Fan Focus: Chewing The Fat With The Toffees

Clive Brunskill

We've got a tough trip to Goodison Park at the weekend, and we all know how it usually ends there. With the game in mind, we talked to Everton fan James Corbett to get his views.

Whether or not Everton are our bogey team is inconclusive - see our piece earlier in the week to see the pros and cons of the argument - we have a terrible record at Goodison, and haven't won there since 1996.

To get more of a lowdown on the big game, we spoke to Everton fan James Corbett to see what he had to say about our formidable opponents, what he makes of Sunderland, and what we should expect on Saturday afternoon.

Everton have had Sunderland's number in recent memory. Why do you think that is?

James Corbett: I attribute it to the Sunderland board's obsession with hiring mediocre but media savvy managers, like Roy Keane, the woeful Steve Bruce and now the hilariously overrated Martin O'Neill. No one is better than Moyes at uncovering the limitations of such a cast. I quite like Sunderland, but I find it a source of pride that the annoying O'Neill's slump coincided with our magnificent FA Cup win in March. And much as I like your fans, I thought the Zulu-esque victory celebrations after you'd eked out a draw in the first match entirely unbecoming and frankly the most small time display in years.

You guys have got off to a strong start this season, bucking your usual trend of starting slowly and coming good in January. What has been the difference this time around?

JC: We did the transfer deals before 30 August. Simple.

If we had a bit more strength in depth we'd be top by now. We badly miss Darron Gibson and the solidity he provides in midfield and with him some of the draws we've had would've been wins.

Who have been your stand out players this season?

JC: Fellaini has been immense. I think we all recognise this is probably a swansong but by God we 're going to enjoy it while it lasts. He'll join one of the top 5 clubs in Europe for £30m plus next year.

Mirallas looks a steal and has given us real pace for the first time in years. But everyone plays their part at Goodison; it's the sum of many parts.

And is there anyone who you have been disappointed with in the Everton ranks?

JC: Everyone gives there all and there are no bad eggs so I'm reluctant to single anyone out. but I think age is catching up with Phil Neville, who has been a great servant but is on the wane. Seamus Coleman is a weak link in defence and liable to cock up once a game. Moyes also mysteriously overlooks our best central defensive partnership (Distin-Heitinga ) but it seems churlish to complain about having an England regular in Jagielka there instead.

David Moyes is one of the longest-serving managers in the Premier League. Do you feel lucky to have him? Is he still the right man for the job?

JC: Not lucky, no. I'm sure Moyes would agree with me that its a privilege to manage Everton. Right man? He's magnificent and in any other era than the age of financial doping would have a room full of trophies.

What do you make of Sunderland this season?

JC: The sum of O'Neill's limitations. I mean how much did you pay for Fletcher and Johnson? At least double the amount we spent on Jelavic and Mirrallas.

Are there any Sunderland players, and god knows why there would be on our current form, that you don't fancy coming up against at the weekend?

JC: Johnson could cause Seamus Coleman problems. But what has happened to Sessegnon who looked the business last year?

And, finally, can I get a prediction?

JC: 5-0. Someone is due a hammering and past and present form suggest it's going to be you lot. But Everton being Everton we'll batter you for 90 minutes and Coleman will give away a needless penalty in the last minute to give you something. Which will serve me right for my hubris.

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