Giving Up On the Premier League

Simon Kenneally 20/01/2018 113comments  |  Jump to last

For as long as I can remember knowing what football is, I've known I'm an Evertonian. As my father's blood bleeds blue, so indeed does mine. The question of which football team to support never raised by me at any age. Indeed, being an Evertonian growing up some 170 miles from L4 in schools comprised exclusively of Man United and Liverpool fans meant Everton were not just a football team, they were part of my identity. The fact that trips to Goodison were infrequent at best never dimmed my almost Hicksonian love for this club.

Since the year of my birth in 1982, Everton have won the league twice and the FA Cup twice. I don't remember either of the league wins or the 1984 cup win. My first true memory of Everton, though, was the FA Cup Final defeat in 1989. Rather pathetically, I cried. Little did I know at that time that my relationship with the Toffees would be largely masochistic.

Like most of us at the start of this season, I was duly excited about the journey ahead of us. Money was being spent for the first time in a long time. The players we were buying seemed (at least) decent. There was talk of finishing above Liverpool; there was talk of us finishing in the top 4. I don't think I need to reprise the failings that followed, they being pored over by ToffeeWebbers in significant detail after every sickening failure.

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Recently I was talking to a friend, a Saints fan and former Southampton season ticket holder. We were talking about Koeman and he was explaining his delight about Koeman getting sacked at Everton; my friend's opinion being that Ronald Koeman was horrendously overrated as a manager and his successes at Southampton had largely come from inheriting a team that was beginning to gel from the previous regime. I asked him about the current Southampton team and he shocked me by replying "I've no idea – I don't really follow the Premier League any more." A fairly shocking admission from a man who spent every other Saturday at St Mary's.

His rationale was this:

Under Ronald Koeman, Southampton finished 7th and Koeman left for Everton; under Claude Puel, Southampton finished 8th (as well as reaching the League Cup Final) and Puel was sacked. He was unable to reconcile the fact that his team had sacked a manager for, ostensibly, failing to achieve the same as his predecessor in a year when each place up the league meant so much in respect of TV money. In his mind, the team had put money above integrity.

It made me think about my relationship with Everton and with Football and whether in the modern age the team I love and the game I love have irredeemably changed. I considered the following about the way the modern game works and whether it's worthwhile persevering with it at all:

  • This season, Manchester City will win the Premier League with the most expensive football team ever compiled (in England) and with the highest paid (and probably best) football manager in the world. Manchester United will likely finish second with the second most expensive football team ever compiled (in England). Chelsea... you get the point. The correlation between spending power – in particular wages – and Premier League success is fairly strong and certainly not in doubt. And I think it's important to be clear that the difference between what the top teams pay and what the 'rest' pay is huge. Vast. A chasm.
  • So we rationalise, we now have a billionaire owner, albeit a billionaire owner who's not as 'billionairy' as other billionaire football owners. Our billionaire owner can't call upon the vast oil resources of the United Arab Emirates, for example. But this means that Everton can now compete with the 'bigger' teams, right? Well, no. The Financial Fair Play rules require that over the requisite period, Everton's expenditure does not exceed its income. So Farad Moshiri cannot pour money into the club. Note that in anticipation of FFP being enacted, Manchester City spent £193m in a year. The result of this is that the teams with the biggest ability to call on commercial assets and sales have the greatest ability to spend the most money. We know who those teams are.
  • Let's not forget at this stage the outliers of Leicester and Tottenham, clubs without huge recognised international brands. With regard to the former there was a team who capitalised on the astonishing failure of the more expensive teams to perform; the latter have been blessed with an unlikely flurry of talented players. These are the exception to the rule and over the coming years those exceptions will become less and less frequent. Note also that Arsenal's inability to keep pace with the wage spending of the bigger teams will ultimately see them relegated to the bottom part of the 'top 6' league.
  • Going on, there is the question of the Premier League brand and Sky television (I haven't got Sky, but note the kick off times for Premier League games), both of which have a vested interest in the best supported, most marketable teams succeeding. While we may lament the fact that the same teams are on television week after week so watching Everton on anything but an internet stream with ropey commentary becomes more unlikely, of far more concern is what it does for the health of the domestic game. What Sky do to English football is entrench the status quo by continuously enhancing the brand and earning power of the richest teams by exposing those teams to the viewing public on an almost weekly basis. So, it's self fulfilling for Sky and the Premier League: the richest teams are always on TV. Their brand and earning power increases. They have the ability to buy better players due to their increased earning power relative to their FFP obligations. They finish higher in the league and get more money for their higher position. Which means they continue to be shown on Sky. And so it goes. This also applies to the Champions League which has served to entrench the position of the richest teams in every single league in Europe.

What we're seeing in the Premier League this year is something I've never seen since I started supporting football – not even during Manchester United's domination – and that is a top 6 who not only beat, but thrash the 14 teams that sit outside that group. The title is ultimately decided these days by how those top 6 teams perform against each other. And that position will continue to be entrenched. I suspect what we'll see in the years to come is a continued move from those teams to attempt to break away from the lower 14 in more real terms, with a view to an uber-lucrative European Super League.

So, what for the future for Everton? Staying in the Premier League year after year? Being the best of the bottom 14? Sneaking an FA Cup win (given our record in the League Cup I've already given up on winning that)? I'm genuinely interested in what it is the best Evertonians really hope for any more.

I live a stone's throw from Millwall, so go and see them fairly often as I like football and everywhere I've lived I've been to support the local team (whether that be Norwich, Crewe or Gloucester Rugby). It's fun, entertaining and, importantly, varied. I'll never love Millwall – although I cheer my local team on – as I fell in love with Everton before I knew what love really was, but I'm not sure I can engage with the Premier League scam any more.

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Reader Comments (113)

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Seb Niemand
1 Posted 21/01/2018 at 06:36:58
An interesting point. Which club outside the Premier League – given their history, club traditions, the playing, philosophy associated with the club and their relationship to their supporters and their community – is the most "Everton-like"?

Who could a lapsed Evertonian go to watch the least guilt, at least from a moral point of view?
Roger Helm
2 Posted 21/01/2018 at 06:37:19
I am much the same these days. The Premier League, other than Leicester's miracle season, is so predictable. To be fair, the same is even more true of other European leagues. Only a tiny number of clubs have a chance of winning anything.

The game is so different these days – so fast and frenetic, and also I am turned off by the blatant dishonesty of most of the players and managers.

I am still a STH but I am not bothered about watching anything else football-wise, which is a shame as I used to mad keen to watch everything. I can remember when the FA Cup Final was a big event. In fact, I watch more rugby league these days as it is a better spectacle, and without the cheating.

Dave Lynch
3 Posted 21/01/2018 at 06:52:28
Anybody – and I mean anybody who loves the game of football in its purest form – cannot disagree with that article.

The game is now a circus, 3 possibly 4 teams win all the trophies the majority of the time and it's all down to money.

The quicker they start this Euro elite league, the better IMO – then we can all get back to what matters, the football.

Darren Hind
4 Posted 21/01/2018 at 07:47:27
You're in a difficult situation, Simon. As are all Blues who live outside the Merseyside area.

Matchgoers are fortunate; no matter how badly we have played, we have each other. Often I have gone for a pint after a game feeling almost suicidal and been singing a few hours later. There is always somebody who will find the funny side up here.

The greatest Blue I ever met was a guy who is no longer with us, called Charlie Saunders (some on here will have known him). Charlie was optimistic to the point of being delusional. No matter who we were playing or how poor we were, Charlie could never see a result other than an Everton win.

I remember one particular night at Highbury, Denis Bergkamp was running riot against a Blues side which had been prematurely celebrating Champions League qualification. Arsenal were dazzling and were wiping the flaw with us. As the fourth goal went in, Charlie looked around and spotted me in the row behind... he shouted "We need to get one back in the next few minutes if we're gong to win this, Darren!" Those who didn't know him smiled and chuckled.... They thought he was joking.

Years later, I had a pint with him and his three sons; although pushing 90, he was still on his way to the game. We got talking about how many teams had a realistic chance of winning the title. Charlie pointed to a resurging Manchester City and said, "Those fans have been to hell and back, look at them now, they deserve their good fortune because they stuck by their club. They never gave up hope." He also predicted that a team will set a precedent by coming from nowhere to win the title. He was dead by the time Leicester proved him right.

"Football is like life. While the few enjoy success, the many will continue to look for the breaks and strive for it. Give up on our chances of winning the League and you may as well give up on life."

Unrealistically optimistic? Without doubt... but that's how my favourite Evertonian saw it.

Rob Halligan
5 Posted 21/01/2018 at 08:36:25
Darren's second paragraph is spot on. There are four of us who go all the away games, Europe included, and it's only the camaraderie between the four of us that keeps us going. We always say that the only thing to spoil a good day, or few days if a European game, has been the 90 minutes of football in between.

Football is no longer a sport, but a business. Most clubs are more than happy to survive in the Premier League rather than win a trophy. After all, what's the financial reward for winning the FA Cup or League Cup, compared to losing your Premier League status? Clubs would rather finish 4th and qualify for the Champions League, than win a cup.

I agree with Dave (#3). The sooner this European Super League is set up, the better. Let our so-called big six clubs (I say 'so-called big six' because, in my eyes, no club is bigger than us) piss off and form their own little league. The biggest losers here would be Sky, because they certainly wouldn't win the rights to broadcast the games.

Fans of these clubs would soon get fed up of it as they certainly wouldn't be able to follow their team to the away games abroad. Would these clubs also be allowed to play in the FA Cup or League Cup? I don't think so, so what do they do? Create their own knockout competition, or just stick to the super league?

Yeah, bring the European Super League on asap, and let's get the proper football back and on an even playing field.

Jim Bennings
6 Posted 21/01/2018 at 08:43:42
I've been saying the same for quite a while.

I'm bored to be honest.

Everton have become a club where you can almost write the season out on A4 paper in August and you'd get most of it correct.

1) No Merseyside derby win home or away.

2) No trophy, can't even win the flippin Carabao Cup can we?

3) No win away to Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Man Utd, Liverpool (just read number 1 for that) ever!

4) Watching an Everton team that nearly always struggles to score goals, especially away from Goodison. (I applaud Evertonians going to every away trip to watch the dross we serve up on the road.)

