Reid On... The Magic Of The Cup
Blues legend discusses his third round memories and more.
CUP DREAM CAN COME TRUE
First off, a big Happy New Year to everyone – and some way it was to kick off 2013 too.
Some people were talking about Newcastle missing key players but I thought Everton had a few big names missing as well and did really well to come away with that result on Wednesday night.
I was disappointed with the goal we conceded - defensively it could certainly have been dealt with better. But the performance after that was very good, we played some good football and produced two of the best goals you're likely to see all season.
You may have seen I was covering the game for Sky Sports. Where we were sitting was right behind Bainesy's free-kick and it was absolutely unstoppable. I remember Frank Worthington getting one or two stunners when I was at Bolton and I also played in the same side as Kevin Sheedy, a man who had no shortage of talent when it came to set pieces. But that one on Wednesday was up there with the best Sheeds hit for this Club, even though the walls were a little bit braver in my day, I must say!
The move for Anichebe's goal was also fantastic and I was pleased for Victor. He looks as though he needs an extra bit of confidence sometimes but it was great movement from him and it proved once again that he knows how to get a goal. He's had his problems with injuries but every player who stays fit is going to improve. You get that extra match fitness, match speed, body strength and experience when you’re playing regularly, so let's hope Victor can stay fit now. He still only 24 so he's got time on his side and there’s no doubt he's got all the attributes to be a top player.
Great credit must go to the manager as well because it was a very positive move away from home, bringing the boy Naismith off and putting a striker on. It got the result and I was delighted to see Everton start the year with yet another impressive win.
Overall, I think David will look at nine points from 12 over the festive period and be very satisfied, even though he'll think it really could have been 12 from 12. The team showed a lot of character to come from behind and win against West Ham and Newcastle, and I thought the performance against Chelsea deserved a point at the very least.
But attention now turns to the FA Cup and a trip to Cheltenham on Monday. I always used to look forward to the third round of the FA Cup because when I was growing up that was the glamour cup, the trophy everyone wanted to win. The reaction we got from the fans when we won it in 1984 - against Southampton in the semi-final at Highbury and certainly at Wembley for the final against Watford - is something I'll never forget. With the support we had, there was no way we were going to get beaten.
But that wasn't unusual. In fact, that run started with a trip to Stoke in the third round and came at a time when Howard Kendall had been under a great deal of pressure. But the noise at the Victoria Ground (as was Stoke’s home back then) before the game was incredible and Howard gave a famous team talk where he got us all in the dressing room, opened up all the windows and just said, 'you've got to win this for them'. You could hear our fans so clearly, they were so passionate, and there was never any doubt that we were going to go through.
A lot of people say Adrian Heath's goal against Oxford in the League Cup quarter-final that year was the catalyst for all we went on to achieve under Howard but for me that team talk and that game at Stoke, that was the real turning point.
In the fourth round though, we got Gillingham, who had Steven Bruce and Tony Cascarino in their side at that time. We drew 0-0 in the first game at Goodison and then again after extra-time in the replay down at Priestfield Stadium. It meant we had to contend with a third game at their place and eventually we got through with a 3-0 win. People remember those games, however, for a save Neville Southall made from Cascarino in extra-time of the second game when he probably should have dumped us out. The way Everton have been in recent years, the professional way they've gone about every game they've played in, I fully expect them to be too strong for Cheltenham. But, even though we won eventually, that Gillingham tie showed me just how easily upsets can happen.
Ultimately, Everton's players should be thinking about going on and winning the trophy and bringing it back to Goodison Park. The Club is crying out for it and I know David Moyes is desperate to win some silverware. And, honestly, they have got as good a chance as anybody this year.
KEEP THE NEW DEALS COMING
I was delighted this week to read about the new long-term contracts for Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman.
That the players are so keen to commit their futures to the Club demonstrates things are going in the right direction and it's testament to the jobs the manager and the chairman are doing.
There are a lot of clubs now losing their best players - including some of the so-called 'big' clubs - and it's encouraging to see that the players believe in what is going on at Goodison.
Jagielka has been filling in for Phil Neville as captain and filling in at right-back as well in recent weeks, and he's one of those vital players who will go out there and do a job for you whatever you ask of him.
He'll be 34 when the contract runs out but these days, with the way the players look after their bodies, I can see him carrying on even further beyond that.
You look at Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at Manchester United, or even Neville here, and they're the example to follow. These lads are so fit; they're like athletes these days.
For me though, it's another old head who's been Everton's best player in recent weeks. Against Chelsea, Sylvain Distin was absolutely superb. Awesome, in fact. Then, against Newcastle, the pace he showed and the way he read the game was fantastic.
David Moyes said before Christmas he wants to get both Sylvain and Phil talking about new contracts in the New Year. To me, that sounds like a very good idea indeed.