2023 has been a testing year for Evertonians, to say the least. Where do I start?

We can start with a miserable January. A home thumping by Brighton at Goodison. Sitting amongst the Man Utd supporters at Old Trafford as they disposed of us out of the FA Cup. Defeat at home to Southampton, and losing at the London Stadium. Surely it wasn’t going to happen again after the previous season?

A mixed February. Two wins and two losses, but we were showing signs.

Into March and the customary dubbing at Arsenal. I dread to think how many goals we have conceded on their patch these past decades.

But the spirit was gathering and we picked up valuable points against the likes of Chelsea with that Simms late goal that sent us into delirium in the Shed End. 

A poor April, with the only points coming from a goalless draw at Palace and a point against Tottenham courtesy of a late Michael Keane stunner that ripped the roof off Goodison Park. That miserable match at Goodison against Newcastle. Probably my low point and what felt like the longest trip home. I usually sleep all the way. I couldn’t as my mind went through the match. I couldn’t even drink to console myself.

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Into May and it’s getting close, but we still have belief. Joy in the face of adversity at Leicester as Jordon Pickford saves a penalty with us trailing 2 – 1 for us to go on and equalise. Talk about more breathless moments. If that goes in, the unthinkable is becoming a possible reality. Don’t think about it. Absolute euphoria amongst the travelling masses.

If I thought that was going to take some beating, then Brighton away took it to another level. What a night! What a performance!! What an atmosphere!!! Pride in the travelling Blue Army. Relegation? No chance! We’re not letting it happen.

Onto Wolves. Could it get better? Okay, result-wise, maybe not. But when the big Columbian slid that goal in at the last hour, that took what felt like an eternity to digest what had just happened, I honestly thought the away section was going to explode or implode, such was the release of emotion in the crowd. To be there can’t be explained in words.

As for this season so far, despite the initial poor results, I didn’t think most of the performances were that bad. Recently, the results have been coming and even though we went out of the League Cup (again), we didn’t lose over the 90 minutes.

Sean Dyche has got us playing to our strengths. Even when we lose, very few teams are battering us and they are mostly close matches.

Like many, I’ve travelled long and far to follow the blues this year. I dread to think what the miles add up to. But always a pleasure, never a chore, and always great catching up with all of you, as well as talking to those on here.

We were unlucky against Tottenham, fought hard against City and underperformed against Wolves. It's football.

We still have a lot to play for, starting with the FA Cup next week. Fight the 10-point deduction. Royal Blue defiance in the face of adversity.

Takeovers, the New Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. Stay afloat (we will) and the future is bright.

We Shall Not Be Moved. Spirit. Forever.

Happy Blue Year to all of you. Onto Selhurst Park and then Aston Villa at Goodison Park.

Reader Comments (34)

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 31/12/2023 at 11:42:34
Someone just sent me a picture of Dennis Bergkamp on WhatsApp, so I think the obvious thing to say to all Evertonians is that I hope that everyone's 2024 is as good as Dennis Bergkamp!
Andy Crooks
2 Posted 31/12/2023 at 13:35:07
Happy New Year to every Evertonian. The burden of being a Blue was only given to those who can take it. That's why we are Evertonians.
Brian Wilkinson
3 Posted 31/12/2023 at 15:14:13
Very well put, Danny, and a great read to see this year out, hope you and your family have a great New Year and fellow ToffeeWebbers as well.

This season, I will go back to last Xmas, when we got talking about films over the Xmas period, where have those 12 months gone? Which reminds me again of the film A Bridge Too Far, when Sean Connery spots the escaped lunatics, laughing at them, to which he says, "Do you think they know something we don't?" Quite adapt for the Premier League laughing before the hearing.

Well, after 2 relegation fights of the most corrupt incidents against us, we survived both, this season they had to find another way by docking us 10 points. Yet again, some horrendous decisions are going against us – you would think the Premier League have an agenda to get us out of the Premier League.

We have had the board throw the supporters under the bus, every media outlet ridicule our club. But the fans stuck together and fought back, that is why now is not the time to be divided over Dyche or jump on the players after one bad performance. More than ever, we need to stick together as a fan base, it really is us against the world.

As you have pointed out, 2024 could be a year to look forward to: the new ground completed, new ownership hopefully in, a new board in place, transfer budgets sorted, and a bright new future for our football club.

We have had everything thrown at us, but we came up fighting, and even with the points deduction, we are still just about winning. That is why it is so important we all stick together for the remainder of the season. Write the Wolves game off as a one-off and stay right behind the team.

Always great to read your posts, Danny, along with other posters. Sorry for jumping on your post, but you did make quite a few points I agree with so here was the best place to add to your comments.

Keep the faith as you always do, Danny, and here's to a much better New Year. All the best, mate

Up the Toffees.

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 31/12/2023 at 15:30:46
Feels right now like our season can go one way or the other.

We've seen how quickly Everton can struggle and go on horrible runs of form.

I hope I'm wrong but that Onana penalty miss against Fulham right now feels like a monumental needle in the balloon and, coupled with the Doucouré injury, it feels like we need to shake off that sour feeling.

