Mickey Blue Eyes...
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Mickey Blue Eyes


Look, I know "Seamus" is one of those stereotypical names that incite helpless giggles in grown men. Names such as Igor, Henry, Willy, Jean (the French masculine one), Jeremy, Mungo, Twrgadarn, Leroy and Pak Do Ik do pretty much the same thing. But put your phonetic levity to one side for a moment and listen up. Apparently there is a Very Very Serious Issue for you to consider, in fact almost as desperate as the transfer window rumour circus and its urgent infant play pen. If you listen to some bubble brains - yes, go ahead and take the piss out of them - the fate of our entire season rests on resolution of The Issue. Namely, so to speak, should rookie Seamus Coleman be in or out of the team? Poor lad, he has become a cause celebre for the aficionado mentality. So how do you make up your mind, assuming "the problem" has bothered you more than a fart in a bottle?


Me, I agree totally with David Moyes's assessment, since he has more football knowledge in his thumb than our entire fan base has in its entire connected neuron network. That is, Seamus not in until he acquires better defensive instincts or shows he can play wide right mid or stops listening to mating calls from gnus in the crowd. Put plainly, we have enough problems at wide right mid without compounding them at the back too.


So, consider precedent......


Once upon a time, long long ago, in a galaxy far, far away we had two players in successive eras; one great, right half Jimmy "Gabby" Gabriel......and one promising, right back Peter Scott. The odds are you have heard of Jimmy but not Peter. In differing ways this is relevant to the current quasi-hysterical mini saga because The Issue has an eerie ring of Peter Scott about it, plus an echo of a short-lived and long-forgotten Gabby episode. More of both in a moment. Meanwhile, Seamus's profile on the official website says this:


"Coleman is a right-back and has represented the Republic of Ireland both at Under-21 and Under-23 level, making his international debut for the Under-21s in a friendly against Sweden in 2008. 

He began as a central midfielder before switching to full-back.

Coleman signed for Sligo Rovers in 2006 having begun his career at hometown side Killybegs.

The Donegal-born full-back signed for the Blues at the end of the January transfer window in 2009, having had reported interest from Celtic, Birmingham City, and Ipswich Town.

Coleman linked up with Andy Holden and Alan Stubbs in the Blues' reserve team squad, but by the time the 2009/10 season came around he was on the fringes of the first team squad.

But he was dealt a major blow in pre-season when a freak foot infection threatened his career. Coleman battled back though, and was handed a senior start in, of all places, the Stadium of Light in Benfica.

He then played at Bolton and AEK Athens before turning in a fabulous performance on his home debut, setting up two goals against Tottenham in December 2009.

He remained on the fringes of the first team squad before moving to Blackpool on loan in March 2010."


The official website also tells us Seamus will be twenty-two years of age this October. This raises the question of his adaptability. By that age a player is usually settled on his best position and play style, though of course there are always exceptions and there is always something new to learn. True, there are examples of late development but by and large the demands of the game are quite existential and cannot be avoided. You couldn't imagine Jack Rodwell, for instance, not being clear on his playing options in three years time. And it is patently obvious to all except the most benighted that Seamus is no Jack and never will be. It takes more than a sensational display measured in minutes to become an accomplished or great premiership player. Ask Wayne Rooney. Or any long term fan who has seen all this before. In other words, Seamus might still make it, but the clock is ticking. He has a lot of persuading to do. We hope he fully understands this and does the necessary, for himself if not the club. His footy future is at stake and it is mostly in his own hands, natural talent notwithstanding. One thing he might learn is not to stand off during a goalmouth scramble the way he did for Huddersfield's goal in the League Cup match. There is nothing more guaranteed to piss a fellow defender and a manager right off. If he carries on like that then I am afraid the lower leagues beckon, which would be a great pity for him and us. Promise you will buck up, Seamus. We want you to succeed as much as you do.


And so to Jimmy Gabriel and Peter Scott and their relevance.


Gabby played three hundred and four times for us and scored thirty-seven goals. He played for Everton between 1960 and 1967. He left the club reluctantly when Harry Catterick signed a very young Howard Kendall and it became obvious who was going to be first choice. But everyone loved Gabby and his tirelessness and determination, which also brought him two caps for Scotland. Initially Howard Kendall had to work very hard to win the crowd to his side. We won the championship in 1963 and Jimmy was crucial to that great team. The following season we played second division Leeds away in the FA Cup fourth round, drew 1-1 and won the replay 2-0. Gabby scored the first replay goal when he played centre forward; he played there because Alex Young by his own standards had had a difficult season up to then, scoring only nine goals in thirty-three League, Cup and European Cup games. There was a fans clamour to pick Jimmy at centre forward to make up for the shortfall. But it only lasted a few more games, including another score in a winning derby game against Liverpool. Weeks later we signed centre forward Fred Pickering from Blackburn and he scored three on his debut and might have had five. Briefly we went top of the table, but finished the season in third place after throwing away some vital points in the closing weeks.


