Friday, 21 November 2014

One Fool Can't Fathom The Thoughts Of Another

Haha. Memes. 
"Son , stahhrt wi' a meme, finish wi' a song.

The old rules still work ..."
For a long time it wasn't at all obvious what the point was even nominally going to be of this return to the fray  - what tendentious justification would be used to say a blog was prompted- but then there it was. There it was.
Ware On The March
In the middle of the notorious! infamous! x-rated! #imagefromRochester....what's that on one of the proud trio of flags? West Ham fan inne?! A Massive Hammer, a Fervent Iron, A Bubble-Blowing Die Hard. 
If you haven't seen this, trust me - it is topical. A political kerfuffle allied to tomorrow's opponents - I can get 20 minutes of that. 
This is of course the story of Dan Ware, who was traduced, ridiculed, mocked and vilified in a sustained outburst by the heartless and wicked Human Rights barrister masquerading as a Labour MP,  Emily Thornberry. 
The image was 'offensive' they said. The image was 'horrendous'. The image was 'insulting'. Prime Minister David Cameron, eschewing the opportunity to make an overblown and grubby contribution to divert attention from his own problems restrained himself to describing it as "completely appalling":
It was so much of all those really, genuinely offensive - that every paper and every news bulletin was forced to reproduce the image  - although some broadcasters did preface a clip by sombrely warning "viewers should be aware that the following feature may contain images of a house, some flags...and a van".
A vile slur on all our values. Photo taken by Emily Thornberry.
I actually thought I was a Labour supporter, but this incident has proven me wrong on that score. I distinctly remember recently barging through the Silsden locale and seeing a house with 2 Union Jacks, 2 St George's flags and a huge Help4Heroes banner. At the time, my reaction was "hahaha, kinel, bit full-on that isn't it?". I might have blanked it out due to the egregiousness of my behaviour, but in my darkest moments I think I might even have taken a snide photo of the proud dwelling. 
At that time, I thought I was a white, working class northern person having a bit of a laugh. But, in fact, what I was was 'final evidence of the liberal bourgeoisie London lofty multicultural-obsessed snobbery that is everything that is wrong with the Labour party'. 
Not a slur. Photo not taken by a Labour MP.
I've really appreciated the contribution of good ol' Labour MP John Mann - who signs up Mr Dare as symbolising "Labour values". Its a puzzling conclusion, given that 
"he voted Conservative at the last general election and has never voted Labour - He was not aware there was a by election on"
Now, I'm a Labour member - actually paying my own money to support their entire operation in an arrangement that underpins their whole existence - but as John implies, maybe I should ditch that - I could save the monthly fee to buy more red & white flags! 

He has an interesting take on the history and traditional aims and historic improvements the Labour party have brought about John Mann. 
"It was horrendous. It insults ....Labour voters across the country because white vans, England flags, they're Labour values ".
Not a slur. On Anyone. A Proud White Van. With Values.
It was what propelled Blair to unprecedented landslides! His famous priorities for governing a successful nation: "white vans, white vans, white vans".

I was what people come out for Harold Wilson in the 60s "The White Heat of The White Van revolution"

After the war, when voters turned to Attlee - what was his slogan? "White vans after black times".

John Mann, can you look at this extract from a speech by Keir Hardy in 1914, the first Labour leader, setting out what he thinks the founding ideas behind the Labour party were please? 
it was tenaciously upheld by the public authorities, here and elsewhere, that it was an offence against laws of nature and ruinous to for public authorities to provide food for starving children, or independent aid for the aged poor. Even safety regulations in mines and factories were taboo. They interfered with the ‘freedom of the individual’. As for such proposals as an eight-hour day, a minimum wage, the right to work, and municipal houses, any serious mention of such classed a man as a fool. These cruel, heartless dogmas,... were accepted as part of the unalterable laws of nature, sacred and inviolable, and were maintained by statesmen, town councillors, ministers of the Gospel, and, strangest of all, by the bulk of Trade Union leaders. That was the political, social and religious element in which our Party saw the light. Scientists are constantly revealing the hidden powers of nature. By the aid of the X-rays we can now see through rocks and stones; the discovery of radium has revealed a great force which is already healing disease and will one day drive machinery; Marconi, with his wireless system of telegraphy and now of telephony, enables us to speak and send messages for thousands of miles through space.
But though these powers and forces are only now being revealed, they have existed since before the foundation of the world. The scientists, by sympathetic study and laborious toil, have brought them within our ken. And so, in like manner, our Socialism is revealing hidden and hitherto undreamed of powers and forces in human nature.
So John, what leaps out at you there? As someone who professes to - and pass judgement on who else can - 'be Labour' , what do you take way from that noble, far-reaching, inspiring vision?  

"The same as always - white vans. The values of white vans & England flags".
Swerve the politics la
On the bright side though, we have got Samuel Eto'o now, which is decent. 

