FA Cup Final Focus: Manchester City


Can Tevez be for City what Ferguson is for Everton?

Even before I tuned into watch Everton play Man City last week, I knew Everton would win. I’d known since it had been revealed that Duncan Ferguson would be making his return to Goodison Park before the game. The big man is a true Everton legend, an icon who represents the commitment and passion that epitomises the club. In dark times, Duncan was our hero, he helped keep our heads above the water.

And Man City, in their current guise, don’t have that. It’s the reason why Everton have got such a hoodoo over them in recent seasons (we’ve beaten them in seven of our last eight meetings) and why City’s undeniable wealth of talent has not yet been transformed into the sort of genuine success, you know: the glittery silvery kind, that all their lavish spending surely demands. Is today the day that changes?

Click through to find out…


FA Cup Final Focus: Stoke City


Pulis has transformed Stoke this season, can he finish it in style?

I wrote a guest blog, back in early November, where I suggested that Stoke were coming a little bit unstuck because Tony Pulis was attempting to take them away from their tried, trusted and maligned formula of direct football. Looking back now, it’s easy to think I was talking nonsense – Stoke are preparing to compete in the FA Cup Final today, and they sit a very comfortable 8th in the Premier League.

But back when I wrote that, Stoke had made a pretty average start to the season and you could really see them struggling to retain the Premier League status they had fought to retain, almost literally, for two seasons before this campaign. Pulis spent some decent money in the summer, bringing in some talented players who somewhat broke the mould of what we’d come to expect from Stoke City previously.

Click through for the full article…

FA Cup Predictions (4th Round)


Such is the magic of the FA Cup, it’s probably madness for me to even try to predict any of this weekend’s results – there will be one or two ‘cupsets’ at least. However, I’m going to give it a go anyway, but to give myself a fighting chance I’ll be selecting just five of the fixtures to preview and predict, involving teams whose form I actually know a little bit about – so despite the tagline of this post, this hopefully won’t be too much random guesswork…

Click through for predictions for the weekend’s Cup fixtures…

Well done The FA, Pompey don’t deserve Europe.


The 2008 FA Cup winning Portsmouth team: ill gotten gains?

Now that Everton have finished 8th in the Premier League and will not be playing Europa League football next season I can comment, without accusations of bias, on the decision to prevent Portsmouth from being allowed to compete in Europe despite reaching the Cup Final. The decision means that whoever finishes 7th in the Premier League will take that Europa spot instead of the South Coast club and I have to applaud the FA’s decision on that front.

I’ve got nothing against Portsmouth, despite previous posts to this website where I’ve suggested that it would be good for them to be relegated (so as to relieve themselves of the mercenary remnants of Redknapp’s reign and start over). But as a club, I’m ambivalent towards Portsmouth, I certainly don’t want them to go bust but I shan’t miss watching them play. I’m also full of admiration for the job that Avram Grant has done since taking over, but despite his dignified slowing of their inevitable free fall, they don’t deserve a European adventure next season.

Click through to find out why…

Who wants to win the Carling Cup?

What are you lot shouting about, its <i>only</i> the <i>Carling</i> Cup...

"What are you lot shouting about? It's only the Carling Cup..."

It’s all a bit quiet of late isn’t it? After the drama of last weekend with the time-keeping in the Manchester derby vociferously questioned in certain quarters following on from the previous controversy surrounding Manchester City’s clash with Arsenal, or rather Adebayor’s clashes with Van Persie and the Gunners’ faithful, it seems like football is collectively taking a bit of a breather. A typical Carling Cup week then.

But that’s an interesting thing really, because for me to say that a Carling Cup week of football is a bit like a breather isn’t exactly controversial, given that that’s exactly how it’s treated by many Premier League managers. It’s the one competition that no one is ever really disappointed about being knocked out of, the one from which elimination is actually a ‘good thing’ because it “allows us to concentrate on the league”. But that’s rubbish really isn’t it?

Click through to find out…

‘Respect the Fans’ Campaign


Not all Evertonians were as lucky as this lot...

Not all Evertonians were as lucky as this lot...

Back in April when the ticket allocations for the 2009 FA Cup Final between Everton and Chelsea were announced, I wrote a post about the idiocy of the FA. This was because they gave Everton and Chelsea each 25,000 tickets to the game while giving the remaining 40,000 to members of the FA’s Football Family. This, frankly, was ridiculous and unfair because it meant that some of the hardcore season ticket holders of both clubs would miss out on seeing their club in the biggest domestic cup final in world sport.

And it’s not a new thing either. For years the FA has been giving far too many tickets to its pals and forcing fans of the clubs who are actually involved in the matches at Wembley to buy tickets at extortionate prices through ticket touts, which is where many of those 40,000 tickets will have ended up. As I mentioned, I wrote about this back in April and you can find the article here, but I’ve just come across the ‘Respect the Fans‘ campaign which is well worth your attention and your support.

Click through to find out more about the campaign…

Premiership Conclusions


Premiership Conclusions
Well that, as they say, is that. Survival Sunday, as it was optimistically dubbed, ended in relegation for Newcastle and Middlesbrough, while Everton held on to the ‘best of the rest’ fifth position and Fulham secured the final Europa League place. Everything else is pretty much as you were. Here are my final conclusions of the 08/09 Premier League season, I hope it’s been a good one for you and lets hope the next one rolls around quickly!

1. An Omen for Everton
Everton won against Fulham at Craven Cottage, a comfortable 2-0 victory that completely ignored the Toffee’s previous complete inability to win at the tiny London ground, where they haven’t emerged triumphant since Alan Ball scored the winner in 1966. Of course, the year 1966 means a lot to all English football fans, but to me it actually means a touch more too, and I am optimistically taking yesterday’s result to be a very good omen indeed for the Toffees.

You see, in 1966, Everton won the FA Cup (3-2 against Sheffield Wednesday). And of course, next weekend, Everton will compete against Chelsea at Wembley in the FA Cup Final, the first time they’ve reached the final of that competition for fourteen long years. As a die-hard Evertonian I’m absolutely desperate for us to beat Chelsea and finally add to out trophy cabinet. And considering the last time we won at Craven Cottage we also won the FA Cup in that same year, it could well be a positive sign. I certainly hope history can repeat itself come next Saturday. COYB.

Three more conclusions after the click including: why relegation is a bonus for Newcastle, why the final day results were fitting, why I am actually glad that Man Utd won, and why I feel rather vindicated…

…so go on, click through!