After the Stoke game, I had to go to a dark and remote place. Yes, West Dorset. On this occasion, it was nothing to do with Everton’s performance, but at this festive time of year, a trip to see my Mum now living in Dorset is the least one can do. It also helped (?) that she has no WiFi, and actually no phone signal at all, let alone 3 or 4G. It turns out the EE doesn’t stand for Everything Everywhere, it stands for Not Even A Hint of a Signal.
So, belatedly, here’s my post on the Stoke game. Based on the old maxim of “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, the piece should stop here. I don’t like Stoke. Not just as a team, but as a place. I drive through it on the way to Goodison for every home game. It is bleak, uninteresting, rather dour, and without anything remotely describable as ‘pretty’. And the football club resembles the City in which it (technically) resides. It’s not even a real City anyway, being an amalgam of six towns. Look for Stoke High Street, and you’ll be looking for a long time. So, I don’t like Stoke, even with a nephew at Uni there (Keele), and I don’t think Stoke cares that I don’t like it. And Stoke City know that no one likes them outside of their bonkers supporters, and they don’t care about that either, and in fact they revel in it.
Given that, they then try to live up to their infamy. No one likes us, so we’ll do nothing that’ll ingratiate ourselves to them, and all we’ll do is get in their faces and be ‘urgh’. Which is what they did. And they did it very well. Far too well for our ineffective and insipid performance to give us a sniff of anything remotely more than a defeat, and certainly not 3 points. It is hard to see how anyone could be voted our Man of the Match, give that no one seemed to resemble anything of the quality we’ve seen in a prior season, and even earlier this season. That Stones got that ‘award’, it was probably the ‘best of a bad job’, and equally likely to be a sympathy vote for anyone taken out by the thug Whelan, who, by the way, crocked three players but didn’t get booked, and there was just a bit more sympathy for Stones than anyone else.
We were awful, we were lacking in passion and energy, and we wilted once Stoke had scored their dodgy penalty. Yes, refereeing decisions could have made a difference, but whilst sometimes we need something or someone to blame, the reality is that our individual and player performances have been lacking, and we shouldn’t have to rely on happenstance to counterbalance any injustices we feel. In truth, we were just not good enough.
Stoke, horrible as they may be, played their game, and we didn’t play ours – or we weren’t allowed to, and we had no alternative.
Worrying times at Goodison.