Peter played forty-eight times for us and scored one goal. He was with Everton between 1970 and 1975 and made his breakthrough into the first team in 1971 after Tommy Wright had a bad time with injuries. He played seven times for Northern Ireland when later he moved to York City. In November 1971 we beat Southampton 8-0 then promptly went on a six match winless run that included four matches in which we scored none.......Football, ey? By then it was obvious the great 1970 championship team was breaking up. Then we played Crystal Palace away in the FA Cup third round, drew 2-2, and beat them 3-2 in the replay. Peter scored in the first few minutes of the second game. By then Harry Catterick had been away ill for some weeks, which turned out to be the beginning of the end for him. When he came back he was mortified to find the team playing like a bull-in-a-china-shop, and Peter Scott charging down the right wing like Alex Scott. He tried to restore the School of Science reputation but it was far too late. We were knocked out of the Cup in the next round, won only two more league games and finished fifteenth in the league. It was the end of an era for us and despite some good runs we never really recovered until Howard Kendall's great teams of the mid eighties.


The relevance of Peter and Gabby to Seamus Coleman is this: both of them were crowd-pleasers because they barrelled forward with the kind of buccaneering runs beloved by crowds across the world, but particularly in England. By and large English crowds don't want to see push and run footy, they want goalmouth action. This is why average Dutch or Italian games would empty our stadia. But Peter's defensive work left a lot to be desired; he tried hard to rectify it but never managed it and soon became a reserve player. Gabby of course was never a centre forward and the patchy experiment was quickly abandoned. In both cases the crowd loved to see them chasing everything and cheered them to the echo. In both cases it was simply unsustainable because there's more to team play than listening to the crowd. Anyone who has played the game will tell you the same. Seamus, beware you don't become just another meteor burning up in the atmosphere. Football crowds can do that to a young player.


So if it came to a straight choice between Tony Hibbert/Phil Neville and Seamus, at the moment Tony/Phil gets my vote every day of the week and twice on Sundays. They have a proven track record, Seamus hasn't and won't get one until he buckles down and concentrates better. If he doesn't learn the lessons he won't make it, simple as. It's a hard but necessary fact of professional football life.


And yes, I have been waiting impatiently to use this as a closer - no gnus is good news.






