Look, let’s get one thing straight – Evertonians in general don’t want Liverpool to win the league. I certainly don’t. You know why? As we’re local rivals. That’s the way these things work – they don’t want us to win the league either. They don’t want United to – they’ve had fans on Sky’s Fanzone wearing a Chelsea shirt wanting their team to lose to deny them the title. They had fans in the stands celebrating a Blackburn goal to deny United the title.
It’s the way the world works. That said, on Saturday evening, Everton hosted Man City in a game that was effectively a dead rubber. After losing to Palace and Southampton, our Champions League hopes were non-existent, with Arsenal needing 1 win against dross opposition in the run in to beat us to 4th. Earlier in the day, both Spurs and United lost to mean we automatically secured 5th.
Therefore, the game effectively became meaningless. The fans were flat as we’d petered out in the league after a lot of hope about joining the European top table, and were simply reading to trot out the 90 minutes and applaud the players at the end for a fantastic effort this season.
So the fans were a bit quieter than for the usual Premier League fixture. A bit. It wasn’t a cauldron like against United as there was no Moyes factor. It wasn’t like the Arsenal game in a continental qualification six-pointer. It was an ultimately meaningless game being played out on the fixture schedule, that you will find up and down the country at this stage of the season every year.
But all of this, apparently, is beyond the understanding of one Martin Tyler.
For Martin Tyler, who I’m sure doesn’t support a team in red, this game finished with an Everton defeat solely because the fans wanted City to win to deny Liverpool the title. That somehow the players didn’t give their all as the fans were rabid for a defeat.
Let’s ignore the actual decent performance of the Toffees today in a respectable 3-2 loss to billion-pound assembled side. Let’s look at this atmosphere in question. Every blue in that ground cheered the Barkley strike vociferously. Every blue in that ground claimed for a penalty on Barkley. Every blue in that ground claimed for free kicks and cheered on corners. The place was almost booed to the foundations when Dzeko feigned injury to time waste. Lukaku’s header brought a Goodison roar from the crowd. Every single blue wanted that equaliser, even if it would have been tinged with regret. Every. Single. One.
Tyler barely went thirty seconds without mentioning the atmosphere. He actually claimed that Everton fans wouldn’t celebrate a goal when it was 3-1. Minutes later, Lukaku struck and – surprise surprise – we celebrated the damn goal.
Fans in the ground have reported on Twitter that every blue was behind the lads today. American Toffees have reported NBC coverage reflected a great end to end competitive game with the fans urging the team on. Neutral fans are flabbergasted by the stunning bias from the Sky commentary game today.
Evertonians aren’t stupid. We know we’re not Sky’s favourites (two ex-Liverpool players as pundits for an Everton home game – I assume any and all Everton media personalities were otherwise engaged eh?) and we understand that the media need to sensationalise stories to drum up interest and ratings and what have you. But Tyler overstepped the mark here by questioning the integrity of the fans and the club itself.
The club doesn’t have to have a look at itself, but the higher-ups at Sky certainly need to have a look at who they’re paying to be an impartial presence for their matchday program.