Where are the dogs of war?

The start of the 2021/2022 Premier League campaign has probably summed up Everton’s history since its success in the 1980s. Moments of hope and excitement are followed by being brought down to Earth with a massive bump. The one exception to our years of disappointment was the 1995 FA Cup win. Can we take inspiration from that memorable cup run and go on to life the famous trophy once again?

Can the club win the FA Cup then?

It would be a statement of intent for the club to win a major trophy. Everyone associated would get a huge boost and it could inspire the Grand Old Team to do bigger and better things.  However, very few people expect the season to end with success at Wembley Stadium.

We are currently 20/1 to win the cup for the first time since 1995. Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United (despite their current issues) are all more fancied than The Toffees. A bit of luck in the draw wouldn’t go amiss. In previous years many of the top 6 have played each other in the early rounds. Should the competition open up again and if we progress through the early stages, betting odds might start to reflect some increased optimism. 

The heroes of 95 

A big factor in that success was the manager. Joe Royle was someone that had always bought into the club. He was celebrated and idolised by the fans as a result. This is unlike the current man in the dugout. The Spaniard’s connection to the red side of the city has meant he needs to achieve a lot for people to forget. 

In terms of the players, we had the likes of Paul Rideout and Andres Limpar. You knew they would die for the badge even if the quality was not always the best. Perhaps the best example was our current assistant manager Duncan Ferguson. He could prove to be a crucial element of this current campaign.

Who could inspire us in 2022?

Andros Townsend is a hardworking player who has impressed everyone at times. His goal v Burnley was one of the best seen at Goodison Park for a long time. The English winger also played a key part in a credible draw away at Manchester United. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin could also be key. It’s nice to have an academy player leading the line and should he lead us to glory, the forward could become a hero for the fans that have often been starved of one. 

The long-term impact of winning the FA Cup

As we’ve already said, winning the cup could impact our future ambitions as a club. One thing it would bring is European football again. We’ve had some great moments in the continental competitions. The European Cup Winners Cup campaign of 1985 came when we were probably one of the best teams in the world. 

For all his faults, Benitez knows how to navigate the trials and tribulations of the Europa League so it could prove to be a successful European campaign. Should Benitez lead us to success in the FA Cup and later a good run in the Europa League, maybe he’ll become as idolised as Joe Royle and Howard Kendall? 

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