Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb.
Like a snoozed alarm, it’s just not going away. Sometimes you just gotta shift your being out of the bed and go face that day, champ. Even if it is depressingly the exact f**king same occurrence every single f**king time.
Those two early swears eradicating any notion of Google AdWord generating income on this preview, let us move onto into a jamboree of optimism, scorn, disenchantment, pettiness and crying it in.
A slew of away draws leaving as many questions as answers leads us neatly back to Goodison, and the fixture of closest proximity to Everton. In an ideal world no one would really want to play one of the best teams in the division when trying to kick start your season, but thems the breaks. Heading into it with the sort of dread and pessimism that I’ve started this preview with certainly wouldn’t help tip such a contest in your favour, but then I’m writing a preview for a fixture that has scarred me somewhere far beyond PTSD, while I’m sure Lampard and his coaching team aren’t sucking air through their teeth and panicking the players right now. “Tell them Ashley, how did we feel before the final v Bayern Munich, how did we feel with minutes left on the clock Ashley? What did we do about it? *catches Davies rolling his eyes* What would you have done Tom? Wanna tell the group what you would have done?
I write this Thursday morning with one full day and evening of transfer hysteria to go and, for many of you, Everton’s transfer window just short of what’s needed. A couple of signings or exits could tip it either way for the most disconcerting of audiences. In all reality it’s futile to make blanket assessments on conclusion of any transfer deadline as none of us know they may go as we’ve learned plenty times from the past. Lampard/Thelwell being backed to bring much sea change in their playing squad gives them a chance at doing something at least, it also reduces excuses for it not being their group of players. Getting a tune out of them this weekend would be a most wonderful start and confidence booster for anxious fans. Personally I’ll be delighted the window has closed as it makes me uncomfortable watching otherwise ordinary fans cosplaying scouts or agents, and the whole thing just ramps up a league full of hysteria ridden fans into new levels of bell behaviour. Just watch the game and shut up, mate.
With the opposition being from the same city (cut the sniggers at the back) it reduces my capacity for the usual type of preview you’re perhaps expecting. As I’ve hopefully cleared up in previous clashes I don’t hate Big Redders as it would mean hating family, closest of mates and a large swathe of people from my own city. I’ve a genuine disdain for “hate” being a thing in football really, less so between my own when plenty outside profess to hate us. Of the many things we got that others don’t being able to celebrate a sporting rivalry through extreme pettiness, oneupmanship, spite, disdain, revulsion, fantasies of complete eradication by asteroid, wit, and pushing every ounce of energy I have into their eternal damnation is truly really something to cherish and celebrate.
The Liver Building Mortar Specialists should be buoyant on the back of a last gasp winner against Newcastle although they’ve been rocking uneasy a bit at the beginning of this season on account of an extensive injury list, particularly in midfield. It’s left them a little less swashbuckling but in their previous two games they’ve thumped someone nine nil and still managed to get over the line in a tight game where they struggled. Six points and that’s what good teams do. We know how Ye Gods Of Smite do enjoy sodomising Evertonians with hubris should we get too confident so let’s just say it won’t be the strongest version of Atletico Community Wreckers but still a version that should have too much for this latest version of Everton in transition. Such margins can however be filled by concerted and collective effort and belief, so it’s on that basis I’ll watch the game until Racing Ambulance Rockers roll in their second.
Sharing a workplace, a pub, a home, an online presence so close to their fans does however bring some stark realisations of peculiar behaviour from many of them which may dumbfound. For instance I do note a real entrepreneurial spirit that runs amongst fans of Emlyn’s pocket pissers. Never unknowingly one to copy, their fans have brought us such cultural game changers as relieving small shop keepers on the continent of their sports gear, robbing service stations (although I back this movement on the basis of their pricing <fist emoji>), taking your iPad to the game, mass sing alongs with an acoustic guitar, huge banners with cryptic slogans, holding a scarf over your head before the game for the cameras, pushing Spanish pensioners in fountains and in counterfeiting tickets. These revolutionary acts of originality truly transcend going to a football game with your mates on the weekend out of habit, parochialism or simply to escape the other half and family as it’s the only part of your life they haven’t taken from you, yet. You could say this means more, so much more.
Now cautionary tale, should anyone at any point question the point, mortality, impact or indeed originality of these noble deeds then they’ll be subject to trial by passive aggressive comments/tweets of increasing – and hugely overcompensating – scouseness and accusations of paedophilia. This frenzied blood in the water invites what seems like endless other copy and paste piranhas to try feed on you, using the exact same terminology and methodology to really ram home their originality. Ever wondered how many times you can be called “lad” before closing an app? Do you want to explore the paradox of being “not arsed” yet replying forty times with escalating venom? How many times do you think you can be sent the Mbappe crying celebration before you crave the eradication of our species? How can it feel to be abused by 100 people from 100 countries under one flag in just 1 hour? Wanna see the longest unbroken chain of hahas ever? Then just merely post or tweet something that in any way denies glory to the trickiest turnstile jumpers any stadia has ever seen.
