Everton Football Club are safe from relegation! A collective huge sigh of relief was breathed around L4 on Thursday night as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s winner against Crystal Palace proved decisive and completing a comeback which, at half-time, seemed about as realistic as Darren Farley actually sounding like someone he impersonates.
What has followed has been some rather salty and negative views of fans and media outlets and pundits in regards to the behaviour of Everton fans, with many choosing to pitch invade after victory and safety were confirmed.
I will reiterate, this was an outpouring or relief rather than celebration. And why shouldn’t a loyal fanbase that has been largely let down and underwhelmed for years, yet still loyally backs the team and has gone above and beyond to play its part in the Blues avoiding dropping to The Championship, not show their relief in dodging a bullet that, a few weeks ago, had seemed inevitable?!
It does certainly seem that many wanted to see Everton drop out of the top flight for the first time since earning promotion back to the top table in 1954. And I’m not overly sure that it is fans of other clubs alone.
Now that’s off my chest, I, like many Blues, will be looking to the future with some trepidation. The fact is, we have a squad that is simply not good enough to get us where we want and need to be and a board that needs a huge overhaul in terms of strategy and vision.
Frank Lampard, a young manager who has really galvanised a fragmented, hurting fanbase, now needs the support and guidance in what will be a huge rebuilding programme. Much of the squad, including a number of high earners will be hopefully moved on, while the inevitable lure of Champions League football may tempt some of our best players. And you can’t blame them.
Thursday needs to be the beginning, rather than the end, of this journey. The board can simply not slap themselves on the back and pretend all is ok.
“We’ve had good times.” The words of chairman Bill Kenwright when confronted by an irate fan earlier this season. Please, do not include this in the list. Lampard was understandably thrilled to achieve his primary objective of keeping Everton up, but both he, and the ambitions of supporters go well beyond that.
Thursday night’s euphoria will not detract from what has been an appalling season of bad decisions, mismanagement and disappoint. With nearly £500 spent in the last five years mostly on players either not good enough or right for Everton, coupled with a host of managers who have ultimately failed, the board need to view the team’s 1878th win in the top flight of English football as the wake-up call.
A new director of football, coupled with a young, hungry manager needs to be the building blocks for success. Whether the steps are small or large, the board has to get it right. Goodison Park has played host to a number wonderful, unforgettable occasions but will soon make way for a state-of-the-art design at Bramley Moore Dock.
So wouldn’t it nice to reward the fanbase who has gone above and beyond to play its part in another great escape with a clear vision and ambition backed a well-run club and a strong team that they truly deserve.
Over to you, Board of Directors. Don’t let us down, again!