SEP
01
2013
Mickey Blue Eyes...
Cardiff City V Everton
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DANCING WITH SHEEP

By

Mickey Blue Eyes

 

When Karl Marx, prescient man, said history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy the second time as farce, he might have had football's twice yearly transfer window in mind. Had he lived into the weird era of disembodied "social media" he might have added a third......a long drawn-out yawn. Some time ago the transfer nonsense morphed into a hugely funny comedy, a type of electronic tribalism subdivided into dim-witted factions; you had to larf. But now it is simply a repetitive bore as predictable as grunts in a pig sty, a Jimmy Carr routine, mobile phone textspeak, or a claque of fish wives in a back street ale house.

 

So, a preliminary word about the same old transfer shenanigans. In many ways it parallels the old "free trade" twaddle that appropriately came out of the nineteenth century "Manchester School." Of course there is no such thing as "free trade" in an organised monopoly. All such markets are rigged, socialist or capitalist. Your opinion of either depends on what you think they are rigged for or what their actual affect is. By its own definition, a capitalist market is rigged for individual profits split between the minimum number of profiteers; it has no other function. The financial institutions or individuals who lend the money are the main profiteers via interest, thereby reinforcing the monopoly. So "free trade" is a myth. Example, arch-imperialist Joseph Chamberlain once said that in theory he was himself in favour of it, but he had "...not such a pedantic admiration for it that if sufficient advantage were offered to me, I would not consider a deviation from the strict doctrine"; all this while he was arranging "preferential tariffs" inside the British Empire. I like the "sufficient advantage" and "preferential tariffs" bits. Sounds rather like the transfer window, don't you think, with its lenders, owners, agents and players splitting whatever they can get out of it. The system, friends, the system......

 

However, the game goes on as the August transfer window winds its gossip-ridden way to its tiresome finale. How the footy powers-that-be got themselves into this administrative mess is a matter for their psychoanalysts. For the fact is it disrupts the pre-season preparations of every club: the only "beneficiaries" are peon peddlers of hate, prompted by a vicarious media, who have their five minutes of fame spitting venom - really just a sick form of impotent self-loathing - at the nearest easy target. Incredibly, targets even include Arsene Wenger of Arsenal, one of the greatest managers of the last fifteen years. No surprise when the very people doing the spitting are the same ones who, whimpering about their club's lack of big money transfers, complain about the financial condition of the modern game. The script is the same each transfer window and will remain so until there is a rewrite. It never occurs to these idiots they are part of the inflationary spiral that may yet do for the game, that they get the kind of society and sports they deserve.

 

It was appropriate, then, we played Cardiff City away in the week when the great Welsh Rugby Union "amateur" player Cliff Morgan died. Rugby is not my game but all true fans recognise a great athlete when they see one, whatever the sport. Occasionally I can just about watch RU at international level but not at club level, and cannot watch Rugby League at all: neither flows except in spasms, both are little more than predictable charges downfield preceded by a maul. But I would always watch with admiration when outstanding Welsh players like Cliff, Gareth Edwards and JPR Williams were causing us English much grief at rugby while their football team was in the doldrums. Small wonder the Welsh flocked to their national rugby team in a way they never did or do with their national footy team. But eventually even self-styled amateur Rugby Union turned professional and joined the financial circus when it became impossible to hide "expenses" payments.

 

So it is good to see South Wales in the Premier League in force, especially after Wrexham had a near-death experience in the North. (Incidentally, if you think there is regional chauvinist nonsense between the city of Liverpool and the city of Manchester, wait until you come across North Wales V South Wales). It sort of parallels the resurgence of the old Lancashire cotton towns during the last decade and a half, which was also a good thing whether now on the wane or not. As usual, the real test is when naive enthusiasm and early money ebbs away after the first couple of seasons. Inevitable financial reality can be like a cold shower after a hot bath. Ask, for instance, Steve Gibson at Middlesbrough; there are plenty of others. If you don't know who they are you haven't been paying attention. Go look.

 

In fact newly-promoted Cardiff City is a near perfect example of the contemporary game. After many years of financial travails they now have a new stadium to replace the old slum that was Ninian Park, and a new foreign owner, Malaysian Vincent Tan, to say nothing of a change of colour strip from blue to red, and even the possibility of a name change. Tan says he will make the club debt free and will probably have spent £35 million on players......but isn't about to say both notions are due to new TV broadcast revenue: it will be interesting to see what he says and what money there is if they get relegated and have to live off reduced revenue. One hopes for their sakes they don't do a Birmingham City or Portsmouth.

