Any seasoned readers will surely realise that I normally try to stay upbeat…this is gonna be tough.
No, really. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I’ve reached some conclusions. To start with, this ‘darkest hour’ lark has separated the men from the boys in terms of Everton fans. To the ones who went about their business the next day with heads held high and Everton gear in plain sight, bravo. I was wearing an Everton shirt when a Kopite approached me, giving it large. “You’re brave to be wearing that! 4-0 hahaha.” I shook his hand, said “well done”, and the look of the crushed cocky bastard was ample reward. Cleaned the f*ck out of my hands afterwards of course. Anyone who resorted to violence, like throwing coins at Ratfink, or hid away should be ashamed. Everton aren’t we. We get on with it. We’ll see if any Kopites can do what we do when they’re getting humiliated.
Speaking of sad-act fans, I don’t get off with slating players. Of course we have the right to assess our own players, especially if they let us down, but – sorry to break this to you – spouting abuse on social media doesn’t make you look like an expert. Unless you can be an expert in looking a right tit. Steven Naismith wears the Everton blue, so he’s Everton. He can be a useless albino Scot sod when he flits off to the Rangers FC Reunion Centre, Hull City, for £5m next year. There’s only one question that should be asked – did we live by our mantra, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum? No, we didn’t. There. Time to move on.
Talk of our worst derby ever and related nonsense shows how worked up people were getting. Being an Evertonian means you can instantly recover from setbacks by recalling something even worse. Say, Wembley 2012. Wigan at home. Shrewsbury away. Losing to the dark side in the Cup final. Anything involving Mike Walker apart from his first game and him leaving. Or, the one I instantly pictured, that 94th McAllister free kick. Free kick my arse. We annihilated them on the possession – 62% to 38% – so the points are ours, right? In all seriousness, it does prove four things. One, we were just so unfit as a side we couldn’t make it matter. That can change. Secondly, they were very clinical. Also, we were still able to play football. And if we reinforce the squad with signings things can improve. Or loans, they’re fun too.
Roberto Martinez has learned the lessons and can use that as reason to put a rocket up Everton in coming months or even years. He can’t take it back, so who wants to hear him try? It’s all about making up for it now. And that starts at home to Aston Villa. After getting royally f*cked by Liverpool, it’d be nice to revenge sex this lot into the floor. It’s one of those where you respect them for being our peers in terms of being one of the oldest top flight clubs about, but in this case they’re just a bit dull, really. They’re the anti-Everton in that they allowed their boss to leave when they weren’t ready for it, and it all went to pot really. Any side who appoints Gerard Houllier deserves that.
Anyway, back to us. We’re in fine fettle at home, Sunderland aside, and the home fixtures we have coming up should be cause for optimism. Villa are followed to Goodison by Crystal Palace, Swansea (cup), West Ham, Cardiff and Swansea (league). Keep winning at home, and the away games don’t become the source of all our reliance. Which is good really as we don’t know who will turn up at the likes of White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge. It’s 16:50 on Thursday as I write and we’re nowhere near a rumour of a possibility of a sniff of a potential question of a signing. Imagine “travelling” rumours as cars heading through the Mersey tunnel, and we’re stuck at the toll trying to find 20p. It’s almost literal. You never know, we live in a mad world. If Irn Bru think it’s clever to create branded ice creams, perhaps we can buy a player. Yes, you remember, buying. You get to keep them.
So the Skellington XI is as follows. Tim Howard had a fun week curling up in a ball and shooting pained glances at Jagielka, he’s in goal. Baines, Alcaraz, Jagielka and Stones are all going to keep their place with Distin and Coleman still out. It’ll work if they’ve screwed their heads on now, honest. Barry was showed up on Tuesday, and McCarthy wasn’t his normal Duracell-f (sorry) and that made a huge impact on our shape. Wake up, lads. Aiden McGeady will replace Pienaar, unless ‘Nuts has sorted himself out. Expect to see Osman in behind the striker, and Naismith on the right. Or even McGeady with Pienaar on the left. Ooh, look. Multiple choices. How exciting.
That lone striker won’t be a loan striker (again, I don’t know how you read this sh*te). Kevin Mirallas makes history simply for being the best player on the pitch in a derby in the side that lost 4-0. He influenced the game like no other, with Kanchelskis-like verve and skill. Pity we had Amokachis and Madars around him in the final third. He’s on fire, so any time now Leandro Bacuna or some other dozy sh*te will step on his Achilles heel.
Villa will field a 4-5-1 they pass off as 4-3-3 with Agbonlahor and Weimann supporting the dangerous Christian Benteke. They’re doing quite well in terms of fitness and did much more at Anfield than we could, so it’s no use calling this one quite yet. After edging West Brom out 4-3 confidence is abound. Nah. Time to put them down Everton.
Britain’s darkest hour came before a moment of great victory over evil and “our finest hour”. We’ve had the former, so some trust and patience and I don’t see why Everton’s finest hour isn’t around the corner. And then we can shake the Kopites’ hands, say “bad luck lid” and watch them squirm. Everton forever.