Monday, 21 February 2011

Up for t'cup

I've not done many Ev-related posts on here, which you may have seen was in the Guardian's top 20 most influential blogs the other week (at number 9,000,006). But stuff it, here's one.
One of the surprises of Saturday's FA Cup win at Chelsea, aside from me shouting 'FUCKING YES!' in the bar at London's swanky Ivy restaurant when Leighton Baines equalised (a diary error prevented me from attending both, and grub's always going to win out over football these days), is the lack of noise from Everton's notoriously media-shy owner Bill Kenwright.
I might have missed it but I haven't seen anything of him, which is unusual following a notable Everton win. Perhaps he's just mindful that, to many, the overall Everton curve is still trundling down.
Unless there's dough to spend, even a cup final win probably won't be enough to keep David Moyes at Goodison now - if anything it would strengthen his hand with future employers. All very depressing.
Anyway the point of all this? We'll fuck up against Reading just as we're all getting carried away. And you know why? Because that's what we do. So here in no particular order are five memorable fuck ups in a little feature I like to call:

Five-we-did-the-hard-part-then-ballsed-it-up-next-round Everton defeats of recent vintage

1: Lost 2-1 v West Ham United (FA Cup 6 round, 11/3/91)
This of course coming after we beat Liverpool 1-0 (Dave Watson) in the second replay. The first replay was the 4-4 at Goodison - a game remembered as the one where I foolishly wore a new pair of jeans which hadn't nearly been broken in enough so I spent a fair amount of it whimpering to myself in discomfort.
I think the first game at Anfield was the one where Pat Nevin was denied a clear penalty at the Anfield Road end. It might not have been - do your own checking, lazy-arse.
From memory - I watched this in the Fusilier in Prescot with a lot of angry Evertonians (was it on Sky or maybe the mythical 'Norwegian'?) - we were just shit. Goals from Colin Foster and Stuart Slater (I mean, come on) put West Ham, who I think were in the I Zingari that season, through to a semi against Nottingham fucking Forest who beat them 4-0 before losing the final 2-1 to Spurs.

2: Lost 2-1 v Aston Villa, FA Cup 6 round, 20/2/2000
It wasn't so much that we'd done the hard work before this one - Exeter, Birmingham and Preston were our earlier opponents - as much as what lay ahead that marked this out as a fuck up.
If we'd have got through this we'd have faced either Newcastle, Bolton or pre-Ambramovic (but still a good side) Chelsea in the semis.
I was living in New York at the time and there were a few blues used to go in this bar on Queen's Boulevard (Flynn's, run by two Evertonian brothers) and all the talk was of flying back for the cup final if we got there - really doing it in style: champagne, limos, the whole schmere.
Got beat 2-1 in an appalling performance. Villa beat Bolton in the semi before rolling over against Chelsea.

3: Lost 1-0 v Liverpool, fifth round, 21/2/88
I seem to have blocked this one from my memory but it came after the titanic struggle against the mighty Middlesbrough, where a Tony Mowbray oggy eventually put Everton through against - I dunno, div two? - opposition in the second replay.
Trevor Steven equalised in injury time in extra time in the first replay - the latest goal I can remember us scoring - at Ayresome Park, after the initial 1-1 draw at Goodison. What an oddly-constructed sentence.
Anyway I have no idea what happened but we got beat and Liverpool slithered through to the last eight where they were joined by: Luton, Portsmouth, Manchester City, Watford, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Garston Woodcutters, and me and my mum. Liverpool went on to stuff City 4-0 in the quarters, then beat Forest in the semis before playing Wimbledon in the final. Ha!

4: Drew 1-1 (out on pens) v Sunderland, League Cup 5th round, 11/11/98 
Heady days for Evertonians these and I must confess I have no memory of this game either but it's all there on wikipedia so must be true.
After shrugging aside Huddersfield and Middlesbrough an Everton squad boasting John O Kane and Peter Degn in its ranks drew 1-1 with Sunderland before going out on pens.
Sunderland went on to face Luton Town in the quarters before being knocked out by Leicester City 3-2 over two legs (Tony Cottee got all three) in the semis.
The last eight that year was: Sunderland, Luton, Wimbledon, Chelsea,  Leicester, Blackburn, Spurs and Manchester United. Spurs beat Leicester, managed by that jumpity little prick Martin O'Neill I think, 1-0 in the final.

5: Lost 3-2 v Bradford City, FA Cup 4th round, 25/1/97
Fuck me as shit goes this was real base level crud - and it's to Everton's credit that in a time of unmitigated awfulness they could still manage some remarkable performances.
Everton were terrible in a game that saw Andrei Kanchelskis hand in his notice on the pitch. Three goals in 10 minutes for City did the damage, including a Chris Waddle lob from the halfway line.
Gary Speed got one in the 90th minute (Andy O'Brien's oggy was Everton's other) and, typically, Everton made a great chance right at the death as the ball was moved out wide to Duncan Ferguson who, seemingly in slow motion, missed. Or the keeper saved - who the fuck cares? The picture's hopeless here but the commentary is ace (Waddle's goal is 1min 43 sec in - superb stuff).
City went on to a home fifth round tie with Sheffield Wednesday, who beat them 1-0. The teams in the quarters that year were: Chesterfield (who were famously robbed in the semi against Boro), Wrexham, Portsmouth, Chelsea, Sheffield Wednesday, Wimbledon, Derby County and Middlesbrough. Chelsea beat Boro 2-0 in the final.

Still, you can't beat a cup match can you - especially at night.


  1. I had the exact same conversation with a blue in our office today, and the West Ham game (The Stuart Slater game/ That Fucking Bastard Slater game) came up. One of the biggest Everton let downs ever. We were godawful that night. Even when we did the customary "score a late goal, have a bit of a pop, fail" thing (why don't we ever spawn them?) you just knew we were out. Bevvy soon?