 

Naturally, Cardiff was looking to build on a previous good home win against Manchester City. It might have flattered to deceive - Joe Hart had a stinker and was at fault for two of their goals - but you couldn't fault their enthusiasm and effort. Therefore, it was always going to be a test. Our midweek game against League One Stevenage didn't help much. Nine team changes provided the kind of maddening display many of us, me included, compared to the bad old days; there were only four compensations, Joel Robles, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and John Stones. We were lucky to win. That, plus the usual transfer wittering might disrupt our team effort and confidence for the Cardiff match.

 

Actually, it didn't.

 

Again we were full of possession but mostly didn't have a clue what to do with it against a team who on more than one occasion seemed to want to play rugby. Also, the referee was just about the worst homer I've seen in the last decade. But none of it can excuse yet another crab-like team play of sideways-backwards-back to where you were-sideways-backwards and......ah forget it. And when we did get in sight of the goal the arse seemingly fell out of Our Boys altogether. By the final whistle I felt like screaming.

 

This fan is praying these three opening games, all drawn, almost exactly the same, are merely a symptom of settling into a new playing system. If it isn't......well, we're in for a very hard season indeed. To my eyes, David Moyes, naughty boy, has plainly got inside the heads of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines. On top of which, we simply don't have the players to make keep-ball effective. Spain we are not.

 

The only genuine bright spark was the sight of substitute Gerard Deulofeu in the last ten minutes looking like he was so pissed off he decided to try to win the game on his own. In his first two minutes he had more direct attempts on goal - two - than we had in the previous eighty minutes, and laid on another chance only for nobody to show any interest in converting it. Yet again the only statistic and diagram that matters is the scoreline of 0-0 against a modest team we should have buried. But we didn't, again, and that's that.

 

Perhaps now the David Moyes haters will finally understand how hard it is to create a consistent football team on limited resources, and why every manager should be allowed time to create at least a measure of stability. The same goes for Roberto Martinez.

 

I don't even want to think about the Chelsea home game.

 

 

