Mickey Blue Eyes...
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Mickey Blue Eyes


The title is taken from a 1957 American film starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak. It contains some of the best pop music songs ever written and is still well worth seeing. It also demonstrates there is no such thing as pure symmetry in nature. Sinatra had the one-in-a-million singing voice of an angel, but was a mobbed-up, morally-insipid man stuck in the corrupt neon lit rat-hole of the citadel of suckers of hood-owned Las Vegas. In the film he plays the one-in-a-million singing voice of.............well, you get the picture. Not only is it not symmetrical it also confirms Newton's Third Law of Motion, colloquially "To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction." You end up asking how such a gorgeous natural talent could end up like that, so compromised.


All of which brings me conveniently if distantly and wistfully to Joseph Yobo (happily no relation to Frank Sinatra or his "friends") now out on loan for a year to Turkish club Fenerbahce. But how could this happen? How could such outstanding ability transfer to the hysterical ugly arsehole of European football, Turkey? After all, he was David Moyes' first major signing way back in the summer of 2002. He was a fresh-faced 21 and became an instant hit with the fans. His combination of pace and ability on the ball was in distinct contrast to centre backs David Weir and Alan Stubbs, both of whom were, to put it nicely, in the final stage of their playing careers and looking a bit pedestrian. Occasionally either they or midfield players would get skinned by wing-footed opposition only for Joey to appear like a wraith of the great Kevin Ratcliffe to rescue them and us from ignominy. If anything was a clear sign of the forthcoming Moyes revolution it was Joey. Sensible fans don't forget that kind of thing. He was the proverbial ray of sunshine at the exact time we all needed it. Now he's gone and, I'm guessing, unlikely to return. This is footy at its saddest.


Not that he was a perfect player. Nobody is or ever was. He had his faults, principally with the kind of unforced errors that left you with your jaw separating your knees. Who can forget that unerring pass to Wayne Rooney to concede a goal to the Mancs at precisely the moment we had gained unlikely control of a game for which we had low to zero expectations? But mercifully his mistakes were never on a par with predecessor Dunney's Weekly Howler. In fact it was the rarity of them that made him stand out. It was as though your life long best friend had suddenly turned into Ernst Kaltenbrunner or Lavrenti Beria or George W. Bush. However, most of us forgave him right readily. How could it be otherwise when he saved us so often and with the kind of ease made famous by other great central defenders such as Des Walker? There was and is something lovable about the lad. Maybe it was in his occasional kicking action, which I once heard an adoring female fan describe as, "Like a young giraffe's."


So Joey was with us eight years. That's a long time in professional football. Therefore nobody can doubt his loyalty, talent or effort. We saw his game develop and then settle into maturity, which is not something you get to see much of these days. I expected him to score more goals but it didn't turn out that way largely because he usually had his work cut out at the other end of the pitch. After David Weir and Alan Stubbs left the scene Phil Jagielka quickly established himself at the centre of the defence and potentially it looked like a Joey-Jags partnership was made in heaven. And if that didn't work, maybe a tandem with Joleon Lescott. Alas. Strange are the ways of footy chemistry. Then older Sylvain Distin arrived and ever so gradually Joey slipped off the stage. I don't suppose we will ever really know why.


I'm going to miss Joseph Yobo very badly. To me he epitomises everything good in the game, even his defaults. I hope he is hugely successful in what is likely to be his last three seasons of first class footy. If I had my way he would be with us until he retired. But professional football has always tended to be quite ruthless when a player reaches the end of his usefulness. You don't often get the proverbial graceful exit. You need only consult the times fans turn on a player who has finally run out of steam after years of committed performances. In this case I hope - though it rarely works - Joey rejoins us and re-establishes himself. More likely he will finish playing elsewhere and less loved than he is by all true Evertonians. We know what he brought to our club when we most needed it.


But that's life. As I said, there's no such thing as pure symmetry. Don't ever expect that to change.



