The Mental Block

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What’s that saying almost every Evertonian has said at some point in their life time?

‘It’s the hope that kills you’

Plucky little Everton, oh how they build you up, then without even stopping to think about it, they knock you back down with a swift left hook of shitness.

I’m sick of it. Sick of the whole ‘predictable nature’ of being an Evertonian. I’ve wrote articles like this before, countless times, I’ll probably write another 100 during my lifetime, nothing ever changes. But I have to vent, it’s my way of letting off that ever-present Evertonian steam, or as it’s more modernly known – fume.

Why oh why do we always revert to type. We can’t ever seem to find a level of consistency. We don’t ever look like we can create something special, something memorable, we never look like stopping the rot.

I honestly thought that this time, albeit in the League Cup, we were on the verge of winning some elusive silverware, seeing our supporters bask in their moment of glory. Again, I shouldn’t have got my hopes up.

I honestly thought, after a trio of wins and a brief upturn in results in recent weeks, we could potentially build on this and keep looking up in the table. Again, I shouldn’t have got my hopes up.

I know there is still plenty of games left this season but after witnessing disappointment after disappointment and having a Manager in charge who I’ve lost complete faith in means my hopes have well and truly diminished.

I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead I see teams above us going further ahead, we can only chase their shadows. Look at Leicester, look at Spurs, even look at the likes of Southampton and West Ham, what about Watford? We can’t even be considered as a side battling with them teams nowadays, we are amongst the best of the rest, caught in the no-mans-land of the Premier League and we’ve been there for 18 months.

‘You’ve got a great core of players, some real talent’ – Why are we in the bottom half of the table then, again? I think some of these players aren’t actually as good as we think.

Under Moyes we came close, we had our cup runs, we finished fourth but saw our dreams dashed at the qualification first hurdle (fuck off Collina). Yes there were good times, we got back in Europe and had some rocking nights at Goodison, but does a game against Fiorentina in which we eventually lost on penalties, a memorable Derby win and a couple of victories over United stand out as memorable, significant moments from our recent past? For me they typify where we are – we dine out on a glimmer of hope, but in fact a lot of it is just small time mediocrity. The older I’ve gotten, the less I can accept this.

Everton should never bring another DVD out until we actually win something. Stop celebrating what other Clubs do week in week out, just because we did it once.

Does anyone want to win the League at Everton? Does anyone actually want to change the somewhat broken record that is our plucky little tag? Does anyone want consistent success, or for that matter – just consistency? Many supporters of our Football Club can accept that as an Evertonian, you have to ‘make do’ with what we are, but there are plenty of others who, like me, yearn for so much more. I can’t accept that this is the norm, and I never will.

Will we have another cup run, this time in the FA Cup, but see our hopes, again come crumbling down when we are inevitably knocked out? Only time will tell, but if you were a betting man, you would fancy this to happen to Everton, again. Will we put a run of League wins together and capitalise on the most open Premier League since it’s creation? Again, only time will tell, but all the current signs tell me we won’t.

After the City game and our disappointing League Cup exit, I felt like the season was over, I didn’t think there was anything to play for and I openly said I wouldn’t go back to Goodison Park this season – I gave up my season ticket this season after numerous years. I’ve still been back several times this season – but with my feeling that the season is now a write off, I told myself ‘don’t do it to yourself anymore’. But then, three wins and two weeks later, there I am, standing outside Goodison having a beer and brimming with confidence waiting to go inside. That’s what football does to you and that is what Everton does to you. In reality, from what happened over the course of the next 90 odd minutes, I simply should not have expected any other outcome.

As soon as you begin to believe, that belief is struck down.

As soon as you begin to imagine, those thoughts are soon dashed.

As soon as you think that ‘this time might be different’ once more you are proved wrong.

Besic

That’s Everton, and that’s being an Evertonian. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it? Walking away isn’t an option, and although I’m saying I won’t go back to Goodison this season, I’ll always be an Everton Fan, it’s not really an option to not be an Evertonian once you are one. But in reality I feel as a collective we should aspire to so much more. I can’t feel the love I once did without this collective belief. Where is the consistent demand for a better Everton? I mean a better Everton from top to bottom. An Everton who defy the odds, an Everton who can be a bit rough and ready and mix it up. An Everton who are noticed for their quality, and not for their niceness. An Everton who are measured by their current success and not what they’ve done before many of us were even born. History is something to be proud of, but I am sick to the back teeth of waiting for it to be created again.

There’s too much of a negative acceptance of ‘well that’s all just part of being an Evertonian’ – well actually, and in truth, if we all wanted the same thing, a successful team, an ambitious ownership and a manager who doesn’t think Arouna Kone is a professional footballer, then maybe we could take steps towards becoming that successful Everton many of us wish to see.