5) Never expect any surprise element, Burnley won at Chelsea on the opening day, little old modest Burnley... can anyone imagine Everton going to Chelsea – a place we ain't won since 1994' – and winning?!?

Frankly, supporting Everton has become a mundane boring task, a mere hardship now and in many ways – it's even less exciting than the roller-coaster of emotions that was the 1990s, a team of limited talent but one which fought and sweated blood, and dragged itself to a surprise FA Cup victory against the odds in both the Semi-Final and Final.

Imagine Everton going against the odds and beating two media darlings in the Cup Semi-Final and Final now???

We all know there would never be a cat-in-hell's chance.

Paul Tran
7 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:02:42
For most of my adult life, bar a few wonderful years, we haven't been within miles of winning anything. When I was a matchgoer, the travel, laughs and camaraderie made up for it. Now, the nearest I get to it is the banter on here, which is nowhere near as good as the real thing.

For me, it's the hope against all logic that keeps me going. Yesterday I set up my laptop as usual, and found myself going to the racing (I had a treble) and staying there after the first 30 mins of turgid nothingness. I returned to the match happily, treble up, before watching us bore me to tears in the second half. That's what Koeman and Allardyce have done for me.

I know the good times will return, just hope I'm around to see them. Darren, I would have loved to have had a pint with your mate Charlie.

Oliver Brunel
8 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:04:16
The problem Moshiri now faces is this watering down of the brand. As posters have said, people are rapidly losing interest. I now only watch the Everton game at the weekend.

Oh, surprise, surprise... Man City have beaten Newcastle, Chelsea have beaten Newcastle etc etc. It's dull. I watch more Rugby now. There is more competition there and not the greed and corruption there is in football.

The fans have changed as well; the Everton away crowd has changed somewhat from the heady days of the 70s and 80s and 90s when the bunch on the Mong Bus were generally a good laugh. The European aways are still great though but those days are probably over.

When the brand loses its attraction (my son, 12, walked away to play Minecraft yesterday, half-way through – understandably..)

Mr Moshiri – the kids are not interested in the product because it's crap. If you think there will be massive attendances ad infinitum you are mistaken. I predict a gradual fall in attendances in the 'sub-prime' football market – I mean the teams outside the Champions League spots.

The FA and the Premier League have destroyed English football. They should be put on trial.

Kevin Gillen
9 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:09:14
Absolutely nails the issues right on the head. You make an interesting comparison with the rugby. Could anyone do an Exeter?

I'm bored with the rigged Sky Premier League. Everton are just cannon fodder for the top six at the moment.

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:18:28
It's the predictable nature about it now that really irks me.

Evertonians are not expecting to challenge Manchester City and then Real Madrid in the Champions League, all we ask is a team that looks like it wants to win games and every now and then put on a little bit of a show for the paying punters – after all, isn't football meant to be an entertainment business?

But every time I watch live matches, highlights, be it whatever, Everton is always the most mundane shite on offer. While other teams play fast running football, we subject fans to “walking“-pace football – no entertainment, no nothing.

Boring football... and now we are being told to accept the dross we are seeing and tolerate it!

It's just shite!

Peter Barry
11 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:18:31
Now that Allardyce has shown us his real abilities and competence, what's next, Mr Moshiri? Championship football, I think...
Ray Robinson
14 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:21:32
I agree wholeheartedly with the article. Nothing will diminish my passion for Everton – it's in my DNA, but I ditched Sky last season, rarely watch a non-Everton game, and hate the way the Premier League is eating itself.

My best mate is a Burnley fan and, though he is enjoying life in the Premier League at the moment, he sincerely believes that football in the Championship is far more honest, competitive and enjoyable.

Eventually the Premier League will implode – if only because lots of kids growing up these days do not seem to be as interested or don't go to the game regularly.

Jeff Armstrong
15 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:32:31
As a mate of mine once said, the problem with cliques is that they're shit... if you're not in them.
Dave Lynch
16 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:37:54
I can't for the life of me work out whether it is apathy or boredom with regards my attitude toward football in general.

My lads have no interest despite having season tickets at one time; they have better things do, they tell me.

My youngest who is 15 will go now and again but he's more interested in the pub before hand, the fish and chips from Goodison Supper Bar ,and the amount of sossy rolls and Bovril he can consume during the match.

I dropped my own season ticket 3 years ago and, once out of the "habit" of attending the game, life became easier.

Let's face it, you can turn up the Wednesday before most games and buy a ticket for the game, which I often do.

The young fanbase is dwindling, not only at Everton but I believe across the game; there is no excitement in the game anymore, it is cut and dried well before a ball is even kicked.

After the derby defeat in the cup, my lad said to me "Don't know why you're so upset, dad, it doesn't matter, someone will have knocked us out eventually and it's only the FA Cup."

That last statement summed it up for me really.


Mark Murphy
17 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:43:43
Even though we're shite at the moment I still envy the regular match-goers. It's a long time since I walked up our street after another nil-nil or home defeat to see my dad hopping from foot to foot in anticipation of turning the knife (he wasn't a red – just couldn't resist the sarky digs). But a few pints on Saturday night and I'd still end up singing about the “magic” Everton and either getting chucked out or in a fight in the car park!

We've been here before, and we may, or may not, climb the heights again, but the thought of no more Merseyside derbies is unthinkable – despite our record.

I agree with almost all the Original post but we (the club) need to adapt and hopefully the new stadium will be a massive stride towards that, but in the meantime we (the supporters) need to forget the latest debacle (again) and look with temporary misplaced optimism to the next game when the “magic” blues put someone to the sword!

RIP Charlie – keep the faith!

Jeff Armstrong
18 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:45:41
Do we ever win anything on FIFA Manager or whatever it's called? Maybe that our road to success for the kids!
Len Hawkins
19 Posted 21/01/2018 at 09:58:34
I posted on another thread that a Red Neck I used to work with somehow wormed his way into the Church at Shankly's funeral and the priest conducting the service said in his eulogy that, being an Evertonian, he believed their time will come again. It did with a bang in the 80s once Howard Kendall had found the box lid to the jigsaw.

And only the Red Shite causing the break up of that team, thanks to Heysel and the Europe ban (and the bastards call us 'bitter'... Bitter, my arse – it is downright hatred!).

You have to believe it is going to turn around – if not, what is the point of continuing? Fleetwood, Fylde, Salford City, Forest Green, AFC Wimbledon, Burnley are all bucking the trend and show that success can come with hard work from the top to the bottom of the club. Everton will come good again but the date and year I just can't pinpoint at the moment.

A few years ago, I was wetting myself with hope and excitement when the Red Shite were hours from imploding and Lawrenson was on BBC telling us there was a big, big club about to go under... but, like the crapy shite they are, some bloody Yank started throwing his money about.

What is there to stop Usmanov coming in when the new ground is built and taking Everton forward? You have to have hope.

Keith Monaghan
20 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:07:35
Sadly, this article and many of the above comments are oh so true.

I've watched Everton since 1965; 1966 was a great year – I was at Wembley to see Everton win the cup & England the World Cup – the latter is highly unlikely to happen again, and we seem to have very little chance of winning anything, like about 14 other Premier League clubs.

Why? 'Cos of the "Champions" League and FA. Clubs complain of too many fixtures, so their solution? Stop extra time & replays in FA Cup – successful games that have been in place for years; keep increasing fixtures in European Cup competitions (Champions League & Europa League), many of which involve long journeys.

Arrogant champagne socialist pundits like Lineker & Shearer would never agree, of course, 'cos they're on the payroll of the gravy train.

Very negative, I'm afraid, but so very true – so much so that I'm now thinking of giving up my long-held season ticket.

Steavey Buckley
22 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:09:44
There is a big gap not just with the top 4 but with the top 6. But that is no excuse of Koeman to waste money on players the club did not need or could afford, while Koeman ignored the obvious fact there is no quality on the left hand side.

But his biggest mistake was not buying a proven goal scorer to replace Lukaku. These are the main reasons why Everton have struggled all season.

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:13:56
Len (#19), you and others may like this, if you haven't seen it already:

Andrew Ellams
24 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:15:29
What sums the Premier League up for me is going into work on a Monday morning and listening to a bunch of RedShite who have never been within 100 miles of the city... or a Red Manc who boasts about never being further North of Cambridge, telling me how their teams are the greatest ever. It bores me senseless.
Jim Bennings
25 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:27:36
Steavey,

As soon as Everton showed they were willing to sell a player with 43 goals in the two previous seasons and our talismanic top scorer, Romelu Lukaku, to the team that finished 6th, one place above us last season, Manchester United, I stopped taking us seriously and then quickly realised Farhad Moshiri would not have lasted a minute had he done that at Liverpool.

But at Everton it's always somehow tolerated and accepted; there lies the differences in expectation and demand at Everton and the top clubs.

David Scarborough
26 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:29:02
I often wonder if the players have also figured this out or are they just as delusional as some of us have to be to think they're transferring into a team with 'ambition'?

As far as I can tell, apart from the vast riches that a player earns from playing at the top level – and Everton can offer a little more than some teams below us – the only motivations to play for Everton are, as a young player, to develop and hope for a transfer to a top 6 team; as a mid-career player who's lost his form to try and rediscover it, perhaps with the hopes of getting into a World Cup or Euro squad; or the ageing veteran to come along and teach a young lad a thing or two (who will most likely take this learning to try and get into a top 6 team).

It's actually for these above reasons, the players who have to show they are worthy of playing for us – who don't see us either a development or retirement ground – like Niasse for example, put in more effort than the rest and in his case, have been getting their rewards.

But anyway, the big picture is depressing... so I think the only way to try and enjoy an Everton season is through the moments that we may get, the odd upset we may cause, cup semi or final reached. I really hope we don't get into the Europa League again, though!

Keith Monaghan
27 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:32:10
Steavey (#23) – Koeman may have contributed to our problems, but is not their architect. He didn't sign sub-standard players like McGeady, Lennon, Niasse, Besic, Alcaraz and a few more.

Who did decide to sign some of the more recent ones like Williams? What was Walsh's & Kenwright's role? Jags & Baines should have been eased out 2-3 years ago.

What is the logic in deciding to sell Lukaku to a close rival in mid-July and replace him with an over-the-hill & unfit has-been? Did our sentimental chairman have nothing to do with it?

