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What Have I Done To Deserve This?

If karma is true, the idea that bad actions in a previous life are being punished in this one, then clearly, in a past life, I was a complete c**t.

How else can you explain what could occur next May?

There is a possibility on the horizon that by the end of this season, Liverpool will be champions, the Tories under Johnson will be established in power with a comfortable majority, and Everton could be facing a future in the Championship.

If you’re a Socialist and an Evertonian, things have never been bleaker. If you’re a Red and a Tory, it’s like all your Christmases have come at once (and in this instance they are definitely ‘white’ Christmases).

In the past there’s always been hope amongst the darkness. When Thatcher was at her zenith, Everton were being amazing under Kendall. Then, when Everton were deciding to be utter shite in the 90s, along came New Labour to bring an end to eighteen long years of Tory inspired gloom.

Of course, there’s a chance that not all of the above will come to pass. Everton might turn things around, Liverpool could once again blow it, Johnson might fall short of his longed-for majority. But, there is so much loaded against the possibility of a happy May that it seems unlikely that none of it will happen.

Living in this country, you sort of expect the Tories to be in power. Having left the confines of my native Liverpool some years ago and settled amongst the true-blue of the south-east, you come to realise that great swathes of the country do not give a shit about their fellow man. When faced with the prospect of forgoing a tiny sliver of their income in return for families being able to afford food, they are always going to vote for the party that lets them hoard their gold.

Equally, the prospect of Liverpool winning the title has a depressing inevitability about it. Let’s be honest, we’ve done well as Blues to go for so long without them claiming the top prize. Stubbornly, Liverpool have hung around the elite since their 1980s heyday, endlessly mining the club’s heritage and past glories to tap into successive generations of armchair fans. Somehow, even without glory, they remain the glory-hunters club of choice. And it is that legion of armchair fans that have sustained them during the lean years, ensuring the club has always remained in the running. And when you hang around the top that long, inevitably at some point you’re going to get lucky.

And so, you’re left with Everton. F**king Everton.

At the time of writing Marco Silva remains in his job. How? I have no idea. Take away a few weeks of good form towards the end of last season, and Silva’s record is abysmal. As a manager he has never convinced, always looking like a man out of his depth.

Inevitably, you search for reasons why this has happened, why a man so ill-equipped has landed the role. And in that search, the reason becomes obvious: it’s what Everton do.

Silva’s unsuitability for the position of Everton manager is not an isolated example of poor decision making by the club’s hierarchy. There is a long and disappointing track record in this area at the club that stretches back decades.

Since the early 1970s, Everton have made fourteen permanent managerial appointments and the overwhelming majority have been poor. The litany of mistakes is damning. In the 1970s, the club passed on the like of Brian Clough and Bobby Robson and opted instead for such managerial luminaries as Billy Bingham and Gordon Lee.

In the 1980s, when the club was at the height of its powers and looking around for someone to replace Howard Kendall, a position in football that anyone would’ve wanted, it opted for Colin Harvey, Irrespective of his credentials as an Evertonian, this was still a man with zero managerial experience, a deficiency that would prove telling as he tried to rebuild in Kendall’s wake.

In the 1990s, we were served up the lamentable Mike Walker, a diminished Howard Kendall for a third spell and the master of dour football, Walter Smith. Walker in particular stands out. He remains, unequivocally, the worst manager in the club’s history, a perma-tanned charisma void with less tactical acumen than the black cat who sometimes wanders onto the Goodison turf.

Fast forward a few years, skipping past the relative stability of the Moyes-era, and we’ve had the shitshow of the club’s recent past. It’s a period that has Everton appoint the manager of relegated Wigan, the manager of relegated Hull, a man who nearly destroyed Valencia and most depressing of all, King Gravy.

Across fifty years, the club has made just a handful of good appointments, Kendall the first-time round, Royle in 94 and Moyes in 2002. And then, to add to that you can have the relatively mediocre appointment of Kendall in the early-1990s.

When you sit back and look at that, suddenly the reign of Marco Silva begins to make more sense. If Everton excel at anything, it’s in making sure that the man who sits in the dugout is probably the wrong choice.

