ALL eyes turn to Wednesday. All thoughts remain on Wednesday.
No-one was at all arsed about that yesterday, where they?
I mean, I thought we might get battered given the last time we played them Kloppo squared up to Pulis and allegedly threatened to eat his cap and make him a new one out of his jarg assistant’s scalp — like some kind of weird sequel to Face Off.
I can see the trailer now — Kloppo played by the James Bond Jaws fella with the mad grid, Pulis played by Barry McGuigan with a cap on and the jarg assistant played by a short-wearing weirdo.
Whenever I see assistant managers wearing shorts I always think of the time I got sent off for calling some divvy assistant manager “shit kecks”. Yes, that’s right, shit kecks. We were playing over the water in some wool factory of a place. The non-short-shit-kecks-wearing assistant manager called me a shithouse and threatened to punch my head in so I responded the way any sane-minded person would do in that situation and said:
“Shut up, you, shit kecks. Your kecks are shit. Look at the cut of your kecks, shit kecks.”
And I got sent off. Straight red after 20 minutes.
The referee thought I was talking to him, and despite my protestations that I couldn’t possibly have been talking to him as he had shorts on and that it was only a statement of fact and I was telling the truth as his kecks were shit and he couldn’t possibly send someone off for being truthful, the fucker sent me off.
By half time he had changed his tune and was telling all and sundry that he had sent me off for foul and abusive language and he was reporting me for failing to leave the field of play (that’s a separate story). If you are reading this referee, your shorts were shit as well. And so was your whistle, and your linesmen, and, if I’m honest, the kecks you changed into after the game could only really be described as shit, shit kecks.
With a team of little kids, a serial wrestler playing centre half and a goalie scared of the ball, it was a recipe for conceding at least five from set pieces at the Hawthorns. Credit then has to be given where it is due as, despite The Bog’s best efforts for the first goal, the Reds got off with a point, no injuries, some minutes in Hendo’s legs and a heart-warming goodbye cuddle from Kloppo on Skrtel, which brought a tear to the eye and an adrenalin-fuelled surge of relief through the veins.
All eyes turned to Wednesday, all thoughts remain on Wednesday.
It has been pretty difficult to think about anything else really, given the logistical difficulties faced in getting tickets, sorting travel, sorting money, sorting the team out in my head.
I was thinking about it earlier, running through the squad searching for people who have been through it before; who have won cups before, and I found solace in James Milner, Kolo and — somewhat surprisingly — Albie Moreno.
Albie, I had forgotten, has won this before.
The cool hand of experience will be there to lead the way; the old sage in the corner. Except then I realised that he used to play for Sevilla, has won it with Sevilla, is from Seville and all his friends and family probably support Sevilla…and I have been filled with dread ever since.
There is no way this is going to end well for Albie. He is pretty excitable at the best of times isn’t he? Pretty prone to sudden mad urges, almost Larry David-esque in his risk taking and level of puzzlement at all the fuss. Imagine that brain with the added responsibility of playing against his home-town club with everyone he knows in the ground aside from Jose Enrique and the endless possibilities for madman decision-making to rival nothing we have seen to date.
I’m going for a 30-yard screamer, a missed pen, four free kicks that hit the wall, a mental yellow card for a two-footed neck lunge and a bit of a big hook after Kloppo has nearly killed him and had to settle with bringing him off and putting Milner at left back to save him going to jail for a very long time.
I was backing myself into a corner of worry when Adam Melia text me a link to the Japanese karaoke that we are going to in Dusseldorf on Tuesday night en route to the final and I was able to remember that this whole thing, the brilliance of the second half of this season, is that this wonderful, powerful, magical manager that we have got ourselves has made this whole match-going process fun again.
What a time to be a Red.
I read on Twitter before that people are giving the manager stick because we finished eighth in the Premier League. Yes, this manager. Not the previous one, this one.
I just cannot accept this viewpoint as even being one that can be reasonably argued. What kind of misery arse goes through what we have been through this year, the nights we have experienced, the collective joy we have felt, and stands on the crest of a glorious new wave of success to moan about the fact that the sea is a little bit cold?
Fuck off and support Everton, lads. Seriously, fuck off. If this manager isn’t for you, at this very moment in time, given the impact he has had to date, then you might as well jib it and spend your time doing something that makes you happy.
If you aren’t prepared to give this manager time before opening up your keyboard to bladder out some inane criticism then you should seriously jib it. Seriously. Take a step away from your computer, lads, look down at your legs, take your kecks off and go in the garden and burn them. Send me your address and I’ll send you a pair of belters out, first class.
The club Jürgen Klopp took over was a mess. All we talked about was transfers, transfer committees, our best players leaving and everything being someone else’s fault.
The club lacked leadership, direction, and a sense of purpose. The previous manager was let down by a hierarchy more concerned with arse-covering and back-slapping than success and this, coupled with his own inadequacies, left a pretty rudderless ship.
Klopp provides a level of leadership that the club was desperate for. He is a remarkable man, a true leader in every sense, an advantaged thinker if ever there was one. He doesn’t believe in excuses, he doesn’t believe in blame, he believes in the collective, in you and I; he believes in success.
He should be treasured and supported from the bottom of our hearts because I’m fairly sure fellas like him are a pretty rare breed.
Bring on Sevilla on Wednesday, bring on Albie and his unintentionally confused state, bring on a mad trek across mainland Europe, bring on no hotel, bring on everything you can throw at us. We are Kloppo’s Reds.
Up the boss kecks Reds.
THE BEN JOHNSON GLOSSARY
– Jarg: Fake, blag, not real, not authentic.
– Grid: Face.
– Divvy: Fool, idiot, dope.
– Kecks: Trousers – not your bills, your boxies or your ballies.
– Over the water: The Wirral.
– Wool: Woollyback.