Forum contributor and infamously feminine GOT comedian ´Chicoazul´ has put hands to keyboard to write a summary of the regular pre-seasons woes and optimism for Blues everywhere.
How y´all feeling out there?
Were into July so quickly. Remember contemplating that void seemingly not too long ago about EFC free weeks? Well there´s not long left as will soon be playing a mish mash of opposition in our pre season friendlies, starting with the annual advent of Bury and finishing with Werder Bremen and Villarreal. Obviously if ticket sales are low then expect the official site and Phil Neville to start talking about getting revenge in the Villarreal game. Not that they´ll be arsed one jot as they turn up and pass the living sh*te out of us, at will.
It pains a bit when we play European opposition as it reminds us that we have nothing of that sort to look forward to this season. After relatively gorging on second tier Euro soccer for a few seasons, we´ve come up short for the last few as other clubs have upped their budgets and leapfrogged us with relative ease. I pine for palpitations watching us struggle in moody stadiums esplendid with ultra flags (the beauts) and poorly groomed euro fuschball fanz. I hope it´s something we get sorted again really soon.
A lot of us like pre season to have a look at the young lids coming through. We had a glimpse towards the tail end of last season with regular appearances from Gueye and Vellios. It´s a delicate process bringing a player through like that and establishing them in the first team. I don´t take training and aren´t qualified in the subtleties of professional football but I´m always eager to see a young lad or two running about on the pitch doing boss things. I sort of think that they get it more. Before their imminent transfer to United or Arsenal if they do turn out any good of course.
In the absence of any money, and we´ll come to that in a bit, there is heavier burden unfairly on the young lids. The ones in the first team squad are now getting to that stage where they have to push on in the next two years or move on. At the moment we have Mustafi, Duffy, Wallace, Forshaw, Barkley, Vellios, Silva, Baxter & McAleny that are on professional first team contracts. Such is the nature of top flight football that we´ll be lucky to see any two of them establish themselves in the first team for a period of time, but looking for the glimpses of what hopefully may be is what plenty of you will be doing. Obviously Baxter´s corker against Forest proves that spiking expectations may be a little premature, or plain misplaced optimism.
You have to say that Moyes rarely gets it wrong with letting the young lads leave the club. Although there was much gnashing of teeth with some over the likes of Mark Hughes and others, not one of them has gone on to make us rue them not making it at Goodison. Good luck to them all though, obviously.
We´ve got a relatively small squad in the Premiership, no doubt restrained by our finances. It sometimes plays into our hands as Moyes instils an us against them attitude and a very close knit group of players. We´re not really ones for tolerating knobheads at EFC and long may it continue. Obviously I´d swerve all that moral high ground stuff if it meant we´d win stuff with convicted serial killers up front.
Part two of pre season things to get you excited, but one that we´re not accustomed to any more: is new signings. I´d be getting a lazy lob on of dizzy optimism beards ago when the Echo would show one of our new signings playing a meaningless friendly in our new kit. Formations and permatations would be dreamt up and hazy visions of sweeping all before us in the forthcoming season. Then it would really hurt less than three months later we´d be hovering around the relegation zone as Coventry City made Danny Williamson, Stefan Rehn or Mike Milligan look like the dogs they were.
Signings don´t happen much these days and as a set of football fans were quite forgiving all things considered. Evertonians have always had a good grounding in realism as lady luck is ready to smite us the moment we get ideas above our stations.
What is soul destroying for many is seeing not only Spurs and City overtake us with spending and ambition, but the likes of Stoke too. It´s been pointed out that we perhaps peaked as a team under Moyes at the FA Cup Final. It would be really sad if so as we harbour bigger ambitions, but it would be a crying shame if all our good work and steady evolution was undone by not being able to invest modestly in the squad. Judging by the lack of incomings it´s safe to assume that it´s sell to buy. Thing is, Vaughan and Yobo´s money won´t buy us anything to really set the juices flowing, nor big enough to make the impact we desire.
It´s not all doom and gloom though. A year ago we were anticipating having a defining season in the modern era for EFC. Howard dropping the ball against Blackburn signalled that it maybe wouldn´t turn out as we hoped. We had some bad luck with injuries and some players simply did not turn up last season, cough Arteta.
Fellaini will be back however and makes it a real possibility that we can play with four in the midfield, especially if Arteta plays like how we remember he could. Osman needs to carry momentum from a fantastic end to the season and be starting in the middle if any of the former aren´t producing the goods. Beckford and Coleman will be both one more season on in their adaptation to top class English football, and both showed plenty of promise. You never know, Saha might produce a swansong in the twilight of his career if he manages to keep his tendons from spontaneously dissolving. The defence is very solid indeed and a good foundation on which to build. Gueye and Rodwell have undoubted talent and in particular Jack really needs to deliver something, if he is wearing the royal blue of Everton by the time the season kicks off. Ross Barkley might stop us from obsessing over Rodwell´s potential anyway. I doubt that Moyes or Cahill would want to place undue pressure on a young player coming through if they didn´t believe they could handle it, so it was interesting to read of them both bigging up his talents recently.
The late rally to seventh prevented a summer of real discontent but such are the margins that were capable of finishing from fifth to fifteen. We can only hope. And that´s what this time of year is about, hope. Hope bleaches our mind of getting bummed at home to WBA and Newcastle. Hope will be the predominant emotion driving a lot of you to pay a flim to evertontv and enthuse over one of the players mentioned above raping Philadephia Union´s full back. The hope that we´ll sign someone who make a real difference to the first team next year and drive us on.