It’s been a long cold lonely winter, but Everton playing some of that beloved front foot in your face football whilst moving the ball aggressively forward with pace and intent awakens the soul.
It feels like years since it’s been here, and knowing the fleeting nature of both Everton and Premier League football, it won’t stick around for as long as you or I want.
So it would be a shame with the smiles returning to faces not to write a few words about Everton – tinged with optimism – lest we feel short changed when relegated Fulham roll in their third this coming Saturday and you realise your ambitions have been hoodwinked once again.
That fucking siren though.
Three consecutive wins looked highly improbable merely a month ago, but Everton provided a timely reminder (and pertinent life message) that not all your anxieties come true. It was just the tonic needed – at very much the right time. The season has long gone to shit so it was important that growing out of the mire there were some green shoots of hope, something resembling a forming strategy that may – just may – give you a few seasons of getting excited about weekends again, which has been long absent at Goodison.
Such momentum ties fanbases over long football-less summers, invokes renewals of season tickets and generates a general air of goodwill that players pick up on, well before Gomes goes to Arsenal or Spurs in the summer anyway.
It also infuriates me a bit because it’s not as if Everton are particularly difficult to work out. Put together a hard working team who aggressively press from the front, throw a tackle in and get the ball forward without fannying about and you will get all the goodwill in the world from Evertonians. And look at the response from the crowd – Goodison is absolutely fucking rocking now, in that nice non superficial organic way that Goodison can. There’s little doubt it’s having a decent affect on the players too, and thus a productive cycle is formed. Keep that shit going, Silva, this is our Everton.
A couple of paragraphs there barely restrained wild eyed optimism, but if you study the ebb and flow of the Premier League season you’ll see various clubs around and below us who have gone through a similar winning streak and then it all comes tumbling down. No surprise really in the competitive market of a highly scrutinised billionaire’s playground, but although a naff defeat or two is no doubt on it’s way, if Everton can retain the nucleus of these principles they’d been adhering to of late then the goodwill won’t dissipate too easy. Folk just want to think they’re part of a process that somehow is going to enhance that they had before, another ambiguous shot at some shit life coaching there.
Just noticed that my MacBook backlit keys are fucked because I spilt coffee over my keyboard the other day and I’m a bit a bit fuming truth be told. I know this doesn’t belong here, but fuck right off.
Anyway onto Fulham, and I write this with a sort of heavy heart as I just noticed they’re already relegated. A shame really as out of all the damned foes Everton must face in a season, Fulham are a lot more tolerable than most. Now I don’t mean this in a pat-on-the-head-as-we-take-three-points-off-you style, as you’ll notice Liverpool do to the geordies, but more an appreciation for a decent English side with cracking away ground and fans who don’t feel the need to overcompensate as much as some of their rivals. Fulham away is a proof that football still can be sound, win draw or lose in what can be a quaint part of the capital – a dead giveaway this when your ground is actually called a cottage.
They’ve a staunch local support and can often put out teams who play some pleasant togger. In fact if the rest of London took a leaf out of Fulham’s book then I dare say you’d have a damn sight more sense of nationalism on the banks of the Mersey. I’m literally one more paragraph from getting an erection over a Spitfire fly by, so a good time to move on swerve utter tinderbox of “should you support England if you’re a scouser”. Do whatever the fuck you want, mate, is the only right answer to this.
So there we are on a balmy spring day, Everton are safe from relegation and playing some surprisingly good football as I sip another crisp pint of beer and embrace a rush of endorphins and serotonin, fucking hell I’m so at one with my surroundings I even take off my Paul & Shark and place it’s wool (irony, noted) around my shoulders. Looking forward to the cricket this summer? You bet I am mate. Off anywhere on holiday? Yes mate up to Scotland, we live on a beautiful isle so no need to leave it for a great time. “Ahoy” shouts Jimmy Hill as he waves pleasantly as he sails past, coxing a boat of ruddy faced youngsters. There’s the faint sound of “Bethlehem” playing on the moderately warm air and an apple pings off your mate’s head from the tree above, prompting some wag to offer up with some high quality banter about your feet being stuck to the floor. Ah. Britain, as it should be.
Then you step your brand new trabs into four day old Staffordshire bulldog turd and are jerked out of your day dream, trying to escape April hailstones into the nearest pub, on where some obnoxious local with fading bulldog tattoos on his arm asks you to leave his hubcaps alone, and a cheer goes up in the pub as Rees-Mogg appears on Murdoch’s channel ripping into Brexit. Jimmy Hill is sadly gone and this is the London, the England, he left behind. “I’m too Sexy” plays on the karaoke, for the third time in one hour, and Bulldog man asks how you feel about taking our sovereignty back. It’s ten nicker for a pack of 16 ciggies in the machine, the lines on the Carling haven’t been changed since we called it the European Economic Community and you check the team news to see Gomes has snapped his tendons and Walcott starts up front on his own. Roll on Benidorm, roll on Benghazi, just not here, not now.
Anyway, that tithead Scott Parker who we tried to sign for years and kept jibbing us is their Manager and he’s looking for their first win. Aye. Here’s some of their players:
In fact no we won’t talk about their players as I’ve just had a look and recognised about four of them, and knowing that dyed hair kopite slug Babel scores the winner, and heavily linked Mitrovic plays the game of his life before declaring his Champions League ambitions after the game.
Let’s talk about them beautiful bastards in royal blue.
Calvert-Lewin has been one of the catalysts for the recent upturn in form. You see now how the “modern forward” (retches) is important to certain systems. He’s got the pace to pest balls down channels, early-jumps centre backs into irritation and is becoming more and more adept at holding the ball up and allowing support to go past him into space. He’s also a good reason why some of you need to be a little more patient, there’s no fucking prize for being first to write off young Everton players, you edgy weirdos. It’s still likely he won’t forge a long career at Everton and if so then sound, we will make money from him. Imagine having an environment where talented young players out of our academy weren’t quickly cajoled into a state of scrutiny ridden shell retreat? He will be supported on the flanks by Richarlison – who’s looking much more at ease with Coleman on the right – and our beautiful wee nutmegging samba otter over on the left. The little darling. If you’re reading this Bernard, please unblock me on twitter and I’ll never call you cringey nicknames ever again.
Fucking hell it’s only 3 wins, calm the fuck down. But on saying that the midfield deserves a little more merit. There’s a really good mix of different attributes in there from Sigurdsson, Gueye and Gomes – all married by an infectious work rate. Gomes needs to be signed no matter what, you don’t get to better midfields like Arsenal unless there’s a player like him in there, willing to forgo Champions League ambition to be yelled TERN LAD at every two weeks by half cut middle aged men. That’s the beauty right there.
Fuck knows with the defence. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Mick Kegger slot right back in there next to Zouma, but it was really handy to have Jagielka come in without no fuss, score a winning goal, then get back to the bench without fuss given. Digne is sound out there and – holding my hand up here – I should have known better than to declare Coleman’s Everton career over. I’d still sign an ace athletic right back in the summer like, but pit him against Sligo’s cheeks of a hamster. Pickford will be on goal and the less we have to comment on him until summer is just fine.
So it’s hard to fight that I feel the ice is slowly melting as Everton embrace a fourth London club in a row, seeking to make it 4 in a row. When was the last time we done that? Martinez 5 years ago? It seems like years we’ve been clear of fretting over Everton’s next implosion. Any I’m still anticipating it happening now. Slippers on etc etc.
Don’t let me stop you though. Five games left, then breathe.
Here comes the sun, and I say, it’s all right.