Hey there, this will be a short correspondence as who wants to talk too much about Everton at the moment. Seems a case of turn and face.
Not that it’s a crisis or that, well for at least most of us, it’s just that non linear progress thing rearing it’s head. I’ve long said you’re only ever three games away from a crisis in this league. Everton are two deep and Man City up next. You do the algebra.
I’ve cracked my phone screen today and the exact bit I’m typing this on is right by it, and it’s pissing me off. £260, half a season ticket, to replace a phone screen? There’s more value in early Moshiri signings, mate.
Also pissing me off, since you didn’t ask, is this Everton shitting it against the worst clubs in the league. I mean the odd slip up you can perhaps stomach but it’s pretty much every time we play anyone struggling that we are treated to them giving a listless Everton a chasing at Goodison. I’m sure everyone at the clubs is on it, or perhaps it can attributed to this weird season as it effects not only us but others with similar, and superior, aspirations. It’s just that little bit more frustrating as Everton have or had a real opening at a Champions League football next season and seem to not want it. There’s still some goodwill from ending the Anfield voodoo and many are assured that at least it’s Carlo Ancelotti working on fixing it but I completely empathise with the meltdowns. Tough times these anyway aren’t they?
Which leads us onto Manchester City and the reason why it’s a short preview. I don’t really mind them and expect them fully to turn up and tiki taka past Everton without major problems, so this is a bit of a free hit preview. Just got unlucky in the draw there but someone’s gonna have to try and beat them to win the thing and that seems unlikely.
City of course won the footballing lottery way over a decade ago now. Some use it to beat them over the head with, they’re ruining the game and so forth, but the Premier League knew the type of owners they were getting so no one can be surprised by inviting them in. It was hot on the heels of Chelsea doing similar. It’s like complaining after inviting a vampire into your home. You silly boy, it renders you powerless. Name that movie.
Everton tried resisting against Man City for the initial part of their transformation when you had Mark Hughes looking down his nose at us and then luring Lescott away from a really good Everton side, the obstinate Toffees even doing them a few times on their home soil to poke one in the eye for the good guys. Ultimately though it was futile. They’re a much different proposition a decade on and well established both on and off the pitch to sustain it for quite some time. It’s something Moshiri (and Usmanov?) will be looking to replicate themselves but with less resources and tougher times to try achieve it in. Even with unlimited wealth and a succession of talent hired, as our very own five year stint of blowing riches and remaining a bit shit has just proved quite emphatically.
You may see some of the Big Red of our city throwing barbs about their stadium not being full, which is a more than a bit peculiar as this was a club with 30,000 home support in the third tier of English football. They’ve served their time in the doldrums with distinction and been rubbed up against in their own city by an Bigger Red spawning accolade machine, Man City fans know the very feeling of both anticipating and dreading weekends for a span of decades. Which is why I’d never seek to deny them their glory, they’re paid their subs in full to the patron saint of heartbreak. It is only by enduring this can one fully, truly appreciate the glory when it comes. Should Everton ever pip Big Red to a title in injury time I reckon that’s me done you know. Not that my liver would hold out for the jamboree of celebration that would follow anyway. And yet I know a few Man City fans, older heads, who aren’t really into it much more.
Perhaps after seeing that unlikely title win there was nowhere left to go really. Like maybe you’ve been waiting for an all encompassing love to happen, a passion so consuming that it melts all else into the background. Bringing an elation so pure that in just one instant all that you have lamented over, ever, ceases to exist. Just gone, no trace. When you wake up then, each day, you’re wearing such dandy beautiful rose tinted spectacles that the world finally just makes sense, giving purpose to even the most mundane and repetitive of tasks you endure. Imagine that? This was sure worth waiting for wasn’t it? You knew it would come and here you are, sure, they called you mad but who’s laughing now? And even if they were laughing you couldn’t care. Fuck, you’re so happy, never seen you like this you know? Regrettably, the passing of time teaches you that this is all finite. The euphoria is either gonna subside (I’m coming down here, anyone got any left? Really? Any poppers then?) or you just simply get used to it. The endorphins have been consumed and enjoyed, certainly didn’t go to waste, yet are seemingly not sustainable. You may find yourself sitting there thinking is this it? A creeping almost gentle notion to begin with, then over time increasingly louder and pervasive. As you ever so slowly recoil at the startling revelation that there exists no permanent solution to the familiar ache inside. Hang on, wait, you get it. There is no destination, is there? Oh no, you fuck, it’s the journey and you didn’t look out the window not even twice did you? All that time you were dreaming of arrival and distracting yourself by mobile phone until you got there. Complaining how long the journey takes and how uncomfortable at times it could be, staring at the screen and admiring others already AT the destination whilst projecting yourself into that glory, the glory that should reach you real soon. Yet the nirvana, the purpose, the sense of meaning and lessons you yearn to be taught are just casually speeding past your window there. A window you’ve ignored. Pulled the blinds down over even. How long left until you get there?
Maybe I should ask those older Man City fans if it was exactly this next time troubling them when I next see them, as I’ve pondered it, a little.
Anyway Pep Guardiola manages them, they have some of the best players in world football and they’re gonna pass the ball around Everton like a cruel pinball wizard, until momentarily one of our players switches off and then the ball is in the net. Then the resolve is broken. As the crestfallen in royal blue feels sorry for itself there’s another. And perhaps another. Then with an almighty sense of deflation that’s your season done and you know it. Wasn’t meant to be this way when Spirit Of The Blues was top of the charts and Everton were just ambling along on six or seven wins, Allan snapping into tackles, James doing sex and Dominic slotting anything that pauses momentarily in the box. How could I have been so fucking stupid? Why did I put my self worth into a third party, all my well-being, hopes, aspirations into them? I thought this time it was different. I don’t want to start again, I really don’t. Just leave me alone and let me look out the window for a while.
Which leads us perfectly onto how Everton may approach this defining game of the season. Well, despite the above, fuck it and just tear into them, is my hope. There’s no point digging your own grave with a gun to your head, go try grab that gun and take at least a few of those who condemn you right out. A task made all the harder by the absence of fans, as make no mistake this game in this world at this time kick off would have been prime bear pit territory.
This is a game for putting out the best 11, firing them up, and turning it into a festival of snide from the first whistle. It was always going to fuck anyway so why not? I’d normally go through who those names on the team sheet may be but colour in the blanks yourself. Everton’s salvation lies in approach and my God I hope they’re seething.
There, promised you it wouldn’t be a long one so I’m holding my part of the deal. As an unwanted tag of 26 years without a trophy bears down on us like an over eager off the lead rotty it really is twist or bust time. It’s probable that many of us have got used to it by now, many of you unfortunates haven’t even seen Everton sniff a cup in your lifetimes even, but my eyes have seen the glory, once or twice, and I can’t let it go. No, just get to fuck. Otherwise what’s the point?
Oh look the sun’s came out, where even are we now?