Didn't Koeman repeatedly state before 31 August that he wanted a left-sided defender and at least one striker?

Eddie Dunn
28 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:39:04
The one silver lining is that nothing lasts forever.

When I was 10, we won the league in 1970. I then waited, endured the dark times when we were overshadowed by our red neighbours and the school seemed full of bragging Kopites.

I was beginning to think we would never win anything when suddenly Howard Kendall took over and we embarked on a period of wonderful football and honours. I didn't see it coming. I went to Rotterdam and will always cherish those times.

It should be remembered that we (Phil Carter) were instrumental in setting up the Premier League. We were one of the greedy ones back then, but ironically we are the one club out of those big 5 that have fallen off the pace.

The current status quo may seem set in stone, but things do change, they always have done and always will.

It might take a political upheaval, or the death of Murdoch and the break-up of his empire. There could be a new tech advance that usurps Sky – we already watch games for nowt on very decent streams. There could be a financial crash, a war or a natural disaster.

If we do have a cataclysmic episode, just look on the bright side... the end of the top six, Sky, Carra, Murphy, Talkshite etc, etc.

Michael Penley
30 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:40:34
Strange time to be posting this, after a "nobody" in Leicester just won the title. What were you doing while Man Utd were winning year after year with no end in sight?
Jim Bennings
31 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:44:21
Niasse instantly looked more threatening in 50 seconds than Tosun did all game .

Oumar might be limited but at least he seems to “get” that we require a certain work ethic.

I hope Tosun succeeds, but would it surprise me if he simply wanted away in summer as another Sandro or Jelavic type signing? Probably would shock me at all.

Moshiri now appears to want to solve things by just throwing any money after anybody and not figuring out or asking the questions of whether this guy is ready going to help the team transform.

I still laugh when I think of his cringeworthy “Fab Four“ statement...

Pat Kelly
32 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:49:04
Few Premier League players nowadays have any association with their Clubs. They are mostly mercenaries in pursuit of ever greater riches. It hardly matters which Club they play with as they have no local connection.

Some may wish Everton were in the elite top 4 funded by a mega billionaire or sovereign wealth fund. But if you want to find real commitment, endeavour and entertainment, look outside the Premier League.

Andrew Clare
34 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:51:45
To speak in cliches – It's the essence of capitalism: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

This is the world today. Money talks big time in the world of the Premier League. Advertisers call the shots, the media accommodates them and the little man in the street seems to be secondary to everything.

Everton missed the boat a long time ago and we have now become bit-part players in the pantomime. We are now – with no disrespect to them – like Sunderland, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday. Also-rans in the scheme of things. There are 3 or 4 teams in each of the European leagues that have any chance of success; in some leagues, only one or two teams have any chance.

It's only a matter of time before attendances will drop in the Premier League as more and fans become disillusioned.

Tony Hill
35 Posted 21/01/2018 at 10:56:03
I looked around Goodison yesterday and it still looks wonderful, packed with Blues waiting for something, anything to give them reason for pride in their team. There was, as usual, nothing.

Things can change when you least expect, but I'm afraid I agree with those who say that top level football is choking on itself. Supporters of many other fine, old teams are in the same (or much worse) position. We have all been left behind by a sporting product which is glossier, sleeker and better engineered – for the chosen ones – than it has ever been. It is also dead behind the eyes.

Derek Thomas
36 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:02:39
I used to watch football, any football, all football, from Roy McFarland playing for The Mount on Garston Park, up to the World Cup Final... I played for years too.

Given up on the Premier League?... I think it's given up on me – the average fan, who went every week at 3pm on a Saturday.

Now, I only watch Everton, but I don't get up in the middle of the night now... in fact I've started fast-forwarding games... How long until I just catch the 5 min highlights... and I use the term loosely?

Till we start playing better, I suppose.

Paul Birmingham
37 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:03:02
I've always been a realist and an optimist and with Everton, the duration of any highs in football is normally not very long. A few golden years and potential to grow were shattered by events at Heysel and it's never been the same since in my book. Sky came and now dominates the sport as with BT trying to make a fist of it with Sky. Soon, other Media vendors will get in on the act – Netflix etc – and I am sure it will change again, in terms of Media domination.

Trying to transcend the negativity at the moment is very, very hard; EFC have been serving up rotten tripe for years now and, over the last few years, it's gotten worse.

The demise is not just now, it's not an accident, it's been festering for years, and reality is we know this is the case. The total hopes, loves and joys of all Evertonians for our club will never go, but it will dwindle and fade, and I sense for many it's become so predictable now, due to how bad we are, that there are more important matters in life.

As we get older, other life factors must be accounted for, and as life changes, the love of the club won't disappear... it's always there. But, like the ice caps at the North Pole, unless there's a miracle, I can't see Everton winning the Premier League in the foreseeable future and no other trophy unless there's a massive financial uplift. The new ground – will it happen? The cost of the ground, the 100s of millions already spent and mainly wasted on unreliable, gutless and passionless players, does make you think... Are we just making up the numbers and going through the motions?

The days of bunking the train, gibbing in at away grounds, late 70s, 80s, 90s, great spirit and camaraderie, planning your summer holidays, watching the pre-season friendliess, running my life around EFC have been and gone, and I like many, are prisoners of a past that was an adventure and a great laugh.

Now, only memories that get more distant; the reality for up-and-coming Evertonians is that our time at the top was a long time ago, and won't becoming back soon. The Moyes era brought the last decent times, without winning anything, not even great football, but we had a very good go by playing to the strengths of the teams... but we can't keep going on about times a decade and more ago.

If the club and board had half the passion for the club the fans do, the club would be galavanised and up for a fight to be the best...

Seems like the club has languished too long now and outside the top 6 is looking like our berth, hence forth unless there's a revolution with EFC.

Still there's hope and hope, but when and where it will happen and Everton wins a trophy and gets a consistent position, eg, Top 5 position regularly? I just don't know.

I hope and hope the club gets a shrink in soon, for the Finch Farm staff, all players and board. The sponsorship deals secured won't get renewed based on the ways it's going and, based on form and fate, as in life, always be prepared for the unexpected, but with EFC, what will that be?

John McFarlane
38 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:24:28
Hi Dave [3] and Rob [5] I was saying as soon as the idea of a European League was mooted, that the sooner it happened the better it would be for the rest of us.

The proviso I would have added, was once these clubs had made the move To Europe, they would not be readmitted to the English game.

I can recall the time when we couldn't predict the winners of the League, and at the beginning of August, we all believed that we were in with a chance.

We used to feel sorry for Scottish supporters, and wondered how they felt, as Celtic and Rangers won everything, apart from an occasional blip, when Aberdeen or Hearts managed to gate crash the party.

Sadly we know now how it feels, and to be truthful it's not pleasant, but as a creature of habit I will be renewing my season ticket, and hoping for a seismic change, but I won't be holding my breath.

[ps: I also experienced relegation and that's not pleasant either.]

Rob Halligan
40 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:37:26
John # 40, totally agree."You've made your bed so go and lie on it". We all know though, that a European super league isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Like you, I will be renewing my season ticket for next season, and doubtless spending hundreds of pounds following the team up and down the country, in the hope of something good happening. It's that hope that kills you though.

Shane Corcoran
41 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:39:51
Things change lads.

A few years ago many were bleating about the Sky 4. Then the Sky 4 changed to exclude Liverpool and Arsenal and promote City and Spurs. Now it's the Sky 6. Then Leicester won the league, a one-off I admit. It seems it's the Sky Anything That Doesn't Include Everton.

We now have money and we've made a balls of it. I get engrossed in the bullshit that is the Transfer Window like the next man, but I actually dread Everton spending now such has been the waste.

I watch Everton from afar so it's easy for me to be more apathetic.

The same thing has been happening in Germany (one-horse race), Spain (2-3 horse race) for ages. Be glad there's six in England and don't blame Sky for it.

Paul Traill
42 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:40:34
Great article mate and I agree with a lot of it. The soul has been sucked out of football. I just refuse to go to Everton for so long without seeing us win anything, so looks like I'm in this for the long haul.
Stephen Brown
43 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:51:07
This is an excellent and accurate article! All my mates are Swansea fans and the majority of them are looking forward to the Championship and even pine for the great days of League One football!! I'm not joking!!

For decades, they dreamed of being in the top flight but now they all find it boring with no soul and mercenary players!

It's feeling a bit the same for us although I don't wish for League One or Championship!

Depressing times indeed with no obvious end in sight?! Unless the new stadium can be the catalyst?!

Keith Harrison
44 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:53:53
All of you agreeing with this article would enjoy the read "Turning my back on the Premier League" by Lee Price. A Man Utd fan that refound 'joy' by following his local non-league club. An excellent read, and only £2.99 on Amazon Kindle.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Turning+my+back+on+the+premier+league

Don't know how to do the shortened 'link', sorry.

I'm seriously having second thoughts about renewing my season ticket, and going to watch either Carlisle or Workington, but it would mean me having to give up my job as Rob Halligan's carer.

Kevin Tully
45 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:54:39
Those advocating that the 'big 6' go and play in a European League of their own are just poor losers. Spurs have got where they are through employing a great manager and unearthing gems in Kane and Alli.

It makes me laugh when I read Blues on here saying how great the 'kids' are, and some would be ecstatic if any manager just played all the U23s. News for you, they're not good enough. Average at best. We don't have a Kane or Alli in our reserves.

We had a chance of joining the elite, we spent as much as the top 4 sides. Would you all be moaning if those signings worked out? Then we would be accused of spending our way to success, and nobody could have argued. We've spent near to £250m since Martinez left, and everyone's moaning because we're worse the Burnley.

If Tosun & Walcott would have scored six between them yesterday, would you all be whinging that we've just spent another £50m to become good to watch? If we move to state-of-the-art stadium and spend our way into into the big boys, will you all want to join a European League then?

Suck it up, you big babies!!

Shane Corcoran
46 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:57:21
Ha, Kevin I think Cenk and Tosun are the same player, although maybe this is Sam's biggest trick yet. But I see you've edited it, so I guess I should too.

Agree mostly with what you say though.

