Good to see you again, mate.
It fucking flew over didn’t it? There’s always a bit of apprehension when a relatively painless season is over and you’re faced with 3 whole months, sans international togger tournament, without the toffs. There goes your get out clause for all best made weekend plans by another half. Sure you can break it up with a wee break here or there, visiting the Caribbean or Mediterranean to get the last wear out of the season’s training shorts, or just chill out and listen to the serene sounds of turtles choking on bottle tops, straws or whatever man-made flotsam the people with clipboards attacking you for on Bold St want a monthly donation for.
Maybe you enjoyed it but it gets a little boring doesn’t it? Let’s face it or all our moans or resistance to the oft-tedious plot, weekends are empty without Everton – who go into their 122nd season of competitive league football, perhaps making Everton the longest soap opera in the entire world.
Whether you’re happy with Everton’s business over the summer and consider us prepared to meet your aspirations this season is a subjective matter, and like fuck I’m getting involved with anything that would summon the legions of virgins claiming elite proficiency in squad building (from FIFA career) or in the finances (from either Football Manager or a profession that requires daily masturbation over Excel). After having my aspirations and delicate hope trounced over the decades I now can’t see Everton winning anything anytime soon.
It’s been a quarter fucking century you most horrible shit bastards. So mine is a simple wish – inspired partly by the decent run to end last season – just give me an Everton team that most weeks play front-foot relatively fast paced football, that don’t shit out of tackles, defy big red in some way, and occasionally do sexual footballing stuff that make my weekends a more pleasant place. Anything is a bonus, anything less and I’ll just cry arse more – and vow to invest more time in reading, meditation and yoga.
For all the mindfulness hanks you’ll note acceptance of the present and refraining from grasping there. Now get back to snorting lemon grass you perma-on-the edge lycra-fucks.
There has recently been a rare air of calm over Evertonia which was borne from a set of circumstances last summer. Firstly, an Everton fan base polarised by latter years David Moyes and then ripped apart from the Martinez demise was brought together in sharp unison by Samuel Allardyce as our Manager. When he was coldly jibbed by the club we as fans had seen hell itself, and our complete resistance to ending up in such circumstances again facilitated an air of patience not seen in years. Secondly the club appointed Marcel Brands and backed him into signing a bunch of players who proved their worth over the course of the season, and Yerry Mina too. This calm or confidence – call it what you may – still pervades over most us, apart from those the aforementioned transfer virgins who live each window as though it’s our last. Or in other words, the ones on twitter with the edgiest takes at 1702 hours on Thursday just gone.
The Premier League is an ultra competitive market and in such markets a tiny competitive edge can make all the difference between success and failure. We last had gradual growth and sustainability through the Moyes era which was aided largely by the competitive edge of stability, which was in turn facilitated by that air of patience. We weren’t retro Geordies demanding risky big signings to appease our size insecurity and need to make a statement. We weren’t hanging off the bonnet of a speeding Peter Johnson car either. Until we hit the famed glass ceiling our collective reasonability didn’t squeeze the club into doing shit that would torpedo the club itself, given time.
This time out it’s a bit different though as the modern Everton comes with the missing ingredient of that previous era – investment. Even if our laissez faire approach so far towards player purchases has been a tad weird, if not frustrating. I’m either investing my faith in enough typewriters and enough monkeys approach to Moshiri’s player purchases, or that Brands/whoever compliments that into eventually spawning some form of cup win or Kevin Brock moment of metamorphosis. It wasn’t as if we were going anywhere fast was it? Why the fuck am I typing this and who do I think I am?
I’m boring myself so what I suppose what I’m trying to say is don’t turn into Geordies. Does that do? You’ve maybe come here to hear some cruel stuff about the opposition and I’m out the blocks chatting obvious bilge that you already know, so I’ll move on. But patience and reasonability can really bring strength in sustainability, rather than being a sign of malaise and no hunger. NSNO DOH LAR. Tell yer dar to stop terrorizing Mina when he turns on the ball, mate.
