Saturday, 16.50ish. The full-time whistle blows at Goodison Park as Everton record their first win of the season. A hard-fought victory decided by a solitary strike from Brazilian Bernard ensured that Marco Silva’s men got their home start of the season off with a win. Nothing spectacular (Lucas Digne’s exquisite pass for the goal aside) and the Blues can now reflect on four points from six and two clean sheets in their opening two games.
It’s the type of brief start that will still have doubters
doubting but it represents a platform to be built on as Everton look to break
into the top six or at least secure European nights at The Old Lady before
Bramley Moore Dock becomes the Toffees new headquarters.
Watford, who provided the opposition for the opening home
game would have been desperate to spoil the party. Convincingly beaten in their
opening fixture by Brighton, The Hornets would have loved nothing better to
sting their Merseyside rivals and register their first points of the season.
And that term rival was used deliberately, having been previously suggested by a number of media outlets that Javi Garcia’s team and Everton were now realistic rivals challenging for similar league spots and harbouring similar aspirations. Coupled with the fact that Silva was once the man at the Vicarage Road helm before his switch north and the man who ruined last season’s transfer window (we won’t forget Merson) Richarlison, now plying his trade in Royal Blue rather than yellow, it could well be argued that there is a lot more needle in fixtures between the sides than in previous years.
Rivalry can be subjective. Some may argue that every team in
one league is a rival as there is a chance to defeat or dent the hopes and
aspirations of another club on the two occasions the division allows you to
meet. How often has a club struggling for survival dealt a hammer blow to a
high-flying side’s title or European aspirations!
Rivalry also has a strong geographical element. There does
not necessarily need to be a cup final or championship at stake when two teams
in the same city do battle, bragging rights at home or at work is more than
However, the media outlets that seem to revel in doing
‘little’ Everton down do often forget or neglect to see a number of factors.
Football was not invented with the dawn of the Premier
League. Oh how those media moguls must be dying for either Manchester City or
Chelsea to surpass Everton’s haul of league titles!
IPoint two. While Everton’s realistic hopes may only be the
top six and a decent cup run in this campaign, if that is reached then the
hope, expectation and demand will increase. I would not disparage other clubs
by naming them, but there will be certain sides who would be overjoyed to
simply finish strong and as high as possible. Believe me I respect that, I grew
up watching Everton in the ‘90s!
That ethos is no longer anywhere near good enough for the
Blues faithful, the club, or the owners. With the plans in place for a
jaw-dropping new stadium, successful youth teams and a director of football
called Marcel brands, Everton are slowly earning the right to re-ignite
rivalries with clubs far bigger than the media would so desperately have you