Date:Wednesday March 18 2009
This week Fortress Fratton hosts Everton in what promises to be a fantastic encounter for both sides. With Everton outside bets for a Champions League spot, and Portsmouth battling for survival, PFCGino has interviewed Toffee Tower from the Vital Everton board for his views not only on the game but also how the season has panned out on the Blue side of Liverpool.
What is your greatest moment as an Everton fan?
I started supporting the Blues just after the 1995 FA Cup triumph. At that particular time I only really played in school, so following a team had only just started to grow on me. As a result I have never really experienced a cup win as a full blown Evertonian, so my greatest memory would have to be qualifying for the Champions League after beating Newcastle United at Goodison Park. It was a special atmosphere and the reaction at full time followed by the team being paraded was a special memory for me.
What's is like having Planet Hollywood mogul Robert Earl as a Director and do you expect Bruce Willis to be donning an Everton shirt soon?
I am uncertain as to what exactly Robert Earl's role at the club actually is. As far as I know he is a friend of Bill Kenwright and advises the Chairman regarding finance and investment. Considering Sylvester Stallone has already graced the Goodison turf clad with a Everton scarf, you never know, Bruce Willis might be next!
Your manager David Moyes has hit out at the use of Wembley for your FA Cup semi-final. What's your take on it?
As a fan it's a chance to enjoy a day out and see the new Wembley, but I do understand where he's coming from; the semis should really be played at Villa Park and Old Trafford and the final should be the reward for both semi final winners. I think us Evertonians are looking forward to it nonetheless.
Is a Moyes team capable of qualifying for the Champions League or winning the FA Cup (or even both)?
Compared to Aston Villa and Arsenal on paper our run-in is a lot more easier. However, Arsenal have the experience of Arsene Wenger and have been in this situation, attempting to secure a Champions League berth, before. I think that leaves them as favourites, but the run-in to decide the final Champions League qualifier, much like the run-in to decide the league champions, is certainly going to be exciting. I think so long as we keep our current run of form sustained until the end of the season it's certainly possible.
What do you think of David Moyes' lack of January transfer window activity given you earlier striker 'crisis'? Early days, but how do you rate Jo?
I think it was always going to be hard to recruit a top striker with so little money in January. Players are sold at a premium and we quite simply couldn't afford to spend. As a result, I think the majority where pleased with the much understood and maligned Jo, who has a torrid time at Eastlands. David Moyes has a habit of bringing players in with a point to prove and getting the best out of them, and Jo is certainly proving to be another example of this.
Who has been your best player this season?
I don't think many people will argue that our defence certainly should take a lot of credit from what we have done this season, and Phil Jagielka has been at the heart of that. I think it would be a tough choice between him and our club captain Phil Neville, who has won many people over this season with his maturity and leadership.
If you could pick one Pompey player to play for Everton who would it be and why?
I think it would be a choice between Glen Johnson and Niko Kranjcar, because I believe either player could strengthen us in areas we are weak in, at right-back and in attacking midfield.
Have you been to Fratton Park before and if so what did you think of it?
I've never been but I think it's a good place to watch your football, with a fabulous atmosphere.
What's the one song we are guaranteed to hear from your travelling supporters on Saturday?
Probably, "And if ya know ya history..."
Which Everton player can do Pompey the most damage on Saturday and why?
I think Tim Cahill is an important player for us, but we have Marouane Fellaini as well as Louis Saha and Jo to chip in with the goal scoring.
Conversely, which Pompey player do you feel can do Everton the most damage on Saturday?
I would have said Defoe, but it's a shame he left you as he was a real threat to the opposition. So now I am inclined to say Peter Crouch.
Realistically, what do you expect the score to be?
I think this will be a tight game, but we might just sneak it by the odd goal.
What are your hopes for this season? What would you class as a success or disaster? Has this changed from the beginning of the season?
I think looking at the league at the moment and taking into consideration our recent form, anything less than Europa Cup qualification would be a terrible finish. We could cause an upset and gate crash the Champions League, but it would take monumental effort! There's also the FA Cup so it could potentially be a very special season for Everton.
Where would you expect to see Pompey finish come May?
I think Pompey have enough about them to survive and not get sucked in.
Finally, is there any truth in the rumour that Sylvester Stallone's next 'Rocky' film will actually be a documentary on Joleon Lescott?
Haha, "watch this space!"
Questions answered by Toffee Tower from Vital Everton. Some questions put to Gino should appear over their in due course...
Date:Wednesday March 18 2009
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