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Thud. What was that? Can’t see anything so must be nothing.

At some point you’ve no doubt stopped and tried to understand what it is that really makes you happy from the godforsaken team you support.

How do they warm you inside, is it the super silky football sexing all those that stand before them? Cruelly beating your rivals once or twice a year? How about just being a convenient distraction for your weekend tedium? Reflected glory? You get to choose your flavour.

If one were to do a true study then I’m pretty sure the majority winner would be the weekly shot of feel good chemicals via wins. Doesn’t matter if you play well or not, as Everton’s past few games will testify, all that really matters is getting the win over the line. Any perceived foes have been bettered, and both the bragging and dreaming rights are yours. All is good with the world. The serotonin is flooding. Which would mean Everton essentially range from being a distraction to an anti depressant for most of us. What is it for you?

Lots of questions and not many answers there, which may also be pertinent for your usual relationship with the blues. Aye, that’s ambiguous too. Anyway this doesn’t seem a usual relationship with the blues (Everton) this season by virtue of some of the most unusual stuff they’re doing. Going at the best teams and taking three points out of them? Check. Playing meh and winning? Check. Winning at Anfield? Check. Sat amongst the Champions League places in March? Check. All of this would invoke wild optimism in most sets of fans but not in Everton, oh no.

You see all of the above can only be interpreted into one of two things for us, either that we’re stepping foot out the shower and it’s all been Pam’s dream, or we’re about to imminently shit it all with you the fan being partly to blame by being seduced into thinking this time will be different. Everton attract false dawns in a similar way to how a spitfire can attract bigots.

Of course it won’t be really different until an Everton captain lifts something shiny above their heads, to get to that point though is a process. Finishing fourth, fifth, six is all varying progressions of that process. With twelve games left to shit it you’ll forgive me for remaining steadfastly stoic about it all. Chelsea 3-0 Everton in my world until otherwise convinced that Everton can step it up. And even then I’ll be expecting Burnley to smash and grab us.

Artwork by @TomChitty

This Monday evening game is a potential step up, one of the pristine opportunities in a season to prove this version of Everton mean business and are ready to finally settle many ills of the past. Chelsea are the team keeping Everton out of a Champions League place that would transform the club should they claim it by season end, and a win over them sends the toffees into that place with just 11 games left to ball. The Londoners are in form and fresh from a, not unusual these days, win over St Kenny’s Community Bulldozers at Anfield.

Chelsea made a mid season managerial switch, putting the toe up Frank Lampard’s arse to bring the young but vastly experienced Tuchel. It’s worked handsomely so far with Chelsea being one of the division’s form teams, managing to fit many of their expensively talented players into a system that delivers results. This will not be an easy game at all.

Of course it’s very common to have a new manager bounce as players react to the new man and take a feel good hit from one of the most peculiar but strongest forces in football; momentum. Think back to less than just 3 months ago and that all was with Lampard until he came to Goodison to face a truly dismal Everton yet left with nothing, thus starting a relatively short spiral that cost him his dream role. That’s just how the Premier League works these days where any team and manager are only ever 3 games away from a crisis. It should be a curt reminder to all to never get too comfortable or stop innovating. And I’ve no doubt that after managing Borussia Dortmund and Paris St German the oldest looking 47 year old you’ve seen, in a sort of Nivea Steptoe way, is acutely aware of that.

Chelsea as a club is bit of a strange one as most of us remember them before they hit the Russian rollover and yet since they’ve been unrecognisable for a prolonged period. They’ve won plenty yet it’s never really felt like they’ll ever gonna go on and assume any sort of prolonged dominance, as though they’re continually in a state of flux being subject to the whim of their owner. They’re the exact thing Ancelotti references when detailing what’s a corporate club and what’s a family club. Not that their fans will mind that one bit as they’ve seen quite a few leagues and cups go their way, or maybe they’re just simply too distracted by hideously abusing opposing fans on a train platform to give two hoots about what I have to type.

