Inside the Opposition: Everton

Robert Pollard

The games are coming thick and fast between now and Christmas, with Everton at home next up on Saturday at 3pm. I don’t need to go into too much detail about how tough the match will be – we know from past experiences – but I’ll just say I expect a difficult one, they have some top players, a side full of quality, and David Moyes always sets them up well. I caught up with Everton fan Darren Turley and asked him a few pertinent questions ahead of the big game.

Everton have got so many excellent players at the moment. I particularly like Baines, Jagielka, Fellaini and Jelavic. Who’s been your best player so far this season?

That’s a pretty tough question because, for me, with the good start we have had to the season, there have been many stand out players. Our left side of Baines and Pienaar have been outstanding, and Darron Gibson has been a bit of an unsung hero in the team up until he picked up his injury against West Brom. For me though there is really only one player who thus far I can give it to and that’s Marouane Fellaini. His performances this season have singlehandedly won us games, and his overall play has improved so much in the space of a summer. He is now not just a target man who can create a chances for other players, he is scoring important goals too which I think Everton needed after Tim Cahill’s departure.

I’m a huge admirer of Everton, as I think most people are. Tell me how important you feel David Moyes has been to the club? And do you fear you’ll lose him eventually?

I honestly don’t know where to start when it comes to how important he is to Everton as a club, because for me David Moyes is Everton. His spirit, determination and desire to win just sums us up as a team. Over the past 10 years he has slowly turned our club around from relegation dog fighters to European position challengers and although he is still without a trophy, I feel what he has done for us as a club is worth more than any piece of silverware (although one would be nice at some point).

I do feel at some point we are going to lose him and it pains me to say it, but I feel he is next in line for your beloved neighbours’ hot seat. The reason I think this will happen is because he has hit a glass ceiling at Everton now. The big money is never going to come to allow him to push us into the so-called “Big 4” and after 10 years on a shoe string budget I feel he deserves to be at a club like United because he deserves to be winning trophies and managing in the Champions League every year. He’s such a talented manager, and if he ever did leave us I would have nothing but the utmost respect for him, because, in my eye’s, he’s the greatest manager I’ve ever seen at Everton (I’m only 25) and I’d love to see him winning major trophies even if it wasn’t with us.

Leon Osman got an England cap recently which some said was overdue. How good has he been for Everton down the years?

For me, Leon Osman is just one of those players who does “exactly what it says on the tin” – he’s a footballer, nothing else. He doesn’t go out publishing books or getting into drunken night club brawls and you just have to watch him to see he loves to play football. He has been an unsung hero for many years at Everton it’s just unfortunate that he has constantly had to be in the shadow of brighter stars such as Mikel Arteta or Marouane Fellaini, but he is always there doing a great job and I think the England call up he received was totally justified and should have come earlier than it did. But again England, just like Everton, have always had people in his position who over shadow him, with the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Because of this, and the clubs these players play for, he was always overlooked, which is a shame really.

Is Jelavic the best finisher on Merseyside since Robbie Fowler?

That’s a bold question I must say. If we just take Everton players, then he is definitely the best finisher since Fowler, but taking into account Merseyside I’m going to be honest and say no. Don’t get me wrong, since his arrival some of his finishing has been class, scoring 8 goals with his first touch sums that one up, but Liverpool have had some top class finishers since Fowler’s day, Michael Owen being one name that would particularly stand out. As a youngster when he had his pace he was devastating. Hopefully though if you ask me this same question in another 2 or 3 years if Jelly is still around I can give you a different answer.

Tell me about your chairman. From the outside, I’ve always seen a man doing a good job with limited funds, but some of your fans seem to dislike him. Where do you stand?

I like Bill Kenwright and I always have, he is a chairman who wears his heart on his sleeve and he is one of the few in the game now who could honestly stand up and say “I love and support the team I control” and that means a lot to me. Yes, he hasn’t been able to give us billions of pounds to buy the best players. Yes, he has been forced to sell our best players to keep the club afloat. But one thing I tell you is when he does these things he does them for the good of the club and there isn’t one time a player has been sold which hasn’t benefited the club, starting with Wayne Rooney right up to Jack Rodwell. I see these idiot groups like “Blue Union” trying to force him out, they seem to have short-term memories because they forget how bad life was under Peter Johnson (our previous chairman) and I challenge them to find a better chairman who is more suited to the values we have as a club because they will be looking for a long time. You just have to look at clubs like Blackburn to see that a wealthy owner isn’t always the answer to improving a club and I feel Kenwright deserves to be where he is.

Mirallas looks a top player. Tell me about him?

I like him a lot! He is the type of player Everton have needed for a long, long time. He’s quick, he’s tricky, he’s direct, and he can create and score goals. In the derby this year he tore Liverpool’s right back to shreds and it was only for the fact he went off injured that we didn’t win that game. Although, that brings me onto a concern I have for him: he seems to be picking up lots of silly injuries and I just pray that he isn’t going to be one of them players who – as Liverpool fans used to refer to one of our greatest hero’s Duncan Ferguson – is “A Tampon” (meaning he’s in for a week and out for a month). I’m hoping the injuries he is picking up now are just his body getting used to the extra physicality of the Prem and if they are I can see a bright future for him, I really can.

If I offered you one City player on a free transfer and subsidised wages, who would you take?

I love Yaya Toure I think he an absolute machine. The pace he has for such a big fella is scary. I’m also a really big fan of Pablo Zabaleta, his passion for playing is quality to see. But the player I would take would be Joe Hart. For me, he win’s more games for you boys than any of your outfield players, and in the games I’ve managed to see him in this season and last, I don’t recall him having more than a handful of less-than-good games. I don’t want to use ‘bad’ because I don’t think he’s had a bad game in any of  the games I’ve seen. I’d love him at Everton for this reason as well as the fact I think Tim Howard at the moment is our weak point and could do with replacing.

What’s your perception of City from the outside?

City are always enjoyable to watch; they have players I could only dream of seeing put an Everton shirt on. I would never have any sort of envy towards your wealth, because for so long just like us you have been a club who has battled for everything you got and had to watch the other colour in the city bring home the success but now it looks like the fortunes are turning for the blue side of both of our cities albeit in about 100 billion different ways for you boys 🙂

Match prediction?

I can see another happy trip coming up for the travelling Everton fans as there have been over the last few seasons. I think over the past 6 or 7 weeks we have been taking it to teams but just not producing the goods and giving away sloppy late goals which have been costing us them vital 2 extra points, but this week I think we are going to put that to bed and finally produce a winning performance, so I’m going to say Everton to win 2-1, Jelavic & Fellaini grabbing the goals.

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  1. Pingback: PREVIEW: City vs Everton | Typical City

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