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The Big Kick-Off

Radio City's Alan Irwin, 9th June 2010 - 10:01

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Alan Irwin is the Voice of Everton for Liverpool's Radio City 96.7. An experienced radio journalist, Alan commentates on all of the Blues' matches and is well placed to provide insightful blogs on the progress of the team.

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So here we go then, just hours away from the big kick off!

No I’m not writing this in August ahead of the first Premier League game of the season, although I’m sure many of you only associate the words “big kick off” with the beginning of the domestic football campaign. I can understand why. There are thousands whose primary concern is Everton Football Club and the National team hold no real place in their hearts. There are many who don’t want our players selected for international duty in case they get injured, tapped up or both! As a massive football fan though, I’m not one of them.

I really look forward to any major football tournament, I’m a lover of the game and to see it played at the very highest level is surely something any football purist wants. A whole month of utter indulgence. A chance to sit back and admire the world’s best, analyse pivotal moments, and even dream of signing a top player or two! Well maybe not the latter in our case given our limited financial resources! Having said that, many a Premier League manager has taken a gamble on a player who’s turned in a performance or two during the course of a few short weeks on the big stage - many haven’t worked out - it may be better that David Moyes leaves them alone. I know the boss is out there doing some radio summarising work but I’m sure he’s already done his homework on our requirements.

There are of course a fair few Everton players for Mr. Moyes to keep his eye on (which also makes the tournament a lot more interesting for Blues fans) along with one player who’ll join us after the world cup who we’ve not really had a chance to assess yet. Jan Mucha will be in goal for Slovakia, initially trying to progress in a group comprising Italy, Paraguay and New Zealand. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares before he joins the Blues for the new season. Will he provide competition for Tim Howard? I suspect he will, and he’s the type of quality number two we’ve needed for a while. I know Tim’s been pretty much an ever present since he signed but should he get injured it’s nice to know we’ve an international keeper waiting for his chance.

Talking of chances...can England win it? They can, but I doubt they will. Strength in depth is the key, our first eleven may be okay (and we don’t even have that now!) but I’m not prepared to put my mortgage on us even making it all the way to the final. We don’t have a top goalkeeper either (another key element). David James is a mistake waiting to happen. We’ve seen it before in previous World Cups, keepers have let us down and I can see it happening again. The one positive we do have is the manager. In Fabio Capello we have a man of astute experience and that can carry a team a long way. Luck can also play a vital part and I feel we are due some at a major tournament. We might even win a penalty shoot-out. Fingers crossed then!

Finally for now a word on our new striker. Jermaine Beckford won’t be the last addition to the Goodison ranks during the summer but he’s a decent enough start. A willing worker who does score goals, not proven at the top level but I’m prepared to give him that chance on the evidence of his recent record. Not an international footballer but 85 goals in a 152 appearances for Leeds is a great strike rate.

Maybe after that final whistle has blown on the World Cup we’ll debating whether we really need to be tracking a world class player!

Sit back and enjoy it if you can. If not, Roll on August!

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