They were selling Andrew Johnson by the pound outside Goodison Park, his image superimposed on facsimile £20 notes. The cost was a fraction of the nominal face value, which proved apt as inside the ground Everton were also selling themselves short.
All week the blue half of Merseyside, buoyed by the 3-0 demolition of Liverpool, had anticipated going top of the Premiership. It was Everton this, Johnson that, and the opponents were almost an irrelevance. "I was glad to look in the programme and see we were playing," Paul Jewell said only half in jest, "because Wigan Athletic didn't get a mention all week."
Jewell had a point and, as a former Liverpool supporter and player himself, might also have mentioned that Everton have a habit of going off script. True to form, they did and blew it. David Moyes, their manager, talked of the big picture afterwards, of and undefeated record and of 11 points from five games, but inside, you suspect he was angry.
Not only with his team, who were twice ahead, but partly with fate and with himself. The withdrawal of Lee Carsley, who was feeling a rib injury incurred against Liverpool, was costly because both of Paul Scharner's supremely executed goals came from late runs that Carsley normally patrols. "It disrupted us a little," Moyes agreed.
Nevertheless the tactical honours went to Jewell, who had only 16 fit players, some of whom were out of position, and had to endure the sight of Johnson getting his fifth goal in as many matches.
"He's a tremendous player, he never gives defenders a second," said Jewell, who had an offer of £8.5m accepted by Crystal Palace only for Johnson to opt for Goodison. "He came to Wigan and then signed for Everton so I think owes us a tenner for his dinner."
Goals: Johnson (49) 1-0; Scharner (62) 1-1; Beattie (66, pen) 2-1; Scharner (68) 2-2.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Hibbert (Nuno Valente, 77), Yobo, Lescott, Naysmith; Osman, Neville, Carsley (Beattie, 60), Arteta; Cahill; Johnson. Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Weir, Van der Meyde.
Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Kirkland; Boyce, Hall, De Zeeuw, Baines; Valencia (Teale, 60), Scharner, Landzaat (Wright, 82), Kilbane; Heskey, Johansson. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Jackson, Cotterill.
Bookings: Everton Neville; Wigan Kirkland, De Zeeuw, Heskey, Valencia, Baines.
Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).
Man of the match: Scharner.
Attendance: 37,117.Reuse content