I really didn’t want to write about Everton really, yet feel compelled to in the same way one looks at a roaring hurricane outside and wonders what it must feel like in the flesh creaks open door Darwinism in motion.
Yet I doubt even Dr Darwin could accurately classify Everton as any form of species. It’s irregular, not conforming to any basic principles of science. If one were to study Everton for any length of time it would lead to a deeply distrusting affliction that pervades the mind and senses and leaves one in a perma state of rage and delirium. We call this “Evertonianism”.
All the hallmarks were there. Six weeks off and enticed back with misplaced optimism? Check. 94th minute losing goal against bottom of the league on a cold Boxing Day? Check. No hope and complete apathy for facing Space Jam City at their own ground days later? Check. A defiant and chest pounding point from a snarling, dogged and beautiful Everton? Check. Optimism and encouragement for the next home game? Check. A four goal pumping by Brighton and fucking Hove Albion in said game? Check. Everton drop into relegation zone for beginning of new year? Check.
And here we are. Sucked you in, sucker. Just so the pain of crushing disappointment can be more raw. Not salt in the wounds, but sulphuric acid.
Why you still supporting, no, suffering Everton? That’s the one, don’t ask someone if they support Everton, ask them if they suffer Everton as it’s heaps more accurate and any Evertonian you’re asking it to will know intuitively that you’re a real blue, a veteran of la cosa nostra.
However despite this, and that, I refuse to fetishise anger and fume in this preview, I’m a fully grown male who follows a football club which my self worth is not dependent on. I am however a compassionate Evertonian who sees really good people who are devoted to Everton in genuine pain. Everton in this instance being more than a football club or a sanctioned oligarch and his accountant’s ego thing, but a community, a heritage, a bond between family and friends, a weekend stronghold and – to some – an ethos, a way of life. People consumed by Everton whole, who feel everything with Everton, who live for Everton. Good fucking people. People who spent every spare bit of money they don’t have on Everton and can’t pull themselves away as their whole identify is aligned, tied and bound to a seven letter word that sits tucked away between terraced houses in a proud community of L4. Their allegiance is total, their love undying. The reciprocation from said object of desire is close to fucking zero. Masked, patronised behind cleverly worded acts of PR, behind tokenism, behind an absurd amount of humans with no connection or feel to the club but earning an exuberant amount of money from Everton that will make them, their kids and their grandchildren wealthy for duration of life. Some even call themselves Evertonians.
Evertonians with the very best comfy seats in the house, and a sumptuous pre match meal, half time aperitifs, on top of a wage that would make the taxman blush. I trust the disconnect isn’t so deep that they still recognise what they come from as it sits around them in the stadium. That the echo chamber isn’t so profound that their self awareness realises that they have caused this current malaise, and that don’t have the tools to fix it. Time to do one, if you still remember what we are, what you are. And take the others with you.
No 120 points, no starting again, no judging at the end of the transfer windows. There’s been no good times really, and that is your legacy. Permit me to not butter it up, it’s a stain on the history of Everton – irregardless of some good things off the pitch. All involved are judged on the fucking pitch, and let no one else take their eye off the ball in realising that. I care not if it’s them, manager, lacklustre players, get them the fuck out and away from Everton and it’s payroll, and start again. Make something real, something relatable to Evertonians, something at least competent and reflective of the values its fans hold dear. You’ve fucked it and no I don’t have the solutions but you don’t either, and you can’t trusted with finding the solutions when you’re the problem. No one is gonna make a tawdry black and white mini movie with z list celebs comparing this to their family being raped. But just fuck off, please.
Our opposition for this Friday night cup tie might recognise some of the sentiments above. May one day all of us, even those we pretend to hate, reclaim football clubs that we recognise and identify with. May this whole fucking shit show of a corporate grab league get to fuck and we have a competitive game once again with players, managers, owners that sit in some sort of sync with the fans and the communities their clubs have represented since the year eighteen fucking something. As we seen with the rapid rejection of the Super League, the fans have loads more power than we are led to believe we don’t. Feeding this a diet of hysteria, hype, one million pound a month paid employees and leave the heating off so we can afford the subscription to watch it all WILL rebound, and first up against the wall will all those who treated your average fan with so much contempt. I want to watch Everton play football to a high intensity at 3pm on a Saturday and be fucked if they get beat, I’m used to that, but I want to see relatable players leaving it all on the pitch. I want to see a contact sport and fans of all ages enjoying traditions passed onto them from generations above. Easily affording match tickets to see THEIR team. Deliver that.
As it’s a preview I really should do a bit on the opposition, and booo they’re from Manchester, mate. A proud working class north west city with a hallowed history in sports, music and popular culture. They’re so alien to us and because of proximity, and how much my uncle hates them, I must hate them too! Admittedly there’s more of a prevalence of male earrings and really shit attempts at moustaches amongst theirs than ours, the morality of it’s inhabitants is considerably looser too, but as a hedonistic soul I sort of prefer that to having to date a pyjama wearing orange sprayed skin aggressively eye-browed fascist occasional mating partner dominating all areas of my life. Still, they’ve had more success than my godforsaken team and they occasionally sign nasty songs so, for the purposes of performative rage and parochialism, I’ll despise them on this first Friday evening of 2023.
As for Everton, well they still have a manager and I’m guessing he will play the 5-3-2 thing that worked a week prior in Manchester, although I doubt it will be sufficient for Everton’s name to be in the next round of the cup. 28 Years, DespairNOW, whatever you want to call it. Hopefully there’s some pace and vigour, a rash tackle or ten, maybe some pleasant parts of play that gives the facade of Everton looking competitive so we can dream, momentarily, that this is the next Kevin Brock moment we’ve been waiting for, forty years later. I don’t hate our players, hate is too strong a word reserved for the likes of the politicians and poor faith actors oppressing pain on the people around me. I just don’t rate many of the Everton players so my well wishes lies with the few that “get” what we’re looking for and are prepared to put themselves on the line to at least attempt it. This club used to win stuff, you know.
And that’s a match preview of sorts. Told you I didn’t want to write about Everton, yet it’s been comforting to me lately online and on them Twitter Spaces to hear that there’s still a fire burning despite a thousand attempts of dousing.
Not through defiance, spite or anger, not through habit or futility.