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Elephants in this red and white room, fan power and a triumph of temperance

Of course Tuncay’s goal should have stood.    Everton well and truly rode their luck with that.  This wasn’t as conclusive as Marriner’s cowardly inaction against Man Utd though.  Everton should have had a penalty and we were fortunate the ref inexplicably chose not to book Etherington for cheating.  In the week Tony Pulis called for extended bans for diving players it was almost inevitable a Stoke player would embarrass him.  Unfortunately it embarrasses us all.  I for one don’t like our players behaving like that.  So Tuncay’s goal should have stood but to place the blame for this defeat solely in the hands of the ref is to avoid some worrying elephants in this descending room.  As you’d expect we matched Everton’s endeavour for much of the game.  We got behind the ball and squeezed the play well when Everton were in possession and we got forward  when we could.  Our attacking still isn’t as creative as it should be but Tuncay’s  jinky movement unsettled Everton at times and we competed well.  So to lose because of sloppy defensive play AGAIN is inexcusable.  Our defensive record isn’t half as good as it’s sometimes made out to be.  One clean sheet this season in the league, our defenders too often the architects of the collapses.  At the other end Jonesy appears to have hit one of his notorious dead ends.  He barely won a header at Goodison Park let alone look likely to test Tim Howard…. so a goal was an outlandish suggestion. When Fuller returns he’ll add a new dimension and some much needed fluidity to our attacking play, and we need it right now.  It’s not that we played badly, in fact in spells we played well, and it could be said we deserved a point.  In reality nobody simply ‘derserves’ anything…it has to be earned. Giving points to the opposition is clumsy and any more repeats of such inexcusable generosity could see us slide headlong into the relegation struggle.  Sunderland next and if they are as docile on Saturday as they were against Newcastle we have a chance of getting something but if we are in control we have to score.  A near miss is a miss.

Having moved house last week I was emptying the mountain of boxes and found my England flags.  I realised that throughout the World Cup I’d never even had the enthusiasm got them out to put around the house or take to the pub.  Reflecting, four months on, it really was an horrendous campaign.   There’s always 2018…. IF England are hosts we might reach the quarter finals, and get knocked out on penalties of course.   That sounds bleak but at least i’ll get chance to use my flags! 

Whatever happened to the Premier League’s marvellous 39th game idea?  It must filed in the great ideas draw alongside Blatter’s World Cup every two years and Havelange’s bigger goals.   A positive  result of this daft idea is that it was the outrage of supporters which brought the end to this diabolical barstewardisation of football.  A shining example of fans using their power as supporters and consumers (sorry for using that C  word) to ensure it never got off the ground.  I remember being in the FSA and before a Stoke home game we handed out about 2,500 leaflets about the campaign opposing all seater stadiums. Every person we spoke to agreed with the campaign and was repelled by the prospect of all seaters and willingly took the leaflets. Despite so much support from everyone we didn’t receive one application to join the FSA or one contact regarding any action that could be taken. Remember too that all seaters becoming compulsory was a long way away at that point. In short, nobody wanted them but at the same time nobody was actually prepared to do anything to prevent it happening.  So when people get emotional and nostalgic about terraces, remember there weren’t many people prepared to actually do anything to keep them.  Is unpopular change  inevitable?  If fans can realise their power and influence   it is far from inevitable.   Its important to remember that amid talk of TV monies sponsors and billionaire oil oligarchs supporters still have an influence that, if asserted en masse, can change decisions and rattle administrative cages. Anything which effects goings on at clubs like Man Utd  and Liverpool is BIG news. So ensure the way the vast majority of supporters feel… and what is at stake… is on appropriate agendas.  Standing in Lime Street all those years ago I naively felt that perhaps, just perhaps, we had a chance. That maybe people were motivated enough to want to actively seek to achieve something together. I was wrong. But what about this time? Write those letters send those emails ring those phone ins and make a noise…. and abuse of supporter loyalty  won’t be inevitable.

A fortnight ago Alex Ferguson confirmed Wayne Rooney wanted to leave Man Utd.  After much persuasion and a chunky pay rise  Rooney decided to stay at Old Trafford.  No more or less than that.  There was really no need for helicopters to be dispatched to cover the ‘big story’.  It was all a non event.  During our game against them on the Sunday the commentators talked of a traumatic difficult week for them.  Was it heck.  Wrexham Southend or Wimbledon know what a ‘traumatic’ time for supporters is.  The Rooney situation  merited coverage but not the melodramatic hyperbole that ensued. More important than all the tabloid tittle tattle is that he soon regains his form for England.  He is after all, even after the recent mock shock,  a footballer.

Bless Arry for defending Gomes over the Nani goal.  But even Arry must know Gomes was culpable for this moment of football oddness.  The biggest surprise is probably that it happens so rarely!  Hopefully a Stoke player will have the presence of mind to sneak in like that.  The peculiar nature of the second goal overshadowed the fact that Man Utd are returning to top form.  Unlike their sky blue neighbours who seem to have hit a momentary dead end.    Mick McCarthy’s post match interview after his teams deserved victory was amusing.  Seeing him trying to be rational and balanced when he clearly wanted to jump up yelling with his hands in the air was a triumph of temperance!

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