.. or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness & in health.
On Sunday I am getting married to Amanda who I love with all my heart. When I realised that our wedding clashed with the Derby I was a little disappointed, although, on the evidence of our recent form, that had turned to relief.
Last night, I came to the Old Lady to declare my undying love for Everton, yet again. Hopes were not high, but a trip to St Luke’s to congratulate Thomas Regan on the birth of his son, Patrick, & then a chance encounter with Colin Harvey lifted the spirits & filled me with hope (the dreaded hope, that gets you every time) & optimism. The smile on my Dad’s face at meeting the last surviving member of the Holy Trinity says it all.
As the vows say, love is about sticking together through thick and thin, last night Everton finally gave us a break from the thin we’ve had to endure of late.
Everyone turned up, a full house, the atmosphere under the lights was electric, even a ridiculously soft opening gift to the Gooners did not dampen our spirits on a miserably wet night.
The fans were brilliant, screaming their passion & support for the boys in the Royal Blue jersey. The players & the Manager responded.
Ronald rang the changes, picking Valencia to help Rom up top. Jags came back as skipper, Ross returned to the fold, McCarthy’s legs replaced Barry’s older ones & Lennon came into midfield for Deulofeu.
All of them delivered. They all tried their best, ran around, worked hard (all we ever ask for) and genuinely gave a shit. They felt the love from the stands, and it drove them on. A few deserve special mentions:
- Ross:- welcome back. Much better suited to a deeper Barryesque role than Number 10
- McCarthy:- a “dogs of war” performance, ran tirelessly but made a contribution too, breaking up play, winning tackles & driving forward
- Valencia:- not quite in a 4-4-2, but he ran the channels, held the ball up and pressed high
- Baines:- looked back to his confident best
- Coleman:- I’m his harshest critic but scored at the crucial time
- Williams:- perfectly timed run & header for the winner from an excellent Barkley corner
Man of the Match rightly again was Idrissa Gana Gueye. Immense, had Ozil in his pocket all game, always available & ran & ran & ran.
Lastly, it was great to see Koeman on his feet, directing his players. He felt the magic in the air & was proud to be the Everton Manager. Encouraging to see him give a debut to Calvert-Lewin too; his post match dig at Wenger’s sour grapes was top drawer.
Nearly 40,000 of us renewed our vows last night. I won’t be there in person for the Derby due to my “other commitment” but I will, of course, be there in spirit.
The Power of Love.