Never mind the ‘great spine of youth’ we have got within our ranks, our apparent ‘great future’ or the fact that Leon Osman maybe once was a decent footballer, I want to see results on that pitch now, I want to see a captain lifting trophies in that royal blue shirt and I want a manager who is a realist, who can come up with different solutions and back up his statements with results and facts, not political positivity and fantasy. It’s almost like there’s too many who are born into ‘the Everton Family’ and are just happy to be a supporter of a team who coast along nicely, never really making their mark or never really in danger of slipping away.

People draw comparisons, they draw comparisons to sides who have gone down and stayed down, sides who are lower in the league than Everton FC. The key word there being ‘down’ – why not look up? What not see the teams above us and be better than them. You can’t always use the money excuse – look at Leicester City for fuck’s sake – a team full of energy, vigour and attitude, and not a big money signing in sight – it can be done. Yes they haven’t ‘achieved’ anything yet, but where they are now and from where they’ve came, with the personnel they have, they’ve proved that sometimes you can upset the apple cart that is the so-called Sky Big Four and the Premier League. Everyone is rattled by the Foxes, why can’t they be rattled by Everton? The underdogs doing well. It’s great to see, I like Ranieri, I am full of praise for Leicester City, but I’d give my right arm for it be Everton in their place, fighting for the title and upsetting the odds.

Apparently we have some real quality players, so why can’t we even stay in the top half of the table?

Another example is Spurs – of course they’ve had more money at their disposal, but it wasn’t long ago that we were often toe to toe with them for 4th, 5th, 6th place in this League. But they’ve kicked on, they’ve appointed a manager who will be highly sought after, they’ve spent some money but invested in youth, one of their best players who is scoring all their goals cost them nothing, Harry Kane. It makes me feel horrible seeing them up there, being included in that title race, playing us off the park at Goodison in early January. Why haven’t we kicked on like them?

We showed signs of improvement in Martinez’ first season at Goodison, but nothing has happened since. We’ve signed better players, but as a team I think we’ve gone backwards. The faults have not been addressed, there is a complete naïvety about us, a softness that is capitalised on by many sides in this league. Mentioning Martinez’ first season just makes this recent feeling about us even worse.

With Everton it always seems to be ‘what if’ or ‘if only’.

Our win ratio over our last 60 games is not acceptable. No matter how you dress it up, this manager has not won enough games, especially with the players he has at his disposal.

I walked into work today and my first two conversations were with two Evertonians – one in his 40’s and one in his 50’s – I have recently entered my 30’s. The conversation had a common theme, ‘same old same old isn’t it lad’ – ‘back to square one again at the weekend wasn’t it mate’, these fellas are 10 and 20 years older than me. they’ve endured more. I dread to think what lads younger than me think, do they dream like me too? Lots of our older fans have seen great Everton sides, they’ve witnessed great players and titles won. We haven’t. We haven’t and it hurts. But sometimes I feel like I am in the minority. Is it a mindset. Is it just acceptance. I can’t accept that Everton will always coast along like this.

We are everybody’s mate because we never upset anyone. But you don’t win cups and win games for being a likeable team, do you?

Mirallas

I’d rather be hated but win the lot, fuck everyone else. I want what’s best for Everton Football Club.

If this supposed takeover goes through, first of all I hope the new kids on the block have Everton’s best interests in mind. Secondly I believe it is a risk that we need to take. It is a risk we need to take because we need to eradicate this staleness, be rid of this defeatist mental block that seems to engulf the Club when it matters. New money, new ideas and new strategies can bring this, and I for one certainly hope it does.

For far too long there’s been too many people at Everton taking their cut and happy to sit in the background as 40,000 Evertonians go through the same scenario almost week on week. As long as we remain a ‘Premier League team’ then that’s all that matters to the money men. Their mentality flows down throughout the Club and although there is some great things that Everton do, there is also a lot that isn’t done or should be done, or simply ignored.

I want change. I want change throughout the Club, from top to bottom, and I want my fellow Everton fans to stop accepting the plight of an Evertonian. Why can’t we be winners, why can’t we make our mark in the modern era. I’ve said all of the above before and I’ll say it all again because it is what I believe. I’ve talked about ambition and aspiration in the past, and the older I’m getting the more strongly I feel that we lack it. It’s with a heavy heart I say all of this, but it just doesn’t feel the same going to Goodison anymore. I lack passion, I lack a love for the game and my Club. I remain an Evertonian, and I always will, but there’s a huge gulf in what I feel now to what I felt five, ten years ago. There’s only so much supporting this mentality I can do, in fact I don’t support this mentality, I support Everton. Until it changes, I don’t believe I will get that fire in my heart back again and it saddens me.

New life needs to be breathed into this Club but new life needs to be breathed into Evertonians. A complete change in mentality is key. Our inferiority complex needs to disappear. We need hope, belief, we need something to cling on to, as an Evertonian after 30 years of ‘same old same old again wasn’t it lad’ I haven’t got much of this left I’m afraid.

Never mind ‘it’s time for change’

It’s time we all changed.

 

This article was originally posted on Everton Aren’t We?

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