There are times when it is very hard to write anything positive. I held off writing this article until now, in the hope that I can look back on last night’s limp draw with a more balanced perspective. Sorry, I’m not sure I can.
This will always be remembered as the game that Mirallas inexcusably assumed penalty taker duties, the game when the Club Captain failed to step in and give the ball to Baines, and the game when Mirallas’ failed penalty meant we endured a sterile 0-0 against the 37 men of the West Brom backline. We also endured it in the second half without the anti-hero Belgian, who almost went to hero status last week against West Ham, but last night saw him removed at half time with the less exciting and game-changing Oviedo replacing him.
I’m not sure what more I can say about this incident. So many people have blogged, written, tweeted, shouted, cursed, discussed amicably (about 7 people in total), or just grumbled about the arrogance of a man that is telling us he’s not sure if he’ll commit to a new contract if the Club fails to live up to its promises of Champion’s League football (did he just promise ‘Championship’ and we misheard him?), but then wrestles the ball away from the supreme penalty taker only to go from hero to zero in less than a mad minute. If I’m charitable, I could say that he wanted to choose the moment to demonstrate to the Everton faithful that he is here now, maybe gone tomorrow, but whilst here, he’ll do everything he can to win us games. Well, instead, he may even have played his last game for the Club, despite manager and other players coming out and denying the apparent rift it all caused. Time will tell.
So I’ll leave this one, and move on to the positive of Mo Besic. He was all over the pitch last night (in a good way), and most if not all of his passes went to a Blue shirt. He broke up play, he demanded the ball from the defence, and strode forward in the middle and a strangely wide role later in the game. He rightly got Man of The Match, even if I can churlishly suggest he didn’t have much competition. I’ve said it before, but for this young man to have achieved so much after toiling in the hardly elite Hungarian League, admittedly a good World Cup, in a new League, in a new country, amongst so many strange new people (sorry Liverpool), with no family network here that I’m aware of, is a fantastic achievement. If my son, aged 22, but looking 12, had gone abroad to work in such a manner, I’d have been counselling him that the first year would be about establishing yourself, and the full benefit will come later. If that’s true for Besic, and even now we haven’t seen the better of him, then he will an amazing asset for this club in the future. I just hope it’s a future when we’re playing high up in the EPL, not languishing near the bottom….or worse. His reaction to being withdrawn, injury or no injury, was understandable, and yet I’m glad he’s bothered. If he didn’t care about playing, and want to be on the pitch 100% of the time, he’d be a lesser player because of it. His reaction during the post match interview said it all. There’s a chap called Rooney at Man Utd that used to react in a similar way, and he’s not done bad for himself. And it gives me another excuse to show a picture of him and his Dad, just in case you ever thought you would cross our angelic-looking midfield dynamo….
Where do we go from here? For most of us, it’s back to whatever fills our time at work, rest or play, but for the players they’re off to ‘warm-weather-training’. Quite a bit of bile on social media about that, maybe suggesting they shouldn’t be rewarded with a holiday after that shower of sh** performance where we looked clueless at how to break down a packed defence. But maybe, just maybe, it’s come at a good time for us. No FA Cup distraction this weekend sadly, so why not get the lads together, away from the cauldron of hostility (that’s their own ‘fans’ and ‘supporters’, by the way) and perhaps they can get a chance to look at themselves and get this show back on the road. We need them to come back refreshed, determined to fight as one, to get a string of results together (wins please), to move us back up the table on the merit of our performances and not the so-called ‘as-of-right’ demands that some of us plead, and then look ahead to a Europa League campaign which is the only positive so far in this awful season.
I’m a Blue and proud to be so, but by heck they’re testing our resolve. But I’ll get through it, thick or thin, and I just hope now that Everton will too. Sadly, it’s a hope based on what we’ve seen so far, and not an expectation.