Category Archives: Pre-Match Build Up

Pre-Match Build Up: Man Utd (Home)

Sir Alex Ferguson's breakfast

I’m going to try and make this the last blog update of the week as I’ve gone overboard this week, mainly cos it’s the first week and it was my birthday as well as a midweek game so yeh, last update of this week.

I remember a couple of seasons back doing my regular Saturday trip to Goodison and picking up my regular copy of Everton fanzine When Skies are Grey, ironically, I think it was the Saturday when we famously came from 1-0 down to beat Utd 3-1. Anyway, before the match started I remember sitting in my seat reading an article in WSAG about the relationship between Everton and Utd. Now this may not be a direct quote but I recall the opening sentence of the article being something along the lines of “There’s an old saying that goes the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This got me thinking, as an Evertonian and a Scouser I can’t stand Utd and I’m certainly not a big fan of Manchester itself neither, but, and as much as I hate to say it, yeh there is a somewhat deep and certainly well hidden..respect? Admiration? Nah I wouldn’t even go that far, I can’t think of the word right now but most understand what I’m getting at here.

Ever since the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894 the relationship between Scousers and Mancs has been, well, somewhat unpleasant and this has especially shown on the terraces over the years. However, the main rivalry between the cities has shown mainly between Liverpool and Utd, granted Everton and City have a somewhat rivalry going but, let’s be honest, it’s nought compared to the other two, who naturally HATE each other to the point where some VERY unpleasant and vile chants have been sang towards each others fans regarding tragedies that have scarred both football clubs.

So where does the whole concept of “Enemy of my enemy” kick in? Well I can only speak on my own behalf but I’m sure at least one or two fellow Blues will agree. We hate United too but we hate Liverpool more and let’s be honest seeing Liverpool knocked off their perch and fall from grace over the years only to be replaced by their, now, biggest rivals does somewhat make us smirk. Most Liverpool fans will brand us as “bitter” for this but let’s be honest, the second things start going pear shaped for Utd, Liverpool’s fans are the first to jump the joke bandwagon, I mean, christ, you would have thought Liverpool beat Utd in Champions League Final back in May and not Barcelona. I don’t think it’s “bitter” it’s rivalry and it’s all part and package of a rivalry.

Another part of the “admiration” (I really don’t like using that word) for Utd I suppose comes from the fact that over the years, despite the dodgy ref decisions, unnecessary added time and some of the nasty tackles (usually from Paul Scholes), Utd’s squad has consistently oozed with class. You would expect this from a club with a big budget, however, there is something different about Utd than the other big spenders like Liverpool, City, Chelski and Arse. Despite the fact they have the money, let’s be honest, only spend the big bucks when necessary and have picked up some bargains compared to other clubs signings. Granted, as well, they have signed some shite players over the years like any other club but look at some of the signings they’ve made over the year. Ronaldo from Lisbon for £12.5m, I mean c’mon imagine a team trying to sign him for that much now, they’d probably get sued for slander. Another one, a bit closer to home, is the signing of our old boy wonder Wazza, signed for £35m (after add ons) in 2004, the same amount was spent by Liverpool last season on Andy Carroll. Now I’m not taking the piss here but I know who I would rather have in my club.

Utd are now the most successful club in the England after knocking Liverpool off their perch last year and winning the League trophy for the 19th time and I suppose the man to thank for this is Sir Alex Ferguson. Love him or hate him, the moaning, whiskey nosed angry Scotsman is the most successful manager in English League History. Granted, Bob Paisley brought back 20 trophies to Anfield in his 9 year tenure at Liverpool which, I suppose, makes him the most successful manager in the shortest time, but that certainly isn’t a way to discredit Fergie who is now approaching towards his 40th trophy (37 now to be exact). When it comes to the famous Managerial names, Whiskey nose has certainly placed himself up at the top of the pile with the likes of Shankley, Paisley, Kendall, Catterick, Revie and Clough, a good achievement considering at one point in the early days of his tenure Utd fans wanted him out.

So, after all that, United arrive at Goodison on Saturday for the early kick off and needless to say that lot will be hurting right now. Despite wiping aside Aldershot in the cup midweek, let’s be honest, after Sunday’s embarrassing thrashing to next door neighbours, Abu Dhabi FC, Utd will be after blood. Oh Great! what a time to play them, especially after the 120 minutes of Wednesday night against Chelsea. Our record against Utd as it is isn’t fantastic. If memory serves me correct ever since the beginning of the Premiership I think we have only beaten Utd 6 times, 3 times at Goodison, once at Old Trafford and twice at Wembley. However, in the last couple of seasons we’ve caused them a bit of upset including two great comebacks of 1-0 down to win 3-1 and last years 3-1 down to draw 3-3 in extra time so there is hope yet. Unfortunately, I don’t see a good result from this one. Like I said, Utd are hurting right now, there’s nothing worse than getting beat by your neighbours but getting thrashed 6-1 AT HOME is certainly a bitter, bitter pill to swallow so without any doubt Utd will be after blood and are gonna want to wipe the floor with us. I think Everton in this case have to try and go at them and try and hurt them more but at the same time keep their heads up defensively because we all know Utd’s ability to score on the break is what kill opposition off constantly. Like I say I’m not overly confident about this fixture but hopefully if we can keep it together we can pull away with a point, perhaps a 1-1, but who knows we’ve upset them before, we can do it again. I’ll leave you with one of the famous moments of upset against Utd from a few seasons ago. Still gives me shivers watching this.