Keith Harrison
47 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:00:07
Kevin, what are you doing a) home yet, and/or b) up before 12 noon, and c) able to type almost logically on a Sunday???
Kevin Tully
48 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:07:23
Off for a curer, Keith. Hair of the dog brother, and mainly to forget about that shite yesterday.
Rob Halligan
49 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:17:54
Keith, it would also save me a fortune on providing breakfasts / lunches. 😂😂😂
Tony Hill
50 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:24:31
We'd be happier, of course, if we were better but most football is dull. I can't remember the last international tournament I enjoyed. The Europa and Champions Leagues are programmed and flat most of the time. It reminds me a bit of top level tennis in that the technique and fitness are unprecedentedly good among the elite but it's empty at heart.
Andy Crooks
51 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:25:45
A very interesting but depressing article. I will never give up on the dream, though. I absolutely believe that the right group of players will combine with the right coach to bring us glory.

Darren, you make an excellent point. Sitting at home watching final score, hearing of James's horrendous injury and of another abysmal show was utterly demoralizing. Even watching the derby in the pub, I am surrounded by reds and believe me it is much worse when they are patronizing.

The only relief is meeting an exiled blue scouser at the bus stop where we can have early morning therapy sessions. Like me, however, he clings to the dream.

Ian Hollingworth
52 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:47:40
Some excellent posts on this thread.

I wish I could truly accept the truth, that is, we are crap, we have a clown as a chairman and we might never compete again for a long long time. My life as an Evertonian would be easier if I could truly accept that.

The problem is we don't accept it and we really want our beloved Everton back challenging for honours. I guess we have to accept all the crap and heartache that it brings.

Alasdair Jones
53 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:55:37
Simon.

Excellent article which encapsulates all I feel about the modern game and Everton's uncertain position within that framework.

Unlike yourself, I had the great fortune to grow up on The Wirral and became an enthusiastic supporter of the team from about 1962 on wards. I remained reasonably committed after leaving Merseyside to live in the Midlands from the 1970's. But not of late, for all the reasons that you eloquently set out in your article.

My last live game was in the Martinez era vs Swansea. A turgid 0-0 draw following which I regrettably decided enough was enough and the game and the circumstances that envelop it would have to change before I ventured north again.

So I now live off the memories of Alex Young, the Holy Trinity, and Howard Kendall's Championship sides. I also have some fond memories of David Moyes team with Arteta, Cahill, Jags and the Yak.

As I live near Coventry I now watch Wasps in the Rugby Union Premiership where my season ticket gives me access to a Sportsmans bar before the game. I find the games are always full on commitment from start to finish and without that aching regret or even annoyance if the result does not go our way.

Toffee Web will remain my remaining link with the club since Lyndon writes a better match report than anything on BBC or in the main stream media where even yesterday Mr Harry 20% Rednapp constantly harked on about how bad Everton were (v West Brom) without any ref to McCarty's horrendous injury. (BT Sport's Sky type match day prog.)

John McFarlane
54 Posted 21/01/2018 at 13:26:54
Hi Kevin, [48] I'm excluding myself from your list of 'whingers,' because I didn't advocate that sooner the so-called big 6 go and play in a European League the better, I merely said what my attitude would be if they did.

However, I feel that your description of those people as 'whingers' is uncalled for, and there is a way to show your disagreement in a more dignified way.

I'm not prepared to trawl through the postings on the various threads, but I'm sure that there will be one or two postings of yours that could fall under that category.

Ste Traverse
55 Posted 21/01/2018 at 13:32:15
There's no point cry-arseing about the Premier League. We were one of the five clubs that set it up.

It's nobody else's fault but our own that we've fallen so far off the pace.

Raymond Fox
56 Posted 21/01/2018 at 14:09:55
Our problem is simple: the very best players won't sign for us. Even when we produce a youngster who match the very best players in the Premier League they want to leave. How do we make the leap from where we are now to be on par with Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea etc?

The only way I can see it happening is if some mega rich whoever bought us, lock, stock and barrel, the new stadium was built, and he was willing to match the teams already mentioned spending. Even then, it wouldn't be easy to get the right players to come to Goodison Park.

Dave Abrahams
57 Posted 21/01/2018 at 14:12:10
I've got to agree to the sentiments of the title and football is not the same to me anymore, I haven't got Sky although my grandson is a wizard at getting games on his computer and gets Everton games on for me when we play away but any other games I'm not really interested.

I ever even watched Chelsea v Norwich the other night on the BBC, I was reading a good book, but when it comes to Everton at Goodison Park, nothing will keep me away. I'm hooked just as badly as any junkie hungering for a fix and I will stay that way until I'm in my box.

You won't beat me, Kenwright, you bastard.

Kunal Desai
58 Posted 21/01/2018 at 14:18:40
The whole club has been lethargic in the way it operates from top to bottom. From board room to managers to players. Easy appointments and quick fixed in appointing managers like Martinez, Koeman and Allardyce. I've always felt they have never done serious research into unearthing good managers and players. The club is lazy, summer proved it by throwing money at Premier League players without any thought given. Just throw in players had hope they will be in. Just lazy.

If the club actually had a plan how they were/intending to move forward each season then at least that would encourage fans to show steps and measures are being taken to move the club forward. As it stand everything filters from the hierarchy down and I have no faith in them. 20 years has proved this.

Keith Harrison
59 Posted 21/01/2018 at 14:44:30
I thought meals on wheels provided the food Rob?

Hope the cold gets better mate, never heard of anybody being signed off for 47 years with man flu tbh.

Have we signed a left-back yet?

Joe McMahon
60 Posted 21/01/2018 at 14:58:30
I'm 48 so no kid, and I've been with the Blues since 1977. Now I go to Turf Moor maybe 3 times a season, my wife is from Burnley and my son also supports them.

We went yesterday (as it was Man Utd) but it hit me yesterday, thinking about image and appealing to younger fans. Just as the teams are about to walk onto the pitch The Foo Fighters are blasted at high volume, then the players walk out to Wake Up by Arcade Fire... Great songs with rousing loud guitar riffs or a dated jingly tune from the 60s? I know many will give me grief about this, but I know which I prefer and certainly younger generations would agree.

Nirvana were also played just before the Foos, which is defo better than "It's A Grand Old Team" or "If yer know yer 'istory"...

Gerry Quinn
61 Posted 21/01/2018 at 15:01:18
Andy Crooks #54 - "Even watching the derby in the pub I am surrounded by reds..."

Which part of Norway do you live in then?

:)

James Welford
62 Posted 21/01/2018 at 15:22:08
Good article!

I think 2 aspects of modern day football disappoint me the most: the money involved, and the apathy of the players. Add to that the shite football served up by Everton since Billy Bullshit's first season and the dullness of MotD and not bothering with Premier League football has become distressingly easy this year (been a blue since 1983).

The transfer fees and wages are obscene now, and the McCarthy incident yesterday sums up the apathy. If the players don't even care about each other – even someone with a career-ender!! – then what do you think they care about? The fans? The team? The result?

I'm beginning to think that the Top 6 effect means players who come in are just happy to pick up their pay, know they're not going to win anything, but earn as much as they can. Perhaps BFS has not realised this change since his Bolton days – but players like Kenny and Davies show more passion for Everton then any of the old journeymen imports.

It seems to me a lot of players are too pally with their mates on the opposition. I'd like to see a quota introduced for local players in each team.

One of the Minnesota Vikings players (in ref to playing in Philadelphia away tonight) was quoted they liked the hostility of playing away, the more hostile the better, as they were out there in the middle with their unit, supported by their teammates – us against them.

I'm struggling to think of that applying to any Everton team since the Moyes 2005 or so teams.

Instead, a bunch of half-arsed mercenaries pretend to play, picking up their obscene wages, while a swindler picks up his millions for keeping Everton out of trouble, by playing depressingly inept negative football, and with no expectation of ever winning anything again. Nil Satis...

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

63 Posted 21/01/2018 at 15:23:50
Thank you Simon for a really good read. An extremely well-considered and well-constructed piece.

Being an eternal optimist with a positive mindset in life in general (which certainly helps if you are an Evertonian!) I place myself firmly and helplessly in the romantic dreamer class, akin to Darren's now departed mate Charlie and TW's own George McKane. That is to say:

No matter how badly we played in previous weeks... no matter how badly we are playing in-game... I am always hopeful this is the time... This is the game when everything clicks into place and we start twatting teams three- and four-nil.

I do this knowing full well that the data and the odds are stacked against me in this romanticised belief, but it continues to sustain me week to week and throughout every live game.

I fancy it will only be a seriously debilitating mental illness like dementia, or death itself, which will extinguish that hope and belief in me.

All you write Simon about the wealth factor in the Premier League is for me indisputable. As others state, long gone are the days when at the start of the season, half the league and more had a chance to be crowned champions. The Premier League now reflects the majority of top European clubs where the title can only be realistically won by 2-3 clubs.

Because of how far behind we are in pretty much every aspect of the likes of Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea, never mind Arsenal, Spurs and t'other lot, it will take Everton getting a whole lot of things right to even be in with an outside chance of breaking that 'elite' cartel.

But – helplessly, romantically – I have to believe we can do it. And I want to be able to succeed with those clubs still in the Premier League.

I for one am opposed to seeing them 'feck orf!' to a European Super League to leave the rest of us playing in some sanitised Premier League.

As for those claiming the Premier League will implode and fans will start to stay away in droves, that has been the claim for a couple of decades now. Current evidence says otherwise. Each new media deals adds yet more zeros to the TV broadcast rights. Live match spectator numbers continue to grow.

This recent report on the BBC shows the Premier League way out in front of all other major European Leagues attendance-wise. And not only that, but to emphasise the rude health of match-going in England, the English Championship is 3rd in that particular league table. That places the Championship ahead of even La Liga and Serie A, with only the Premier League and the Bundesliga ahead of them.

English Championship boasts third biggest crowds in Europe

Similarly, the claims that young Evertonians are not match-goers is also not true, as another recent article in the Echo highlighted. We are bucking the Premier League trend and attracting more supporters in the 18-24-year-old group than any other club.

Everton are bucking the Premier League trend by providing affordable football for young adults

I'm guessing more than a few of that demographic hold the same helplessly romantic view as I do:

Our time will come.

