One hates to appear arrogant but, it seems as if Mr Moyes read my last blog and took heed from its words. Phil Neville comes back into the side, we have 4 points in 2 games and this season is starting to look, at the very least, a tad rosier. Of course I state this with a wry smile, but it does seem his influence on the pitch has impacted on the team. Going into the last 2 games I think most Evertonians would have been quite happy with 2 draws, Fulham haven't been a bogey team as such but one we apparently previously had an "eye for an eye" agreement with, in that, we'll lose at the Cottage but win at Goodison each and every year (with the exception of 08/09). To add further fuel to our anxiety as we searched for a 1st win of the season, Birmingham hadn't lost at home in a year. According to our Skipper, the sight of Everton rock bottom of table was embarrassing to the players and they needed to rectify that as soon as possible, one game later and we are out of the bottom 3, a solitary place above our local rivals.
As we entered the international break, our fortunes may have turned the corner somewhat, whilst that of our neighbours from across the Park may be sometime from doing so. As we sit a mere 2 goals better than them the week before the Derby, our 2 situations could not be more different as both sides prepare for the most relevant and important local match up for many years.
Liverpool's current difficulties have allowed us to revaluate our own. In an earlier blog this Summer I wrote about Everton's darker days, where players were being sold by Chairmen etc. These were not so long ago, Evertonians should not smirk at the current state of Liverpool's finances or their boardroom battles, but offer a compassionate sigh in remembrance of what very nearly happened to us.
Every Football fan would, in my opinion, like a situation at Barcelona where their input is essential to the running of the club. It can be done here, it's hard to miss the rise and rise of AFC Wimbledon, as they go from the lower stretches of Non-League Football to the brink of the Football League in about a decade. However, I'm almost certainly sure that this blueprint for business must be institutionalised from the start and would be difficult to implement at an already established club. Everton have a decent compromise in Bill Kenwright, a fan that owns the Club, so although his head will be lead by business, his heart will pull him in other directions, this is quite unique in English Football today.
It's well documented that Bill having to dig exceptionally deep to finance the team and cash in a few favours from friends. In all honesty I'd rather have our Chairman than some mercenary trying to make a quick buck or a name for themselves, please see Spencer Trethewy, a 19 year old self proclaimed Property Developer who "bought" Aldershot Town in 1990, as it transpired he didn't have any money and lived at home with his parents. Many Chairmen and fans a like think the best option for their side is to attract a Billionaire, but the fact is there aren't that many about, ask Portsmouth fans, they have been attracting skint Billionaires for years.
The old adage "How do you become a Millionaire? Already be a Billionaire and buy an airline" is now true to Football. Earlier this week former Crystal Palace Chairman Simon Jordan revealed that he's spent £47m of his own money in 10 years at the helm of Selhurst Park. This is nowhere in comparison to the amount spent by Roman Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour but again they are Billionaires, Jordan was\is not.
I admit I'm an admirer of what Abramovich has done at Stamford Bridge, he has never paid exceptionally over the odds for a player and now he is leaving a legacy there. I recognise a lot of money has been spent on 1st team players in his tenure but that has waned recently as his focus turned to nurturing talent at grass roots level. The standard of Chelsea's training facilities is outstanding and will only improve their youth development teams, which in turn can only benefit the England national team.
Everton have also made investments off the pitch, moving to the Finch Farm training complex has enabled the Club to keep in line with the facilities available at all of Europe's top sides, Bill Kenwright and his team should be praised for this. Again it can only help to develop not only our 1st XI but also those aspiring to be in that starting line up one day.
So the 1st Derby of the year is upon us this weekend, Everton need to "play the game and not the occasion", the momentum is with us and hopefully we'll have a full squad to choose from, Saha may be back to fitness and Jagielka needs to shake off the Hamstring issue that meant he returned from England duty without playing. Liverpool shouldn't ever be underestimated, they are a wounded animal at the moment, and I would expect to come out fighting rather than cowering into the night behind a smokescreen of financial uncertainty. A sell out crowd at Goodison should make for a rip roaring affair and I for one am looking forward to the show!
Until next time
Thanks again for reading.
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