A trophy :–noun, plural -phies.
anything taken in war, hunting, competition, etc., especially when preserved as a memento; spoil, prize, or award.
anything serving as a token or evidence of victory, valor, skill, etc.
a carving, painting, or other representation of objects associated with or symbolic of victory or achievement.
Atrophy :-noun, verb, -phied, -phy·ing.
a wasting away of the body or of an organ or part, as from defective nutrition or nerve damage.
degeneration, decline, or decrease, as from disuse: He argued that there was a progressive atrophy of freedom and independence of thought.
It has long been argued that Moyes´ tenure at Everton will not be considered a success without that piece of silverwear to crown a moment of glory. Whilst others point to a fourth placed finish and a breathless sojourn in the Champions League qualifiers as a pinnacle. What is really the driving desire behind such discussion and what relevance does it bare to the actual state of Everton Football club and Football in general?
The only facts on offer are the comparisons that can be made throughout the same time and under the same circumstances.
Currently there is a growing media scrum applying pressure to Arsene Wenger as Arsenal have not won a trophy for five years. Before his arrival Arsenal had been a good side but in decline as the George Graham assembled side either aged, retired or sought pastures new. Which leads to the most recent example. Birmingham City (new owners last summer) somehow beat Arsenal in the League Cup final this past season and will be playing Europa League football from the Championship next term as they were relegated from the Premier League, and have subsequently lost their manager to arch rivals Aston Villa. They are now bracing themselves for an almost complete squad overhaul as the vultures swoop for bargains, the bosmans walk, some retire and others have contractual stipulations allowing them to leave should they be relegated for comparative low fees.
Isolated incident? Possibly, they are certainly the first Championship side to take part in the new fangled Europa League, though I do recall Ipswich playing in the Uefa cup under George Burley some years ago.
Another blot in the ointment? Well, Portsmouth had a succession of new owners, and managed to win the FA Cup, that they were relegated and couldn´t afford to pay for their European competition licence/insurance meant that they would have been playing in Europe from the comfort of the English leagues second division (´First division´ or ´Championship´ way back then all of two years ago). I wonder if a solitary trophy can soothe the consciences of the Birmingham City supports and Portsmouth supporters respectively in light of their luster and then subsequent relegations.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
´But these are small clubs´, I hear you reply, (obviously apart from Arsenal) could there be a side in a similar turmoil that has a similar footing in English Football history to Evertons History? Well, Chelsea are nouveau riche and skew the picture temporarily, but for all their successes they still havn´t bullied their way to the top European Honour. Which brings me nicely to our affable neighbours. Their fifth top European Honour success was 2005, and they bang on about it still, and rolled that win into an FA cup win in 06. Since then having spent grotesque amounts, they still havn´t reached the ambrosia of the much sought Championship they crave, two consortiums of new owners, two seasons running out of the top European competition, three managers in ten months, two which were hounded out by players and fans alike.
The pressure of expectation can drag a support down, the demand by a support for a moment of glory can not just drag a club down, it can sink it. Ask a Forrest, or Leeds or Derby fan which league they would like to be playing in starting this coming August, and that extends to Sheff Wed, and West ham too.
Financial fair play is about to be rolled out, meaning a club can only spend what it generates. This is an effort by Uefa to level the playing field, but will it work or will the established bigger businesses still be able to financially outmuscle the moderately financially sized like has always been the way?
One thing for sure is that stability in the top flight is the crux of competition at a level with the rest of the best in the English League. That is just common sense, and I am quite happy with the situation currently where the future of my club will not be put at risk for an exceptionally short term gain, especially as the consequences for a mere stutter let alone a full fall can be so dire to a club, especially one that is run on such a shoestring. Hopefully the shoestring rule will apply to a few other sides very soon and then we can see just how badly Everton is purportedly ran as a business.
There are some fun times a lot closer than the horizon, and the atrophy I have spoken about might not apply to just a club or two, it could see an intense rebalance of the established elites.
To finish with a line, I´ll borrow from Dylan “The times they are a changin”