“Everton that”. Two words uttered by Evertonians when the world conspires in the most absurd ways possible to negatively affect Everton Football Club. For example, imagine winning the league title only for a world war to break out preventing you from further domination… twice. Everton that. However, sometimes it’s simply a case of Everton shooting themselves in the foot without fate needing to intervene. Here are some recent instances of these occurrences:
1) Almost going unbeaten at home for a whole year, only to lose to the worst team in the league
It’s Boxing Day in 2013. Throughout the whole year, Everton have played a total of 17 league matches at Goodison Park and under David Moyes and then Roberto Martinez, they haven’t lost a single one of them. Should Everton avoid defeat in their last two matches, they will go the whole calendar year without losing a home fixture for the first time since 1962.
Step forward bottom of the league Sunderland. A team who haven’t won away from home all season and haven’t scored an away league goal since August. As if Sunderland needed any more reason to be worried, they were also hampered with injuries and forced to field their 3rd and 4th choice centre-backs Valentin Roberge and Modibo Diakite for the match. How many goals were Everton going to win by? Four? Five? Six? Maybe even seven? And they were just questions from the Sunderland fans. Well…
23 minutes into the game, Leon Osman attempts a back pass which probably summed up Roberto Martinez’ overall time with Everton, Ki Sung-Yueng latches onto it and is brought down by Tim Howard who is sent off as a result. Ki steps up and scores the penalty. Proceed to Everton dominating the match, shooting from all sorts of angles and the match finishes 1-0 to the black cats. Even Sunderland manager Gus Poyet couldn’t believe it.
“Even with 10 men they [Everton] were the best team we have played against. It was very difficult and it’s incredible that we have beaten them”
Of course, Everton won a few days later against a much better side in Southampton.
2) Richard Wright’s ridiculous injury
The fourth round of the FA Cup in 2006 saw Everton travel to Stamford Bridge for a replay against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, following a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park. A difficult prospect at the best of times, Everton were without their first-choice goalkeeper Nigel Martyn who had picked up an ankle injury after the original tie. This presented Richard Wright with the opportunity to start in goal.
However, Wright opted to conduct his warm-up in front of a sign which stated, “Do not use this goal.” Fortunately, the Premier League is stacked full of highly paid footballers in addition of knowledgeable and experienced coaches who would surely see the dangers of testing a goalkeeper with an obstruction directly behind him, right?
In this Everton version of events, Wright ends up with a damaged ankle. Third-choice goalkeeper Iain Turner starts the match and Everton fall 3-0 down within half an hour and lose the match 4-1. Class.
3) Tim Howard scores… Everton lose
There are few rarer moments in football than seeing your team’s goalkeeper score a goal and it’s something to cherish should you get to experience it, especially as it is usually a goal that earns your team something from the game. However, this is Everton.
Despite Tim Howard’s wind assisted goal against Bolton Wanderers giving Everton the lead with 27 minutes to go, Everton did not win the game. In fact, after David N’Gog equalised just four minutes later, Gary Cahill then popped up with the winner in what was to be his last ever match for Bolton before moving to Chelsea. Still, it’s not like Bolton were a poor team and bottom of the league at the time… oh, never mind.
4) Ricky van Wolfswinkel scoring one goal… and only one goal
It says a lot about Everton that a striker scoring in a match is more memorable than the opposition full back and SPL specialist Steven Whittaker doing so in the same game. The reason for that is because it was Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, a record signing Dutchman who cost Norwich €10m + €2m in add-ons which presumably amounted to just the €10m by the end of his time at Norwich. Van Wolfswinkel scored an equaliser to make it 2-2 with a wonderful header from a mishit cross and that happened to be the only goal he scored in the Premier League, in 25 attempts.
However, he did end up on loan at Real Betis where he also managed just one league goal (in 16 appearances) so if you’re looking for a La Liga team to support, then I suggest you check out Las Palmas. Not only has van Wolfswinkel scored against them but they’ve also fielded Vinny Samways and Antolin Alcaraz in the past so there’s lots in common.
5) Danny Graham scoring one goal… and not even deliberately
I only wanted to include one poor goalscorer notching against Everton but I couldn’t resist including Danny Graham scoring at Goodison Park for Sunderland in a 2-0 win back in May 2015.
Everton were on a run of four home wins and four home clean sheets in succession going into the match. The man to eventually score past Everton after seven hours was former Swansea striker Danny Graham. A man who hadn’t scored a Premier League goal since December 2013. That is 17 months. He made 37 Premier League appearances for Sunderland and scored one goal.
However, the most Everton thing about this moment is that he doesn’t even have to shoot to score. His teammate Jordi Gomez unleashes an effort which deflects of Graham’s calf and ends up beating Tim Howard.
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