It’s hard to imagine Silva remaining in that dugout for much longer. I doubt there is a Blue alive who can see the club getting anything out of the next two fixtures. It’s exceptionally likely that Everton will be hammered by both Leicester and Liverpool and quite possibly go into the Christmas run languishing in the bottom three.

And that means whoever comes in to replace the hapless Silva will face the twin problems of trying to build something for the long-term (at a club that seems riven by short-termism) while also fighting off the threat of relegation.

Who that will be, nobody really knows? On average, it would seem, Everton make one decent managerial choice each decade. So, fingers crossed this will be the one. But I wouldn’t put a lot of hope in that happening. The managers have been coming thick and fast of late and if anything, the decision making seems to be getting worse.

And so, the prospect of a wretched Spring looms, the Tories ascendant, the Shite victorious and Everton fighting the drop. I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve this, but it must’ve been pretty fking awful.
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  1. On the contrary, it destroys everything it touches, especially if run by greedy and inept bastards like most Politicians are…
    If you want to divide and antagonise people, start talking about politics and religion…

    not a bad idea to try to keep politics and religion apart. but its impossible in my view. i totally share your opinion of party politicians, scumbags mostly.
    but our lives are inherently political down to the smallest details. even the weather is political.

  2. You make a reasonable point, but usually people on internet fora only use sporting examples to make questionable political points, and there are also examples of less positive interventions like fencing to combat pitch invasions. I’m all for inclusivity, but there is already too much hostiity between football tribes, so I like to keep politics and football separate wherever possible.

    agree with a lot of your post but my view is that "politics" is so wide and gets into the little cracks of life so powerfully that almost everything has a "political" aspect to it. a childs drawing could, if you want, have a political side to it, through the choices the child has made in it. sexual relations between couples is extremely "political" if you know how personal freedoms have been won over the last 100 years. going to the library is a powerful "political" symbol with the closure of so many of those places being fought against. "politics" in sport is massive. the england game the other day where we nearly walked off. a deeply "political" move that would have been. so its not about politicians from parties. we are all politicians one way or another.

  3. When Walker was appointed there was huge amount of scepticism.
    He’d inherited a decent team at Norwich put together by Dave Stringer, who was probably unlucky to be sacked.
    Neither I nor any Evertonians I spoke to were enthused by the appointment and, as usual, we hoped for the best and feared the worst – which came so close to happening. So, no we weren’t devastated, but we weren’t welcoming him with open arms either. We accepted it with an air of resignation.
  4. Isn’t hinsight a wonderful thing. When Mike Walker was appointed, how many Evertonians were devastated? None, he had just finished 3rd with Norwich and had slammed Bayern Munich. He was on his way to becoming an absolute top manager. Of course it didn’t work out that way, but at the time he was a great coup for us. Walter Smith had just guided Rangers to 9 league titles in a row and 1 single goal away from a champions league final. That didn’t work out either, mainly because the team he built was sold after one season.

    Both were failures at Everton, but both were great signings at the time.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing

    Mike Walker was treating his ill wife while at Everton so had to miss a fair bit of training from what I understand.

  5. Being an american, I can say that one of the reasons I was called to Everton was because it was 100% home.

    And by that I mean like all of my local teams, Everton has an incredible history, amazing success in the 1980’s, crap ownership/management who had turned it into a laughingstock, and frequent disappointment and failure. But there is a tide thats turning for my teams, and hopefully Everton is one of them…

  6. The attempts to beat the swear filter in the article should be admired.

    Whatever happens to Everton I’ll still be happy as I’ve got two great kids and a half decent wife. Wouldn’t let it get to you too much.

    Er, is the ‘half decent wife’ aware that that’s what you’ve called her? I’m wondering if I can make a few pre-Christmas quid with a bit of blackmail here.

  7. anyone who thinks – like my dad – that politics should be kept out of sport are living in a dream. impossible! and in fact politics is for me welcome in sport. 1936 Olympics? the cricket tours of south Africa in the 1970’s? if politics were kept separate from politics we wouldn’t have para-sport today. politics improves sport by facilitating greater inclusion.