Onto Crystal Palace and to disappoint you further I can’t go off into a paragraph of pith as I’m fond of them, and that’s a real rarity in this abyss of ladbible banter twats that support Premier League clubs. Palace go about themselves in a decent manner, don’t assault the senses and seemingly have a majority base of fans free from narcissism, thinly masked insecurity and need to engage in tedious interaction with other fans (I type this noting the irony if you’re unfortunate enough to follow me on twitter). This was evident this week as the Zaha episode was played out with glee in the media, and you have seen a great deal of empathy from Evertonians who know exactly how it feels to be held to ransom by player and patronised by media.
Of course we are a little perturbed by their home fans being just a little too enthusiastic in being Sardinian ultras, and Lombardo sinking us almost 22 years to the day and setting the tone for a season that nearly got us relegated, but I think I’m ready to forgive that and be amicable towards Holmesdale’s finest right now.
That almost extends to their Manager too who comes with the stain of managing BIG RED on his CV, but such was the comical state of the club then that he bestowed us our last derby win and was part of a process which helped spawn that simply wonderful video where they compared their owners to rape. I’ve no doubt sitting next to Mr Hodgson on a transatlantic flight would be decent enough, even if the stench of piss would have you stretching in the aisle and eyeing a spare two seater before the plane had got beyond the west coast of Ireland. I’m not saying there’s hygiene issues, I’m just saying the Israelis may attempt crashing spaceships full of tardigrades into his boxies should those perma-slacks ever come off.
Palace have had an Everton of a pre season which, combined with the sale of Wan Bissaka and no big replacements has stirred the anxiety of their fans fully expecting a relegation flirt this season. Let’s have a look at some of their players who may or may not play against Everton:
Zaha – we both know what comes next.
Wickham – immobile striker that developed worse from their early twenties than Jo Guest, offers a threat from set pieces.
Benteke – see above
McCarthy – see 3 above
Andros Townsend – bad 60 watt head who tries to toey in from 30 yards and not much more.
Max Meyer – sounds like a mate of Spiderman, the German can play a bit though.
Dann – skip headed kopite texan who was once linked with us, attack his achilles.
Hennessey – wish he’d fuck off making world class saves against us.
With a lot of our signings rocking up late in the window it reduces the chance of them going from the start for our first game. There’s going to be two spaces from last season with Gueye and Zouma not present so Silva’s choice to plug them will be interesting, as will seeing if we can start where we left off in style of football and application from the tail end of last season.
Our latest number 9 will probably get the nod to lead the line with the added pressure not just from the number but Moise Kean breathing down his neck like a pervy Paradox freak on the slowies at 1.50am. Point of order here: I enjoyed tremendously almost all channelling your inner James Richardson to pronounce it “Moiseh Ken” until the player stood you down. Easy on the expresso and sock those ankles up, lads. Either side of DCL I reckon will be the Brazilian wing combo of Richarlison and Bernard, for now.
Does Sigurdsson do enough in this team to claim the number 10 position? With 13 goals and 6 assists last season it means he directly influenced a goal averaging every other game so can’t see him going anywhere just yet. Behind him will probably be Schneiderlin and our beautiful Andy Gomo. Subsequent signings have taken the focus away from Gomes, but if he steps up from performances last season we have a midfielder who will make us do really good stuff, and not shirk those above us. A wonderful acquisition and a perfect fit as a human for Everton.
We know Digne and Coleman will play full back, we know big Mick Keane will play centre back, and it’s really likely that Yerald Mina will get a go to partner him. Until his next ligament pings he’s got a golden opportunity (as does Holgate) here to stake a claim. Everton didn’t concede a goal at home from February on and a large part of that was the partnership Zouma formed with Keane, it’s a platform we’d really benefit from keeping. I have my doubts as I type this, but then we’d all written off Keane this time last year. Pickford will be in goal, the zany chancer.
Aye it was long but it was the first preview of the season. For the 3 of you that made it this far both my thanks and pity. I won’t be doing it every week as truth is I struggle to find the time and, well, it’s a bit samey doing this for a couple of years.
I think that summer break done me good though. I had a little time to think it over, had a little room to work it out. And all things considered, I’ve missed them.
Right fucking into them blues.