By Chris Wright
“Mother, get the tin foil! They’re listening to my dreams again!”
One for the conspiracy theorists now. If you happen to believe that the CIA are collecting samples from every stool that passes through your U-bend or that it was the giant metallic stick insects from Jupiter’s caramel centre that were responsible for 9/11 then this may be right up your alley.
David Moyes has claimed, not for the first time if memory serves, that something may have been iffy about the UEFA Champions League draw that saw Everton get Spanish big’ns Villarreal in the 2005 qualifying stage – chiefly as Michel Platini and co. didn’t want five English sides in the pot for the tournament proper .
Bemoaning Everton’s budget or lack thereof, Moyes told Sky Sports:
“It was a defining point for us. Villarreal went onto the semi-final. The draw we got was a stinker. I always think it was the ‘hot balls’ in the bag that day.
“We went away (trailing 2-1) and Duncan Ferguson scored to make it 2-1 on the night to take it to extra-time and Pierluigi Collina ‘chops it off’ (disallows it).
“That could have changed what we did at Everton. If we had got into the group stages with the money that was available.
“Everyone knows the previous season Liverpool had won the European Cup so deep down I didn’t think they (UEFA) wanted five British teams in the group stages.
“I am sure they were all delighted when we were knocked out.”
The ‘hot balls’ Moyes is referring to here are, one assumes, not the moist, fuzzy Gallic testes dangling in Platini’s undergarments and rather the polished balls that were fished from the plastic goldfish bowl of destiny during the draw itself. We’re not supporting Moyes’ theory per se, but obviously, by heating certain balls before hand, UEFA could have manufactured the draw as they saw fit.
‘Could’ being the operative word.
There are also several other factors of their game with Villarreal that have led many an-Everton fan to cry foul over the years; chiefly that bug-eyed referee Collina not only disallowed what looked to be a perfectly legal goal (3:28 mark on this video) that would have hauled the Toffees right back into the game, but that he was also bought out of retirement to officiate the second leg and then promptly retired again directly after.
Hmmm. My ‘Poirot Sense’ is tingling.