Don’t be Blue, because my heart is true
One day soon Everton will go down if they don’t find a way to put themselves back up near the top. They have skirted relegation for the past few seasons and one day their luck will run out. This year they are hoping the others will be crappier than them and that may save them again. The newcomers look especially poor. And yet Everton often pull out good performances against us. They won three in a row against us not so long ago.
The first ever major football ground was Goodison Park
We have probably kept them in the league. Will we get any thanks? Will we heck as like! They are our biggest rivals for the longest time in top flight football having been in since 1954, and they have had the longest period of being in the top flight of any team, only spending 4 years outside it. They had the first ever football song. They have 9 top flight titles, level with Man City in fourth. Man Utd and Liverpool are top with 20 and 19 and we are 3rd with 13. They have the record top scorer with Dixie Dean netting 60 goals in 1927/28. I don’t think Haaland will best that as possibly teams may figure him out and restrict him from now on, or maybe not. However, 60 or even 50 will probably not be achieved again.
They were Giants
They also, when Liverpool had their golden years, knocked them off their perch with 2 title wins in 3 years and almost a double, beaten by Liverpool in the FA cup final. They had the first major ground in Goodison Park in 1892. They are one of the old money football aristocracy of England. They are building a fabulous new stadium down on Liverpool docks. They have big money owners. They have an extraordinarily loyal fanbase, one of the best in the world. They are very similar to us.
The fans want to save their great old club
With one big difference, we are still near the top, we are just about kings of London, whereas their two huge rivals, Liverpool and Man Utd, have left them trailing helplessly in their wake, and the new money Man City are also easily surpassing them. Manchester is a short hop from Liverpool. It is far quicker to get there than for Arsenal to some parts of London. There is massive rivalry between Everton and the two old giants and the new one, than we have to face in London. If Everton go down and stay down for a while, we could even surpass them as the longest serving team in the top flight.
The Survivors that don’t survive?
I guess a lot of you out there would like that and there is a part of me also that would for the prestige of the Arsenal, but it is sad to see a great team laid low just by mismanagement. It is a fate that could happen any top team, even us.
I suspect some of you are wondering why an Arsenal blog seems to be about Everton and why it matters? I will try and explain my rationale. I think, of all teams in English football, Everton are our closest brothers. We are survivors, we take the bad times and ride them out, still turning up to support the team. We don’t get relegated, we battle and fight and turn things around. Neither Arsenal nor Everton ever had such a poor spell, in my time watching football, as the Blue boys are having now. Fans watching helplessly as huge money is spent, big plans unveiled, and for what? To battle with Luton and Bournemouth and suchlike for the privilege of dropping down to the cauldron of the Championship?
Arsenal are too good to go down?
Everton show that we should never be complacent, never think that it cannot happen to us. Rival fans criticized us unmercifully in the latter Wenger years for feeling entitled to being at the top. A lot of that criticism was justified. We hounded and humiliated our greatest ever manager because he believed in doing things the right way and we also didn’t have access to the fabulous money of the Chelseas and Man Citys. Wenger, almost singlehandedly, kept us in Champions League and winning FA cups and we drove him out like an ailing dog we no longer wished to take care of. Arteta is regarded as a great for bringing us what Wenger got run out of town for.
The last time Everton had a sustained spell near the top was when Moyes and Arteta were there
Of course, it was only some of our fans, and I hope and believe that the majority understood what our greatest was still achieving. But the criticism is valid. Tottenham, West Ham and many other London teams fans would have given both legs to have a manager who was giving them what Wenger was still giving Arsenal.
Their fans love football
Those Arsenal fans let us down. But as far as I can see, Everton fans have reserved the majority of their wrath for the owners, not the managers. Appointing Rafa Benitez, given his history, was, frankly, stupid. Even so, the fans reserved most of their ire for the owners who appointed him, and the same applies to Frank Lampard, who fell down a hole with the Toffees, yet the fans were reluctant to scream at him. Sean Dyche, a decent and well respected football man, could well make number 13 to move on since David Moyes took over at Man Utd in 2013. They couldn’t hang on to Carlo Ancelotti, who was making strides with them, and that started the abyss yawning at them.
Rafa Benitez had made fun of them at Liverpool
Pure luck seems to have kept them clinging on to their proud record, mostly relying on other teams to be crappier than them and last day results going their way. That must stop because one day they will make the drop. It doesn’t look like Sean Dyche is the right man to push them back up before that happens although I would be happy for him if he is.
Hunting our great man was our lowlight
We have seen at Chelsea that spending money on players is not the answer. What is needed now, at a big club, is a united vision, a team of backroom staff all facing the same way for the benefit of the team, fans who love the badge and players who come to love that badge. Arsenal seem to have that now, but the only sure thing that Everton have from that list is the fans. I have been in Liverpool and Dublin talking to true Blues, and in my opinion they, not their Red neighbour’s fans, are the best in the world.
In many ways, a lot of our own fans are similar, they can applaud the opposition and see goodness in any football fan. The entitled, and the Tottenham haters, are not in this category. They brought tears, that he was desperately trying to hold back, to our greatest ever Arsenal man. I cannot find it in my heart to easily forgive that, and I would not be happy to see Everton’s last proud record taken away from them even if we are the only beneficiary. I would love to see them sort themselves out, get back among the big boys, and get to see Arsenal take them on as second place to our first in the new Everton stadium. So, c’mon the Toffees!