It was getting late as we were sat up in bed when she said something which really made me stop and think. “No, I don’t want you to fix it for me, I just want you to listen to me”.
For weeks she had been upset with the current situation she found herself in (as anyone sat up with me in bed at night should do) as I had the mini epiphany that I had been approaching it wrong. The softly spoken girl didn’t want me to dive in like a jarg superhero to fix it for her, or tell her how to. She just wanted to vent and get it all out, maybe as therapy. What I thought about it wasn’t important as I was there to merely spectate, and that helped. It honestly invoked a change in my approach to her, friends, family, colleagues, whoever, that I practice with varying levels of success since.
It’s helped me understand Everton twitter better, truth be told. As much anyway as you can understand such an entity of volatile energy, and its almost funeral-wake type celebration of masochism and melancholia in the face of yet more crushing disappointment. A Radiohead album in footballing form, if you will. You can read, scroll, absorb the angst and not type. Some just want to be listened to.
Prior to the internet I’d go the game and afterwards – as was often the case in the 90s – groan along to painful analysis of the utter shite we’d just watched. This happened in a pub, car or train, but was localised to whoever present and listening. Some of the insight in those talks really influenced my attitude towards Everton at that time. They still do (hello T). My opinions are malleable and remain so to this day, hence the regular fence sitting for those that know me.
Fast forward a couple of decades and the post match bone picking is amplified by thousand and thousands if you use twitter for example. There’s a whole maelstrom of opinion which is limited only in as much as who you follow, and who they retweet. While my personal approach to disappointment is self deprecation and satire, there’s the urge from many to analyse and apply fixes. Coming to solutions so simple that it only leads to more rage that they haven’t been applied. Sometimes I scroll, and listen. Other times I’ll mischievously antagonise, there’s progress for me to work on still.
And if I do choose to just read then it’s really damning right now as scores of you can articulate really well a whole list of problems that Everton just don’t seem capable of fixing anything more than temporarily, to the scourge of sustainability and any sort of improvement that leads us somewhere better than here.
The repetition of new management leading quickly into failure is a trend. There’s something either inherent or factors sabotaging us every throw of the dice that we need to understand and eradicate or we will be underwhelming shithouses for the foreseeable. Jarg Supermen apply within.
Separating my personal feelings and emotional investment in Everton for a moment, my preferred weekend distraction is really a serious business operating in one of the most competitive and publicised markets in the world. The talent it attracts to govern its various departments pays well over the going rate for most comparable businesses of that size, the rewards are very high indeed, and with it comes the demands and scrutiny to accompany that. Apart from the man at the top there is accountability for all others, to whoever they report into, shareholders and – in addition to most normal businesses – an eager media and hundreds of thousands of fans (who complete the circle by holding the man at the top accountable). Poor decisions and their impacts will be platformed as a continual mass narrative about your competency. Of all those holding responsibility it is the first team Manager who bears the most scrutiny.
Four consecutive defeats and finding yourself in the relegation zone underneath Steve Bruce’s Newcastle is damning. This is crisis that Everton find themselves in right now, with the hysteria merited considering the resources invested in the squad and a very kind opening set of fixtures. The weight of a quarter century trophy-less run and Big Red steaming all before them only exacerbates the situation, the anger or despondency amongst fans.
That’s why those in power have as crucial a two period as there’s been at Everton for quite some time. The circumstance we find ourselves in must either be remedied and if not the decisions that lay ahead must break the aforementioned trend that stifles the entire club.
The responsibilities do not just lie with Marco Silva. The competency of the playing staff is as much a reference on his man management and strategy as it is on the recruitment. At the end of the transfer window the general consensus was that it was an opportunity lost – perhaps for chasing unattainable targets for too long – and that both defence and forward lines were a little light and inexperienced. Thus it has proved so far, with the recruitment not being the prime responsibility of the Manager, it also implicates Marcel Brands. While his role is not at risk, him and Moshiri will no doubt be feeling it. There’s a danger that if the unwanted trend isn’t remedied then the most toxic element to Goodison will prevail, in apathy. The staunchness of Evertonians is reflected in the level of support home and away – yet it is apathy rather than anger which is most damaging in my humble opinion. As reflections post Wimbledon 1994 pointed to dwindling energy and support in the preceding years helped bring us to a most unwanted place, but that’s for another day.
For the time being every statement, every sign will be getting hyper analysed in this period of crisis. Everton’s ability to lead is being tested as much as any time in recent history, and as very few of us are privy to what really goes on inside the doors of Finch Farm and changing room, we can only hope that this time it’s different. You can mark me down as unconvinced in this respect, dear reader.
I doubt there’ll be a Kevin Brock moment ahead, I’m not even sure Silva will make November, I just wish to see any shoots of recovery to grasp onto in the hope that watching footie on the weekends can be enjoyable again in the not too distant future. Prepare yourself for a very rough December otherwise and how our situation may look going into the New Year. Last time Moshiri got the jitters we ended up with a five foot kopite piss goblin and his multi jowelled rent-a-quote Midlands slug master getting paid a shit load to steer us away from relegation to a fanfare that never came. That one season and two months later we find ourselves anticipating something similar should be absolutely shameful on all those presiding over it.
The solutions are on them, if you’ve listened to me this far then nice one, maybe I can sleep now.