Let me tell you my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
Now I’m not for one minute implying that Premiership football has parallels with being in some rough prison, badly paranoid that you’re going to be get taken by the sisters, and this quote was from a Red after all but I’ve been pondering this in relation to our current situation.
It’s painful watching what was meant to be the best squad we’ve had for a couple of decades unravel in front of your eyes as the season passes. The most powerful emotion that keeps a lot of you digging deep and going through the weekly rigmarole is that hope thing. The eternal hope that we’re getting there, which has been the case for approximately six seasons prior to this one under Moyes. A lot of us are in a select minority of English football fans in that we’ve seen our club lift the league title. It was boss, I’d love that again before my time is up but the parameters in football are much different to when Ratcliffe lifted the Today First Division Championship all those twenty four years ago.
We were devoid of hope for a long spell, from the mid part of Harvey’s reign to Moyes’ second season. Save for the blip in 1995/96 when we looked under Royle that we’d do something, how quickly that was crushed out of us. In the absence of another Kevin Brock moment, we’ve been trying our hand at the slow building method, bit by bit, player by player, season by season.
I done another article a couple of weeks back about the end of the second team of Moyes’ era and having to build another, but maybe I missed out the bit about how this new team is likely to be worse than the one before. Let’s not beat around the bush, we are skint. Building successful, sustainable football teams does cost money, especially in the Premiership. We are not sat on a crop of world beating youngsters, circa United mid nineties, so without having funds were likely to see a further deterioration of the first team quality. The modern footballer is an ambitious one and with an ego to feed. Trudging to a two nil defeat at Bolton or rescuing a point against moody opposition at home is not their idea of living the dream. They’ll strop on twitter and Spurs/City will buy them.
That Qatari sugar daddy is unlikely to come riding through our doors any time soon so accordingly we have to adjust our expectations. Now I’m not here to smite the motto of our good club but we’re not going to win the title or play in the Champions League in the foreseeable future as things stand. A horrid thought is that we peaked with finishing fifth and reaching an FA Cup Final, but that looks to be the case. We’ve got some serious rebuilding to do and we’re not entirely sure if our Manager will even stick around for it. Whilst these are no Walter Smith days, it’s obviously depressing us all off to the point of even comparing it.
This season was meant to be one packed brimful of that hope thing and things looked set that way back in August. We gambled a bit on letting Pienaar run down his contract presumably in the hope that once he seen how ace we were going to be this season then he’d want to stay. He’s now taking decent looking corners for a team in the Champions League. A lack of in form striker (before Saha woke from his slumber) has cost us dearly, as has off form players.
Take Arteta for instance. Moyes clearly takes plenty of blame for this too, but a large portion of our raised expectations pre season was down to the excellent work he’d done before it. Who knows if someone new coming in would stir things up positively again but there’s more chance that it wouldn’t. Saying that, letting Vaughan, Yakubu and Pienaar go in the transfer window without replacing them is ludicrous. Even more so when you seen on loan Sturridge scoring against us this weekend. Bolton or Everton? Hmmm.
Something might give, whilst we seemingly don’t have it in our collective DNA to do a footballing jihad like our neighbours there are a lot of disgruntled and unhappy Evertonians about. I saw a group of blues the other day putting together something to encourage change. Good luck to them, we need it.
The releasing of the accounts really showed that we’re a stagnant club and our performances on the field are in keeping with that. It shouldn’t have come to this but it has and unfortunately you can’t make a horse out of the donkey. So we are going to have to align our expectations accordingly which in turn kills some of that hope. And that hope is for many the thing that makes them spunk on the outlay of an expensive season ticket, in a time of economic depression.
I hope we’ve got an immediate future which is better than being a mid table team angling at best for a euro finish and a run in the cup. The current scenario makes it seem that I should perhaps be more realistic. If we were chiselling through a wall with a rock hammer, we might have just hit the granite. Living on that beach in Mexico seems a long way away.