There was no obvious sign of sun tan lotion being applied, or flip flops being warn, at least not by the men in Blue on Sunday. Hull, after all, have more immediate concerns having secured their survival, one FA Cup Final next weekend.
I thought the stand outs for me against Hull were three – McGeady, McCarthy and the travelling support.
Away days with Everton are a joy – if you can get a ticket that is! It never used to be hard, but unless you’re a season ticket holder, or don’t mind travelling away to Newcastle for a midweek evening game, don’t even bother trying to get a ticket. I am an Evertonia member, so no such joys for me, but you certainly get an appreciation of the vociferous nature of the support through the TV screen, and hearing the unbelievable noise of supporters singing, in this case almost all game. It is also lovely to read Hull fans saying we are the best away fans they’ve had this season. Great. Appropriate hero-worship of our players not just at the end, but the whole way through, is just another reason why I’m a proud Blue.
How quick are McGeady’s feet? I thought he had an excellent game, and I truly think we’ll see even more of him next season. He’s lost the paunch he joined us with, he’s thinner around the gills, and his feet move at lightening speed, and in both directions, so we have a player who the oppo don’t know which way he’s going to go. Unlike Geri who only seems to know outside or inside on his right boot. I was chuffed for McGeady to get a start and put a good shift in, and after a little rest and a good pre-season, I think he could be one of our stars next term.
One of our stars already in another Mac, this time James McCarthy. It is hard to know what to say about him that hasn’t been said, including by me, a hundred times already. But on Saturday we caught a glimpse of McCarthy (and therefore Martinez) playing in a different box to box role. Almost a Yaya Toure in fact. Now he has some way to go to emulate Toure, not least his goal count, which was a little less the last time I checked, but it may well be that Roberto is thinking up some plans as optional extras for next year – a deep lying midfield player making strong forward runs in to the box are a nightmare to defend against, and give us more options than just banging it out wide to the full backs. He has the strength to do it too, unlike little Leon who could fulfil the same role. Somehow, assuming Leon plays, he’ll be the one trying to slide Jimbo in.
The game was won easily enough, not without the odd scare, but every team is going to get its chances against us as they will against most teams, but a 15th clean sheet tells the main story, and the third best goals conceded tells the second – we don’t concede many. On the whole, that is. For that we thank our goalkeeper, sparkling on the few occasions tested against Hull, our big Frenchman Monsieur Distin (who looked like he’d never been away), and Jags (who did). But whilst we love our little full backs to bomb forward, let’s also give credit to Barry as well as McCarthy, who just quietly, once more, got on with the game he is so good at, and protects our defence, either in front of the central two, or out wide to cover for Cafu and Roberto Carlos, or whatever our lads are called. Well done Gareth, and thank you. I hope we sign you because I think you quite like it here, and there’s always time for the MLS. And don’t even think about Arsenal. That London Town is all grimy, full of smog, and the lemonade is expensive.
So, apart from about half the squad who have international duties to attend to in Brazil, or U21 or similar in Toulon or wherever, we can now take our holidays and come back refreshed, and only a bit heavier and and a bit hungover from a bit of over-indulgence. You deserve it lads, I’m the proudest I have ever been as an Evertonian, and yes that includes the mid 80s, and I can’t wait for next season already.
I’m going to miss Saturdays for a while….