THE GAMBLE THAT FAILED, DAVEY - BADLY
Mickey Blue Eyes
I wasn't looking forward to the analfield derby game, and it had nothing to do with the possibility of defeat; after all, we haven't won a derby there for over a decade. In any case the score can go any and every which way in these games. Anyone who bets on them is a mug.
No, long ago, somewhere along the line, the worst of both sets of fans lost sight of the true meaning of the words "competition" and "rivalry." It then spilled over into mindless poison that ate away at everything worthwhile in the fixture. Nowadays it is little more than an excuse for howling at the moon.
The root of this was the late Emlyn Hughes way back in 1977, a horror show that wasn't eased by later, repeated apologies. He couldn't unsay; the damage was done and never forgotten. Hughes had punctured a notoriously thin hymen and everything else flooded through the opening. Soon it was populated by too many individuals who think their own mad hatred more important than any alternative. The kind of wicked humour which once typified these games now exists only in a dying breed of certain age and temperament. Most of the evolutionary leftovers are a sort of Darwinian reverse, human to simian, though in a lot of cases that might be an insult to our distant cousins. Whatever the sick cause(s), one side is now as bad as the other, all of it magnified by a generation with minimum conversational ability and maximum weird electronic "friends" and "feelings." How sad, how needless, how useless. And, really, sod all to do with football.
From an Evertonian point of view there isn't too much to say about the game. It was a playing disaster against modest opponents. Moyesy took a gamble with his team selection and it backfired as badly as Custer's tactics at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Of course, had it come off he would have been a tactical genius. He would have been startling, bold or courageous. Instead he ended up with egg on his face, as did almost all the players who suddenly lost the fighting spirit they have shown to such great effect in our recent run. We deserved to lose, but not by 3-0. Even then two of the goals came directly from midfield giveaways. I think we managed maybe two attempts on goal and that was it. We never looked likely except for ten-fifteen minutes in the first half when we had a string of corners that came to nothing. The substitutions came far too late to make much difference.
There's no point having a go at individual players, though we could. It would be too easy. The fact is Bainsey was the only one to get anywhere near his usual form, Felli to a lesser extent. The rest ought to have a long hard word with themselves. Hence the enemy got revenge for our 3-0 mauling of them a few years ago. Swings and roundabouts, only this time it was us who fell off.
Afterwards, I drove Plewsy to a drop at his mother's. On the way, he said, "Mick, you know those lucky kecks of yours?"
"Yes?" I asked.
"Well, tonight they were on back to fuckn front."
I think he was right.