Artwork by @Bluedoodler

You see Chelsea are one of the clubs highly charged by one of them spitfires flying overhead. In many of their minds only Kerry Dixon or the Queen can make them stand, and they’re still part of a magical empire – much revered around the developing world. Mandela is still caged up, tea is served at 3pm, England is a green land full of hedgerows & Morris Minors, and Megan Markle is a Machiavellian seductress diluting God’s royal sperm with Yankee poison. Their ancestors charged Juno beach on a scone with butter to throttle the fascists with nothing more than their bare hands. That’s right, they fight the fascists. Why bother taking your self worth from the person you are, the impact you have on others and the type of legacy you may leave behind when instead you can simply assume all you need – with added notions of superiority over others – by attaching yourself to a flag.

That’s their choice and there is a marked difference between patriotism and nationalism in very much the same way there’s a difference in being sound or a twat. It’s just hard to fathom why some, or so many, would choose a latter over a former once they’ve got to the stage where their testosterone or oestrogen levels have levelled off and are well adjusted to. Of course there’s many sound Chelsea fans and I’m lucky to call a few of them mates, I’d just fucking hate it if I bought into something where the distasteful or bullies have rose to call the shots over what I consider a collective. But then again that’s a shared experience for about sixty five million of us right now, and with some of the most nefarious and entitled exploiting the very same flag. It’s not just that those of very apparent self interest and absence of compassion can seize power, it’s just mostly galling that they’re enabled to do so by the masses and instruments of governance without any sort of friction that should prove fatal to their cause. What can you do about it? Well yet another internet tit typing out their low quality musings and evident angst ain’t gonna give you those solutions. Suppose can revolt, you can just simply dial out or do simply whatever you like. Call them nasty words on the internet if your heart so desires, but if they still remain in control than all that previous there was just different shades of futility. Do try remember though when it seems lost never forget that there’s more of us than them though, try not quit, nor cease belief and instead commit to death by a thousand cuts rather than bludgeon to the head. Maybe that’s what Everton have been doing themselves for a quarter century or so, even if we’re similarly jaded by that experience.

The point what I’m not trying to get to is that Chelsea helped keep Everton in this league on a final day of the season when if they hadn’t then the impact could and likely been something we still wouldn’t have recovered from today. A true sliding doors moment, a butterfly flapping it’s wings with repercussion. And yet they must be fucking beat on this fine crisp Monday night, mostly because we need our dopamine. Everything else is just pointless words on a screen, noise, sentences and rabbit holes that lead to nowhere, futile embellishment, needless ceremony and distraction.

For yet another preview I’m at a loss for how Ancelotti may line his team up. If the injuries persist then I’d be more inclined to believe were gonna see something like that five at the back which surfaced at Anfield, depending on where Coleman was stalking at the time. The injuries of course are coming at a twat of a time and not helped by Doucoure on that list, for which you may have heard rumours or such of a more prolonged absence, and that would be a right shitter.

Everton are going to need quality and pace up front for this if they’re to even sniff three points and that means more Richarlison and Calvert Lewin despite any perceived tired legs. The former of course in red hot form as opposed to the latter but the pair of them being a big reason why Everton are in a position to go to Chelsea and stare them in the eyes at this stage of the season. There’ll be James in amongst if it fit and probably Sigurdsson if not. Davies if fit and Gomes if not. Yer little Brazilian skinhead in the centre of the park will be instrumental to all around him.

Any midfield woes will only further the cause of the five at the back but that itself would be dependent on Coleman to be fit or Iwobi to play wing back effectively, which in his present form isn’t such a safe bet. The defence is sitting on three clean sheets and turning that into a fourth would be boon for momentum beyond this game even if Everton score or not. Let’s not say too much about Pickford as to not jinx him, not speaking about him is exactly the progress we needed from him. 

