Colonel Gaddafi is known as many things at the moment; Enemy of democracy, Libya’s Butcher, Jackie Stallone’s missing twin. But it might surprise many people to know that he is also the most famous Everton fan on the planet, narrowly beating Liz McClarnon from Atomic Kitten.
Gaddafi's love of the Blues is said to have begun when Everton visited Libya on tour in 1979, where they took on the national side in the country’s brand new stadium.
Everton’s 1-0 win made them the first team to beat Libya there after Borussia Moenchangladbach and Real Madrid had tried and failed. The rubber-faced dictator was so impressed by the team that he rewarded the manager Gordon Lee (played by Skeletor from He-Man) with a luxury Arabic carpet and pledged his lifelong support of the club.
This blue connection combined with the current conflict in Libya recently illustrated to me how warped and desperate my support of Everton has become.
Whichever way you look at him (anywhere but the face is probably best) Gaddafi is not a nice man. Human rights abuses, war crimes, the fact that he still wears shellsuits; I know the charge sheet.
And yet, when it comes to choosing sides in the conflict, at the moment I’m undecided. This isn’t something I’m particularly proud of but in way of mitigation let me explain the cause of my indecision.
Everton were once a rich club. That might be hard to believe looking around Goodison Park today. Like my Auntie Sue dolled up for a night on the town, no amount of ad-hoc tarting up can cover the sense of decline. The stadium that was once deemed good enough (in preference to the neighbouring s**t-hole of Anfield) to play host to Pele’s Brazil in 1966, probably wouldn’t even make the equivalent short-list today.
Like my Auntie Sue dolled up for a night on the town, no amount of ad-hoc tarting up can cover the sense of decline
And the reason for this is simple: money. The cash that once supported us during the sixties, seventies and the eighties, years when the ground and the team still commanded respect, has trickled away.
And worse, it’s done this at just the time when money has become more important than ever. You don’t guarantee a place in the top four now without having serious financial backing. With the addition of the Man City millions, you can probably make that top five.
Everton, and specifically David Moyes, have done well to keep treading water in the top half of the table. The fact that we’ve managed to do this has raised the same question in the mind of almost every Blue: imagine what we could do with some money?
Season after recent season, Everton have been the nearly men. Good enough to finish in the top eight, rarely good enough to go that bit further. But with some serious cash, a new stadium, and the addition of a couple of decent forwards (those that reside in a higher price bracket than useless lumps like Yakubu or Beattie), we might be able to make a top four finish a realistic aim year-in-year-out.
And deep down this is what most Evertonians desire. Rather than spending the summer seeing who we can get on loan from the Turkish Second Division, we want to be amongst the select groups of clubs bidding in the pre-season for the forward-of the-moment.
But does a return to financial abundance seem probable? No seems the most likely answer. The club has been on the market since 2008 but like an aging prostitute long past her best, no-one’s interested.
Not that you can blame them. Everton have debts, need to move to a new ground and the club aren’t that good at generating revenue; hardly the most attractive of prospects.
It means in short that Everton need what Christian Seifert, chief executive of the Bundesliga refers to as “the greater fool theory— that one day a greater fool will come and buy the club.”
So although part of my brain watched Gaddafi’s tanks rolling towards Benghazi in horror, another part was thinking, if he wins do you think he’ll ever invest in Everton?
As background to this shameful thought, a rumour has intermittently circulated around Liverpool at different times over the past two decades that Gaddafi would like to do just that. Most likely this has just been bulls**t cooked up by an idle hack with inches to fill. And yet, the possibility, no matter how implausible, is tantalising enough.
With that in mind I’m willing to grasp at any straw, even if that straw looks as freakily nightmarish as Mummar Gaddafi.
Estimations of Gaddafi’s wealth go as high as £70 Billion, or around six thousand Yakubus in old money. With that kind of largesse behind the club we could take our rightful place amongst the higher echelons of the Premiership.
The man is now pushing seventy and so if he survives NATO’s onslaught he might see this as the perfect opportunity to hand the reins of power to his son Saif-al-Islam (played by Mark Strong), kick back and spend his twilight years indulging in a little hobby, namely rebuilding his beloved Everton. Plus with his love of leisure-wear he’d fit right in around Goodison.
And it’s not like there aren’t precedents for big-name football clubs taking money from dodgy sources. A few years ago Juventus were happy to allow the Libyan Investment Authority (the investment arm of the Libyan Government) to take seven per cent stake in the club.
And, as the fans of Man City and Chelsea can attest accusations of shiftiness and impropriety needn’t be an impediment to the wholesale takeover of football clubs my moneyed individuals.
I know the likelihood of any of this happening is very remote but the fact that I’m thinking about it illustrates how f*****g desperate things have become.
With the neighbouring red-s***e awash with money and Dalglish and his eight-year-old’s haircut back in charge, Everton need money. With that in mind I’m willing to grasp at any straw, even if that straw looks as freakily nightmarish as Mummar Gaddafi.
I’m not proud of my indecision over the conflict but desperation can do terrible things to the brain. Yes he’s a horrible man but there’s also an outside chance that he could be Everton’s saviour. And anyone who can offer me that can be absolved of pretty much anything.
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