Jay Woods
[LAT]

64 Posted 21/01/2018 at 15:28:26
It's a nice article, but the top 6 can't actually risk breaking away from the "points fodder" 14 clubs below them to join some European Super League.

If you think it's hard enough for any one of them to win the Premier League in any given season, how much harder would it be to win a league with Bayern, Real, Barca, Juve, PSG, et al in it?

Even in an "elite league", somebody has to come bottom.

And you can be sure the current kings of the major European leagues will not want their regular challenger status watered down in a continental super league. It's already bad enough with Real Madrid winning the Champions League 3 out of the past 4 seasons.

The elite clubs, however, in every European country like to use the threat of their breakaway, I believe, as a means to keep the also-rans in line, so that we don't complain too loudly when they keep all their home gate receipts instead of splitting them 50-50, or when they get preferential TV deals.

Eddie Dunn
65 Posted 21/01/2018 at 15:31:02
I said earlier that we were one of the instigators of the Premier League. We were one of the so called "Big Five" and sought to line our pockets to the detriment of the "lesser teams"... Now we know how they felt.

Incidentally, I hear an awful lot of complaints about mercenary players, and I am as guilty as anyone for harking back to the Kendall glory years, but let's remember what happened to our team after the Hysel ban.

Gary Stevens and Trevor Steven went to Rangers, and Lineker went to Barca. Oh and don't forget our manager buggered-off to Bilbao. Mercenaries? It has always been the rule – not the exception.

Michael Lynch
66 Posted 21/01/2018 at 15:36:10
Very good piece that. Just to pick up on one point though – I don't think the top 6 will breakaway to form a European Super League.

Whilst you're correct to say that the title is mostly decided by the fixtures between the top 6, a lot of the fun for those who follow the likes of Man City and the Red Shite is to watch them paste the weaker teams. This is when they get to see their players running rings round the inferior players from teams like...well, like Everton. It's fun for them. They don't want intense showdowns every week – especially as their chosen team might actually lose!

So I think the Premier League will carry on as it is. Very occasionally you will get a Spurs – a relatively wealthy club who put together a wonderful team under a talented manager, most of whom will then be poached by bigger clubs. Even more rarely you'll get a Leicester, exploiting an unusually fallow season for the big clubs.

Where do we fit in? I'm with Kevin Tully @48. If our splurge had paid off, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I'll probably hang on in hope of joining the top table.

Nigel Gregson
67 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:03:01
Giving up on Premier League to move to what exactly? 2 horse race in Spain? Or 1 horse race in Germany? There have been 4 different Premier League winners in the last 5 years, can you name an alternative league which is similarly competitive?
Joe McMahon
68 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:18:13
Eddie (66) I often wondered if Kendall went to Bilbao (not exactly one of the big hitters, were they?) just for the cheaper Whiskey?
Robin Cannon
69 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:23:08
Why move to anywhere? May as well keep an extra couple of hours free on Saturday or Sunday.

I've given up on watching the Premier League in the broader sense. I don't know where any other team is really, City and their Arab oil fund are running away with it, I think Swansea are bottom, and that's about it apart from Everton.

Barring a miracle season, I don't particularly see much prospect of us winning anything before I retire now (I'm 41). Even the "eke into the Champions' League a couple of times, use that money to build further" business model doesn't work any more.

I still can't break the habit of Everton. But I care less when I watch, I don't get stressed or angry or passionate in the same way. Nothing we do particularly matters. The only pleasure I'm really looking for is a team that tries to play attractive football and has a go at the opposition; and we can't manage that.

Darren Hind
70 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:28:03
Dave A @60,

I loved the last sentence. The worrying thing is: If somebody showed me the post and I had to name the poster, I'd have been able to do it in a heartbeat.

Keith H

Where the fuck have you been, lad? Good to see you back.

Andy Crooks

I had to be in Stoney Strafford (Milton Keynes) a few year back when we were playing the shite. I thought I was in Oslo. Even in a pretty little market town, there was about 100 of them in the ale house.

They're like rats mate, fucking everywhere...

Brian Williams
71 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:31:22
They are indeed everywhere. You only have to tune into TalkSport phone-ins and hear the accents when the presenter says "Here's so and so, a Liverpool supporter."
Steve Pugh
72 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:33:56
The one inking of hope I can offer is that it took City a few years to get used to having money and start spending it wisely and challenge for the league.

At the minute, Everton are the council estate lad that won the lottery and is wasting his money on every flash thing that catches his eye. Hopefully it won't take too long for our club to get used to the money and start being a bit cleverer in our dealings.

David Israel
73 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:54:39
It is all very well to go on ranting about how the Premier League caused a terrible imbalance in the top flight of English football, but the truth is, not long ago we didn't talk about 'the top six', but only about the 'top four'. Manchester City and Spurs have joined the 'elite' in the mean time, which shows it is not a closed shop.

Furthermore, let's not forget that we were part of the 'Big Five' clubs behind the whole idea of the Premier League. It just so happened that we were on our way down, rather than stable or on our way up.

And the biggest unbalancing factor was not the Premier League, but rather the Champions League, which is why it is a good thing that not all the 'top six' can get into it every season.

A European Super League would seriously harm domestic competitions, unless anyone considers it thrilling to watch the title being decided between Burnley and Leicester City.

Tony Hill
74 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:58:57
The difference is that the top clubs are moving away from the rest, their privilege is entrenched and I have never seen such an obvious gap in quality – a gap that was not there even 5 years ago. There is some time lag involved, but the Premier League is inexorably losing its competitiveness. I don't see how anyone can dispute it.

It's true that we have bought badly and we need to be much more astute (the Atletico model) but the leap is still an enormous one.

Paul Tran
75 Posted 21/01/2018 at 17:11:52
All true that the 'top' clubs are moving away, but surely the first response is to make sure we beat the teams below us consistently? We could also choose to play good football doing so.

We can talk about not winning against these top sides, but we've recently dropped 7 points against Albion and Bournemouth. Those points would have us in 7th, even in a three-manager dysfunctional season.

Beat the teams below us, get some consistency and momentum, then we've got a base for challenging the top sides.

Lawrence Green
76 Posted 21/01/2018 at 17:13:35
Table as it would look without top six clubs involved.

Team PL PLD W D L GF GA PTS
Leicester City 34 15 8 5 2 25 14 29
Burnley 34 15 8 4 3 11 5 28
Everton 28 15 7 4 4 22 17 25
Brighton 23 17 5 8 4 16 15 23
Newcastle United 25 17 6 4 7 18 19 22
Bournemouth 25 16 5 7 4 22 19 22
West Ham United 26 17 5 6 6 24 28 21
Watford 26 17 6 3 8 22 22 21
Huddersfield Town 24 18 5 6 7 15 23 21
Crystal Palace 25 16 5 6 5 17 18 21
Stoke City 23 16 5 4 7 19 21 19
Southampton 21 16 4 7 5 19 21 19
West Brom 20 17 3 8 6 14 18 17
Swansea City 17 16 4 4 8 13 17 16

Si Cooper
77 Posted 21/01/2018 at 17:14:37
Oh, get a grip! Sorry but can't agree with a lot on this thread. Of course money to spend is the biggest single factor but it is not the only one.

In any case, as a club looking to attract / develop players we have to expect better than what we have at the moment because we are harvesting from a global resource, and therefore in terms of wealth we must be somewhere near the top 1% (and certainly have been at other times in our history) of the richest clubs in the world.

Relative wealth may mean, more often than not, we should be finishing around 7th, but it is nothing to do with Sky the fact that we can't raise our game in the derbies or other one-offs. What about our losses to poorer teams?

Leicester didn't simply luck out, they seized the chance their own performances made possible, and Spurs are not simply ‘blessed with an unlikely flurry of talented players' – they have a manager who has bought astutely at senior and junior level and who generally gets the best out of his team.

Sky spread the money around a bit, everyone gets a certain number of live games and all of the other games are shown as equal length highlights. As someone who now lives many miles away the biggest complaint I have against Sky is the fact that they have dropped the 50 minutes highlights of each game but most clubs get decent exposure unlike the extremely variable highlights and scrutiny you get on the BBC.

In the game currently on Sky, Southampton are giving Spurs a very testing time rather than simply wilting in the face of one of ‘Sky's favourites'.

John Pierce
78 Posted 21/01/2018 at 17:17:34
My lament is very similar to many posters on here and can trace things back maybe a touch further to an innate sense of loss.

I moved to the states in 2013, but had moved to St Albans in 2008 and had to that point dedicated myself to watch Everton anywhere I could. Away days were most special and the breed of tinkers and scallies that were in attendance were a constant source of joy and edgy trouble all wrapped in one zany Everton bundle.

But come ‘08 a friend and I bummed out with the elitism of the game Simon pens so eloquently started to watch ‘the' Barnet. Everton had a decent side but it was clear the ceiling was not glass but concrete even then and more so without finance Everton were ‘buggered'. The Barney were struggling at the foot of league 2. It was local and footy dreadful, but a truly worthy matchday experience. And its were I got my mojo for the game back.

From hearing every comment made in the stands, to players' liaisons with the ‘bacon sandwich girl' it was packed full of real life.

Each player and referee could be heard, you'd see players you knew on the way out, and shiny new kids that maybe might make it.

My love is Everton, it wanes, and it is probably at its lowest ebb but I'd encourage anyone to find a grubby, real footy club a go whenever you feel like throttling the boys from Goodison Park; real life and a bacon sandwich down at the local cloggers.

Tony Hill
79 Posted 21/01/2018 at 17:25:01
Paul (#76), Si (#78), I think what you're saying is that we should be more attractive and finish in 7th. And then something else might happen. I agree that's where we stand. My point is that the "something else" is diminishingly likely. Si, I'm afraid I think the Leicester title was indeed a one-off.
David Israel
80 Posted 21/01/2018 at 17:33:51
John (#79), excellent piece! I did use to watch Southport now and then. I can see your point about Barnet.
Si Cooper
81 Posted 21/01/2018 at 17:54:20
Not quite what I am trying to say, Tony. If you accept money is an overwhelming factor then we should pretty much beat everybody we are richer than, but that doesn't happen. You may get a couple of teams who do so routinely, but generally even teams from the Sky 6 are beatable.

