REMEMBERING UPWARDLY MOBILE DAVID MOYES … AND MR ROY!
It’s nearly 10 years since Everton beat Liverpool. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta were the matchwinners at Goodison Park back in October 2010, as Mr Roy stood on the touchline, stroking his chin in the intellectual style, trying extremely hard to look like he was mentally processing complex tactical data and was not in any way whatsoever being slowly consumed by doubt followed by a thundering professional breakdown. By contrast, over in the other dugout, David Moyes cut a dash. Here was a manager going places, a highly regarded talent in total control, right at the top of his game. Yes sir, he really looked like he knew what he was doing.
Different times, different times. “We didn’t score goals and Everton did, but I refuse to accept that we were in any way inferior,” Mr Roy insisted after the chasing. “The second half was as good as I saw a Liverpool team play under my management that is for sure!” Given that his team were joint bottom of the Premier League, nobody bothered to respond to a setup that didn’t require a punchline. Watching on in the stands were members of New England Sports Ventures, who had bought Liverpool the previous day. “We have got our work cut out,” principal investor John Henry sighed. “This is not going to be easy.” Oh Mr Roy! How could you?!
But just as a week is a long time in politics, 10 years is a long time in time. And who on that sunny Saturday lunchtime would have seriously thought that now, in 2020, Everton would still be a garden-variety mid-table non-event, or that Moyes would be on his fifth post-Goodison job, broken, with the haunted eyes of a man trying extremely hard to look like he was mentally processing complex tactical data and was not in any way whatsoever being slowly consumed by doubt followed by a thundering professional breakdown? Well, OK, but you’d have got good odds on Liverpool being 25 points clear at the top with nine games left to play, you’ve got to give us that at least.
And now, at the end of a long narrative arc that we’ve pulled from our nether regions, with some discomfort it has to be said, Liverpool could potentially wrap up the title at Goodison on 21 June. That’d require second-placed Manchester City to lay a large egg at home against Arsenal four days earlier, and The Fiver hasn’t forgotten what the Gunners are all about, so it’s fairly unlikely. But it is theoretically possible, especially now the fixture has been given the go-ahead to be staged at Everton’s famous old pile. There you go, the top line hidden away at the end of the fourth paragraph. A new Fiver record!
Everton fans won’t relish the prospect. But if it does present itself, at least they won’t have to go through the rigmarole of boycotting the match and flogging their tickets on Stubhub, something many fans were preparing to do before football was suspended. If it doesn’t, Liverpool’s next chance to wrap up the title could come along at home to Crystal Palace, who are of course managed by … no, The Fiver can’t begin to think about the myriad comedic possibilities of that one quite yet.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“People have spoken brilliantly over the last week – people like Troy Townsend, Chris Grant and David Olusoga. A lot of that will be uncomfortable for white people, in particular, but they are critical voices to be heard … we are the ones who have to be educated” – Gareth Southgate speaks out on the Black Lives Matter protests.
The latest Football Weekly special on football’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests. It’s essential listening. Also: here is part two of our latest forgotten story of football: Abraham Klein, the “master of the whistle”.
“Artificial soundtracks to matches are nothing new. Have a listen to this beauty, which first hit the shops in 1973. An interesting concept, but I used to find the explosions of cheering at inappropriate moments during play profoundly unrealistic while kneeling to propel a small figurine mounted on a hemisphere of plastic towards a ball that came up to the player’s chin” – Andy Korman.
“As someone whose prom (ask your cousin in USA! USA!! USA!!!) was held in the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel here in New York, I’m delighted to learn of a German club named Astoria Walldorf. This is the first time in the 75 years (seems like) I’ve been reading The Fiver that I’ve actually learned something” – Christopher Smith.
“If you get a decent answer to your question about what a wonder wall is [Tuesday’s last line], could you also find out about champagne supernovas? And beetle bums too, please. Thanks for the research” – Mike Wilner.
“I’d like to say thanks to you for publishing my letter last week and your readers for their generosity. The back garden penalty shoot out fundraiser captured the imagination of the kids and their families and we even had Alan Dowson manager of local non-league side Woking FC doing a sponsored run of 20 laps around a local lake, which totalled around 14 miles, a month or so after he recovered from coronavirus. In total we raised £29,000 to split between the three charities, and after you published my letter we had many more donations. On behalf of the kids I’d therefore like to say a massive thanks. If anyone else would like to donate the link is here” – Simon Barron, Goldsworth Park Rangers FC.
NEWS BITS AND BOBS
Charlton have their third new owner of the season. “Our immediate focus will be on getting behind the team and the manager and giving ourselves the best opportunity of staying in the Championship,” parped new head honcho Paul Elliott.
Good eggs Chelsea have donated their £100,000 WSL prize money to the domestic abuse charity Refuge.
Atlético Madrid chief suit Enrique Cerezo has offered Real Madrid the Wanda Metropolitano stadium to play in if fans are allowed back to La Liga games before the Bernabéu’s facelift is completed. “No-one should doubt that we are ready to help out Real Madrid,” honked Cerezo.
Matty Fryatt is suing Nottingham Forest after claiming the club mismanaged the achilles-knack which ended his career.
José Holebas, Heurelho Gomes and Adrian Mariappa will all be staying at Watford until the culmination of the season after agreeing to extend their deals.
And MLS organisers have done themselves no favours in trying to persuade people who already think it’s a Mickey Mouse league to watch it by announcing that the season will resume with a World Cup-style tournament at Disney World.
STILL WANT MORE?
Sid Lowe previews the restart in La Liga, which will resume with an unusually silent Seville derby.
Sheffield United keeper Dean Henderson is technically due back at his parent club, the Blades’ rivals for a Euro Vase spot Manchester United, on 30 June. Paul Doyle looks at a spirit-of-the-game quandary.
The latest Knowledge looks at clubmates who have played against each other in World Cup finals and talks Half-Man Half-Biscuit. Dive in here.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!