“It’s quiet out there. Too quiet”. And as the scenes used to play out in the old Westerns that used this phrase, the silence was tinged with a sense of foreboding. Like the old guys on the right in this picture….
It is an extraordinary impact that the West Brom game has had on the usually fanatical Everton supporters, and it’s even quiet on Twitter (thank heavens for small mercies). It’s as if one performance, one result, has completely knocked the stuffing out of supporters and possibly players alike. Now, if ever this were not true, the Manager and his team now have an incredible job to do, and I mean “incredible” in the real sense of the word, and not the over-used way Roberto usually bangs out.
Speaking for myself, life has pretty much gone on in its own sweet way since Saturday, couple of nice meals, bit of beer, too much wine, work has been good, and planning for my daughter’s wedding seems to be in full expensive flow. Not much has changed really. And we still don’t have world peace, or any suggestion as to how to sort out the Middle East crisis, or whether we should stay in, leave, or continue to sit on the fence with the rest of the EU. So. Normal life. But every now and then my mind drifts back to Saturday afternoon, where even the presence of a bloody great pillar just 3 seats away didn’t protect me from all the sights of shot after shot, block after block, or possession stat after possession stat. Given that I could hardly see the goal at the Gwladys Street, I was rather hoping I’d missed us scoring a couple in the first half. Perhaps I would have noticed, as the crowd seemed ready to go ‘pop’ had we managed to squeeze anything past an obdurate defence, but instead it went ‘boo’ at the final whistle. And my heart sank, and it’s only just beginning to float again. I’ve not seen a reaction like this in me and others ever before after a defeat, and I’ve supported this team for 49 years.
There’s no point re-visiting the game, all has been said by me and many other critics, praise has been given in small measure, criticism in the main has been levied. But now we must look forward, we have no choice. What has gone has gone. The best we can do is to win the Cup, or at least win more than half our remaining fixtures (even if we win them all, we only end up on 71 points!), but before any of that happens, we need to trot down to Bournemouth and get a result, and not just any result, a win preferably, or a draw at worst. I just wonder, or really I just hope, that the players see this as their chance of redemption in the eyes not just of us fans, but in the eyes of themselves, as they must look at each other and think – “we’ve cocked that up haven’t we?”. All that positivity and momentum went in a nanosecond of history, and now it must be rebuilt, and where better than at the scene of one of the carnages of this season, a bottled 2-0 or 3-2 lead whichever way you look at it, back in November.
It’s redemption time.
The foreboding is too terrible to consider. Out of the Cup, and we lose any purpose in this frustrating season, and we limp to PL safety and finish below half way.
But that doesn’t need to happen. Quite the opposite. We have one of the most dynamic attacking forces in European let alone English football, and signs were that we’d managed to plug a few gaps at the other end – until we decided not to have someone sitting on the far post at a corner (corners we normally can’t head away); but let’s be positive – this is a fantastic side going forward, and should – should – sweep away most of the opponents left in front of us this season. We can do it, and it starts on Saturday as we all squeeze (physically and metaphorically) in to the Vitality Bike Shed.
We can do it. We must do it. It probably falls on the handful of supporters we’ll have in the ground to raise the roof with the usual away support we muster, no pitch invasions, just polite and manic limb waving. And perhaps a bit more encouragement from this lad….
Limbs. Wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to read about on Saturday night?