The future partly depends on the pot you are all taking players from, where a shortage of top quality players will mean they will all be sucked up by a smaller group of teams but a sufficient increase would mean a decent trickle down effect, and how you utilise the players you can attract.

I would prefer the resources were spread around more, but the biggest block to that is the fact that the players will more often than not simply go and play wherever they are best rewarded. That is something for the Premier League to address.

Sky don't control human nature, though (like all money making enterprises) they will often exploit it. They will market any successful product.

Colin Glassar
82 Posted 21/01/2018 at 18:18:09
If you want to get really depressed, read the Everton Simpsons thread on twitter. Now that’s depressing.
John Daley
83 Posted 21/01/2018 at 18:18:52
There is little excitement or entertainment anymore, with innovation and risk taking becoming utterly disincentivised, because fear of failure (with 'failure' being falling off the financial gravy train and not being able to get back on) ultimately governs every decision and thought for those not entrenched in the upper echelons.

We've witnessed first-hand it's ugly fucking flipper hand slapping 'sense' into the panic merchants responsible for determining the future direction of Everton and, no matter how earnestly they try to pass it off as 'pragmatism', there is no mistaking the piss stains eking the way down their pant leg.

The rewards for simply maintaining Premier League status are now so huge, with club's so heavily reliant on the resulting hand-out, that stagnation, 'staying as we are', is seen as 'success' enough, and striving for something greater amounts to no more than a maverick moment of madness that could lead to mounds of dirt being patted down on your mouldering corpse.

It's that overriding fear that fuels the continual, lazy, hiring of incubi with antiquated ideas like Allardyce, Pulis, Hughes, Hodgson and Pardew. Managers tried and tested at operating at the troubled end of the table, who tout their own tenacity and expertise at tackling dirty jobs where the 'flavour of the month' would fear to tread.

As though stripping it back to basics and concentrating solely on trying to be hard to beat is some long lost secret art still lingering among saggy jowelled arl British bosses alone. Like they share the fucking 'Shining' or something, rather than simple shortsightedness that safety-first, spoiling, shite is the sole way to scrape together sufficient points to survive or prosper. They and their Cro-Magnon contempor]aries sell themselves as regularly 'saving' clubs from failure, when in reality they're putting the fucking rubber stamp on it.

Most football supporters in this country know that the current skewed state of play means their club faces a massive uphill battle to even challenge for, never mind bag, a bloody trophy. Yet, they persevere. While loyalty and habit obviously have a huge hand in them hanging on in there, so too does hope. Not some unrealistic, never going to happen, 'about as much chance of hanging out with Halle Berry', type hope of their team racking up titles while playing total football, but a more stripped back 'hope' of being reminded, just occasionally, from time to time, why they fell in love with the game in the first place and why they continue to turn up week after week, no matter their teams woes, or the absolute wankery of it all in the main.

An unexpected win against one of the sainted Sky boys now and again, an end to end five or six goal thriller, a derby win you didn't have to sign up for some mad 'Matrix' style deal to witness, a comeback from a couple of goals down, a new signing becoming an instant hero by having a barnstorming debut, an exhilarating passage of fluid 'pass and move' play, relentlessly peppering the opposition goal and finally making the breakthrough, a 'wonder' strike, something...anything... to get you off your seat shouting (or even just thinking) "Yes!! Fucking come on!!!".

How many of those moments have we had to savour recently and how many are we likely to have to look forward to under Big Sam going forward? If hope of even the smallest rewards (like, a couple of shots on target, maybe) becomes ridiculously scaled back, then it becomes that little bit easier to resist the pull of putting yourself through the endless, drudging, disappointment over and over again.

John Pierce
84 Posted 21/01/2018 at 18:23:20
John, I could not agree more, I did but an hour or so ago pen a very similar post on the Silva thread, obviously less pithy and witty but ya'know same ball park.

Shane Corcoran
85 Posted 21/01/2018 at 18:53:49
Colin, saw the twitter account. All you can do is laugh. That's what everyone else is doing. Not sure about the Andy van der Meyde bit though.
Peter Mills
86 Posted 21/01/2018 at 18:56:24
Interesting article Simon, and I can certainly empathise with much of what you say.

For the last two weekends I have avoided contact with the match, for family reasons. That’s very rare for me as I go to all the home games and watch the aways on screen. And the days have been pretty pleasant, not too much angst apart from the occasional glimpse at the score.

Furthermore, I have occasionally attended Marine games and really enjoyed the atmosphere, and most of all the honest nature of the football.

But I will be at the Leicester game, anxious to watch Everton, pleased to be at Goodison. I will suspend my critical faculties once again, to be at the place frequented by my Grandad, my Dad, my son and daughters, and soon my grandsons. Is it loyalty, or stupidity?

Jack Convery
87 Posted 21/01/2018 at 19:15:31
At least we won't have to pay Watford compo for Silva in the summer. The first piece of the puzzle Moshiri will have got for free. (And yes, I realise we have to pay him wages.)
Si Cooper
88 Posted 21/01/2018 at 20:15:57
It makes no sense for Sky to want a clique of clubs to be endlessly successful. Truly competitive, end to end, genuinely thrilling games are what any broadcaster would want. They are a symptom – not the root cause.

Within the current framework they will of course try to keep favour with their demographic, which means the number of global fans a club has is going to influence the media.

I'm not advocating this, I am truly socialist at heart, but I at least recognise that our society gets the organisations it deserves / is prepared to tolerate.

The real power to try something different lies with the Premier League but they do not operate in a vacuum. A salary cap would wipe out the financial bias but the Premier League won't risk other leagues becoming more attractive to the best players. The turkeys aren't going to vote for Christmas any time soon.

So, if you are not prepared to actively try to change the fact that unfettered capitalism rules the roost at this moment in history, then all you can do is accept the current status quo.

That doesn't mean that our club is performing as well as it could if it was better run, the squad better balanced, and the coaching top class. Maybe we need the Goodison faithful to temporarily change its allegiance to ram that message home, but Evertonians boycotting Sky would have no discernible effect.

Mike Gaynes
89 Posted 21/01/2018 at 20:16:53
Keith #44 and Rob #49, don't you lads DARE give up your travels. You're the only ones bringing properly civilization to these far distant destinations.
Mike Gaynes
90 Posted 21/01/2018 at 20:32:17
Darren #4, absolutely loved your post. Great story. Reminds me what I missed not growing up in Liverpool and having the experience of going to the games.

It's easy for me to be philosophical from a few thousand miles away, but I have gone through a similar experience my entire life as a fan of the Chicago Cubs. They won a World Series in 1908, mucked it up in '09 and never won again. My grandfather, who was born in 1907, died at 84 without ever seeing them win it all. I was born in '56, eleven years after they last made it to the Series. Never saw them even play for it as a child or adult, but kept on going to the games whenever I could, watching every game on TV even when they sucked (which was most of the time) and bravely wearing my Cubs cap everywhere (usually accompanied by sympathetic chuckles). Meanwhile, they lost title chances in bizarre ways -- a cat on the field, a ball through the legs, a fan interfering with a play -- and it was unquestionably soul-crushing.

Then, 14 months ago, after over a century, they finally won it. I sobbed like a child. I still do. My wife will come into the room once in a while, see my tear-streaked puss and know I've been watching the replay again. I lived to see it and now I can't stop watching it.

I know what's happening in everybody's guts right now. It's going on in mine. But part of me is with Darren's late friend Charlie... optimism just never quite dies, and sooner or later... someday... it will be rewarded.

Of course, I also believe in the Easter Bunny, but...

Keith Harrison
91 Posted 21/01/2018 at 20:48:07
Darren (70), been awol for 9 months, lost passwords, new computer and some bastard in Dublin nicking my phone before the 6 nations match combined to stop me logging on.

I managed to catch Lyndon over Xmas by email after receiving tremendous news about Mike Gaynes. I've decanted some Jameson's Redbreast 12-year-old into a hip flask for when we finally meet up, pal. You know where to find me, Rob and the lads.

You can't really turn your back entirely on your true love, but you can sulk with them for a while. I'm enjoying my old village Rugby team Aspatria putting teams like Bolton and Burnley to the sword in between travelling to games.

Our local footy team also sweeps all before them, and our population is only 3,500. Maybe do some of our prima donnas to play either side to see what team spirit and commitment can actually do with a helping of talent.

Keith Harrison
92 Posted 21/01/2018 at 20:52:54
Mike, if you're back over this season, give me some notice to get the ticket sorted please. Most games are sold out despite the dross.

Everton at the moment certainly don't deserve their fanatical support.

Tony Abrahams
93 Posted 21/01/2018 at 21:36:34
Just skirting through this thread, after staying off ToffeeWeb, since yesterday morning. Nothing much left to say at the minute I feel, and although it's hard, a part of me will always feel like Darren's mate Charlie!

We will never give in, fall out sometimes maybe? (Keith calls that right) but the thing what gives me hope is the fanaticism of our crowd. (Thanks again Keith!)

I don't like to criticize a new manager, especially because he knows our defenders really do need protecting, but he's been in the English game a very, very, very, fucking long time, and he knows Everton's crowd can win its team games, so why don't we start playing with two forwards at Goodison, and try and keep the ball away from those that either don't want to, or just can't play?

We will all be back next week under the floodlights, and we all know that with so many limited players on the pitch at the minute, then we should just try and go and play in the oppositions half?

I could write a sermon, but we've had enough boredom to last us a fucking lifetime these last few years, so please stop frustrating the life out of us, and just fuckin have a go PLEASE!

Mike Gaynes
94 Posted 21/01/2018 at 21:52:21
Keith, thank you my friend. Not sure I can make it over this spring because of other travel plans (which my wife is dictating) but I will definitely let you know as soon as possible if I'm able to get there.

Jamesons Redbreast 12 was one of my longtime favourites also, and now that I'm allowed to imbibe again (hallelujah!), I'll look forward to sharing one with you at some point.

Stan Schofield
95 Posted 21/01/2018 at 22:00:58
In the 60s we were an elite club, because we were wealthier than other clubs. We were called the Mersey Millionaires, the Cheque-book Team. We could buy and retain the best players in their prime. The 80s success carried over from the 60s success.

