Obstructed View – Reflections on the Watford (A) Game

We’ve got an FA Cup Semi Final coming up in 2 weeks. Exciting build up isn’t it?

But no, instead there’s a maelstrom of hate and bile around the Club amongst the one group who should be getting giddy with excitement – the fans – and it all seems to be aimed at one man. The Manager.

RM

Never mind that McCarthy scored one of his rare goals, but then also seemingly common end-of-season goals, no-one wants to read about a lack-lustre game in which neither side seemed to build up much of a sweat, and if we’re charitable (which Evertonians rarely are) we can say it’s because of the distraction of Wembley on the 23rd April. But instead of being excited about it, there is a sense of foreboding amongst the fans and media alike. Not for me by the way.

In some quarters, the clamour is for the Manager to go now. Some want this, and for Roberto to be replaced by Dunc and Unsy until a new man is appointed at the end of the season. Others say get Jose in now, after all, he’s house-hunting in Cheshire at the moment, so he could turn left out of his automatic security gates, and end up on Merseyside rather than Old Trafford. Others want a “proven winner” in charge, and say get de Boer in, although no-one is quite sure if they mean Ronald or Frank, neither of whom have a proven track record beyond the Netherlands shores. And then some, probably me included, want Roberto to stay until the end of the season, but then accept he has to step aside, and yes, a “proven winner” take over (although we’ll probably get Warnock). For me, the constant bile directed at Martinez right now is counter-productive; it creates a terrible atmosphere amongst the fans and around the Club, and it probably entrenches people in their positions, when these are probably exactly the people we want out in the open and making tough and difficult decisions. If we were just 7 games away from a catastrophic season with nothing to play for, then yes, go now, but we do have the SF coming up, and who knows, maybe even the Final. To lose the manager now could de-rail all of that possible Cup success. Admittedly, it could be just what is needed to lift the Club and make it more likely we’ll win at Wembley; but I just don’t think that’s going to happen, so rather than spout abuse, I’d rather we focused on getting behind the players and rallying them to make good what has been a dreadful season, all things considered, two SFs (so far) notwithstanding.

For expressing that view on Twitter, I got unbelievable abuse, most of it unprintable here; but needless to say I’m not a “mediocre loving ****” (although I did resist correcting him to say I think it should be ‘mediocre-loving’ with the hyphen), and nor do I think I’m “a loser” because losers are always those that don’t live in Liverpool. No, I live in Nottingham. I’ve driven a round trip of 220 miles to every one of the 12 home games I’ve gone to this season (and last season, and the one before that, and etc etc etc). That doesn’t make me a ‘better’ supporter, or ‘worse’, it just makes me proportionately poorer than if I lived in L4 or similar. But I don’t care, I support my Club, and I’m no more a loser than anyone else, just because I happen to think there are different ways to achieve change at our great Club. If we sack RM tomorrow, get a new manager on Tuesday, and win the Cup, not only will I be ecstatic, I’ll happily admit I was wrong.

My plea to all supporters is to stop turning in on ourselves, and on each other, and support the team. If you think abusing the Manager at this stage of the season is the right thing to do, you may as well go ahead, nothing I say will change your view, I just don’t happen to agree it’s the right thing to do. BK and Moshiri are already well aware of our views (BK was at Watford yesterday), and they may glance at the Premier League table occasionally and so have a glorious chance to see our under-performance in black and white, as well as in glorious technicolour on the pitch. The players’ ecstatic reaction to Jimmy Mac’s goal seemed to suggest they are as frustrated as anyone, chemistry on the pitch clearly an issue again yesterday, so this atmosphere of hate at worst, dissatisfaction at best, is hardly going to get that right.

I failed my ‘Physics with Chemistry’ GCSE (in fairness, it was that long ago, it was called an O level in those days), and did so rather spectacularly, but in Physics I remember Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion:

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

Now, my guess is that Isaac didn’t have clamours for managerial change in mind when he wrote that, but worth thinking about…

And yet in Chemistry I remember that:

For a chemical reaction to happen, there has to be an agent of change

Perhaps some will argue that protests and abuse are the agents of change.

We’ll see. What will happen will happen. Personally, I’ve chosen to come off discussing Everton on Twitter for a while because I found the abuse that I got to be unwelcome and unwarranted. I hate the situation we’re in as a Club, but for expressing a view, which I think is welcome in a democracy, I don’t appreciate the bullies and trolls that resulted, so I’ll stick to other subject matter. But nobody can stop me getting excited about the drive down the M1 to Wembley (sorry it isn’t the M6 and M1, but I do give extraordinary amounts of my life to the M6 every other Saturday), the tube in from Stanmore, the obligatory beer (maybe two, surely that’sh OK Offisher – or the classic: “what appears to be the officer, problem?”), the build up in and outside the ground, the match, and hopefully the ecstatic drive home.

That’s OK to dream a dream isn’t it? Roberto’s dream may have turned in to a nightmare, but mine is still alive and well and I can’t wait.

Ross Crombie

PS just to add, if I supported my local team when I was growing up, it’d be Borehamwood or, dare I say it, Watford. Everton it has been since the age of 8, and Everton it is for life. Nearly 49 years later.

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