Sixer’s Everton Soapbox: banishing the blues on Wearside (part 2)

Jake - "for goodness sake let me celebrate" - edited version
Jake – “for goodness sake let me celebrate” – edited version

Malcolm Dawson writes………if Saturday was immense then Wednesday night was immenser! The first part of the job was completed at the weekend with victory over the Blues of Chelsea. The crowd was there to see the team complete the job against the Blues of Everton and my word were they up for it? What an atmosphere, what a noise! This was the best home support ever at the Stadium of Light, even eclipsing some of those fantastic games we saw in the Peter Reid era. We can truly say the Roker Roar is alive and well.

Chicken or egg? There’s no doubt in my mind that a positive mindset within the crowd spurs on the players, but Big Sam has engendered an ethic and workrate in his team that motivates the crowd. Last night every single player, not for the first time, gave far more than their utmost. Man of the match? For me Kaboul but only by a whisker. Everyone deserved a 10 last night, from Manonne who looked so assured and made some cracking stops, to Wahbi Khazri who ran around all night like (to quote Pete Sixsmith) a Yorkshire Terrier on acid. We have to give the manager credit for that and he revelled, quite rightly, in the adulation he received. We have all seen players who have bought into the club, Bennett, Gates, Hurley, Ball, Quinn, Arca, Gabbiadini etc. and I sense that there are some in the current squad who we can add to that list. Let’s get M’Vila signed on a permanent deal. Let’s make sure that Jermain Defoe entertains no thoughts of moving back to the south coast. Let’s turn over Watford on Sunday and take the momentum into next season. I can’t say we’ll do a Leicester but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t expect Big Sam to move the club into the dizzy heights of mid table security. The downside of that will be not having times like last night to savour.

Of course Pete Sixsmith was in the sell out crowd enjoying it as much as (if not more than) anybody. Now, after getting up early to do his paper round and walk next door’s dog, writing his bit for one of the nationals and doing his bit for the Northern League he still finds time to bring us his take on last night’s proceedings.


Everton (H)

And so it came to pass that the Good Lord/ Supreme Being/Call Him What You Will allowed us to pass on the Pirelli Stadium and cancel the visit to The City Ground. Once again, for the tenth successive season, we will be trudging off to Eastlands and Ashburton Grove, while our avian friends can have days out in Wolverhampton, Ipswich and Wigan.

This time, as we have done for the last three years, we saved ourselves. Not by a backs to the wall draw against a washed out Arsenal side or a steady win over a West Bromwich Albion squad who couldn’t wait to get to the beach, but with a rip-roaring, rollicking, rambunctious win over the poorest Everton side I have ever seen. We scored three goals for the third time in five games with these three coming from defenders, ably assisted by an opposition goalkeeper who would have looked out of place in the Brandon and Byshottles Sunday League Division Three.

But that is nothing to do with us. We turned out a team that was determined not to mess up and send us into a potentially buttock clenching last day of the season. Jobs were allocated and jobs were done. The build up was patient, nobody panicked and there was a feeling that the goals would come.

Patrick van Aanholt

The first one came from Patrick Van Aanholt, a candidate for the most improved player on the club’s books. A defensive liability for last season and the first part of this, he has listened to advice from Allardyce and has responded positively. His fourth goal of the season, following on from ones against Spurs, Swansea and Stoke City was a well struck free kick which caught Robles wrong footed on its way into the net.

There was a mixture of jubilation and relief at this and like London Buses, another one came along a few minutes later – this one thumped home by Lamine Kone, nearly knocking the goal over in the process. Kone has been a sensation since he arrived from L’Orient in January. Big, strong and an inspirational character, he made his mark with the winning goal against Manchester United and then sealed his name in SAFC folklore with two in this stirring victory. Had we taken the plunge, there would surely have been a host of clubs enquiring about his availability. (Don’t forget his flattening of Yaya Toure – Ed)

Jake: 'two goal hero in a team full of heroes'
Jake: ‘two goal hero in a team full of heroes’

His partner at the back, Younes Kaboul was, quite simply, magnificent. Up against Romelu Lukaku, he dominated the Belgian international to such an extent, that he spent as much time in the Sunderland penalty area as Mick Jagger does in Britain – Jagger might have got nearer to the goal. It was an immense performance by Kaboul who started the season off being compared unfavourably with Sylvain Distin after that dismal defeat at Dean Court. Since building up his fitness and building a partnership with Kone, he has looked impregnable. Only Jamie Vardy has got the better of him since January.

Jake:solid as a rock and nearly scored
Jake:solid as a rock and nearly scored

The other stand out performance came from Yann M’Vila who produced a perfect example of what mid field play should be. Not for him the Shelvey approach of standing in the middle of the park and pinging the ball to the linesman. M’Vila reads the game, rummages around and is there wherever he is needed. He would be a great miss if he were not here next season. Sign him up Sam.

