Sunday, December 09, 2007

Everton 3 Fulham 0 - So much for sneaky feelings

Despite my hint of optimism on Friday that we might sneak something out of this game, it wasn't really surprising that we were comfortably beaten at Goodison again. It's a tough place to go at any time, and right now Everton are a decent side. That doesn't make it any easier to take though. If this team is going to retain it's status winning games your not expected to is pretty much essential. Various reports I read suggest we actually played quite well and had a go which is encouraging. From the brief highlights I saw this morning it looked like we failed to clear our lines properly for the first goal, Junior lost his man for the second, and we'd lost heart by the third. My Dad watched the Sky Football First highlights and thought they'd played as well as he'd seen them all season but didn't know how to score.

It's all quite disappointing but the most important thing is how we react. We're down to 15th (following 'Boro's win over Arsenal) and only 2 points away from the relegation zone. With new managers involved at four of the five clubs below us, it's essential we find a bit of form and start winning games. We've got a good chance to do this with consecutive home games against Newcastle and Wigan. I'm not saying either game will be easy, but if we don't win at least one of them I really fear for our future.

Pre-match an Everton fan site had these choice words to say about us; "Really, what is the point of Fulham at all? It's not even as if they are proper, grindingly dull, like Aston Villa. It's just they are hardly even there. Until they are put out of their misery though, Everton have to face them. Lawrie Sanchez - the Kray brother who couldn't stand the sight of blood and so got his head down and did an electrical engineering course at polytechnic - brings his team of players too good for Watford but not quite up to Reading's standards to Goodison, in danger of dropping into the bottom three should they dip and results elsewhere go against them". Cutting, but right now it's hard to argue against it.

UPDATE: Flippin' heck! Two more results in, Spurs beat Man City 2-1 and Bolton beat Wigan 4-1, and we're now down to 17th and only staying out of the drop zone on goal difference. What a miserable weekend.


g00dis0n said...

I am an Everton fan and went to the game. Fulham weren't too bad in the first half, particularly in the first 20 minutes. What I was surprised at was how few Fulham fans turned up. The top tier of the away section was being used by Everton fans and the lower tier had no more than two coach-loads full. Why was the Fulham support so poor? Fair credit to those fans who did turn up - they tried making as much noise as possible and really tried to get behind your players. The problem was that they could barely be heard - and not necessarily because the home support was so loud either. When it went 2-0, Kamara seemed to give up - hand on hips looking dejected. Although I felt his contribution and manner would be considered totally unacceptable - perhaps if there more fans who turned up to cheer them on they would have performed better. I know it is a vicuous circle in that if your team doesn't do well less fans will turn up etc but a couple of coach loads of people?! That, I feel, was the most unnaceptable part of Fulham's performace against Everton. I would suggest that your poor support needs addressing before anything on the pitch. I can understand Goodison Park / Everton not being the most desirable of away fixtures but it being a 3:00 kick off on a Saturday afternoon there is simply no excuses what-so-ever. Its a straight forward trip with reasonable prices too. I think you get the drift of this post by now! I don't intend on sounding disrespectful but I found your away support on Saturday to be totally unnaceptable.

bq said...

Hey Chopper, I did see the game and was right pleased with the first half. 48% Possession at Goodison Park isn't to bad and as I wrote over at CCN, some of that good possession.

A couple of points. The defense still seems to be a shambles at times. How can that be this deep into the season. Of course you could have asked Newcastle that same question at the end of last season and again into this season. So I guess it happens but doesn't that really fall onto the managers shoulders? As to the goal being Jr.'s fault, I thought so also when I first saw the play and the original replay. But in close inspection, Jr. was left with two attackers because someone didn't come back and cover and Hughes and Jr. must not have communicated well because Hughes was marking space in front of the goal and needed to slide over to mark the man when the ball came in. I thought Jr. was caught on the wrong side of his man and perhaps he was but in fairness he had two players to mark. He rightly should have taken the first and been goal side of him. But I dually blame Hughes. Konchesky was very shaky again. This is such a disappointment after the great start Konchesky had.

For the first time this season I am starting to truly get concerned. There seem to be signs all around that things are not going at all well with the team.

Chopper said...

What I find depressing is looking at the table I reckon there are only 5 sides we are conceivably better than, and most of those are showing signs of a bit of fight.

BQ - Junior is a good lad with a decent future ahead of himself. I do think he just failed to get off the ground and get his head to the ball, but for him it's all about learning the game. Glad to see Sanchez stick by him.

Goodison - We do have a problem with travelling support. The crew that do go are a big credit to us and do their best but we probably take less away now than we did back in the lower divisions. There are lot's of reasons why, but the main one is we've not been back in the top flight very long and still have a long way to go to increase our fan base. You're right about it being a vicious circle, I'm sure we'd see bigger away gates if we went on a winning run, but 2 away wins in over 2 years probably tell's it's own story.

Chopper said...

G00dis0n - Further to my earlier post, it sounds our small but merry band of supporter's still outsung you anyway. This quote from someone who was there;

"The reason our fans are the laughing stock of the Premiership is that there's only 300-odd passionate enough to bother being there. Hence we give Stuart Hall the excuse to say "Only 200 Fulham fans bothered to make the journey... SHAME ON YOU", which means that probably a million radio listeners end up thinking our support is crap. The 300 that we had were brilliant all game. Meanwhile Everton fans would have come on here and seen some people saying they'd rather be at Luton vs Millwall.

I remember us getting slagged off on here after last year's game up there too, for daring to still be singing and jumping around at 4-1 down. At the same time there were posts on the Everton forum expressing disbelief at how 250 Fulham fans managed to outsing them. Perhaps we should have just all streamed out on 70 minutes like a lot of other teams' fans seem to.

At the end the whole team applauded and Sanchez walked right over too. It was one of the best performances from a tiny group of away fans I can remember in years, easily up there with that West Brom draw the other year."

g00dis0n said...

You're right, it wasn't a particularly good performance by the Evertonians especially in the first half. I suspect the terrible weather conditions might of been a contributing factor.

On your away support... why don't you write to your chairman (perhaps an online petition?), asking for subsidised away tickets? I remember a couple of seasons ago there was a club that paid for coaches and possibly free tickets for their fans to travel away. This surely would be beneficial to the club, and would cost the equivalent of a couple of player's weekly wages?

I don't want to sound patronising, but I would much prefer to see full attendances at football games for the health of football.

I'm sure there are plenty of fans, in particular youth/teenage/students who would take up the opportunity?

Chopper said...

We were offered free coach travel to Goodison, but you could be right about the ticket prices. I think a lot of people that used to travle now have families that take precedence and it's the new generation we need to encourage. Some of the regular travellers are already trying a few things to encourage bigger turn outs so hopefully the longer we stay in the Prem the larger our crowds will be. Might even see you next year myself!!

g00dis0n said...


Good luck for the rest of the season (except 15th March).

Chopper said...

Cheers and likewise :-)

Brian Quarstad said...

Hi Chopper-

Hey, I stand corrected on my comment previously on the Jr. & Hughes on the second goal. I watched the EPL highlights show last night and I have no idea which play I was thinking about because none of the three goals came on a play with the description I gave. You were absolutely correct in that Jr. just didn't time his jump and seemed halfhearted.

I know I did remember a play like I described because we talked about it while watching at the pub. Must have been one of Evertons near goals.

Anyway, cheers to you and to your always well written blog.

Chopper said...

Cheer's for the nice words Brian.

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