To the neutrals, the press and especially the casual fans who believe football started in 1992, Chelsea, third in the Premier League and last year's Champions League runners up, will start as heavy favourites. An Everton team shorn of our best defender, our best midfielder and our best striker seem to many to have a mountain to climb ? the final appears to the cognoscenti and the casuals alike to be a bridge too far for any number of sound reasons.
But Everton have been climbing that mountain all through this cup run and were tipped by many to fall at the tricky hurdles of Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester United. Everton prevailed and have continued to climb. All that remains is that last assault on the summit.
Again, to those who are casual fans or who believe that football?s year zero started with Sky Sports and the Premier League, Chelsea represent the fashionable and the glamourous, befitting their West London neighbourhood. They typify football's recent convergence of money and hipness, and the heightened profile of the game in ways inconceivable even 15 years ago. Everton, on the other hand, represent the unglamourous and the unfashionable, a grand old club fallen on hard times, a mirror of their hardscrabble port city, its players professional and hardworking and strangers to the pages of the glossy gossipy weeklies.
But real football fans will know the true history. Chelsea?s good fortune, coming in 2003 by way of suspect Russian oil money, has allowed them to compete and add to their solitary championship of 1955. Their tally now stands at three. They have won four Cup finals, one of those since the advent of the almighty rouble.
Everton on the other hand are one of the giants of English football, nine-time League Champions and five-time FA Cup winners, founder members of the Football League and denizens of the top tier of English football for all but four of that league?s 110 seasons. The history of the club is littered with great teams and legendary players and a history of achievement that a nouveau riche club like Chelsea can only envy. True fans will know it would take many years of shoveling roubles at rich mercenaries for Chelsea to construct anything like the storied past of Everton Football Club.
So what has any of that to do with Saturday? you ask... My answer is?. everything. In my mind at least.
This has felt like a Team of Destiny ever since the draw at Anfield with our loveable neighbours. We were always going to win the replay. We brushed aside Middlesboro and an arrogant Aston Villa and had our day in the sun against the Champions of Europe, beating them in a tense penalty contest that will live long in the memories of Blues everywhere. It is impossible for me to imagine Everton failing now at this juncture. I haven?t felt so sure of an Everton victory since we steamrolled Rapid Vienna to win the old European Cup-Winners Cup in 1985.
So, I hear you say, you are basing this on a feeling? Sure ? what else is confidence if not a feeling that what needs to be done can be achieved? Yes, a feeling and the certain knowledge that this is a defining moment in the history of a great club that had fallen on hard times, a club which has been slowly climbing out of the footballing depths back to the rarified air and high lush pastures of our dreams.
An Everton win will I believe represent the end of a long slow seven-year climb from the edge of an abyss and the announcement that Everton are back, a force to be reckoned with in the game, and will provide the platform for an assault on more honours and eventually, I hope, an assault on the title itself.
We have too much at stake to fail now. A win on Saturday will be the only fitting end to a superb cup run, elevating it to the stuff of legend.
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1 Posted 27/05/2009 at 21:20:14
Our father who art David Moyes,
Your school of science come,
Your 4-5-1 will be done,
At home as it is away,
Give us today our day at Wembly,
Forgive us our mispasses,
As we have also forgot our own goals,
And lead us not into hoof ball,
But deliver us from Anfield, for yours,
And the passing and free flowing,
football forever more,
(adapted from Matthew with obvious apologies)
2 Posted 27/05/2009 at 21:41:48
3 Posted 28/05/2009 at 02:17:20
Yes I had one, and we won 2-0 well it was 3-0 but I thought I had better make it a little bit credible.
4 Posted 28/05/2009 at 06:31:04
We might win. We might lose. Given Chelsea’s achievements over the last five to ten years, modesty might be the better way forward.
5 Posted 28/05/2009 at 06:57:30
6 Posted 28/05/2009 at 09:12:15
That we lift the cup. I don’t give a shite about what score. What style of footy.
Or anything else connected to the game for that matter.
Just go and win the fucking thing.
7 Posted 28/05/2009 at 09:23:28
and a 19th minute top corner Baines free kick was the only goal...
you heard it here first...
Here we go, here we go, here we go!!
8 Posted 28/05/2009 at 09:17:34
9 Posted 28/05/2009 at 09:36:25
There are two tremendous doubles to be had this weekend :
1) Everton winning the "Best of the Rest" league for the 2nd consecutive season AND the FA Cup
2) The SKY generation receiving another body blow with the Kings Road luvvies missing out, following the "Best Fans In The World" being relegated last week.
Personally one of the most frustrating points of the clinically lazy journalism these days is the dour depiction of Everton that is portrayed : Over achieving, defensive minded, spoiling tactics blah, blah, blah. This is particularly galling when non-entities such as Tottenham, West Ham and Fulham are held in such high esteem for their ’pure’ football!!!
Ah well, rather be where we are.
See you all on Saturday - I’ll be the one going mental when Baines scores that free kick mentioned above!!
10 Posted 28/05/2009 at 09:50:53
Last night I dreamt an Everton goal in the final: I don’t know who took the shot, but it hit the post, came back and hit Cech on the back and rebounded in.
If you could bet on goal descriptions I’d have a tenner on that.
Cheers everyone, COYB!
11 Posted 28/05/2009 at 13:10:07
In the dream, I remember being in total shock then walking past a mirror looking in it and seeing I was in fact Emile Heskey..
COYB so proud to be an Evertonian and cannot wait for Saturday... Mr Cahill to score the only goal...
12 Posted 28/05/2009 at 16:02:46
13 Posted 28/05/2009 at 18:18:46
I dont feel it is hubris speaking for myself it is just belief and confidence which admittedly could be interpreted as arrogance.
Nobody on the site thinks it will be easy and I have yet to see anyone predicting a thrashing for Chelsea. I just think the way the matches have gone and the manner in which we have achieved victory all points to this being our year. We could all be wrong and end up looking daft but I get the impression we wont be
14 Posted 29/05/2009 at 02:43:47
15 Posted 29/05/2009 at 16:08:10
Gonna pin them up in my local as the bar owner is a Chelski boy!!
Good luck Everton, lets get ready to party.......