Seasons do tend to turn positively or negatively on things such as that penalty.

I could live to be 100 and I'll never fathom quite why he was stepping up to win a decisive Cup Quarter-Final ahead of James Garner and our club captain Tarkowski.

As I say, we need to regain positive vibes as soon as possible.

Brian Wilkinson
5 Posted 31/12/2023 at 17:13:42
Jim, that penalty miss might just be the very thing that saves our season, although at the time it was gut-wrenching.

These players will now get a chance to rest and regroup for the Villa game, after our FA Cup game.

We would have had to play Liverpool on 10 & 24 January – and I know we all wanted a cup run and a chance of a final.

Looking at the four games we played, I doubt these players would have had the stamina to play a further 2 games in January. What it does do though is gives the likes of Coleman, Doucoure and Young a better chance of being ready for the Villa game, and a few of the players a well earned rest.

Call it negative or whatever, for me, it's common sense. I would even go as far as resting both McNeil and Harrison for the FA Cup game, play Dobbin and Danjuma on the flanks. By all means have Harrison and McNeil on the bench, but I would not start with either, we need them for the Villa game and beyond, before we burn both players out.

Philip Lockett
6 Posted 31/12/2023 at 17:33:39
In light of our recent defeat at Wolverhampton, I think the most forward-looking contribution from our club would be to rest all key first-team players this week regarding our FA Cup night with Crystal Palace, and play our youngsters.

This is in the hope any injured valuable first-team players can make a convincing threat for our fixture with Aston Villa. After all, we need to start looking over our shoulders again at the teams below us, such as Luton Town, who have put in very good performances recently.

This means a few more slip-ups and all that good work we have done will amount to a hill of beans as we sit in the Bottom 3 again.

Brian Williams
7 Posted 31/12/2023 at 17:54:46
I agree, Philip. Extreme situations need extreme decisions.

We're not gonna win the FA Cup. We just need to survive the season in the Premier League, so FA Cup games we can do without.

Defeatism? No, just pragmatism!

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 31/12/2023 at 17:57:45
Win the cup
Will we fuck
We'll play our kids
to beat the drop🤦‍♂️

No wonder this club hasn't won a trophy since 19-fucking-95…

How I long for those plucky days. Oh dear, what have we become?

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 31/12/2023 at 18:00:05
Terrible attitude to have though isn't it?

Probably why this club has gone 29 years without a trophy and it's becoming accepted that Everton doesn't do winning.

If we stay up, I've said it before, sentiment needs to go out of the window and players need cashing in on while they still have some stock (Calvert-Lewin, Onana – just two).

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 31/12/2023 at 18:02:32
Agree Brian #7, etc.

Pragmatism. Rest a good number in the FA Cup. The league is paramount. And it would provide some further evidence as to how good the youngsters currently in the dug-out really are (or are not).

I'm not convinced the likes of Dobbin, Hunt etc are potential saviours or even as good as first-teamers, as some suggest.

Danny Baily
12 Posted 31/12/2023 at 18:16:14
I'd rotate for the cup. It would be great to see the likes of Godfrey, Keane, Coleman, Beto, Danjuma, Gomes, Chermiti given the game.

8 wins already (!) and still in need of another 5 or so to stay up thanks to the points deduction, so any win in the league is far more important than a cup run.

Dave Cashen
13 Posted 31/12/2023 at 18:21:03
NIce one, Danny.

We go into the New Year with a certain amount of trepidation and uncertainty but some things will not change.

We know that we will still love this club this time next year. Probably even more

We know that there will still be a scramble for tickets for every away game.

We also go into the New Year (as we do every year) in the certain knowledge that Kopites will still definitely be Gobshites.

Happy New Year to every Blue.

Ian Jones
14 Posted 31/12/2023 at 18:53:34
All the best for 2024. Hope everyone has a great one.

On another note, has John McFarlane Snr posted recently? I haven't read any of his thoughts recently.

Kieran Kinsella
15 Posted 31/12/2023 at 19:04:18
Brent and Co.

I'm with Danny. If we put our kids out in the FA Cup, we will lose. Then our first teamers have a record of five straight losses on their mind as we head into tough games.

We only play twice more in the whole of January. There's plenty of time for rest and for Young, Doucour! and Gana to get fit.

Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 31/12/2023 at 19:09:16
I want to get through to the next round of the FA Cup.

Dave, I'm off out shortly to watch an Elvis and Beatles tribute show in my local.

Getting myself in the mood, I've put some music on. The first one that came up was Ray Charles. The words are very apt given your comment.

I can't stop loving you.
I've made up my mind.
I can't stop wanting you.

Not you, Dave — Everton obviously!

Next up is probably going to be Elton's I guess that's why they call it the blues.

Then I'll have to switch off until Selhurst Park.

Okay, until tomorrow morning.

Brent Stephens
17 Posted 31/12/2023 at 19:55:12
Stop it, Kieran. Being sensible.
Paul Ferry
18 Posted 31/12/2023 at 19:55:44
Happy New Year to everyone and may you and us have the best of luck for a happy year to come.