Comments about SEAMUS, T'BE SURE
While I agree that in the old days this was the case, I think we have moved on since then, the game has changed, styles of play, the defensive game which David Moyes relishes like a pig in a sty....Maybe its time for David Myes to rethink his ways, Defensive football is ok when you need it but do we Everton Fc really only need to play one man up front every game? He talked about his 5 year plan and building a squad of players, So that part`s been done, so where is the flair? the dominance of games is nothing without attacking football and Goals at the end of it...I think Coleman should be in the team, but Not at the expence of our Captain, if peanuts hasnt sign his contract drop him because as soon as his contract is up he will drop us...Coleman can easily play ahead Hibbo or Neville on the he seems to be the only player going forward whenever he comes on...I am all for change and a lot of you will agree when the next two games have been played...Man Utd and Newcastle...
Richy Styles, Kirkdale, 1:30 AM 3/09/2010
If Moyes thinks the same way as you do MBE then there is a club up the Lancashire coast who would be very happy to take him and let him do his stuff. The seasiders are very fond of the sligo boy. And so they should be after his form in Blackpool's incredible rise to the premier league.
glen, winsford, 9:19 PM 2/09/2010
Coleman is a terrific attacking full back with brilliant dribbling ability and crossing he should definetly be the full back. We wont win anythink playing it safe with Neville and Hibbert that is totally the problem with the club at the moment, to many safe bets Hibbert, Neville, Ossie, Cahill. Coleman is a potential match winner he has to play over the average ability of Hibbert and Neville, case closed.
BRENCO, WIRRAL, 2:34 PM 2/09/2010
Great indepth knowledge of Everton history aside, I'll have to disagree with you strongly. I'm shocked the way you're talking about buckling down and favouring Neville, play him in midfield he is a demon, he made the villa defence look like a bunch of toe rags. What everton player can beat 4 players and dart to the byline ??? I never bad mouth Moyes or even you for that matter mbe but I can say with confidence you're off the mark, I posted a long long profanity free response to this this morning but for some reason it has not been accepted but anyway I just would like this shorter opinion published please.
jaytality, dublin, 2:04 AM 2/09/2010
We see a lot of great young players come to everton start off great then somehow have all the excitement coached out of them, I for one think your article is a load of bull and Seamus' exciting style should be encouraged as thats what people are wanting for their money, also play Rodwell as number 9 he makes a better forward we also need a bit more steel in midfield (Joey Barton) it's Jagielka's concentration that is more of a concern he is having to many lapses and someone should have a talk to him oh and isnt it about time we won something
Chris Simpson, Liverpool, 12:02 AM 2/09/2010
Coleman is a better full back than either Hibbert/Neville . It's no contest
Bob McEvoy, Wirral , 10:17 PM 1/09/2010
All very sensible and measured. I think that Seamus could become a decent player for us but possibly as wide right. For me, he is better in that position than Gosling would ever have been, or Anichebe for that matter. It is an area that we need to look at if Bily doesn't flourish wide left leaving Pienaar to go over to the right.
GD, West Derby, 7:53 PM 1/09/2010
You are right about Coleman's defensive deficiencies but he can and does create goals at the other end of the pitch. Hibbo has no defensive qualities and offers nothing going forward. As far as buckling down and concentrating, learning lessons - he'll never learn if he doesn't get the chance. I don't agree with your assessment MBE but isn't that what true fans are all about - getting the debate out in the open. I enjoy your well argued opinions but, on this occasion, I disagree.
CrumlinT, Co Antrim, 2:55 PM 1/09/2010
I always like your articles but most of what you write will not be read or understood by the ranting knob heads who are as clueless in there every day life as to there opinions in footballing matters.
Batman, Gothom, 1:57 PM 1/09/2010
I would see Distin's failure to track Luke Young's run in the Villa game as equally, if not more, of a defensive error than Coleman's failure to get involved in the goal mouth scramble for the Huddersfield goal. Likewise Tim Howard's fumble against Blackburn. Then we have Louis Saha's terrible touch to give Wolves possesion before their goal. My point being that there have been many instances of poor mistakes by Everton players so far this year. One thing is certain, (Pienaar's crossbar effort notwithstanding) the only times that we have had sustained pressure on the opposition defence this year, Seamus has been on the pitch. Make of that what you will.
Neil, Dublin, 1:34 PM 1/09/2010
Excellent article thats the way I remember Jimmy hope Seamus can learn to concentrate on defensive duties because I believe he as all the other atributes to become a top player.
john blue, canada, 1:17 PM 1/09/2010
The answer is simple! Nothing is ever straight forward for Everton! Tim Cahill is a midfielder by trade but he’s been our biggest threat upfront for a while now so that’s where we play him. Wouldn’t we really be so surprised to see the mad skills of Seamus on the right midfield? Like they say in the movies..It’s that crazy, it just might work! BTW what’s with the novel up top? I had to take the day off work just to read that lot!
Doug, Liverpool Edge Hill, 12:33 PM 1/09/2010
Finally a modicum of sense. Have we become so bereft of attacking talent that we need to immortalise a right back before his career has even started. Listening to some fans you would believe that Seamus was Andrei Kanchelskis reincarnated! Lets have some patience with the boy and give him a chacne to develop.....
Hallelujah Ryan, Qatar, 12:30 PM 1/09/2010
liam, everton, 10:56 AM 1/09/2010
Great article (as usual) - We must be of the same generation as I vividly recall Gabby in his center forward role. By the way - on 20 November 1971 when we beat Southampton 8-0 I was getting married and my mate had my season ticket for that game ...... the missus has never let me forget it - even 39 years on it still gets a mention .... lets hope Seamus does make it.
Asho, Liverpool, 10:13 AM 1/09/2010
So he has a great pre season, he comes on for the last section against wolves and does pretty well. Tony hibbert is slow and is frequently found out of position as he can't get backn in time when we have been caught in a counter. Coleman is better than Tony.
Joshua, L1, 10:04 AM 1/09/2010
Could not disagree more. Coleman should start at either right back or right midfield. How else is ge gonna learn his trade? If you want Neville or Hibbo to get to the byline and whip a ball in, you, me, everyone, knows it ain't gonna happen. Seamus can get past players, with ease, and provide quality crosses for our forwards. And his defending is not as bad as you are making out. Anyway, Moyes decides. What we say means sweet fa! It's fun arguing though!
imran malik, Dubai, 9:42 AM 1/09/2010
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