The depreciation in this preview is strong but it’s hard to shake off such an effective self defence mechanism after years, decades, of utilising it. I’m pretty sure that no one including those running the show themselves were expecting to be in the position we are in Ancelotti’s first full season, yet here we are. There’s a very evident prize on offer if Everton continue to put together winning runs. The butterfly itself was having a wonderful time floating on a belly full of nectar in those warm spring air currents with complete abandonment until then there was sheer nothingness as your windscreen crushed it’s entire physical form and being, while you were doing 62mph, and if you heard the thud against the windscreen but didn’t see him did he even exist?

In the absence of a crystal ball it’s impossible to say if this is indeed Everton’s own metamorphosis. No use then in framing this as anything more than just another three points to try and somehow take despite all the reasons not to. Which could have saved me a lot of noise above. 

Now who couldn’t do with a shot of endorphins on a Monday?

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Just two country miles down here;

Second

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Now thats out of the way, is it still ok to refer to these mincers as, mincers?

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In the top pic Peter Bonetti looks as though he's dwelling on his performance in the West Germany game. Hopefully Mr Mendy will try and re-enact it this evening.

Enjoyed the read, but you asked what gets me happy and gives me that extra buzz after a win?

Knowing that our keeper and defence looked solid and confident throughout. Like a suave dapper gent stood coolly in the shade whilst everyone else is sweating profusely and swatting wildly at flies that just won't quit. He then lights his cheroot, alights into his air conditioned carriage with a hint of a smile, as Raquel Welch disrobes slowly in front of him.

Seeing our midfield press dominate possession like a blitzkrieg advance over the Polish border (well, you did mention fascists); effortlessly mopping up loose balls like Nora Batty on pay day; appreciating the value of possessing the ball like a precious crystal family heirloom and only risk releasing it when putting the opposition into danger (think Peter Sutcliffe on day release).

Watching our strikers bully their defenders like Miss Havisham subjugating young Pip; of seeing them use their pace to pull the defenders at their will where they want, like a footballing Gerry Anderson but with no strings attached; and then finishing with aplomb, confidence and arrogance leaving you with a slight feeling of guilt that a net bulging like an obese tracky wearing Mum's belly in Aldi on a wet Monday evening was ever in doubt.

Reading the game effortlessly and making maximum effort look minimal and nonchalant.

So, as you very rarely get all of the above at once (and if you do, better check you're still of this earth) I get that extra 'je ne sais quoi' from experiencing a generous portion of pick and mix of the above.

And, in normal times, the cherry on top would be heading down the boozer to relive the game with your mates whilst consoling the reds among you for having a home record worse than Fred and Rosemary West.

Here's to Carlo blowing calmly on his cuppa at full time this evening as Big Dunc goes ape in the background.

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Just two country miles down here;

Chico goes on a ramble, we hear a butterfly, I nearly step in a small patch of rant, but, in the end, we're none the wiser about the team or the result
No change really

Can I get a 6times Laa?

Edit; The real question...not addressed anywhere above...(how can you call yourself a preview, when you avoid the big questions)
will it be worth me getting up at 0345hrs local time and being wrecked all day?
Edit2; I'll take a point ta.

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Not as good as the last one

#ChicoOut

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Chico goes on a ramble, we hear a butterfly, I nearly step in a small patch of rant, but, in the end, we're none the wiser about the team or the result
No change really

Can I get a 6times Laa?

Edit; The real question...not addressed anywhere above...(how can you call yourself a preview, when you avoid the big questions)
will it be worth me getting up at 0345hrs local time and being wrecked all day?
Edit2; I'll take a point ta.

Exactly the point. Someone got it at least, yay! Futility and noise.

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Genuinely cannot believe you have illustrations.

How has this possibly come to pass?

What on Earth is going on here please?

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I came for the preview but stayed for the Dallas references.

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Everton Mishmash
The History of Everton Football Club In One Image