Been an odd start to the season, with performances lurching from: dazzling attacking with no stamina and a defence collapsing under the slightest pressure; almost deliberately, point-makingly negative Europa League away outings; consummate, classy, swaggering run-outs at home in the same competition; two convincing and seemingly 'now we're sorted' (but we werent) league wins; two bitty & disjointed games at Anfield & Old Trafford; and latterly two draws from matches we should have won. 
95/96 Everton 3 West Ham 0  (Stuart, Unsworth, Ebbrell)
The seasons it most reminds me of in not quite knowing what to make of us by this relatively advanced stage are 95-96 & 07-08 - both of which we ended far better than we'd begun, after a choppy-changey first quarter. Both had as a mitigating factor in the early uncertainty a return to Europe after a break, and both saw a complete absence of a Best XI, as the manger's over-compensated for the 'difference playing twice a week makes'. 

I'm a staunch believer that, in all but the most unusual circumstances, you play your best team, and let natural variation play its part. As an example of why I'm completely right (no two ways about it, no room for argument, no way the medical and management experts could counter my conclusion) consider what Martinez did with Mirallas earlier this season: after 3 goals in 3 games, and off the back of two straight wins, he was "rested" for Crystal Palace at home. When we were playing shite and losing, he had to come on anyway. Then we played Swansea away in the League cup and he wasn't even on the bench - preserved, looked after, wrapped in cotton wool etc for the derby on the Saturday. The first time he had an actual run - joink, his hamstring went and that was the last we saw of him. 
2012/13 Everton 2 West Ham 0 (Mirallas 2)
In 95-96, Joe Royle diverted completely from what had worked the year before, ending up with nonsense like 3-5-1-1 with Earl Barrett as sweeper and Vinny Samways 'off the striker' as the likes of Jason Lee, Scott Taylor and some fat Icelandic waddler ran us ragged at the back. When our best players came back and we went to a system we were comfortable with and stuck with it, things picked up. 

Similarly, 12 years later -  early experiments with a Neville & Jagielka centre midfield, leaving out Lescott, and playing Yakubu as a kind of wing-forward all gave way to a fixed formation, regular XI and we went on a fantastic run. Culminating in two wins in a week versus (a rated) West Ham side, where were notably kept the same XI, an made only one substitution over 180 minutes. 
07/08 West Ham 0 Everton 2 (Yakubu, Johnson)
For three good managers to all have followed a similarly confused pattern, over a 19 year period, early in the season suggests that there is an underlying 'need' or temptation to "shake the kaleidoscope about a bit" early on before the pieces settle and you get a clear vision of what things should look like (or, more dully, playing more = more injuries), so perhaps I shouldn't be too picky on Martinez - although some small un-tweaking would see an improvement in my view: Barkley should play central, don't worry about squeezing him in on the left. 
2010/11 Everton 2 West Ham 2 (Bilyaletdinov, Fellaini)
 That all said, we seem to have an especially high number of players 'at amber' in terms of fitness for this one. I assume Barry's out, but a raft of others (including Baines & McCarthy, miles our best two players so far) are doubtful too. So I would imagine Sam Allardyce is quietly confident - they seem to have improved fairly drastically on the 9-1-1 all 6ft line-up they came to Goodison last year (that sounds a Big Sam cliche, but they really were remarkably grim).

They might even fancy it as a good opportunity to take three points for the (I think) third time in the Premier League years. And I've been at the other two: New Year's day 1994, when Tim Breaker scored a deflating lopping header in after a couple of minutes and a sub-20,000 crowd then set niggly and freezing through the rest of a game that extended a spirit-sapping goal-draught to 6 and a half games. In classic Everton style, the catalyst for this mind-numbing lack of direction or threat up front was driving the manger to resignation over the refusal to sign exactly the player we needed, at a perfectly reasonable fee. 

That's my boys!
Tim Breaker with The Lads and looking delighted to be so
The other defeat, in December 2005 was one of the most flat-out disappointing Everton games I've ever been too - after a day working cash in hand as a pseudo-removal man as we raked over the ashes of a company in financial ruin, we went ahead only to be beaten 2-1 - propmpting Alan Pardew to correctly state they played us off the park. For some reason, Moyes took this as a grave personal insult and 'disrespectful', which I never really understood. 

The historical patterns and lessons to be learnt? 

Don't play like in those games, as they were both fucking terrible. 

One I did like, and I could see being played out in some form tomorrow was in 1997-98, when Everton were nervous and pokey for a half, going in trailing to an own goal and the crowd getting a bit "Goodison~y", then John Oster came on, ran at them and the mood changed completely, with Ludek Miklosko making a string of saves before and after Dave Watson's equaliser. A counter-intuitive (and never repeated) change by Howard Kendall saw Craig Short come on as sub whilst we were pressing for a winner, with Slaven Bilic (one of three players opposing a team they'd played for 2 matches previously) shoved forward into midfield - he soon sent a cross in that Ferguson headed down and Graham Stuart (returned to the club in some well-meaning symbolic role this week) turned and finished with a shot across the greasy surface. 
1997/98 Everton 2 West Ham 1 (Watson, Stuart)
An uplifting, fraught 2-1 win in front of a sold-out crowd tomorrow would do very nicely indeed. A pretty trite way to end, especially as I've set it up at the start as if I should refer back to finishing with a song , but I don't really that would work...and its late and I'm trying to watch Graham Norton to be honest - I'll say this is my version of that early season 'not quite at it' form - yeah, say that. If/when it clicks though - oof, watch out y'all!

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