naisy1Evertonians have always had boo-boys. From David Unsworth to James McFadden, Simon Davies to Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, it seems that some Blues are not satisfied unless they are criticising someone in an Everton shirt.

Since signing from a crumbling Glasgow Rangers on a free transfer in the summer of 2012, Steven Naismith has not enjoyed the most cordial relationship with the matchgoing Everton supporters.

In fact, he has been treated little short of disgracefully from the majority of the Goodison crowd.

Played out of position for long periods of his 18 months at the club, Naismith has suffered a crisis of confidence on the pitch which has led to ineffective performances and the wrath of the Goodison boo boys. In September, after netting the winner against Chelsea to secure the club’s first Premier League win of the season, Roberto Martinez admitted that Naismith had found it ‘very hard’ since arriving at the club and that the Scot had ‘not really been himself’.  To his credit, Naismith has never hid or offered anything less than 100% despite his touches being widely jeered from the Goodison faithful during cameo appearances.

On Saturday, with the Blues trailing 1-0 to Aston Villa and an equaliser looking unlikely against a stubborn back line, Martinez introduced Naismith after 70 minutes. Five minutes later, Naismith had drawn the Blues level with a smart finish after a brilliantly timed run and flick from Pienaar that cut Villa apart. Although a stunning free-kick from Mirallas secured the three points, there was no doubt to most inside the ground that the introduction of Naismith won Everton the game.

For each of the goals Naismith has netted in a Blue shirt, he has demonstrated both composure and an ability to be in the right place at the right time. Think back to the cool finishes against Chelsea, Liverpool, Norwich, Reading, Fulham and Stevenage and you will begin to appreciate the finishing qualities that Naismith brings to the table.

Goals alone are not enough for Premier League frontmen, you need both presence and nous. Steven Naismith has both. Kevin Mirallas doesn’t have the physical presence to lead the line alone as was demonstrated on Saturday as the Belgain toiled against a wily Villa defence. Naismith may not have the pace to get in behind teams but what he does have is intelligent movement to get defenders turning and the strength to look after the ball and bring others into play.

With Romelu Lukaku injured and worryingly out of form in any case, Naismith has earned his spot for the crucial trip to Spurs on Sunday. There were Evertonians screaming for Vellios when Naismith was stripped and ready to come on, demanding that Martinez introduce the Greek as the Blues needed ‘height’. The fact that Vellios hasn’t contributed anything to the Everton cause for the best part of two years barring the posting of ‘selfies’ of himself and his teammates at Finch Farm on Twitter didn’t matter, it was the fact that Naismith was coming on that fuelled their fury.  Thankfully, Roberto Martinez knows best with the timing and the impact of the substitution proving inspired.

The time has come for Steven Naismith to be afforded the respect and appreciation that his ability deserves. He has a massive part to play in the final third of the season and Evertonians would do well to cut the man some slack and allow him to enjoy his football.

Maybe then the much-maligned Scot can play without the fear of disapproval and convey the arrogance and self-belief that Roberto Martinez has challenged Naismith to showcase in the final third of the season.

Joe Jennings

14 Comments

  1. Good article mate,totally agree.

  2. mark pembridge says:

    He’s garbage. A Championship player at best.

  3. I was wrong. He IS decent. Puts in a shift. Seems like a nice guy. Sing his name!!!

  4. Quite right! He was at his most effective up in Scotland playing off the main striker which he has never been played in while at Everton. Imagine how effective Fellaini or Cahill would have been if they’d been asked to play there
    Over the past few weeks he has shown a lot of improvement and maybe the injury to Lukaku will give him a run in the team where Evertonians will be able to see how good he can be

  5. Some idiots sitting on about Row R, seats 130-134 in the Top Balcony were booing him when he came on on Saturday.

  6. Watched the replay, a number of times and it was a great finish. If it had been somebody like Van Persie…..I’m sure the commentator would have said something like the finish of a born goal scorer. I’ll admit, I was one calling for Vellios against Villa. Luckily, I don’t manage Everton…….

  7. Got to agree with this article. I’ve slagged him off a lot over the last year or so, but I was there on Saturday and thought Naismith was superb.

    His movement was fantastic. Just what you want to see from a striker. His goal was well worked, with a lovely assist from Pienaar.

  8. Simon Davies deserved his whipping boy status for his utterly pathetic ‘efforts’ in a blue shirt. I was giving that piss poor player as much grief as anyone.

    He cost £4.5m and under Kenshite that is a fortune for us. Davies was a pile of shit.

    Naismith was played out of position by Moyes last season. He looked a fish out of water on the wing, this is when the boo-boys started criticising him.

    He’s done ok this season. Fair play to the lad, however, if we want to be a top 4 club he’s a squad player at the very best.

  9. He may not be the most skillful,but neither was Cahill,and we loved him. Naismith is great in the air and works his nuts off. He looks more like scoring a goal than Lukaku has of late. It cheeses me right off when our own fans boo their players.

  10. I have never slagged the lad off because he was being played out of position and also coming back from a bad injury.He is a striker and he will get goals if played there.I’m not saying he’s a world beater but he works hard for the team and no Everton player should ever be booed by our so called fans.

  11. Excellent article. We all have our favourites and the opposite but it’s so important we recognise that every player deserves our encouragement even if they play badly. As humans we all do better whenever we are praised and encouraged and conversely, if we are criticised, even if we are wrong/ play badly – that invariably makes us feel less loved and therefore less likely to be able to give of our best.
    So next time, like me, you feel the manager gas made a wrong decision – try to keep your disquiet to yourself; think of the team and just give the guy a good cheer.

  12. Naismith has been quite good when he has played recently. He scored good goals against Chelsea and Stevenage and now with this goal against Villa, this will boost his confidence. He should definitely play against Spurs on Sunday, may be as a second half substitute alongside Mirallas. COYB, we have to win the next two games and then take on Swansea in the FA Cup.

  13. The lad himself has stated he has played out of position.Of course some fans thing they should be able to play anywhere which is not the case,It probably feels like a right hander trying to write with the left,doesn’t seem natural.Alex Ferguson always said a player should be played in their favoured position.Of course Everton havn’t had that luxury,but fans should NEVER EVER boo their own players,save that for the opposition.

  14. Steven keep doing what you are doing,ignore the small number of clowns who pretend to be fans,i’m 50+ years a blue,i’m behind you,thanks for all you do.

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