Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of pieces on “Teams we loathe with players we love.”
I truly hate Everton. I’m not a Liverpool fan, and I loathe the other half of Merseyside. This hatred seems a bit odd coming from a Manchester City fan. Sure, there were much more obvious choices for teams to hate, like the team that claims to also be from Manchester but is completely full of insert-your-favorite adage. (I’m looking at you Wayne Rooney). I could have even picked another team in the top four because my boys are still attempting to reach the Champions League. However, a little history will help explain my hatred of Everton.
I started seriously following the EPL during the 2006/2007 campaign. During the time of my fandom, City has managed only a 2-5-1 mark when playing Everton in league play. I am well aware of the fact that there is probably a squad out there against whom the boys in baby blue have a worse history (Happy Editor’s Note: There isn’t), but I never seem to remember those losses.
The Everton beat downs seem to stay with me for a couple reasons. First, these losses always seem to come when we really need a win. Without taking anything away from Everton, trying to walk away with a point at Goodison Park is an easier task than accomplishing the same feat at Stamford Bridge. Moreover, I remember losing to Everton because of TYAC founder Neil W. Blackmon. I have known NWB for roughly three years now, and we have watched at least 4 of these contests together. At the end of each match he reminds me that “Everton owns your team’s soul.” While he doesn’t bust my balls too hard, I always attempt to wipe the shit-eating grin off his face by reminding him of the great civil war hero William Tecumseh Sherman laying the groundwork for I-75 through the middle of Georgia. Finally, the edition of “Chancellor Seco” to the Everton FC fan club just gives me more reason to talk smack.
And yet, I love Tim Cahill. Why do I love Tim Cahill? Let me count the ways. First and foremost he is one tough son of a bitch. I have never seen him shy away from a hard tackle or get physical with defenders twice his size. Yes, he did pick up a straight red card in the opening round of group play for Australia during the World Cup, but in this bloggers opinion, it should have been yellow. Apparently FIFA agreed with me, reducing his mandatory two game suspension to one. This toughness factor is important for anyone who wants to play in the EPL, but the key point here is that it is not what I like to call a “douchy toughness”. Wayne Rooney is a perfect example. Sure he is tough, but I don’t know a single person (other than Red Devils fans) who would like to have a beer with the guy.
To go along with his toughness, Cahill is one scrappy bastard. This is one of the same qualities that makes me love Brian Ching so much. Inside the 18 yard box, Cahill always seems to work himself through crowed spaces and find the ball at his feet, or more often on his head, especially on set pieces. With those opportunities, he rarely fails to convert. Cahill finds himself is the right place at the right time for one important reason; he never stops working. In every professional sport, there will always be extremely talented players who like to relax and take a play or two off. If you ask any coach or manager, they really respect the players who are pushing the tempo as long as they are one the field.
In all my time watching the EPL, including the times Everton has dominated my beloved City, I have never seen Cahill take a dive. The majority of forwards and goal scorers on the planet, especially the Italians and Spanish, love to take a flop in the box to draw a penalty. The joke around the TYAC offices is that Italian and Spanish children learn how to take a dive before they learn how to read. No dinner for rising Rosseneri rascals until they get their nightly diving ritual out of the way for Pops.
Before this “like –fest” gets out of hand, the biggest two reasons I am a huge Tim Cahill fan involve his goal scoring. Standing at 5 foot 10 inches tall, Cahill manages to score a major percentage of his goals with his head. That is not an easy task for someone under six feet tall. Just for comparisons sake, most central defenders in the EPL have a 3 to 4 inch height advantage. Finally, Cahill’s patented goal celebration is my second favorite in all of football– boxing the corner flag. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy, but I have the maturity of the 7th grader– you all should know that by now. Suffice to say, I hate Everton, but I’ll tune in when they play. You never know when they’ll be gloriously behind, and Tim Cahill will provide me with a perfect storm: a consolation goal that bespeaks his brilliance in an otherwise devastating and futile defeat.
Puck is the Pop Culture Guy for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you…no…wait.. he’s not on Twitter.
Filed Under: September 2010
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