These days, we're not elite, and it's because since the late 80s our wealth has diminished to being 'ordinary'. Now, the elite clubs are Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea, who win the trophies and spend the most. The 'second tier' clubs are Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal, who hardly win anything, apart from the occasional domestic cup, and spend less than the the elite clubs.

Moshiri is not wealthy enough to do a 'John Moores' and attract the very best. That would require someone like Usmanov to provide wealth equivalent to that of Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea.

Unless we get someone like Usmanov, we're likely to stay a mid-table Premier League club. So get used to remaining mid-table, unless we become very wealthy.

A lot of clubs would be happy being like us, always being in the Premier League and mid-table. But the problem with us is, we expect far more, because we've been at the elite level, and we're being promised far more. Unless the wealth increases dramatically, those promises are likely to be empty ones.

Regarding the changes in the Premier League, including the bias towards the top-6, the diving these days, the nonsense talked by 'pundits', and the possible corruption in the game, these changes are of course lamentable. But you can either lament them and keep on watching, or stop watching.

The bottom line is, if we were elite again, winning trophies and habitually being at the top, we wouldn't complain so much about what's happened to football. We'd probably still lament the changes that have happened, but nowhere near so much as we do now as Evertonians.

So, assuming you don't stop watching, all you can do is hope we become very wealthy.

Keith Harrison
96 Posted 21/01/2018 at 22:08:28
Stan, look at the Tottenham model. A great manager, helluva businessman at the helm, and in the main, very good signings.

That should be Everton's role model, not us hoping that an Oligarch gets bored at Arsenal and wants to waste even higher fees on more expensive flops as our current incumbents haven't a clue what they are collectively doing.

Stan Schofield
97 Posted 21/01/2018 at 22:34:51
Keith, they haven't won anything. They're 'second tier'. Only Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea win the real stuff. If we were like Spurs, Arsenal, and Liverpool, many of us would complain about yet another season of coming close but not winning. I know quite a few reds who are like that.

The reality is that consistently being elite (being at the top, winning stuff) rests on wealth, like it did with us when we were the elite. This may not be palatable to many of us now, simply because we're not in that category. I suspect if we were, with some rich guy financing us ('oligarch' or other plutocrat) most of us would be happy, or at least a lot happier.

Lawrence Green
98 Posted 21/01/2018 at 23:16:18
In the Imaginary 14-team league, where only results against teams from outside of the current elite top six count, our record since David Moyes's first full season would be as follows.

2003 1st
2004 9th Champs Aston Villa
2005 1st
2006 6th Champs Blackburn Rovers
2007 1st
2008 1st
2009 2nd Champs Aston Villa
2010 2nd Champs Aston Villa
2011 8th Champs Fulham
2012 2nd Champs Newcastle
2013 1st
2014 1st
2015 3rd Champs Southampton
2016 5th Champs Leicester
2017 1st

Everton are seven times Champions of the alternative Premier League and runners-up on three occasions. Aston Villa have won it three times, Newcastle, Blackburn, Fulham, Southampton and Leicester City once each with the Foxes winning the title proper in their year at the top.

Everton are currently third behind Burnley and Leicester in the alternative Premier League.

Phillip Warrington
99 Posted 21/01/2018 at 23:33:41
The only chance teams like Everton have is to I'm afraid is to follow the German method like SC Freiburg, which is get a top technical coach, decide on a style of play, and then only recruit players U23 who will fit in and suit the formation and style of play and don't very from that because a player becomes available.

Current Everton managers seem to have this policy where they don't have a style or system they want to play and just go out and buy who becomes available, and then try and fit them in a team that becomes so imbalanced it's impossible for them or the team to perform.

Roman Sidey
100 Posted 22/01/2018 at 03:29:28
Lawrence, not that it matters a great deal, but I made a similar table back in 2011 for two leagues, one for the teams on the table Everton and above, and one for the teams Everton and below. I was shocked to see that 8th place finish in the bottom league but the league for the top 7 that year had us 2nd or third. It really was a season of punching above and flailing below.

In regard to the article, it is disenchanting to think it could be a long while before seeing tangible success. Most of the points have been mentioned repeatedly on this thread and others.

My situation is I rarely watch sport anymore because it's all stats and robots and very little actual passion. If there is a Championship game on I will usually sit and watch a bit of it as the lower leagues still have a bit of heart, but the Liverpool - Man City match last weekend was probably the first non-Everton Premier League match I've watched in full all season.

Money is obviously the biggest reason for the current situation, but one thing money can't buy is passion, or 'mongrel' as we call it in Australia. I don't care how limited a player is in his ability to play, if he doesn't play with passion then I don't think they deserve to play at all. That is probably the main problem Everton has had for quite some time now. Only a small handful of players seem to actually have it on the field now, so it's no wonder the crowd is turning toxic.

It could be the way the players are managed to give nothing away to the media that is creating a robotic culture, but when was the last time you saw more than five minutes of actual passionate football from Everton?

Ian Jones
101 Posted 22/01/2018 at 06:23:01
A few years back, I thought a new competition could be instigated, perhaps an U23 type competition, which might give us a chance of winning something. :)

It would consist of the 12 clubs that formed the original Football League, Accrington Stanley (replacing the original Accrington), Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke City (replacing the original Stoke), West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

All Midlands/North West based. Cup type of competition. If it was based on 4 groups of 3. Home and away matches. Top 2 in each qualify for quarter finals or top team in each league go through for semi-finals etc, with Everton winning the final... :).

Possibly add 4 teams, by invitation, who played in the Football Alliance such as Crewe, Nottm Forest, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, to make it a 16 team knock-out cup competition. Allow endless replays..one sub or even no subs!

Not a 'Top 6' club in sight. Market it as the 'original' competition, just to remind everyone who helped start football!

Stan Schofield
102 Posted 22/01/2018 at 11:10:30
I've just done a comparison of our average points tallies under Moyes, Martinez and Koeman/Unsworth/Allardyce.

Moyes: Average = 58 points.
Martinez: Average = 55 points.

Koeman/Unsworth/Allardyce: Average = 53 points.

To do the last one, I've assumed that the crap results so far this season continue at the same rate of points per game, resulting in 44 points this season.

Looks like we're getting gradually worse, despite the money being spent, and even more so if the points this season turn out to be even less than the 44 I've assumed.

James Ebden
103 Posted 22/01/2018 at 12:01:43
I couldn't agree with the original post more.

10 years ago I watched match of the day religiously, and would watch most live games that were on TV (not Sky, I refuse to line their pockets). Now however, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have seen MotD in the past 3 years. My interest in football has evaporated.

FFP has actually done the complete opposite of what it intended. It was meant to stop rich owners pumping money in to buy titles, and therefore level the playing field. In reality, it has stopped lower 14 clubs flashing cash to attract players (as they are all mercenaries and respond to money only) in order to bridge the gap – as Man City did with Robinho et al when they first got rich.

Because the top 4/6 have such exposure through years of champions league games, their revenue is vastly higher than the "best of the rest". and I mean vastly higher. Their spending power is therefore so much higher, that no one can hope to compete. It is a closed cartel and will stay that way until such things as a spending cap is introduced to truly level things.

As for attending live games, again this has zero appeal these days. Any father with a couple of kids who like football can easily spend £100-200 to attend one 90-minute game. A family trip to the cinema is £30. An entire day out at a top theme park is £150. It simply isn't good value for money any more.

My son plays rugby at our local club, and we have both switched sports. Watching a lot of Aviva Premiership games on TV, and the European rugby. We have also attended quite a few live events at Twickenham and other venues. 2 days of solid international Rugby 7s at Twickenham, featuring around 50 games, cost me the grand total of £50 for the pair of us.

Money is ruining football, plain and simple. The bubble will burst soon. The number of disillusioned fans that can't reconcile single players costing more in transfer fees than it costs to build a whole new school or hospital, just to kick a ball around on some grass, is growing by the week.

Many sports have benefit ted from the TV revenue injection. Tennis, golf etc. However, being individual sports, it hasn't impacted on the entertainment as players have good and bad days. At the start of any golf major, you could easily name a dozen players in with a shout.

However, football being a team game, and run purely as businesses and not for fans, the rich clubs hoover up the talent and turn leagues into cartels.

The cricket IPL is maybe a good example of a team game that has succeeded from money injection, and this is because it had a wages cap per team, to ensure a level field.

I love Everton, I've supported them over 30 years, and will support them until I die. But football? I don't love football any more.

Steve Barr
104 Posted 22/01/2018 at 13:22:34
Stan@102. The stats show a fairly significant slide downwards but what it doesn't show is the alarming drop in the standard of football we are dishing up now.

I noticed it mainly under Martinez"s reign. That was when we really started to pass aimlessly around the back and to the keeper ad nauseum.

It's continued and the actual skill level and motivation of just about our whole squad has sunk to the level of League 1 journeymen, and that's being generous.

As far as the OP goes I agree with it 100%. Although I'll always follow Everton my interest in football (in the Premier League) is gone.

The sight of the England players arriving back from another early exit from the World Cup with headphones on, seemingly unperturbed by the disgraceful showing, summed them up for me.

They don't care about the game, and that disdain has transferred itself to a lot of the fans (certainly those of us from an older generation) judging from the responses to this article.

Craig Walker
105 Posted 22/01/2018 at 13:25:14
I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments of this post. I'm just bored with Everton and I'm bored with football. It's football overload. As a kid, the games on TV were exciting. The cup final was a highlight of the year, irrespective of who was playing.

I don't get up to Goodison much because I live in the midlands and have work and family commitments. However, I listen to every game though on the official commentary. I watch the games that I can on TV but don't have access to BT Sport.

I read ToffeeWeb every day and contribute when I can. I wish I could just switch off and do something else but I'm programmed to think how Everton are getting on or are they signing someone. It's just bred in now. 43 years.

The first thing people find out about me is that I'm an Evertonian. For me though, it's a historic pride thing and just a modicum of hope that we might come good again. All we have is memories.

I'm simply fed up of feeling pissed off about football. Becoming argumentative because Everton have lost. Having conversations with people who wouldn't know how to pump a ball up, let alone play the game, thinking they're better than you because they support a successful team and jumped on the bandwagon when their team was winning.

Sick of having my hopes raised and then dashed. Even the successful Kendall era threw away the double in '86 and lost a chance to do a treble against 10 men in an FA Cup Final in '85.

