the dark. So I'm probably in the unique position of my abiding memories of that 2-1 win with a Baines double (one cracker, one pen) being how fucked up Albert Speer was as he lived out his sentence at Spandau prison (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ryklg) with his flowers and endless marches.
Despite there being literally thousands of biographies dedicated to the main characters on all sides, its very rare that something captures the mixture of personal oddness, egos, fears and quirks that the Big Name Nazis, Stalin, Churchill et al brought to the most uniquely perilous set of circumstances the world's ever seen. And if it is going to happen, lets be honest, its not going to be in a hastily assembled blog purporting to preview Everton v West Brom......
Not a crop of games even the Everton marketing department at their most cringe-worthy could consider bringing out a box-set of. I will eschew temptation to carry on with last week's Duncan theme and say his last game/goal - the first YouTube from behind the goal video I was ever aware of incidentally (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu2sMtz65v0) as one of the comments highlights "funny az fuk wot gets sed" - and go because of the oddly appropriate timing for Everton 2 West Brom 1 in August 2004, with Leon Osman getting two very early on in his career.
There are no words available to do justice to how far on the 'other side of the fence' the Moyesiah is now - and also none to describe the amount to fuck he can get.
Despite a very impressive win last week (although I was relatively un-sobre enough to be absolutely convinced they won 4-0 having sat about 5 metres from the screen it was being shown on) I still get "Ben Swain going on Newsnight" vibes from him - he thinks he knows the lines, he thinks he knows he to bat away the questions, but I dont think he really does, and I think him thinking he's got it down will end up making things worse for him.
I dont want to go on about a former manager too much, but his recent Quintesson-like ability to about face act is really quite remarkable face, its interesting that he has actually been called on his gobshitery - with the commentariat in general surprisingly keen to highlight his comments from the Lescott-to-City saga, and the yawning gap in his bid last week.
What I wanted to do here was tie-in to the '04 match and find some quotes from Moyes about ensuring value was paid and that Everton shouldnt cave in just because United had deigned to take an interest in one of our chaps, but it actaully only led me to some Aresnal forum where everyone was saying Rooney was over-hyped and worth £10m at most.....
And, yeah, Martinez signing someone who was out of contract, someone from a different team entirely, and someone by paying the release fee contractually agreed is exactly the same.....
"We don't want to lose him as he's our best player, but if we do the only way is at the top price and the value we want."
David Moyes August 2004.
Oh look, something did turn up.
Fuck off Moyes.
Making the foolhardy move to over-estimate the value of one good performance - like sticking someone in at number 3 the next innings after a flukey 40-odd down the order in a losing cause - I've decided that after bewilderingly calling it spot-on last week, I'm promoting this 'feature' to top billing.
Having said that, I will be in the middle of Scotland gallivanting about as the game's being played so I will be distant from my failure if it all falls apart, which means this will be the first Saturady first home game of the season i've missed since 1998 (I think!)
I was encouraged by the performance at Norwich, thought we always went for the win and the signal that picking Barkley to start sent out was carried on in the rest of the game. The only quibble was that, apart from the lead up to Coleman's goal, Jelavic, then Kone when he came on (and annoyed me - with the utterly superfluous "A." on his shirt - in case people thought he was one of those other Kones in the squad. Maybe it was just in case people thought he was that crazy-wild kid army loon who was flavour of the month for a bit then vanished. LOL. Now, that's quite a weak jokey reference to that, but during the game when I expressed my displeasure at such an unneccasarily printed character, it was suggested by someone that it was to stop him getting confused with the cones in training. And we laughed heartily & genuinley at that, so when i'm saying 'oh, we played ever so well!!' bear my 'relaxed' state in mind ) never looked like getting in.
That said, maybe the balance was moved in our favour as Mirrallas, Barkley and others got more chance to have a crack than they would have if everything was channelled into getting the striker in, definitley Coleman & Baines had excellent games and caused plenty of problems - in general the wider we play the betteer I think.
Defensivley, although Norwich looked like they could get behind us a few times, by-and-large we didnt look to me as though Martinez's intrsuctions have been "become Gary Caldwell", although their first goal was too soft to be happening very often.
I cant see anything in this West Brom team (signing of the decade Shane Long aside) that we should be worried about though - in what should be a fairly defiant atmosphere. I'd start with same team and excpect us to win comfortably. 2-0 to Everton, with Baines missing a pen just to throw in a bit of intrigue.