Has my fire really gone out?

Last updated : 21 April 2008 By Les Roberts

Now, before anyone starts, I've not been swept along in this tide of end of
season apathy, and I¹ve not not renewed on the back of a disappointing run of form.

Because over the years, I have witnessed some shite at Goodison and the lows have far outweighed the highs!

I started going at the age of seven and my first game was the opening day of the 1984/85 season when we got webbed 1-4 at home by Tottenham…probably the catalyst for my seemingly irrational hatred of Spurs!

I witnessed the eighties glory days with my Dad, though I can't remember too much about them, then I started going with my mates in the early nineties.

We all got junior Evertonian cards and sat in the Lower Bullens, then the
Gwladys Street to witness such star turns as Alan Harper (mark II), Paul
Holmes and Stuart Barlow…who, bizarrely, was in a line up of Everton legends at half time in our latest defeat to Chelsea!

And forget Rooney's goal against the Gunners, I was there to witness Kenny Sansom's goal against the Hotspurs!

The nineties just seemed to lurch from one disaster to the next and after a
brief renaissance under Joe Royle, normal service was resumed after he

'mutually consented' and Peter Johnson 'pleasantly surprised' us all with
Howard Kendall's third stint in charge!

Harper, Holmes and Barlow were replaced with Claus Thomsen, Gareth Farrelly (God bless him) and Michael Branch…with the Gallic flair coming from Mickael Madar!

And I've not even mentioned Brett Angell and the Mike Walker…er…months!

Then we had the dour times provided by Walter Smith, my first season ticket coincided with his first season in charge, by which time Thomsen, Farrelly and Branch had been replaced with Stephen Hughes, Idan Tal and Phil Jevons…Gallic flair on this occasion came courtesy of David Ginola who clearly wasn't worth it!

Then David Moyes took over and it's been, by and large, a success story ever since!

And the aforementioned deadwood has been replaced with players the quality of, well you know who they are!

So my newly acquired status as a non-season ticket holder is certainly
nothing to do with the standard of football on show!

I could go on a Toffeeweb type rant about how, in not renewing, I'm making a stand against the club's hierarchy as we need money and a more ambitious manager to make it to that magical 'next level'…Dithering Dave has taken us as far as he can, Billy Liar, blah, blah, blah!

But that's not the reason either!

Though I will admit to having become somewhat disillusioned in the whole
Premier League football thing this season as it does look increasingly
unlikely that anyone will ever again break the hegemony of the current top

I would say that we are as good a side as our friends from across the park, and we've proved that on more than one occasion this season.

But in a season where we have pushed them pretty much all the way for fourth
spot, seemingly the height of their ambitions these days, it's now looking
decidedly uncertain that we'll even finish fifth!

Yet the difference between the two clubs fortunes this season can seriously be attributed to some truly awful refereeing decisions and a £26 million striker…and how can we possibly hope to compete with either?!

Then there's our injury crisis and, make no bones about it, it's a crisis
when you lose 90 per cent of your attacking options at the same time!

So the team does need a lot of money thrown at it to even tread water and
hope to finish fifth every season but, while this depresses me, we have
still had a great season and it's accepted wisdom that the current team is
as good as any we've witnessed at Goodison since you know when!

I think the whole Kirkby thing is being shown up to be the farce that many
of us all thought it was but there's no way I'd go on a one-man season
ticketless crusade to teach them in the boardroom a lesson.

Nor would I do this to show everyone at Sky and the Premier League that I just won't stand for their four-club mini league!

I'll be honest, I'm just not enjoying going to the match like I used to!

I don't know what it is but having a season ticket has made match-going seem more like an obligation than a compulsion!

Saturdays/Sundays/Thursday nights have become a routine of going the Queens, going the chippy then going the game, even when you can't be arsed leaving the house.

Everyone has felt it at some stage, you're getting ready to leave for the
game on some horror of a day, probably in January, when it occurs to you
that you could just crash on the couch and listen to the match instead.

Or, more than likely, go the pub and watch it on some dodgy foreign cable
channel whilst sitting next to a warm fire drinking warm beer!

Yes, I am in a state of disbelief that I am seeing watching the match in the
pub as a viable alternative to actually going the game but that's where I
find myself!

Another factor in my decision actually correlates directly with our
on-the-field success this term.

Due to European games and Sky wanting to show this 'best of the rest' team ­- really, how patronising is that?! ­- we have seen an unprecedented number of games shifted to a Sunday afternoon.

Now I'm not just being some Saturday afternoon purist, though, other than
Wednesday nights, that is the only time to watch football, the fact is that
my work commitments make it, at best, inconvenient or, at worst, impossible to attend on a Sunday.

If I spunk 600 quid on a season ticket, there's a good chance that I could
miss about a third of the games I've paid for up front!

So my decision not to renew is due in some part to financial factors,
another part in disillusionment with football as a whole and a big part in
just being fed up with the same old routine for 19 games a season.

The plan for next season is to go to home games when I feel like it which,
let's face it, will probably be every game I can get to, and take in as many
away games as I can…and early round League Cup aways are a personal

So, whilst I'm now season ticketless, and I'll miss everyone that sits
around BB 138 even though, after nine seasons, I still don¹t know most of
their names, I'm looking forward to watching the Blues next season with a
renewed enthusiasm.

But it's still going to take a while for me to get used to my status as a
season ticketless Blue!