The Working Class and the Lottery Winners

Everton and Manchester City until a few years ago were working class companions who shared a mutual disdain of anything Red.

Whilst Everton have remained working hand to mouth in their two up two down City have won the lottery and have used their financial windfall to progress through the echelons of society. But on a frigid Wednesday evening in the Carling Cup it became clear that they have forgotten, or chosen to ignore, their humble beginnings.

Their 2-0 victory over Birmingham City at first glance appears another good result in what so far has been a season of good results, but upon further examination it was an example of why the blue half of Manchester may not have much to celebrate come May.

Eleven minutes into his debut for the club, Owen Hargreaves smashed the ball from 25 yards into the top corner of Birmingham’s goal and ran away to celebrate – not one of his teammates chased him, nobody was interested in sharing in his elation. This is a player who hasn’t played a full game of football for three years, who most had written off for retirement, but the sentiment was certainly lost on his teammates.

City’s second goal came from Mario Balotelli, and his celebrations were even more muted. He treated his goal as if it was an insult to think he wouldn’t score, walking sullenly back to the centre circle.

Now compare those scenes with Everton’s victory over West Brom. Phil Neville’s injury-time winner was greeted with scenes of elation with his teammates swarming him to share the celebrations. Yes, the Royal Family are more common than a Phil Neville goal, but Hargreaves is hardly prolific, and has in fact notched two less goals than the Everton captain in the past five seasons.

Last Wednesday City were making their Champions League debut, hosting Napoli, so perhaps they could be forgiven for not emitting too much emotion against Championship opposition a week on. However that Championship side were the holders of the Carling Cup and also a Europa League team.

Manchester City have won the Carling Cup twice, the last time being 1976, yet their air of indifferent arrogance towards the competition is in stark contrast with Everton who have never won the cup. Goal scorer Phil Neville has in fact won more honours than Manchester City have won in their entire history (discounting Division 2 titles) yet he reeled away from scoring on Wednesday evening like he was a teenager making his debut forage into the first team.

And that has been the difference between Everton and City recently. If Everton represent the Premier League’s Paupers City are most certainly the league’s Arabian Princes, but for all their money they have not been able to buy three points off the Toffees since 2009.

Team spirit has been cited as the reason Everton have become somewhat of bogey team for the sky blues, with Moyes declaring on numerous occasions that it is something which cannot be bought.

This was apparent on Wednesday and it was apparent in last season’s meeting at Goodison. Everton battled back from a goal down to snatch an unlikely 2-1 victory with the Park End, the Gwladys, Bullens and Goodison Road reverberating in unison reaching a decibel level which could only be rivalled by Derby day.

City for all their flare showed no passion during the constraints of the 90 minutes, instead waiting until after the final whistle had signalled defeat to discover their fighting spirit. A melee instigated by Pablo Zabaleta only further emphasized the gulf in spirit as it was man in the royal version of blue who once again displayed the most passion – Phil Neville screaming in a Brian Kidd direction.

Everton have oft stolen an envious glance in the direction of their former working class companions, and no more so than this season when protests and discontentment have been in more abundance at Goodison Park than transfer fees, but Evertonians must remember that money can’t buy you happiness, and it certainly cannot buy you passion.

Joseph Fitzpatrick

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