There’s certain moments in a season that via the meandering of various fates come to meet at a point, a point that can be definitive, with it’s impact beyond more than the game itself.
Thankfully no such fucking thing will be happening at Goodison Park this Wednesday as it’s just a dreary midweek League game, where one team is fully expected to pummell another. What could possibly go wrong?
If we win we go top though.
Roll back the clock just over one week earlier and minty Jurgen’s media powered blame train were handed a golden opportunity to go 7 points ahead. Sighs all around and many caving in to the horror of a summer of gloat in Devon. Special news broadcasts interrupting your favourite show, even on Netflix, two hour documentaries put together of how their brave boys done it, scenes from Liverpool city centre where Irish reds play in fountains. Bumper stickers. The unkempt biff on site wearing his bandana on Monday, being dead proud of himself despite never troubling Anfield since that one time in 1992.
It’s maybe a horror that the island hasn’t faced since air raid sirens and imminent German boots in sand. There would be nothing that could be said to wipe the perma smirk off the pockets of Crown Paint wearing slugs around a town centre near you, less preferable even than this year’s latest North West Infidels or the like showing up and souring the air of your casual Saturday afternoon stroll. The shit(e) would have got real.
It still might, but hope remains in the universe. Step forward Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino. Step forward also the propensity of Liverpool to absolutely shit it. Society is counting on us all.
So this game takes us a short trip down the East Lancs to Goodison Park, like a magic time machine observing changing fashion senses as we hit Wigan, then St Helens and finally on past Kirkby, Croxteth and beyond – where a quick look out of the window tells us what we will be wearing in 10 years time.
If you like your women pretty and in a fond shade of Fanta then groom well and be happy. Don’t worry about her twatting your credit card, while wearing pyjamas and her hair in rollers, that’s for a later date. Are you by chance a man who’s never loved his given Christian name? Then come quickly and pretend you’re in a parallel utopia where your new name is “Lad” – except everyone else seemingly has your name too. A land where you’ll find the very essence of capitalism in entrepreneurial children providing you with a solution to a lack of urban car parking space, for a carefully positioned market rate. A fair priced pint of lager is yours if you can exploit the most strategic gap at the bar, and then use your elbows like a bird’s first flight to jockey your way to serving. A mythical island where you’ll find no tropical fruit, but fanzines. Shit t-shirts being sold on the corner that you can only wear if you’re not a local. Tremendous fast food cuisine just missing a Michelin star or two. All while you occasionally hop scotch a rogue fallen hot dog (I hope it was a hot dog) in your brand new Sambas.
Interact with the locals and you”re likely to encounter an almost ghoulish sense of pessimism. Everton fans have a foreboding of utter disaster long before anyone even senses it – being creatures in tune with their own team’s ability to cajole their hopes just sufficiently to crush their very soul, repeatedly. We find them nearing the bottom of one of these cycles right now.
It’s difficult to rile an Evertonian about their club as they are likely to fucking detest Everton far more than you or the most ardent kopite ever could. Some find calling in channelling their frustrations onto various versions of an underwhelming Everton most weekends. While some may find this weird or unsavoury, I like to think of it as a modern day appreciation of Greek Tragedy, with an engaging plot that ultimately kills off the main characters one by one in the cruellest manner possible. It was somewhat essential viewing to watch Everton go 3-1 down to Wolves at home, only to watch a black cat magically appear on the pitch and brazenly cross the path of every Everton player. The irony was delicious, unless you were Everton.
The ground is old, wooden and damp, you’ll probably have a letter box view but at least you won’t be troubled by decibels from the home side – unless the referee sends an Everton player off early, or in the unlikely event the Everton team start the game with full blooded commitment and vigour. Evertonians really enjoy the full away fan song book with such original classics as “is this a library”, anything about fire drills, and of course – songs celebrating Thatcher’s attempted decimation of the city in the 1980s.
With a church in the corner of the partisan Gwladys Street it is perhaps deserving of some form of species record for the most blasphemy ever heard in proximity to a holy place of worship. There’s a million different ways to call someone a knobhead on Merseyside, and they’re exercised quite beautifully at Goodison Park most weeks – a stadium so nuanced that in it’s tallest stand they wait until the very highest staircase to put a token shitty escalator in.
Everton are managed by Marco Silva who looks like every second Mediterranean barman that’s brazenly flirted with your missus after her seventh mojito. This is despite Marco Silva’s tendency to peculiarly cover his top lip with his bottom lip when listening to you speak, crowbar the word “obviously” into every sentence he utters, and to flap when too many drinks are ordered at the same time.
Right now you’ll find Everton in a destructive cyclonic vortex, onto their fourth permanent Manager in 3 years as they try and break free of said vortex turning them into Newcastle. But with many more league titles than Sunderland.
Here’s some of their players who will no doubt play the game of their fucking lives this Wednesday:
Tosun – in many ways he’s the Turkish replica of Alan Shearer, in the same sense that you’d find a replica football top or Rolex on a Marmaris side street. With Everton acting the most gullible tourist happy to pay first asking price, and not negotiating at least 50% off.
Richarlison – if it was a game of Mr Potato then you’d be questioning the choice of nose for him. You think that carpet in the spare bedroom has been on the floor too long? Let this Brazilian challenge that mantle as soon as defenders give him difficult time in the game.
Sigurdsson – scores a great fucking goal every month or two, and that contribution is sufficient to get you a regular starting place in the Everton team.
Walcott – his second touch is an unwanted Opta statistic.
Gomes – a beautiful man with the admirable strength to discuss some mental fragility handling pressure and lack of form. So he chose Everton next.
Davies – a talented & deeply committed young player who understandably will ebb and flow in his progress, but sadly he’s a terrible fit for Everton, as he’s local.
Kurt Happy Zouma – is that yer name mate? No worries, we shall call you “Lad”….
Coleman – soon to join a long list of Everton icons to have showed talent, dedication and loyalty, but never won a trophy. He’s not quite finished, but he’s Arthur Morgan in Chapter 5.
Baines – mad to think he was terrorising newly rich City a full decade ago and if he plays would still be one of Everton’s most productive sources. Maybe even damning.
Pickford – something about dinosaur arms or some other shit. His smirking after conceding is gonna cause an incident one day in the Park End that may need UN intervention.
Win this and City go top. If that’s not an occasion to dust down my favourite stonewashed Lee jacket and enjoy an 8 carat stud in my left ear as only a fellow Mancunian can, then I don’t know what is. Go on to win the league and those 4 cases of Skol I’ve secretly buried deep in the back garden are getting dug up, and the Moschino vest readied.
Come on you blues.