It’s not day two of the tournament, obvs, but you get the gist. It’s not hard to follow.
Luckily Ronald Koeman has finally deigned to sign a three-year contract with the Toffees, which is great for no other reason than these five o’clock games are murder to get to see – and we’re not going the juicer for the Habsburg derby, Austria versus Hungary. Similarly Portugal versus Iceland as the late game hardly gets the pulse racing either.
Portugal used to be one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the 90s and noughties, a bit like Romania, as they played super-slick football and had incredibly talented midfielders, but were always let down by their fey, Alice-banded strikers who all seemed to be called Pinto. Now though, it’s the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo aided by various snides’ show, and for a player so amazingly talented he’s still not really that exciting to watch. For all his undoubted brilliance – and let’s get it straight here, he is incredible – there just seems to be a certain lack of subtlety in his ‘playing with his younger brother’s mates’ style that is really off-putting. Every surging run and thunderous shot harks back to him blamming a casey into the face of the speccy kid with the built up shoe who is in goal, cowering in front of the garage doors, and then Marco Tardelli-ing up the driveway and out into the street, stopping only chest bump a bemused neighbour who was just out trimming his privets.
The oily ratbag.
Obviously this opinion will all be revised if Farhad ‘McDuck’ Moshiri ends up bringing him to Goodison.
So anyway, Brian Dennehy has finally taken over ‘at the helm’ at Everton, and thus a new era begins.
A new goalkeeper understandably appears to be his number one priority, with Ajax’s Jesper Cillesen linked, as well as the breathtakingly bovine Fraser Forster from Keoman’s former club, Southampton.
Hopefully we don’t make as many bids for Saints players as the papers are suggesting – it would be better if we have a bit more imagination than that. We weren’t happy when David Moyes tried it, and made him pay a massive premium for that big, dozy potherb Marouane Fellaini. More to the point though, none of them are that good, are they? Half decent, like, as they finished sixth last season, but there aren’t many – the keeper aside – who you would peg as better than what Koeman inherits from Roberto Martinez.
The non-Southampton players we are bring linked with include some Senegalese fella who scored not very many for Fiorentina and has been mooted as replacement for Romelu Lukaku. Saido Berahino – whose name can only be said in Tony Pulis’s voice – is another forward who is getting mentioned, as it’s obvious that someone who can score anywhere near as many goals as the barnstorming Belgian is as crucial as getting a consistently competent goalkeeper in.
Elsewhere, well, who knows. Much will probably depend on what happens with John Stones. If there’s any truth in the story that he’s turned down Barcelona already then it’s probably fair to say that he’s not staying at Goodison. Again, stories suggest that he’s hanging on to play for Manchester City – whose bottomless pockets and the chance to work under Pep Guardiola are probably the only reasons why you wouldn’t immediately up sticks to go and play with Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.
Right, well. It turns out that the two games were actually pretty decent in the end. According to the highlights, anyway.
Hungary won 2-0 after the Austrians had someone sent off, while in the other match, Iceland came from a goal behind and a bit of a first half roasting to score for the first time in a major tournament and provoke Ronaldo into more or less confirming everything we wrote about him up there before the match.
The smirking little gobshite, with that shaved side-parting that looks like when the dog got spayed, only stopped short of screaming: ‘Wait ’til we get you back to our place, you bunch of beardy weirdy tramps’.
Fun Iceland fact, of which there are countless: more people work for the Iceland food chain in the UK, purveyor of all your party food needs at extremely reasonable prices, than actually live in Iceland, the nation.
We’re now into our second day of the Koeman reign at Everton, and doubts still linger as to whether the doughy Dutchman is ever going to physically appear on Merseyside. Thus far it’s all been Photoshop and Instagram, leading some technology experts to speculate on whether he may be the Premier League’s first virtual manager (they’ve had them in South Korea for ages), especially as he does have the look of a gone-to-seed Max Headroom.
David Unsworth, known in the game as an early adopter when it comes utilising technology to make those crucial marginal gains, has already been briefed on his new duties on match days, when Koeman intends to give his team talks via Skype.
‘Mainly I’ll be givin’ out th’iPads t’players’.
Koeman’s blurred face looms into view, from ‘that’ angle, the ‘Jesus, is that me? How long have I been watching grot?’ one when the battery fails on your laptop and you see what initially appears to be a perspiring bullfrog. He is clearly shirtless and in a hotel room – a ceiling fan lazily revolves above his head but only appears to move the hot air around, judging by the way his hair is plastered to his forehead. Unperturbed, he starts to give detailed instructions, paying particular emphasis to picking up runners at set-pieces. Momentarily he adjusts himself and as one the full squad pretend not to notice as the shaky pictures briefly show someone in a silk kimono peeing noisily through the open bathroom door.
‘…but most of all, get out there and express yourselves and enjoy the game! And can somebody text me the score?’