HITC speaks to lifelong Everton supporter, Adam Partington.
Everton fans outside the stadium before the match
Q: What have you made of your team’s start to the season?
A: Everton’s start to the season was alright. I say ‘alright’ because, after five league games, we hadn’t lost. But since then it’s been absolutely dreadful. Bar the likes of Lukaku, Ashley Williams, and Idrissa Gueye, we’ve got squad weighed down by bang average footballers who lack the spine needed to frequently get results in the top division.
Q: What are your opinions on your manager?
A: He hasn’t endeared himself to me yet. I think he’s a decent manager, but he’s got a lot of work to do. I think we have to give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s managing a side that was under the jurisdiction of Roberto Martinez for three seasons. He shouldn’t make a habit of trying to sell Lukaku in the press or tipping Liverpool for the league, though.
Everton manager Ronaldo Koeman
Q: What are your views on the board?
A: It’s early days in this new Everton era. Farhad Moshiri came in and we all googled how much money he had and got a bit too excited. I expected quite a few additions over the summer, as did most Evertonians, but they didn’t materialise. It’s true that we have seen more positive moves off the pitch. Everton are now apparently closer to a new stadium than they have been for some time, the club’s debts have been wiped clean and we’ve invested heavily in the backroom staff.
Q: Who is your favourite current player?
A: I was thinking about this during the match Sunday - and it’s probably Leighton Baines (by default). At the back-end of last season, I went to Wembley with thousands of other Evertonians and watched this side turn out an underwhelming performance against a Manchester United team that were pro-actively trying to get their manager sacked. I haven’t forgiven any of them for that yet, nor the fact they rolled over for Liverpool at Anfield.
Everton's Leighton Baines looks dejected
Q: Who is your favourite ever player?
A: Duncan Ferguson - because he was a lunatic. More recently I loved Tim Cahill, and as a kid, Gary Speed and Andrei Kanchelskis were fantastic to watch.
Q: What has been your best memory of the club?
A: My best Everton memory was being at Old Trafford when Bryan Oviedo snuck in at the back post and grabbed a late winner. We hadn’t won there for ages and Moyes had left Everton for Manchester United a few months before. The away end that night was pandemonium and I was there with a mate of mine who’s no longer around, so that night is special to me.
Q: What has been your most disappointing moment?
A: I’m an Evertonian so there have literally been hundreds, but losing Wayne Rooney really hurt. Deep down I understood it because he wanted to go and win things, but I did think it was too early for him to leave. He was only 18. At the time I was with my first girlfriend and she broke up with me in the same week, but I couldn’t work out which one I was more upset about.
Also, getting beat by Liverpool in the semi-final at Wembley a few years back was the footballing equivalent of being waterboarded. That was the worset Liverpool sides in recent memory, and they still beat us three times that season. Horrible.
Wayne Rooney - Everton
Q: What has been your most shocking moment?
A: In hindsight, probably handing Martinez a huge contract after one decent season and sticking a massive picture of him on the side of the ground.
Q: Describe the best goal you ever saw at your club’s home ground
A: Farrelly vs Coventry on the last game of the season back in 1998 to keep us in the league. Duncan Ferguson headed one down into Farrelly’s path and he got it under control before smashing it into the top right corner. He wasn’t even very good and had tried a few that season I think, so it was quite funny looking back. I was nine at the time, and I just remember everyone around me going crazy. I think that was the day I fell in love with Everton Football Club.
Q: Which ground is your most favourite away day?
A: It used to be Upton Park. I’ve watched Everton there four times and I didn’t see us lose once. The place was hostile and that’s what I liked about it. It was a proper football ground and it’s sad that the new stadium doesn’t sound like it’ll be anywhere near as good. However, being an Evertonian, I appreciate the need for clubs to move to more ‘modern’ locations. We all love Goodison, but it really is time to leave.
Upton Park gate - West Ham
Q: Who do you consider to be the club’s biggest rival and why?
A: Liverpool. Growing up in the 1990s I actually remember Everton getting the better of them more than they got the better of us. Unfortunately, since then, our record against them has been utterly woeful.They give it out a lot about our complete lack of recent success, which I get because we haven’t won anything for so long but it’s not like they’ve been flooded with silverware lately, is it? In the past decade, they’ve managed one league cup, and that was obtained via a penalty shootout against Cardiff City. What pains me is that Everton haven’t won at Anfield for so long - I think it was 1999 the last time we took all three points there.
Q: Who do you feel has been the club’s best and worst summer signing?
A: He’s dropped off recently but Idrissa Gueye was our best signing. He doesn’t have a lot of competition at the moment, though. We signed Yannick Bolasie for £30M and Fulham’s second choice goalkeeper and neither of them has set the Everton universe alight.
Everton's Idrissa Gueye in action
Q: Who is your one player to watch out for this season?
A: If Koeman gives him a proper go within the next few weeks it could be Tom Davies. The lad is only 19 but a lot of us think he’s now well overdue a proper crack at the first time and I think it would give the entire fan base a lift. Ironically, Davies is the nephew of former Everton midfielder Alan Whittle who also progressed through the academy ranks. He came on recently when we were already five down against Chelsea, but I saw him play against Norwich on the last day of last season. He was extremely composed and looked light-years ahead of where he should be.
Q: Is there a particular youth player that excites you, and why?
A: Davies aside, we’ve got the likes of Browning, Pennington, Dowell and Grant to look forward to as well as Holgate, Galloway (who’s currently on loan at West Brom) and Calvert-Lewin. To be honest, Everton have got some really exciting young players so it’s hard to pick one. Given the complete lack of desire shown by some of the more senior players at the time of writing, I’d really like to see Koeman use the likes of Davies, Holgate and maybe Calvert-Lewin more.
Tottenham's Dele Alli in action with Everton's Mason Holgate
Q: Where do you think the club will look to strengthen in January?
A: Everton probably need about eight or nine players to improve the squad enough to compete at the level we should. At the very least, we need a goalkeeper, a centre-half, a centre-midfielder, another decent wide option and some backup for Lukaku. Unfortunately, years of being let down mean I’m not confident we’ll get any anywhere near that.
Q: Finally, what are you aims for this season, and where do you think your club will finish?
A: I’d be happy with a top seven-finish and a win against Liverpool at Anfield. In reality, I think we’ll finish about 10th or something.
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