What’s the name of that well-known Christmas carol, you know the one some of us used to sing in church or school assemblies long ago in the dim and distant past? Long before the PC brigade decided that assemblies were the latest thing to offend certain sections of the community and before Sky showed everyone ‘the way’ with a sparkling new ‘religion’?
Oh, I remember... it was ‘In the Bleak Midwinter... etc, etc’.
Well, it’s definitely been a bleak midwinter for us all to reflect on, weather-wise and financially, but for us Evertonians, maybe, just maybe, we had the worst part of 2008 back in our very own bleak Mid-Summer (soon to be released as a new Everton DVD entitled ‘Mid-Summer Murder’ because, quite frankly, it was one which even Chief Inspector Barnaby would have admitted defeat in trying to sort fact from fiction!!).
By now we are all too aware (and probably just a little bit bored!) of all the shenanigans that went on then. It’s been well documented, dissected, despaired over, regarded with disbelief and generally discussed until we’re all, quite literally, blue in the face! The last thing we needed then was a pretty bleak Mid-Autumn as well to push us all into a deep Blue depression which hung over Goodison like some hideous creeping fog which wouldn’t shift.
So just to prove that ‘miracles’ DO happen, and against several million-to-one odds, we’re starting 2009 in 6th place in the Premier League and STILL in the FA Cup (not withstanding that oh, so ‘surely it couldn’t be fixed?’ draw!), and all this with no genuinely fit strikers, and with a treatment room which surely must resemble a seemingly endless episode of MASH!! From the devastating aftermath of that game against the new media darlings... Villa… I (among many other Blues) was expecting the rest of our season to quietly implode even further, a season just to be forgotten about and confined to our Premier League scrap-heap of forgettable seasons.
But since that shell-shocked Sunday afternoon (for which I could still do with a bit of counselling!) let’s just examine what’s happened. As of 8 January 2009 in the games which followed the Villa debacle we’ve played five, won 4, drawn 1, scored 6 and conceded none. And, as already mentioned, with hardly a fit striker to be seen in or around Goodison Park. That has to be a minor miracle at the very least especially when all around us seem to have a handy millionaire/billionaire on speed dial!
Not withstanding our well-publicised problems our resilient Band of Blues Brothers have galvanised themselves, treated each game as if their lives depended on it and instilled in us a belief that our season may not yet be ready to be put through the shredder (even if our nerves and emotions already have been!). Time to reinstate your Everton screensaver and dust off the passport again? Well, let’s not run before we can actually climb off the treatment table shall we?! But, collectively, all we CAN do (to borrow some hideously old clichés), is play each game as it comes, play like our survival depends on it, and hope against hope that miracles don’t just happen at Christmas.
At the end of the day (sorry!) we need to give the same kind of support and blind faith to our players as they are genuinely giving to each other.
And if by the end of May we won’t be needing our passports again except to swat flies as we all holiday a la Credit Crunch style in New Brighton, then it WON’T be for the lack of effort, medical intervention, blood, sweat or tears.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more positive! So far I've managed a week... .Blues, don't give me a reason to ditch it after the second, please!
Winning can be contagious, but so is a defeatist attitude and that surely would be the death of our season.
And so, in the absence of finding a bored Billionaire skulking around Goodison Road next Summer with a blank chequebook, for now it’s Onwards and forever hopefully Upwards.
Roll on the next 'miracle'!
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