JAN
13
2013
Mickey Blue Eyes...
Everton V Swansea
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GOODISON PḖTANQUE

By

Mickey Blue Eyes

 

By repute, Brits in general and the English in particular do not know how to relax or relish; we ramble not amble; alcohol is swallowed by the pint, not sipped for enjoyment; we get blind drunk, not pleasantly tipsy; we produce someone like Lowry and call him an artist, not a cartoonist; we make a menagerie and call it Essex, not Cockney Zoo; we prefer rutting, not sensuality; we build Canary Wharf and its ineffable Stalinist architecture, not Paris; we encourage children to watch trash TV and play computer games on their own, not read or hold a civil conversation. Even our pensioners prefer crown green bowling because it is more aggressive than pétanque (then again, when have the English ever given benefit of doubt to the French?). And it is no solace the Americans are even worse, or that these defaults are not exclusive to our island people.

 

Our football is still another expression of our cultural impatience and, yes, crudity. Mostly our fans demand end-to-end Gerritinthefucknboxla An' Don't Gimme None 'o' That Continental Ladyboy Tappy-Tappy Stuff. Despite that, aesthetics and Robbie Savage apart, our approach has its merits as a spectacle. It keeps the blood in circulation, often on the surface - even if it is frequently someone else's blood. There are compensations.

 

The main cause of all this is our climate, which does not encourage dawdling or a more amiable mañana or bukrah Insha'Allah mindset. Watch or play in a Sunday League game at Jericho Lane between October and March and you will get the gist. Furthermore, the international TV appeal of our domestic competitions speaks for itself.  But emergence of a great Spanish national team and its generation of fine players had a beneficial impact on the English game, as did other foreign troupers. Merged styles have produced some wonderful matches and improved skill, though it also had an adverse affect on England's national team: sadly, without their more skilful foreign team mates our home grown boys are often all at sea in international competition. Ironically, this happened in the Spanish game fifty years earlier.

 

However, in your correspondent's unhumble opinion, roughly speaking the English game now has the best of both worlds. I wouldn't cross the road to watch the average Dutch, Portuguese, Brazilian or Italian game. Siesta would beckon well before half time.

 

Surprisingly, Welsh Swansea City of all clubs is a product of the Spain-England axis courtesy of inestimable Roberto Martinez, now performing managerial miracles at Wigan Athletic. Prior to that he was a journeyman player at all professional levels in 391 games in England and Scotland between 1995 and 2007. When he joined Swansea as manager in February 2007 they were in third tier League One and narrowly missed promotion at his first attempt. By the time he left for Wigan in June 2009 they were serious competitors for promotion to the Premier League, which they finally managed in 2011. Under Martinez, City developed the Spanish close-passing and possession game and became identified with it. Since then they have performed their own footy miracle by surviving against large odds in the Premier League. Appropriately, current Danish manager Michael Laudrup played for Barcelona and Real Madrid, 1989 to 1996.

 

On the eve of our game Swansea stood a respectable ninth to our fifth in the league table. Midweek before our match they went to Stamford Bridge and gubbed Chelsea 2-0 in the semi-final first leg of the League Cup. Plainly, they were not to be taken lightly.

 

As it turned out, I would rather have watched a game of pétanque than this one. It wasn't up to much as a spectacle, a condition made worse as the temperature dropped dramatically with the sun. Swansea weren't too interested in much besides not losing and we didn't have enough guile to break them down or have the required luck in front of goal. They played two banks of four across the back and did it very well, if you like Italian catenaccio. When we had chances they had to be snatched at and without luck never seemed likely to succeed. In the end a draw was about right, though we should have won. Our biggest consolation was to see Steven Pienaar back in action.

 

Still, it is typical of this type of game that they had the best chance in the first half of the match when their man tried to lob Tim, but it was touched, just, on to the top of the bar and over. We had three reasonable chances in the same half, of which two were near misses and one got cleared off the line.

 

As usual, tempo increased in the second half and almost all play was concentrated in the Swansea half without us ever looking really likely to breakthrough. Even the Bainsey-Pienaar combination couldn't create a decisive moment. The substitutes made no difference whatever as the match petered out into the kind of Continental stalemate that will drive fans away in droves if it ever gets traction. Our little group spent more enjoyable time trying to wind each other up. Frankly, I couldn't wait to get home to some warm TLC and a pot of hot coffee.

 

In total, it was a load of boules. But maybe I'm just pissed off because we didn't win. It is that time of year after all: snow and icy weather is forecast.

 

I blame the French.

 

 

Comments about Everton V Swansea
5
Love what you say. You really love the game +the club.
Ron Thompson, Standish Wigan, 11:28 PM 16/01/2013
4
Swansea players had to get the train home after Saturday's game against Everton after it was reported that the team bus was still inside Goodison park where it had been parked since 3 o’clock that afternoon. A Swansea spokesman said it was the second lost this week as 1 was left behind at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Pada, Ashmore Park, 3:27 PM 14/01/2013
3
With talk of us having the best squad.... again...Again we fail to get past the parked bus. We know these teams come to Goodison to park the bus with no intention of leaving their own half only when they can with 1 maybe 2 and if there is a greater chance they may even throw a 3rd player up on the break. There has got to be a better approach to getting a goal than the usual tactic of pluggin away looking world beaters in possession in and around the halfway and down the wings. fook em sunday league style throw tall strongest in to the box, up and unders dropped from snow capturing ridiculus heights crowd the midfield to win the second ball and have fast defenders to catch the break (343) Bainsey and Coleman on either wing.Distin/Heit/Jags at the back. Osman/Nev or Peanuts in the middle and Jela/Fel and Anichebe up top. Better loosing 1 winning 1 than drawing 2. Just get a goal then revert back to passing.
lee, rainhill, 10:28 AM 14/01/2013
2
It's always a pleasure to read your prose - thoughtful, witty and elegant. Bit like Swansea? Without Mirallas, and with Osman inexplicably deep, we lacked the fast feet to open them up. So, with the best will in the world, why pick Anichebe? He has certain gifts, yes, but intricacy isn't one of them. I don't think Vellios has either, from the little evidence we've had. Barkley has, but has been sent to learn whatever Warnock has to teach (?) and Mcalney has too, but seems to have fallen off the bench. My point is Jelavic, the best natural goal-scorer we've had for a long time, is not getting the help and support he needs. This must be sorted before his confidence suffers a proper drop. And now, except it's snowing here, I could go for a game of boules... I'll settle for a warm croissant and some proper coffee. Allez les Bleus!
bleu nez, france, 7:34 AM 14/01/2013
1
Great Write Up! Being all things Everton, I confess I'm somewhat ignorant to the other aspects of the great game (meaning everything else in football other than Everton!) If anything , this article encourages me to peruse outside the Royal Blue Boundaries as it would appear I'm missing out! To me it makes every sense that indeed it's Martinez (and not that R~* Shite Boss Rodgers) who's behind the Swans success story! It also makes every sense that the R~* Shites got it wrong when they recruiting Rodgers instead of Martinez!
doug, Liverpool, 5:11 PM 13/01/2013
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