With Manchester United taking on Everton at Goodison on Saturday, who better to ask for their thoughts and feelings on the forthcoming season than the author of Peoples Blog
Stretford End Arising: What are your thoughts on Saturday’s fixture – can Everton repeat their comfortable victory of last season?
Peoples Blog: Ha ha, I don’t remember feeling comfortable last year, you’d have to be very naive or very stupid to ever feel comfortable in a game against Man United. We can certainly get something from the game and on our day, as we proved last year, we are capable of beating the top four but I would never say it was going to be comfortable. Our biggest problem at the moment is creating goal scoring chances. I really don’t see where the goals are coming from.
SEA: How will Everton line up?
PB: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Heitinga, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Coleman, Beckford
SEA: Rooney normally receives a warm welcome from the Everton faithful. After recent allegations what type of reaction can he expect?
PB: I don’t think tomorrow will be any different. Rooney is a bit like Marmite back at Goodison – either you still love him or you hate him for breaking your heart. Looking back I think we were in a very different place to where we are now. At the time the move was right for the club not just for Wayne. It was just really difficult after all the hype and having your hopes built up. We thought we had ourselves a home grown talent who just wanted to stay here – ultimately that’s all any fan wants. We’ve still got Hibbert and Osman – I’m sure you’d agree Hibbert’s goals have more than made up for the loss of Wayne.
SEA: Why do you think Everton have started the season slowly?
PB: Over confidence and a lack of quality preseason games. We had one decent preseason opponent away at Wolfsberg and we came a cropper losing 2-0. Other than that result everyone was really optimistic, but realistically the quality of our preseason opposition was poor. As a result of that I think we’ve been a victim of over confidence thinking we had games in the bag before we’ve even kicked a ball. Blackburn proved a point with an eleven man defence and Wolves reminded us what a kicking feels like. Aston Villa was one those games when we couldn’t buy a goal, plenty of possession and looked in control of the midfield but ultimately no goals. At least at Villa they looked like they’d put the effort in.
SEA: Jack Rodwell looks a cracking prospect – how good can he become? His injury a blow? Which other young player(s) is worth keeping an eye on?
PB: Jack is definitely the one to watch at Everton. He plays way beyond his years. The injury is just one of those things that happens in football, ironic that he was injured by an ex-kopite, but it’s not the end of the world. I won’t be too surprised to see him in the squad for the next World Cup. There are a few other youngsters to keep an eye on at the School Of Science but Shane Duffy is probably next in the queue for a chance. Not going to talk too much about either of them – find your own talent and put your cheque book away.
SEA: My personal preference to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson is David Moyes. Does he have the personality to replace Sir Alex? If he was to become the next United manager what qualities would he bring in your opinion?
PB: I for one won’t even discuss the prospect. He is the Everton Manager and his ambition is to achieve success at Everton. I think if he was given the choice he’d rather build his own dynasty at Goodison. Whoever takes over from Sir Alex is on a hiding to nothing, it will be a very brave or stupid person who steps in to those shoes. Perhaps Mark Hughes would be a better choice?
SEA: What is your favourite Everton v Manchester United match?
PB: I think many of the younger blues would opt for the 1995 FA Cup Final, and many say that the win at Goodison last year was one of our better performances since the Premier League began. But for me one game really sticks out in the memory:
Goodison Park, 27 October 1984 Everton 5 – 0 Manchester United.
Goal scorers: Sheedy(2), Heath, Sharp, Stevens.
SEA: If you could choose one current Manchester United player to play for Everton, who would it be?
PB: I will probably get some stick for this but Wayne Rooney. I think he’s a great player and would love to see him come home one day – our prodigal son.
SEA: Thank you very much, Mark. Good luck for the season ahead.
If you wish to discuss this issue further with myself or other members of the Stretford End Arising community, you can do so in the Forum