The last time Everton were relegated was an awfully long time ago. When it happened, back in 1951, they went down in style, their fate sealed by a 6-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, and that august tome, Big Paper, commented thus: “To abuse Everton at this stage,” wrote the legendary Donny Davies, “would be too much like picking up a person badly mauled from a street accident and reading him a lecture on the folly of jay-walking. The very severity of the disaster protects the victim.” The Toffees of today aren’t quite in that state yet, but affairs at Goodison Park have escalated enough for it to only seem right that Football Daily takes a similarly sympathetic view to Donny all those years ago. Evertonians have already suffered enough.
In the last 48 hours, Everton have: sacked their manager; not told anyone; put themselves up for sale; told everyone about the manager thing; slapped a contract down in front of Arnaut Danjuma before nipping out for a fag; thought idly about starting a search for a new manager while smoking the fag; popped back in to see Danjuma only to discover an empty office, chair spinning and window cracked open, through which one could see someone of similar build to Danjuma hailing a cab to Lime Street; eventually started searching for a new manager; asked the first person on their list, Marcelo Bielsa, if he fancied the gig; been told by Bielsa he’ll consider it if they buy a few players who can run; hawked Anthony Gordon around in the hope of raising some ready money; and insisted they’re not up for sale. Hey, they’re out of the cup and don’t have a match for nearly a fortnight, they’ve got to do something to while away the time.
Even if we boil it all down to the bare bones, we have no idea what is going on, or what Everton are trying to achieve. There’s a fair chance this is also true of Everton themselves. In an envelope-pushing film that did away with cinema’s 180-degree rule – and was seemingly made last week – owner Farhad Moshiri and Jazz Bal, the chair of the Everton Fan Advisory Board, discussed much of the above while both looking to the right, as though Moshiri was sitting behind Bal on the bus. All very strange, although at least it was a rare instance this season of everyone at Everton pointing in the same direction.
The actual content of the interview was rather less interesting than its curious camera set-up, with Moshiri insisting the club is not on the market, but new investment could nevertheless be ahoy. The latter bit is potentially good news, given Everton need to sign some eager players if they’re to entice Bielsa to the club, but with the transfer window closing in six days, they’d better get a wriggle on. Also, there’s no guarantee they’d spend any new funds wisely: earlier on TalkSport, Mr 25% Kia Joorabchian revealed they were offered Bruno Guimarães for £16m, only to spend £25m on Jean-Philippe Gbamin instead. Oh dear. But at least there’s still a way out of this, and hope remains. Big week coming up. If the last couple of days are anything to go by, it could be an extremely long one as well.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE
Join Scott Murray from 8pm GMT for hot Milk Cup semi-final first leg coverage of Nottingham Forest 1-2 Manchester United.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It now won’t be long in football until heading and tackling will be banned altogether and players will be playing in specially designed slippers to prevent [knack], and preparing a risk assessment statement and method statement for travelling to the ground. No consideration was given to the fans many of whom were already in the ground and the people who have to pay the bills at the club. I come from an era when you did everything you could to get a game played. I have been involved in clearing snow to uncover the markings, finding a bag of sawdust and [re-marking] the pitch, forking the pitch for an hour to drain the penalty areas, brushing water off the pitch and using a roller to remove the ice … I know I am seen as an ‘old dinosaur’ from the ‘dark ages’ and go back to the days of using rope for the crossbars but, I have a ‘Football University Degree’ in ‘common sense’ and that was lacking on Saturday” – Bridlington Town chairman Peter Smurthwaite gets a few things off his chest, after their Northern Premier League Division East game at home to Cleethorpes was called off by the referee 20 minutes before kick-off.
It took me until two weeks ago to realise I hadn’t read this for quite a while. Then two days later I received an email congratulating me on my one year-anniversary at a new job. The penny dropped: I hadn’t updated my email preferences. What had I missed? Not much it seemed. A fortnight had passed without major incident. Perhaps the rebranding had ushered in a new era of professionalism? The days of Tin-influenced copy well and truly in the past. Then you had to go and spoil it all by crediting Darvel’s winner in their historic Scottish Cup victory versus Aberdeen (yesterday’s Football Daily) to ‘Jordan Fitzpatrick’, and not Jordan Kirkpatrick. It’s good to be back” – John Mackay.
Re: yesterday’s Memory Lane picture (full email edition). It’s my pleasure to tell you that the Jewel in the Crown of Swindon fame is still going strong, and there’s a good selection of John Moncurrys to be had” – David Walsh.
Send your letters to [email protected]. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … David Walsh.