Thanks to Lyndon and Michael for doing all of this for us. I don't think that we have anyone on here from Hawaii or in between Hawaii and Baker Island, so Lyndon will be the last ToffeeWebber to see in the New Year if he is at home.

Jerome Shields
19 Posted 31/12/2023 at 20:33:41
Happy New Year to one and all.
Brendan McLaughlin
20 Posted 31/12/2023 at 22:47:51
Been a while since I looked forward to a New Year as an Evertonian but I'm optimistic for 2024.

Everton apart... I hope 2024 is a good one or failing that at least a better one for all ToffeeWebbers.

Even non-Evertonians.

James Hughes
21 Posted 01/01/2024 at 09:14:52
Not sure where to put this but it seems young Dwight has been a busy and good lad.

Link

Good luck to you, Dwight, and your partner, and Happy New Year to all.

Colin Glassar
22 Posted 01/01/2024 at 09:37:19
Happy new year to everyone. Dyche can't let heads drop after three adverse results (two very good performances, btw).

The Wolves game, hopefully, was a one-off. His tactics backfired and he looked as drained and confused as the players did.

It's up to Dyche if he rests players (Branthwaite, Onana, McNeil etc…) who looked leggy in the last game. I know we all want a cup run but, in our present state, we need to ensure Premier League (corrupt as it is) survival.

John Chambers
23 Posted 01/01/2024 at 09:48:23
Happy New Year to everyone.

Now that we have got our usual Christmas slump out of the way, hopefully we can get back to our form of the previous couple of months to start the New Year in the right way.

One hangover I was hoping would be out of the way is our latest Profitability and Sustainability numbers. I thought we were supposed to have submitted that info by 31 December but I've not seen anything here, or anywhere else, saying we have. It would be good to have that out of the way and know we have no further points deduction to worry about this season.

Joe McMahon
24 Posted 01/01/2024 at 10:09:39
It's 2024 Blues, hopefully the team will bring us some happy weekends. I've even put those down to "Good Times".

Colin, the one-off you mentioned… we seem to have a lot of one-offs! 🤣

Ian Bennett
25 Posted 01/01/2024 at 10:15:28
Happy New Year.

Look, the team is competitive when the first choice 11-13 are fit. Performances have dropped off when some squad players have come in and played, and the squad is drained.

I'll give Dyche credit. Despite a squad that has seen everything half-decent sold off, he's taken on a team that's failed big style since Carlo.

The football's been better than before. Is it brilliant? Hell, no! We struggle to score goals outside of Doucoure and, if we go a goal down, it's basically curtains. We lack players to turn it around and earn draws.

Young and Keane have been poor, whilst younger lads like Chermiti and Dobbin look some way off Premier League level at the moment. Both need Championship football, but we don't have a squad that allows for that.

The supporting cast of Gomes, Alli, Keane, Young, Danjuma, Godfrey etc is a big drop-off.

If all the lads were fit, I'd be confident. However, that's a big ask and I think to be safe will depend on how many points we get back on appeal. Luton's home form is the danger for me.

Paul Smith
26 Posted 01/01/2024 at 10:26:22
Jamie thanks for that link it certainly puts football into perspective.

Happy New year everyone

Paul Birmingham
27 Posted 01/01/2024 at 10:51:13
Happy New Year to all, and it will be a good one for Everton.

Focusing on the now and the positives, and the passion and spirit of Evertonians.

Paul Turner
28 Posted 01/01/2024 at 11:59:15
Just watched the latest Stadium update on the Official Site - amazing progress during 2023 - great to be able to see it all in 15 minutes.

And a touching tribute to Michael Jones (RIP) - the Club often gets things wrong, but on occasions, it gets it so right. Happy New Blue Year!

Christy Ring
29 Posted 01/01/2024 at 12:33:34
Happy New Year, everyone.

Hopefully we'll have better times for Everton, like getting some points back, and Dwight's partner makes a full recovery. It must have been hard to concentrate on football.

Dele Alli back on the treatment table yet again, and if Branthwaite is carrying a knock, please play Godfrey against Palace, and forget about Keane in a back five.

What's the story with Gueye, is he heading to Africa?

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 01/01/2024 at 13:08:06
Yes, I believe he is, Christy.

I got sent an article. We are actually less impacted than most clubs, only losing Idrissa. Some are losing up to four players.

Sean Mitchell
31 Posted 01/01/2024 at 13:34:14
Happy New Year.
2024 is going to be another bumpy ride.

Expect nothing, and you won't be disappointed.

Tony Everan
32 Posted 01/01/2024 at 16:37:37
Happy new year, Danny, and all Evertonians. Here's to getting some points back and being safe before the end of April. UTFTs.
Jack Convery
33 Posted 02/01/2024 at 06:13:32
I noticed there are quite a few American Internationals on the free agent list, since 1 January. Maybe one or two bargains can be picked up.

Do any of our American friends have any opinions on these players?

Bob Parrington
34 Posted 04/01/2024 at 00:38:11
Am I wrong in feeling that we've been slipping goals since Keane came back in to the side?
Larry O'Hara
35 Posted 04/01/2024 at 01:33:27
Bob (34) — No.

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