How many of your long-distance relationships have grown stronger with time? Not many, I’d wager. But if I’m ever asked how someone like me can love something that’s so far away, I suppose that would be my answer. That Everton are—despite a deficit of logical reasons—the only long-distance relationship of mine getting stronger with the passage of time. And before you ask, the answer is yes. I’ve determined that this truth is indeed a good thing overall for me. I’ve made far too many friends from following this weird mistress called Everton to have regrets now.
But even with that long term outlook/embrace of being an Evertonian, I’m a bit more adrift from the Everton of this moment compared to the past. Yet as we’ve nearly assured our safety, I’m trying to inch slowly back towards some faith in the direction of things—namely in both the quality and the future composition of the decision-making powers-that-be. The first and most critical step—albeit not a magic bullet fix for all that ails—is the identity of the next manager—a fact we’re all acutely aware of.
Looking back, the conventional logic behind getting Koeman was sound, but it ultimately failed. Let it not be a failure without a lesson. Regardless of style, the next manager must be a man who isn’t looking past the job at Goodison and can focus on the task at hand with all his energy. And it certainly can’t be a manager whose entire demeanor conveys an air of doing us a big favor by being at Everton. Nor can it be a manager without ideas. The next manager will establish a new ethos for this thing. The current one is broke. Broke bad. It’s a big ask for a managerial hire. And as big an ask as it is, it’s an equal distance to being back to the foundational respectability that we need to move forward towards greater things.
It’s a weird place right now with so much uncertainty hanging over things. Kenwright and Elstone may soon be out. Moshiri can become the majority shareholder and take full control. What does that version of Everton look like? Many of us have heard the whispers of Paulo Fonseca to us being nearly done. And yet, what’s with these obviously Walsh/Allardyce transfer leaks of late? I swear, it would be so like us to be in the matrix or an insane alternate dimension where Walsh and Allardyce are the stars of a bizarro Farrelly Bros movie where everyone is rooting for these bumbling fools to succeed despite all the odds! Can you imagine the 80’s-style movie montage scene potential of a film like that?!?!
But yeah, Vardy and Wilshere? Is this really the sort of next-level innovation we’re paying huge money to get from Steve Walsh? Is “the plan” that we’ve all been lamenting the absence of REALLY to invest huge money in 30-something skill players entering their career downsides/cast-offs from Arsenal?
I don’t like it. I don’t believe it. But I still don’t like it. Even seeing a glimmer of hope lit for this manager and DoF makes me tragicomically sad. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss it as “paper talk”, but the big-money clubs and agents have their whisper campaigns in high gear right now. So who am I to decipher what’s real or not in that wild, wild west football journalistic adventurescape found in Europe?
Until then, we’re left to wait. And to fill the unknown with ridiculous and sound and funny and sad predictions about the outcome of Everton’s latest “most important summer in club history”. Ultimately, our support merits better from the ownership down at the club—our charitable and community efforts obviously withstanding. This is no deep thought, I know. What the look and feel and ceiling of that “better” looks like is the thing that feels most elusive right now.
In the meantime, as Fonseca’s Shakhtar bowed out just hours before writing this, I couldn’t help but hear a clock start ticking. Betting some of you did, too.