I'm thankful that I remember the '80s teams and feel for the fans in their twenties or less who've never seen us win anything.

I saw a news item this morning with Alexi Sanchez boarding a chartered plane to sign a £500k a week contract for Man Utd. It sickens me to be honest. I'm not sure how much more I can take of it.

Stan Schofield
106 Posted 22/01/2018 at 14:09:50
Steve@104: I'm no expert on the finances of football clubs, but when you look at the spends on players of the 'top-6' and Everton over the past decade, I don't think we've done too badly to maintain our position of averaging 55 points or more, that is until the last few years.

When Moyes was manager, I got many comments from non-Evertonians that he was a very good manager to maintain us where we were given the limited wealth of the club. It's ironic that since then, when we are spending more, we are achieving less, both in points and quality of performance.

Interestingly, I think there's an argument that until recently we've been more 'cost-beneficial' than the top-6 sides who are not the elite, namely Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs. Liverpool, in particular have spent nearly as much as Utd over the last decade, but have won nothing (well, the league cup) compared with Utd's 4 league titles and other trophies.

We all know about the complaints from Arsenal fans, because all they win is the FA Cup. Regarding Spurs, well, they've won nothing, and look to me like a 'nearly team' despite their supposed great management. Also, with Spurs, it's difficult to imagine their best players like Kane staying there much longer if this situation continues (he and others will likely be off to Utd., City, Chelsea, or somewhere abroad, so as to win stuff and earn more).

There is definitely a strong correlation between spending and achieving elite status, whilst Liverpool (in the non-elite 'second tier') seem to demonstrate that spending without doing it wisely wins nothing.

Matthew Williams
107 Posted 22/01/2018 at 14:55:58
For me, glory starts with a League Cup win, that should be our aim, winning silverware. All our grand plans mean shit without trophies,it is still the easiest Cup to win (on paper & on grass), but every season we bin it off early doors as a meaningless pot no Blue on earth would piss in... WRONG!

It is the Cup that leads us to glories only dreamed of, instant Euro League qualification next season (which then becomes our sole aim next season), our trophy drought ended, our club seen round the world as WINNERS, a day of joy at Wembley with a few quid made along the way...

So put all our grand plans & schemes on fucking hold & make this Cup the number 1 priority, above ALL else. If not then we have no future as a successful football club... it goes...

1. League Cup

2. Europa Cup
3. Super Cup

After that, anything is possible folks, if our trophy cabinet is full, then so will be our new ground... guaranteed.

Dave Evans
108 Posted 22/01/2018 at 17:10:27
I can't help thinking this thread is full of comments from old men who are moaning about getting older.

The Premier League has never been more popular. As far as Everton goes, they are crap at the moment. But no one knows the future. Things change.

I remember watching Man City versus Swindon at Swindon in God only knows what league with about 200 City fans. You could have walked the ground for an hour and not bumped into anyone. Let alone someone with a smile on their face.

City fans were the most hopeless, bitter bunch you could meet. Things changed for them.

Simon Kenneally
109 Posted 22/01/2018 at 17:23:48
Thanks for all the comments here. Thought I'd weigh back in with some thoughts on what's been said.
  1. I think the commenters are correct that there are realistically only 3 teams who can win the league (excepting Leicester's freakish title win). Liverpool never look like getting close and Spurs and Arsenal don't have the financial clout (as shown by Arsenal's best player downing tools to join one of their biggest rivals) to win the title these days.
  2. This isn't necessarily an Everton thing although not supporting one of Chelsea, City or Man United means that feelings are tainted with frustration. One of the biggest issues I personally have is that ensuring survival year after year is dull. Modern Everton aren't involved in anything - whether that be a title push, cup run or even relegation battle. But that's not unique to Everton - every team outside the top 6 must be wondering where some excitement is going to come from as making up the numbers year on year is dull.
  3. Someone made a valid point that Man United dominated the league for many years and, yes, that was dull. However, there was never the feeling that Man United were insurmountable (as Arsenal proved) and the gap between the best and the rest never felt particularly wide. FFP has effectively meant that overhauling the top 4 is now near impossible and will be until those rules change - the distance is huge. I'd be interested to see stats as to whether the number and margin of victories by the top 6 over the bottom 14 had increased year on year.
  4. Notwithstanding Leicester's win, they haven't been able to capitalise on the title win. They were Premier League champions and yet had to sell their best player. Their profile didn't increase particularly and I'm guessing there wasn't a big increase in their income. I wonder in the season that followed what the ratio was or Leicester being on Sky TV and of Chelsea (who finished 10th season before). Indeed I'd be interested in the ratio of the back half of Leicester's title season. I do not think that the cause and effect is that what's happening in the league drives Sky. They want the highest number of subscriber and the highest viewing figures. I think that even if Man United were fighting relegation they would still be on the TV almost constantly due to their huge fanbase.
  5. There's something ancillary about modern football that also annoys me and that's the amount of fouling. The 'pressing' system seems to have generated a brand of football where it's acceptable to kick, push and knock the player on the ball off balance. This is tolerated by referees everywhere but in the penalty area. I'm fairly sick of watching 'lesser' teams getting kicked around the pitch by teams that employ this micro foulig.

As for Everton - what you love will always hurt you and that will always be the case with the blues. As for the Premier League? Boring. Really, really boring.

Cheers, all.

Si Cooper
110 Posted 22/01/2018 at 20:44:19
Simon, wtf is ‘micro-fouling'? I can't work out whether you are complaining about a lack of refereeing consistency or things that aren't actually fouls.

It is a contact sport and there has always been (and always should be as far as I am concerned) a certain amount of jostling, leaning into, and trying to deny space to the opponent.

What is not permissible is described in the rules and players should always be prepared to play up to the referee's interpretation (otherwise you are simply conceding an advantage to the opposition).

I'm more concerned by the conning of the referee – diving, fouls awarded to players who deliberately run into an opponent who can't get out of the way, exaggerating contact, or making out it was perpetrated on a particularly dangerous part of the body, etc, etc.

David Israel
111 Posted 23/01/2018 at 00:54:41
Ian (#101), something tells me that Preston would win the competition you have in mind.
Peter Roberts
112 Posted 23/01/2018 at 12:46:09
James (#103),

Agree on the cost of players nowadays. Neymar and Pogba, Bale, Ronaldo before him have inflated the market yet again.

Although that being said, a friend on social media (a red albeit a decent one) said without a hint of irony about "the games gone" over Sanchez earning £400k a week at United. This from a supporter of a club who's just paid £75m for Virgil van Dijk!!!

Paul Traill
113 Posted 23/01/2018 at 13:29:40
I showed this article to some mates who are Tranmere Rovers fans and they all said I was basically crying because Everton's project hadn't worked and that I wouldn't be moaning if Everton were sat top of the league. They also chipped in that we can't complain about the Premier League as Everton were one of thewteams who wanted to break away and launch it in the first place.

I see their point but feel they missed mine. I've found inequality in the Premier League for a number of years. These big teams get things their way on the pitch time and again. I feel, that it isn't a level playing field for a lot more reasons than who spends the most, those at the top get things their way on the pitch all too often.

My other huge gripe lately, well for a few seasons actually but it's really been highlighted this season, is the diving. Sure we've benefited from it too, but the way players are going down now from the tiniest of contact/ no contact is farcical. It's a contact sport remember, and contact doesn't mean foul. They need to stamp it out desperately and in doing that, don't just pick on clubs/players they deem irrelevant/low-profile (Niasse, Lanzini) and keep it fair on all (Alli, Lallana, Zaha, Hazard to name a few recent examples off the top of my head).

Stan Schofield
114 Posted 23/01/2018 at 16:25:25
Paul, you are right, and your mates are right.

You are right about the bias and diving. But where's there's big money there's also corruption.

Your mates are right about us complaining because we're not one of the wealthiest and elite clubs. If we were, and the bias in the game were in our favour, I don't think we'd be complaining.

Dick Fearon
115 Posted 24/01/2018 at 07:26:03
It was 10 pm, warm, humid, and my first Aussie barbecue. Fairy lights were twinkling, a keg of cold beer was at hand, plus heaps of food. Those present were a happy mix of Poms and Aussies.

I found it hard to take part in the jollity of the occasion because my heart and soul were 12,000 miles away just at the time my Everton who I had passionately followed for the previous 20 years had just kicked off at Goodison and I was not there.

Despite my happiness in this land down under that brought my wife and I immense pride and a wonderful family that includes 7 great grandchildren, a corner of my heart will forever lie in the Gwladys Street end. So it will be until the end.


Paul Ellam
116 Posted 24/01/2018 at 19:51:16
Totally agree with Matthew Williams (#107),

At this moment in time, the Premier League is out of reach for us. It won't always be like this, football is cyclical and our time will come again I have no doubt.

So until then, let's really challenge for the things we can win - the cups. The only reason Liverpool have stayed relevant for the last 20 odd years is down to winning cups. If it's good enough for them, it should be for us.

Win some trophies, get our name out there as a successful club and there is a good chance somebody like Mr Usmanov will plough some big money in to us, especially with the shiny new stadium too!

My faith in the return of the good times is unshakeable. It will happen. All we have to do is keep our Premier League status... (ahem!)

David McMullen
117 Posted 25/01/2018 at 14:49:53
Good post. I don't really follow the Premier League either anymore. Just Everton. Just the bubble around Everton. Also support anyone who are playing the RS. Apart from that, I don't care much now.

Throw in the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup – matters not to us. Never watch the football on the box – just Everton. Never watch MotD anymore but I do watch the Championship etc on Channel 5.

Long way from when I could afford to watch Sky. I would watch it all the time: Monday night, Saturday and Sunday games and Football League... Christ, even the owl Scottish games back in the day!

Now. I don't care. Just Everton.

Don Alexander
118 Posted 26/01/2018 at 02:00:59
The way football's going I'm fairly sure before much longer I'll hear a crowd resorting to chanting something like, "He's got the best ball retention - in the league, he's got the best ball retention - in the league" etc etc.

Where did the magic go?

Jim Burns
119 Posted 02/02/2018 at 09:01:49
Darren @ 4. Lovely!

I'm off down to Arsenal early tomorrow – I'm half looking forward to it now after reading that – thank you!

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