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Filed under 2011/12, Everton, Pre-Match Build Up, Premier League

Ale Trail #1/Birthday & Pre Match Build Up: Chelsea (Carling Cup)

So a triple header Blog update rather than a further three separete blog updates on three different days like I promised I’d try and avoid as that’s what makes blogging stagnant and repetative, so here it goes.

ALE TRAIL #1

A regular feature what will be occurring in my blog is a little feature I like to call ALE TRAIL. Like most pretentious meffs I like to consider myself a bit of an elitist when it comes to drinking ale, which is a bit weird considering just 3 years ago I was still Straight Edge (HA!). All kidding aside though I do appreciate a good Real Ale when I find one so I figured it would make a decent topic to include in this here blog, so without further delay. My first entry for the “ALE TRAIL” is a newly introduced bitter into my local boozer I’ve found myself drinking and enjoying called “Daniel’s Hammer”

Unfortunately, my local, The Saughall, as much as I love the place, is not exactly the best of pubs for the Ale Enthusiast or CAMRA member, mainly due to the fact it’s more of a modern eatery pub than a traditionalist pub and is licensed under the brewery company Thwaites. Needless to say every now and again we do get a good guest or new regular ale come in on tap that doesn’t disappoint. “Daniel’s Hammer” is the newest ale to come into The Saughall and despite it’s slightly homo-erotic title I have to say is a damn good pint. Described as a “strong pale golden ale with a delicate malty palate and well balanced zesty hop character” this ale is full of body with a good pale colour, not too dry and is actually surprisingly refreshing for a pale ale and pretty strong as well at 5% despite the fact it actually tastes pretty light and doesn’t feel to heavy on the stomach.

It’s a pint that doesn’t leave behind that bitter aftertaste that some ales do and is definitely one of them ales you can at least sup more than one pint of. Granted, it’s not the best pint I’ve ever had neither but it’s one that I’ll happily choose over a pint of Fosters or Carling anyday. Recommended.

BIRTHDAY

So today was my 25th birthday and rather than sit here and moan about “oh mann I’m getting old etc etc.” I’m actually quite chuffed about turning 25. It’s a big year for me this year as it’s the final year of being technically classed as “single” by the time my next birthday comes around I’ll be married, pretty exciting stuff.

As for my day today I’ve spent it relaxing with my family and my missus who bought me a smart Northern Boys Club tshirt (pictured below) and Bulgari aftershave. My plan for tonight after finishing this is head back to the Saughall with the missus for the pub quiz. Sound.

PRE MATCH BUILD UP: CHELSEA AT GOODISON (CARLING CUP)

"In Soviet Russia, football plays you"

Everton enter into the 4th round of the Carling Cup tomorrow evening against what can only be described as a deflated Chelsea team. I say deflated mainly because the Cockney rent boys will be without Drogba (thank Christ), Ashley Cole and Bosingwa who all received cards and marching orders in, what can only be described as the most hilarious game of football I have ever watched, Sunday’s defeat to local rivals QPR at Loftus Road, but let’s be honest, it’s Chelsea, even without them 3 they’re hardly shit.

Players like Juan Mata, Ladyboy Torres (if he is no longer suspended I’ll have to check), Anelka, Fat Frank and Adolph Terry are all available for the rent boys tomorrow and will no doubt be out to try and bounce back from their derby day defeat on Sunday. However, despite the recent League defeat to this lot at The Bridge, our record against Chelsea isn’t all that bad, especially at Goodison. We have managed to beat them twice at Goodison in 3 years and once in the FA Cup away last season, as well as countless amount of draws, then again though these bastards have a way of crushing us at the final hurdles in the past, i.e 2009 FA Cup Final and 2008 League Cup Semi-Final.

As for Everton, it’s a mixed season so far. Some crap performances leading to crap results and some crap performances leading to scrappy last minute wins, like that at the weekend against Fulham at Craven Cottage, mixed with drama off the pitch and lack of money, which I won’t get into right now but probably will in the nearby future. All in all making it a bit of a headache so far, however the weekends result against Fulham gave me a glimmer of hope, despite us not actually playing that well, the squad and tactics looked more positive and players like Vellios and Drenthe were given starts which, as we all saw, lead to Drenthe’s AMAZING goal. For me it’s important for us to play positive and really go at Chelsea tomorrow and maybe stick to the squad we started with on Sunday (except maybe put Saha back in from Vellios) because, let’s be honest,despite the Carling Cup loosing it’s reputation as a big trophy over the years, in my eye, it still is and it’s probably one of the only chances we’re going to get on putting our hands on silverware at the current rate so needless to say it’s an important game and a big chance tomorrow. I just hope, for the love of Christ, the players realise this and go at Chelsea. If they do I’m going with a simple 1-0 and that goalscorer to be….oh christ knows, let’s say Bainesy, yeh Leighton Baines Freekick, why not?

So yeh, looking forward to this one, I’ll be in attendance with my good mate Al Bentley thanks to my little sister getting me a ticket for my birthday and no doubt will be supping a few pre-match pints on County Roads finest establishments. So until then, Come On You Blues.

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Filed under 2011/12, Ale Trail, Clobber, Cup Football, Everton, General, Pre-Match Build Up