Everton End Of Season Report: Finishing Above Liverpool Fills Me With Joy
The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season?
Finishing above Liverpool must be every Evertonian’s highlight this season. During the summer we had to stomach their increasingly lavish spending spree which dwarfed our own pitiful activity in the transfer market (restricted to the loans of a lazy, out-of-favour Dutchman and from Argentina, the destitute man’s Sergio Aguero).
With their newly equipped ‘stars’ Liverpool seemed confident of a top four finish, something that was spoken of as late as Christmas. We by contrast approached the season with a sense of apprehension, a feeling that this season might not go that well for us; something worryingly confirmed by our poor start to it.
And so to have finished above them (and perhaps just as importantly above many other bigger-spending clubs) fills my heart with joy. Despite their big spending, ‘King Kenny’ has managed to produce a worse finish than last season, whereas we have managed to end up seventh with an outlay of just £5million.
The season ticket shredding moment?
It has to be the performance against Liverpool at Anfield. It was so much more than just three points dropped. Everton had the momentum going into the game. Liverpool’s form was appalling. Moyes opted to rest players ahead of an up-coming cup-tie. Dalglish didn’t. And so we were given a humiliating mauling. Had Everton won it would have been a rare victory at Anfield and more deliciously one against Dalglish. It was missed opportunity and one of those rare occasions when Moyes got it wrong.
Moment that just about summed it all up?
Losing the cup-semi to Liverpool perfectly sums up life as an Evertonian. We seem to be genetically programmed to capitulate against them at Wembley. But the following week another moment captured the resilience that has become the mark of Moyes’ Everton sides both this season and over the past ten years. We found ourselves two goals down against Utd at Old Trafford. In the pre-Moyes era this would have been an impossible deficit to turn around. That we did, reveals the mental toughness and ability to defy the odds that Moyes has instilled in his sides. To those Evertonians who have experienced the dark days of the past, this is a surprising and wonderful thing to behold.
It’s hard to dismiss the impact that Jelavic has had on the club. His goals have transformed our second half of the season and energised the rest of the team.
Got the right manager?
Unquestionably. Moyes might have a few doubters amongst the Everton faithful but I’m not one of them. Where they see his failure to turn us into a top four team I see a man who works wonders with very little. Once again, with an almost non-existent transfer budget (lower than almost every other team in the Premiership) he has delivered a top-eight finish and put together a decent cup run. What’s more, he seems to have also found a budget gem in Nikica Jelavic, a player that could well transform our fortunes next season.
Player of the season?
It’s hard to dismiss the impact that Jelavic has had on the club. His goals have transformed our second half of the season and energised the rest of the team. But the consistently outstanding Leighton Baines really deserves the award. Best Left Back in the Premiership.
What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?
I still think we need the addition of another body up-front. If the last few seasons have revealed anything to Evertonians it’s that reliance on one forward is risky. If their form dips (and the pressure of being a strike-force-of-one can contribute to this) then the team struggles. Whether we have the money for this is another matter?
Which player would you like to sign?
Ajax’s captain and defensive stalwart, Jan Vertonghen would be a welcome addition to our back four. He’s probably out of our league financially but it’s nice to dream.
In terms of importance it has to go to Gibson for his goal against City at home. It might have gone in via a deflection off Gareth Barry but it turned out to be something of a totemic strike. It proved that we could beat the ‘big guns’ of the Premiership and gave the team an important confidence boost at a time when we really needed it.
But for sheer joy I’d plumps for Jelavic’s goal against Spurs, his first for the club. It was a proper forward’s finish and our first hint that maybe this could be the ‘goal-scoring-machine’ that the club has been crying out for.
There’s no such thing as an Evertonian t*sser (although Royston Drenthe came close) so I’ll have to look elsewhere. Perhaps unsurprisingly my sight has settled across Stanley Park. The Luis Suarez/racism affair was one populated by a cast of dicks. The man himself arguably takes the ‘tosser’ crown for both his actions and his appalling lack of contrition. But a special mention also needs to go to Kenny Dalglish, who managed to turn this affair into a PR disaster for the club. Liverpool had a strong history of anti-racism, something that Dalglish effectively chose to slash on by his unfathomably crass response throughout.
There’s no such thing as an Evertonian tosser (although Royston Drenthe came close)
The idea of eating meat slurry has never really appealed to me. Give me a cup of tea and a mars bar any day of the week. For the former, the best can be found at Goodison. Hot enough to destroy your taste buds, which is just how I like it.
Na na na na na na na na na na na, Jela Jelavic! Jelavic! Jela Jelavic! (to the tune of KC & The Sunshine Band’s Give It Up)
Best laugh you had all season?
Liverpool’s ‘goal’ that wasn’t a goal in the Cup Final was very funny. But just as enjoyable was City’s last minute capture of the title. With City long being the Everton of Manchester, I feel nothing but a sense of brotherly joy for their supporters (even if they did buy the league).
How do you plan to get through the summer without football?
There are several Everton players participating in the Euros. Each of their respective teams will command my loyalty above that of my own country. And of course there’s also Everton’s activity in the transfer market to enjoy; the perfect way to learn more about teams from the more obscure European leagues.
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