Liverpool Message Board
Rafa Benitez has caused something of a stir this weekend by calling Everton a 'small team'.
So why all the fuss? Benitez is only stating what everyone in football, (minus deluded Everton supporters) already knows to be the truth.
Everton have long lived in the shadow of their more illustrious rivals, bar for their golden era of the 1980s under Howard Kendall when they had, admittedly, as good a club side this country has seen in modern times.
Even then though, their League championship triumphs in 1985 and 1987 and their European Cup Winners Cup triumph in 1985 were probably overshadowed by Liverpool's Double in 1986.
But Kevin Ratcliffe, Neville Southall and Co are now long forgotten and David Moyes' current class of 2007 are just not in the same league as either their predecessors or Rafa's Reds.
True, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta are a touch of class on their day and it surely won't be too long before some of Europe's big guns come calling for these two supremely-talented midfielders.
And if there is a more suited player in the English game to assume Paul Scholes' eventual mantle at Manchester United than Cahill, then I have yet to see him...
But let's not wander too far away from the fact of the matter here: Everton are the second-best team in Liverpool so therefore as a 'small-minded' (if not a 'small') club, would regard a point at Anfield as a great result. That, coupled together with a 3-0 victory over the Reds back in September, probably means that for Everton supporters, the 2006/07 campaign will be regarded as a successful season.
Everton fans might count Benitez's comments as that of a bitter manager, frustrated by his side's inability to crack a defence expertly marshalled by Alan Stubbs, Joseph Yobo and the ever-improving Joleon Lescott.
And whilst there is an element of truth in that assessment, you can't help but admiring Benitez's honesty in stating what all football fans were thinking. No-one wants to watch a side sticking 10 men behind the ball and showing no ambition to gain anything more than a dreary point. Everton went to Anfield with 'small ideas', 'small-minded tactics' that befit everything associated with a 'small team' with a 'small mentality'.
So was Benitez wrong to say what he did? No, because it was the truth. The fact that he touched a nerve in every bitter Everton supporter nationwide is not his fault.
I mean, it must be hard being an Evertonian. No-one wants to watch their most bitter rivals collect trophy after trophy over the years and even rain on their parade when they were in fact themselves quite good.
As a supporter of a team who have fallen on far harder times than the likes of Everton, I'm easy ammunition for any bitter Toffees. And I admit, if my team went to Anfield, we'd be lucky to get away with a 5-0 stuffing. And if we collected a point, then I suppose I too would be celebrating. But that's the point that Everton are missing. It was a great point for them because for a 'small team' living on past glories (and recent qualification for the preliminary stages of the Champions League does not count!) a draw at Anfield is to be savoured.
Rafa's frustration was that when Chelsea came to Anfield recently, they didn't come looking for a point. They came looking for three. Big team equals big mentality. As a result, Liverpool were able to play their natural game and collect a victory that was possible because they weren't facing 11 men with the sole intention of suffocating the life out of what should have been a decent game.
Therefore, who can say Rafa was wrong? Small team, small expectations, big point.
I hope all regular contributors to these pages take the time to read this a couple of times.The points being made are excellent.To me sport is about winning;i honestly dont get supporters celebrating making no attempt to win a game unless its a two legged tie and then fair enough.If Liverpool go to Man Utd i want them to win if they get a point along the way ok but im not going to be celebrating that achievement.I really agree that Everton suppoters have missed the point-excuse the pun-winning is a frame of mind;accepting mediocrity in any form is a slippery slope.Be happy with a point but get it in some form of perspective.
- 1 Reply to Wendy
This is the second thread that has made cogent and extremely salient points about the mentality of a vertically challenged footballing side vis a vis the enmity inherent when confronting a higher minded mentality.
A lot of your points are true but being a Liverpool supporter I have to disagree with what Rafa said. Usually he has a point but this one was way off the mark Everton are not a small team, yes compare the two teams(Finance,squad size,following) but it does'nt mean Everton are not a small team. You have to admit with the finaces they have they have done very well for themselves they have a chance of qualifying for the UEFA cup and beat us once and held us at home with a great defensive display. It was our fault for not winning on Saturday we have the squad capable of breaking any defence but failed to because we ran out of ideas, so that is the team and manager's fault. Rafa is the best manager in the world in my eyes and will bring us the Premiership(if he gets the right funding) but on this note he should swallow his pride and admit he is wrong for labeling Everton a small team and that we just did'nt play well enough to get the result we wanted.
- 1 Reply to A Yahoo! User
Rafa was talking about mentality --- and he said smaller - not small.
Could you imagine if we went to Goodison park just to defend for 90 minutes -- would people call us plucky?? no, and that's the difference between the big 4 and the rest ---
I don't blame Everton -- but by your logic, Forest are still a big team...