Comments about PAL JOEY
Moyes' era changed everything and Joey was the start of that, as the article above states he's not perfect and no player is ever going to be, Joey enjoyed eight wonderful years with us and bailed us out to many times, Joey is a model footballer and again as the article states has shown commitment and loyallty to the blues and that's something money can't buy, I agree that any true blue will feel the same and that it is sad to see Joey go, if he does return i hope he can battle his way back in to the team!!! IMWT
Danny, at work, 11:10 AM 9/09/2010
Strange one this, why has he gone? With Joey n Jags at CB the last couple seasons we've looked pretty solid at the back and kept loads of clean sheets. Now Distin is here we are leaking goals everywhere! I would put Joey marginally ahead of Distin, but both have poor first touches and make lots of errors. I think we should play Heitinga and Jags at CB, Seamus on the right and Bainsy on the left and I'll be happy with that.
Tony B, L3, 10:00 AM 8/09/2010
Sums up what I have thought of this class man. Loyal and professional, with pace and a decent positional sense. I hope the remaining central defenders stay fit and healthy - we might rue this one. Good luck Joey.
Colin, Laguna Niguel, 4:35 AM 8/09/2010
I personally cannot understand why Distin is preferred to Joey in defence. I honestl believe our centre back pairing should be Jags and Johnny with Yobo as the first back up. Sad to see Joey go to Fenerbache but as others have said I hope, as unrealistic as it seems, that he returns and gets back in the squad for his final few years. Good luck Joey.
Paul H, Walton, 11:34 PM 7/09/2010
I disagree with the above , he never progressed in his 8 years at the club regardless of the impact he made when he joined Yobo didnt reach the next level when Everton started to get better under Moyes. I will not be sorry to see him leave , his positional play was poor at best , his technical abilty average at best . He constabtly relied on pace to bail him out of basic defending errors and his concentration matched that of a goldfish. I just hope his mate the Yak follows suit. I just cannot believe we didnt cash in on those two to try and sign a striker or right winger .
Philip McKeown, Prescot, 10:30 PM 7/09/2010
He was a one trick pony - he could head a ball. He lost concentration too often, didn't score enough goals, lacked versatility and had his big chance when Lescott furthered his England chances with City. I see him more of a Smith/Moyes transition player than a Cahill, Arteta, Jagielka signing. We should be looking to the young players to replace Distin rather than seeing Yobo's loan as some kind of sabbatical for a player who has lost his way.
Phil, Blackpool, 8:41 PM 7/09/2010
Joe has all the attributes of a modern day centre half. I think the only downside to his game was his inabillity to read the game a little better. You were literally guaranteed a lapse in a key game and to be fair so does Jags who for some reason gets away with it a lot more . I like Joe too I will miss him and if he doesnt come back next season i wish him well at his new club
james cluskey , walton , 5:58 PM 7/09/2010
Kaltenbrunner?Beria? who did they play for?
john, liverpool, 5:29 PM 7/09/2010
Personally I hope he returns. He gives us something at the back we don't usually have in the world, let alone the Premiership, and that is a centre back with blistering pace. If the lad could kick a ball properly he would be the perfect full back. Distin won't last too much longer, and Yobo would fit in excellently for a couple of seasons in my opinion. It would not be smart to sell him.
JG, Liverpool, 5:16 PM 7/09/2010
I also like Joey and am actually surprised he's lasted eight years with us. There were times when I think he was treated quite shabbily by Moyes - dropped for clearly inferior colleagues. Many a time Moyes played Stubbs and Weir together with Joey sat on the bench.
Damo, Manchester, 5:10 PM 7/09/2010
Everyone liked Joey but he was past his sell by date when he tried to lie to Moyesie about his fitness and then played for Nigeria. No manager will put up with that but its all a pity. I agree with the bit that wishes him good luck. He was good for us and good for himself.
Billy Bump, Huyton, 4:36 PM 7/09/2010
Your articles are like the Hadron collider, once started there are a lot of false starts and confusion followed by you disappearing into your own hole. Someone press stop
brett, london, 2:00 PM 7/09/2010
This is more or less the first thing I have seen - article or comment - written about Joey Yobo with which I can unreservedly agree. I wonder whether it's because I can actually remember what we were like when he arrived, and what he did for us then. He came into a side whose defenders were getting old (though they themselves had contributed a great deal of good to Everton through some agonisingly terrible years) and was something much better than we'd had before. He was then matched by players who came later, but I still can't really understand how there's no place for him in a squad with only one player now capable of central defensive cover. He made a few mistakes, but then again, unlike a lot of our other players he was very seldom beaten for pace or turned out of a game by quicker thinking opponents. He was a decent player and I hope he enjoys his time in Turkey, even if he never gets the chance to return...
Rory O, Portsmouth, 1:15 PM 7/09/2010
My friend and I have always said that if Joey could have his second touch first, he would be the complete centre back. He would always put you on edge with his first touch and then save it with his second! For me the most memorable moment was when he bent down to tie his boot lace as Andy Reid lashed a long ranger that whistled right under Yobo's face and into the back of the net! I can honestly see him coming back, Distin isn't going to last forever and Joey still has 4 years left. Good luck Joey I will miss you too!
Phil, Bootle, 12:47 PM 7/09/2010
Very sad. I too hope he comes back. He's one of the defining Moyes era players.
Louis, London, 11:37 AM 7/09/2010
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