All of those who played last night covered themselves in what passes for glory in our corner of the world. We don’t ask for much but we do ask for effort and each and every player gave us that, from Mannone with a couple of excellent saves to Defoe, who worked the feeble Everton back four throughout the game.The atmosphere at the start was tense. Once Van Aanholt and Kone made the game safe, it was excitable and when Kone wrapped it up was a joyous celebration of our safety and the relegation of the Tynesiders. Of course it was parochial. Of course it was malicious. Of course it was great fun.

“Lock up your horses, there’s going to be hell” warbled the crowd. “The Mags are going down” and “We are staying up” followed. The splendid young man from Toronto sat next to me asked what they were singing. His grandparents were from Jarrow. This was his third game of the season. He got the horses reference – a true red and white. He had been over for a family funeral and this had made up for the sadness of that.

Now is not the time for looking at the whys and wherefores of the season. It hasn’t been a great one (surprise, surprise) but we have come through and have retained our place in the top league. We will be one of the first visitors to The Olympic Stadium and we shall be booking into Webster’s Guest House at Salisbury and supping in The Duke of York again. Shame we have to go to Middlesbrough.

The manager and the players have done well in the last ten games and very well in the last five. They do it for money but also for the supporters. Anyone who has listened to Mannone, Defoe and Borini this last few weeks knows how much they care.

And they also did it for those who are no longer here. Stuart Green would have been beaming after this. Steven Wilson would have been ecstatic and would have ribbed his best mate Brian Neil about the Geordies going down. And Suzi Horan would have absolutely loved it. Those three typify what our club – any club- is all about – the supporters.

Pete Sixsmith: 'sir, you look just like a real author!'
Pete Sixsmith: ‘sir, you look just like a real author!’

Ha’way The Lads!!!!!!!

9 thoughts on “Sixer’s Everton Soapbox: banishing the blues on Wearside (part 2)”

  1. What a fantastic end to another ultimately disappointing season. The fact that we also relegated Newcastle whilst beating Everton actually made the stress of almost every week since last August worthwhile.
    Now there may be some who would say that such a display of schadenfreude is childish but as I can still clearly remembering the Mag fans with their ‘Let’s all laugh at Sunderland’ placards in their 4-1 win at the SoL when even Chopra scored, the way they went on after the 5-1 win, and harking back to the Hall-Shepherd era when all the plastic ‘Keegan 92 Mags’ [you know the gravy stained post-Sky monstrosities who only watch NUFC matches in pubs and couldn’t name three of the recently relegated inadequates] had fun at our expense as we messed about in the nether regions.
    So to them I would just like to say: ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…

    • You’ll find that the bitter Keeganites are the ones who can’t accept this recent turn of events the most . Always the first to ‘ banter ‘ they crawl back under their rocks when its time to face thr music . Genuine mags probably accept it as give and take while the Keeganites cry like babies , good .

  2. What a wonderful week.After a season of the usual high anxiety and results permutations it’s been marvellous to wallow in the comfort of being safe and with optimism (dangerous I know ) for the future. Thanks Pete for your unfailingly superb match reports.

  3. Watched this one on my laptop. Even on the small screen the atmosphere came across – loud, joyful, funny. What a performance, what a night. Great to see Big Niall there. Great to see the club united again …. manager, supporters, staff, players. A few of the players had spoken about how many people at the club would lose their job if we went down and that message seemed to have hit home. They’ve been so motivated. No mean feat by Sam in this era of massive wage packets and (some) players more interested in cases of wine than the club they’re actually playing for. Last night must have brought home to the players what the club means to the supporters and the city.

  4. However good the game was last night,Saturday for me was one with a slightly higher emotion,having not expected such a performance,we kind of expected a performance against a lacklustre Everton on the back of it.
    Defoe’s third goal was one I will rerun in my head for many a year,second best ever for us in the stadium( behind Kevin Phillp’s majestic strike against the same oppo many years ago).

    Kaboul was also edged it as my MOM.Kone fair blasted that first goal,hitting it so hard it would still be in Earth’s orbit had not some sturdy netting ended its journey.Both CB’s were immense.

    Supporters are second to none.

    I have been persuaded(by my long suffreing wife) to return to the matches after I declared myself finished with attending games until Ellis left,I know realise,on good authority, he knew nothing of the AJ “confession “to the police,so I am back in the fold.

    Bring on the next installment.You can never say its boring being a Sunderland fan.

  5. Aye its a shame you have to go to Middlesbrough because you’ll get your backsides kicked lol. But fair play lads, you did this good and proper, no messing and all credit to you. We’ll have some grand derby games but I give fair warning, dont come asking me to do that who are you thing. I’m not having brown owl picking the soft out of the way I write

    • Brown Owl is wise enough to know you don’t mean that. I do have Boro friends but you’d do a grand job and any editing can be done quietly. Chuffed for Boro, by the way, since half my family support them

Comments are closed.

Next Post