Comments about Cardiff City V Everton
14
Think we just need to try 2 up front (Old fashioned I know!) think Kone's pace could open up spaces for Jela to pop up in with some of his class finishing - his second touch is a celebration !!
Chris, Yorkshire, 2:39 PM 2/09/2013
13
We had 60% of possession because we were clearly the better team! Not because we were impersonating the Chuckle Brothers playing Passy Passy! Can't believe the amount of people who buy into this media hype! Under the circumstances, we're holding our own! Just need some quality upfront and another Gibbo in the middle that plays like it's ManCity every game!
Doug, Liverpool, 1:53 PM 2/09/2013
12
If the rest of the season stays like the first three games Goodison will get emptier and quieter. I like Roberto Martinez but he needs to think about upping the tempo and being more direct. I know what he's trying to do but it won't do him much good if he just stays with keep ball and doesn't encourage them to have a go and take chances. Should have won by a sack full again on Saturday, too many players looked like they were scared to try something different.
Tony, Stoneycroft, 1:14 PM 2/09/2013
11
Heard a lot of people at the game and now on here having a pop at the forwards, I think the problem at the moment is Piennar and Mirallas just aren't firing. We know both are more than capable of ripping defences apart in their own ways. When they start to fire I think we will see a difference, we will then have 3 threats rather than just Ross, who, at the moment, seems to be the only one creating chances.
Spoffy, Work, 10:10 AM 2/09/2013
10
Anyone else notice Jela's boots? Someone have word.....
Lee, Rainhill, 9:55 AM 2/09/2013
9
The new "style" of play is to start from the back at pedestrian pace, wait for the opposition get eleven men behind the ball and then pass the ball around so we can say we have 60% possession. Then when we finally get the ball wide put a square ball into the box. That way no player has to attack the ball, just try and compete. Other than Ross or Gibbo when he's back shoot from outside the box. Lastly Jelli needs to start looking forward instead of playing with his back to goal all day. COYB, surely you want to win and not just play.
Johno, South Africa, 9:41 AM 2/09/2013
8
It was a good passing and possession performance. Pity about the lack of goals :o( Fellaini couldn't have cared less when that last minute cross came in from Deulefeu. He made no move for it whatever, so I think he'll be gone by midnight tonight.
Spectator, Crosby, 9:11 AM 2/09/2013
7
Got a feeling once the tranny window's shut (no not that one the other one) the media will lay off our boys and focus their attention on something shit like cricket and our players will regain their focus. If you believe anything the writers say (from agents mouths to their ears) El Bob had to practically beg Monsieur Screech to make an appearance for the Cardiff Panto. Jackanories like that unsettle teams and managers alike and Everton have been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment every season for the past 4 years at least. Back to the game, we played a lot better than the media would have us believe (bunch of drama queens). Taking any opportunity to have a pop at RM's tactics is starting to wear thin. We got no breaks from the ref (can't even say his name), and for the record can't blame RM's tactics for us being in desperate need of a £20m plus decent striker upfront. We are creating chances more than ever, just haven't got the quality upfront to close the deal.
Doug, Liverpool, 10:14 PM 1/09/2013
6
The main problem with Ossie is Darron Gibson, or lack thereof. Fellaini has frequently told the world that he he is a defensive midfielder but he isn't very good at breaking up play, and gives away plenty of cheap free kicks away in dangerous positions. Barkley is also better further forward, never mind putting the pressure of playing in front of the defence on 19 year old shoulders. Heitinga also suffers rushes of blood to the head and often fouls needlessly. Which leaves Leon Osman. Without a natural in the deep role, it's natural to go for the most mature, most experienced player and that is Ossie. He's nowhere near an ideal fit because of his size and physicality, but there's not much he can do about that. Our best stuff over the last season or so has come from the balance of playing Gibson deep, Felli forward, and Ossie operating in the space in between because he has good feet and can switch play well. However, if we sign cover for Gibson, and also keep hold of Fellaini, it may well be Ossie that drops out because of the form of young Ross.
Grongy, Salford, 9:26 PM 1/09/2013
5
Deulefeu has caught the eye not just by playing well but instantly looking like he was born to the "school of science". Unfair to call critics Moyes haters they just saw his methods could take us no further . If Martinez is given the same faith then sure will be at least equally "successful" . Should have could have won three games but as usual our season won't start properly until the window closes. Mangers are often judged by buys tho and so far none of Martinez permanent ones look very good . Then only Southall of Howard's first seven signings was any good for Everton.
Paul, Wirral, 8:16 PM 1/09/2013
4
Not you as well Mickey! Mass hysteria breaks out amongst Evertonians on the internet. You are normally the voice of reason! Personally I can't fucking wait for the Chelsea game, crab like or not, with or without Baines/Fellaini, Chelsea at home is exactly what we need. Let's get things into perspective lads. Ok, I admit we are a bit toothless up front, but we could/should've won our first three games. Roberto needs support not mindless criticism.
Syd Barrett, Space, 6:59 PM 1/09/2013
3
I'm prayin our lethargic start is down to "teething problems". On paper at least our squad is as talented as the top teams but its obvious that playing in a 'certain' style under Moyes for so long has become a hard habit to break. Bob may want to change our style but its clear to fans from the first three games of the season that old habits die hard. We're a team in transition and I think we should lower expectations accordingly:- maybe a few more games under his belt will see Bobs fluency start to come thru. I reckon a slow start followed by a good Xmas &cup run.... heres hoping!
kev, walton, 6:42 PM 1/09/2013
2
Whilst it is a concern that we don't seem to have a striker looking capable of scoring goals, I still think that the positives we should look at in the games that we have played so far this season, is that we have 2 clean sheets from 3 games, we haven't lost any games so far, defensively we are solid, in midfield we have good creative play and we can maintain good possession of the ball and get forward. Our main problem as yesterdays game showed, is that we don't look like scoring and surely bringing in a striker before the transfer window closes, has got to be in the thoughts of Roberto Martinez. I admit that we now should have 9 points instead of just 3, but apart from our lack of our ability to score goals at present, I think Roberto Martinez has done fairly well so far with Everton and is making good progress. But however, in order for our overall game to be more complete, we have to make better our chances on goal and need to start finding goals, if we are to win a lot of games this season and be in the top half of the table.
Paul, Ormskirk, Lancashire, 4:47 PM 1/09/2013
1
I agree Screech did look distracted, and having just watched an entirely average Liverpool beat United it's hard to believe Moyes isn't right now making BK swops Marouane for handbag. The question is what might we do with the money? I hear G. Barry (old, slow) McCarthy (good, fine) and a left back (duh?). We need a striker. We must buy one. Mustn't we? Jelly looked mentally spent, Vic's away to Hull, Kev needs A Plan; Naismith isn't anyone's answer to anything, Kone is - er - Kone and we have to buy a goalscorer. And while we're talking - what on earth is going on with Ossie? It's a horrible sight. If he plays he has to play on the edge of their box where his quick feet can create things. Doing his Latter-day Arteta impersonation is doing nothing, but exposing the ageing in his legs.
blue, Glasgow, 4:35 PM 1/09/2013
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