Of course you can avoid all of the above by just avoiding engagement and certain trigger words. A casual mention of the word “net spend” and you’ll be subject to the finest financial minds in der werld, otherwise ordinary humans but with truly incredible expertise on the minutiae of football finance. Recoil as Jim from Maintenance gives you a clinic on how his club are paupers yet dominated your club through selling shit players to Bournemouth. Kneel before RedMen6Times as they lecture the wider audience on how Man City are fracking the soul of all you should hold dear in the game, presumably from their corner office overlooking Lower Manhattan’s Wall Street. Speaking of out of control egos, frivolous trading and deception on a grand scale it’s got absolute shit on what goes on in the Arkles before their home games where top top socialist reds lumber their ten season tickets to fleece their own and facilitate what is essentially Disneyland for the unbelonging. One wonders what the great socialist Shanks would say? They’re a highly effective whole cottage industry of self reflected glory, a Ponzi scheme for disaffected fragile egos of no belonging and frenzied thinking. Big Red’s propensity for self celebration is matched only by Little Blue’s self loathing.
There’s widespread accusations of Dynamo Ticket Robbers being in some form of a cult. I can’t really go along with that as it just seems a big, enthused, engaged collective finding real connectivity in their pastime and passion. If Everton made us feel that good about ourselves dare I say our life and weekends would be a little brighter. For the avoidance of doubt I’ll leave a copy of what behaviours those in a cult display so we can steadfastly refute such slurs against them.
So hopefully can celebrate their multi faceted versatility, although ideally you’d expect your fiercest football rivals, South American linguistic experts and the biggest threat to society since war & plague to be three separate entities, but here we are.
It leaves me unsure if “Imagine Being Us” is either a delightful show of empathy or one of the very worst self owns in football banner history.
Onto the home team (cut the sniggers at the back) and it’s not to easy to predict how Everton will line up for this, which is a positive. The supposed curse of five at the back was broken midweek at Leeds and it sort of worked. By “sort of worked” I mean “Everton didn’t crumble into a humiliating collapse at the first instance of adversity” and that’s real progress in my book. Will Francis Lampard the second keep faith in this and attack the vulnerable midfield of St Kenny’s T Shirt Emporium, or will he slip back into the comfort blanket of the extra attacker against such a potent front three? Tune in at 1130 on Saturday morning to complain regardless.
Should a competent match fit striker be signed by tonight then you’d say they’re worth a bet to start up front as – trying as they may – the recent attempts or our ad hoc front three have been not very productive, save for our new £60m man encouragingly putting away a couple of goals. Everton should look much better with a central focal point up top to open up space and opportunity for the wide players they seem to be fond of collecting. Behind them in midfield I can’t ever remember seeing such a turnaround in a player quite like what we’re witnessing in Alex Iwobi, credit to both the player and the manager/coaching team. While we were debating if wing back or number 10 would be his best position he’s gone and put forward a wonderful case for an all action number 8. His name is probably first on the team sheet and rightfully so.
Next to him I always think you can see a fine player and I see this with Onana, once he gets over his Fellaini adjustment period he could develop into a player who’s got even more than the previous expensive gangly Belgian midfielder to sign for the blues. The addiction of Gana and Garner should help both his development and support. Should. I’m pleased to see Tom Davies toiling away there but can someone tell him to stop picking up stupid yellow cards as watching him avoiding making tackles for an hour of a game where we need someone tackling isn’t too comfy.
You can guess the defence and goalkeeper whether they come as a tribe of five or six. Hugely enthused to see Patterson’s progress at right back and this game shall be his another test of that. The central defenders are new to each other and feeling each other out still, so ideally I’d have liked this game to come a bit deeper in the season but they do seem to have some character about them, which is both pleasant and different.
Hopefully that qualifies somewhat as a preview. As I’m sure the inherent and excessive, somewhat distasteful, fatalism that ran through it confirmed: I’ll just be glad to get it out the way in the same way as the transfer window, so we can focus on a grind of weekly Evertons trying to convince us we’re finally healing from our period of sickness. Any sort of result here would go some way to assisting that process.
Whatever it takes, blues, just don’t leave any doubt of effort or fortitude at the end of it. Take that policy from Needlenose Ned, kiss Rita on the lips and wake up to a brand new day.