Everton v Arsenal, the turmoil in the build up, the walk out by the fans.



By Bulldog Drummond

With Andrew having covered today’s big match in detail (see above) all there is left for me to do apart from turn on the TV just before 2pm and watch the game.  And so in the meanwhile attention is turned to Monday’s match against Everton.

And for that the Mirror welcomes us with the headline

“Everton fans plan mass walkout protest against Arsenal in angry gesture to board”

I really don’t have to report what they say after that because it is written in that imperious tone the paper adopts when talking about mere supporters, with the notion that somehow the Mirror journalist is looking down from on high, able to judge events with a vision of which us lesser beings are completely incapable.

But just in case you would like to know they open with, “Everton were humiliatingly beaten 4-1 by Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Wednesday night in a defeat which was the final nail in the coffin for some Toffees supporters, who have now turned on the board.”

This is of course the sort of story the paper loves as it fills up the column inches without any actual reporting or indeed even thinking.   But there are interesting points here.   For example, does changing the manager actually do any good?  Do Everton have any chance of competing against the clubs that have traditionally won things?

Everton have not won the title for 34 years.  Everton have not been second for 35 years.  Everton have not come third for even longer (I lost count) and the last time they were fourth was 16 years ago.  They then went into the Champions League and got knocked out in the qualifying round.

So at least in the modern game they have no history of competing with the big boys.

Since coming fourth in the league they have had 19 managers.  Discounting those who managed fewer than ten games they have had 13 managers.

The 15 games of the current manager is apparently more than enough for Everton supporters to sum up the situation.  But in doing that one might think that some of them would realise that simply changing the management is not enough.

A club that has not ended up in the top three for 34 years needs something different to achieve that position.   And yes of course I am sure that if they get through enough managers they will have one who can win them things, except that possibly by that time the club will be bust, having paid out compensation to countless management teams, and having sold at a discount all the players they have bought, in order to bring in the new manager’s favourites.

It is at this point that most journalists, if forced to write any more on the subject add, something meaningless about DNA – which is a sort of upmarket way of saying “it’s not in their blood” which is in turn another meaningless phrase.

But at least there are some beneficiaries from this turmoil, and we can hope that tomorrow one of them is going to be Arsenal.   But still the occasion has at least given me a chance to brush up on my Latin, with some erudite supporters holding up a banner for the Liverpool match which read, “We demand nil satis nisi optimum and it’s about time our club did too.”

You will of course recognise the quote, so no need for me to translate.   [You’re not getting away with that – put it in English!! – Tony]    Oh ok.  It actually means “nothing but the best is good enough,” and really I didn’t want to embarrass the Everton supporters even more but of course the banner doesn’t actually meant sense.  Not in yer proper English at any rate.

The Latin for “the best” is optimum – the “nil satis nisi” is not needed – but well, I believe Liverpudlian education has always been a bit lacking in terms of the classics.

Anyway, Everton fans are planning to walk out on 27 minutes – at least I think they are.  The actual command on social media read, “Show your feet and leave your seat.”   They might all go to the bar of course – and indeed I think that is what the organisers have in mind, with the gangs returning after half time.

Of course demanding a new manager is but one of the two standard newspaper-led approaches to rekindling success.  The other approach is the alternative way of writing articles without research – spending money on players.   And Everton have done that spending over £500m in the last five years.

Fans really need to be wary of simplistic solutions to complex problems.  That’s what the journalists are for.

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