    On the contrary, it destroys everything it touches, especially if run by greedy and inept bastards like most Politicians are…
    If you want to divide and antagonise people, start talking about politics and religion…

  8. anyone who thinks – like my dad – that politics should be kept out of sport are living in a dream. impossible! and in fact politics is for me welcome in sport. 1936 Olympics? the cricket tours of south Africa in the 1970’s? if politics were kept separate from politics we wouldn’t have para-sport today. politics improves sport by facilitating greater inclusion.

    You make a reasonable point, but usually people on internet fora only use sporting examples to make questionable political points, and there are also examples of less positive interventions like fencing to combat pitch invasions. I’m all for inclusivity, but there is already too much hostiity between football tribes, so I like to keep politics and football separate wherever possible.

  9. Generally I agree that footy and politics should be kept separate, but he didn’t make the comparison you have highlighted. You should have read the whole piece.

    anyone who thinks – like my dad – that politics should be kept out of sport are living in a dream. impossible! and in fact politics is for me welcome in sport. 1936 Olympics? the cricket tours of south Africa in the 1970’s? if politics were kept separate from politics we wouldn’t have para-sport today. politics improves sport by facilitating greater inclusion.

  10. football isn’t that important though, is it really.

    food banks v losing 3 games in a row hmm

    There is a weird correlation though, we win 3 on the bounce and I am a happy little goblin, things get bought at Tesco’s and lashed in the food bank donations bin, big issues get bought hand over fist etc.etc. We lose the derby to the RS and I am all “ [Poor language removed] the planet and all who live on it”.

  11. The attempts to beat the swear filter in the article should be admired.

    Whatever happens to Everton I’ll still be happy as I’ve got two great kids and a half decent wife. Wouldn’t let it get to you too much.

  12. Isn’t hinsight a wonderful thing. When Mike Walker was appointed, how many Evertonians were devastated? None, he had just finished 3rd with Norwich and had slammed Bayern Munich. He was on his way to becoming an absolute top manager. Of course it didn’t work out that way, but at the time he was a great coup for us. Walter Smith had just guided Rangers to 9 league titles in a row and 1 single goal away from a champions league final. That didn’t work out either, mainly because the team he built was sold after one season.

    Both were failures at Everton, but both were great signings at the time.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing

    Not devastated, but far from happy. I thought we should’ve pushed hard for Bobby Robson or the like. But I know what you mean.

  13. Isn’t hinsight a wonderful thing. When Mike Walker was appointed, how many Evertonians were devastated? None, he had just finished 3rd with Norwich and had slammed Bayern Munich. He was on his way to becoming an absolute top manager. Of course it didn’t work out that way, but at the time he was a great coup for us. Walter Smith had just guided Rangers to 9 league titles in a row and 1 single goal away from a champions league final. That didn’t work out either, mainly because the team he built was sold after one season.

    Both were failures at Everton, but both were great signings at the time.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing

    1. When Walker was appointed there was huge amount of scepticism.
      He’d inherited a decent team at Norwich put together by Dave Stringer, who was probably unlucky to be sacked.
      Neither I nor any Evertonians I spoke to were enthused by the appointment and, as usual, we hoped for the best and feared the worst – which came so close to happening. So, no we weren’t devastated, but we weren’t welcoming him with open arms either. We accepted it with an air of resignation.
  14. We were created on strict Methodist guidelines meaning enjoyment of simple pleasures were frowned upon. No ale and swearing at the game were part of our initial philosophy helping to cause a boardroom split resulting in then chairman, John Houlding (a renowned brewer desperate to sell his wares at the game) creating the "other lot".

    It could be argued they were built to party and we were built to immerse ourselves in misery it certainly turned out that way.

  15. A-fricking-men. Apart from serious real life/work/money troubles, which are bad enough, the prospect of living through these troubles under five more years of Tory government and the rs winning everything, while we fall apart and possibly go down, is utterly, utterly depressing.

    Anyway, I know politics and football are a poor mix, but in the 80s at school I had four or five die hard rs mates and they were all /turned out to be (working class) tories. Probably still are.

  16. Linking politics to football…thats where i stopped reading.

    Everton / Labour
    RS / Conservatives…

    Dearie dearie me…

    Generally I agree that footy and politics should be kept separate, but he didn’t make the comparison you have highlighted. You should have read the whole piece.

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