Things Are Happening. Enjoy This Storied Everton Era

The Toffees are on a good track. This could just be the start and you’ll have a story to tell

Ell Bretland 23/02/2021 17comments  |  Jump to last

Remember these days. Enjoy them.

From ending the 21-year Anfield hoodoo and winning an FA Cup thriller 5-4 to supporting an Everton side managed by one of the all-time greats and witnessing one of the most gifted players on the planet in the Royal Blue, these are the days you’ll talk about. Whether the 2020s are filled with silverware or not, these are storied times for Everton Football Club.

Think back to all those dark days walking back across Stanley Park after another no-show in the Anfield derby. The robberies and the sheer bad luck. The inept displays and the day since we last beat the enemy on their own turf getting further and further away.

We’ve all reached major life milestones since Super Kev Campbell put the ball in the Reds' net. We’ve left school, college, university; even got married, changed jobs or moved countries and returned again. Two decades. It’s over though. Finished, done. No more need to mention 'mentality' or being beaten before a ball is kicked.

Then there is the Tottenham FA Cup clash. Those games and instances haven’t fallen for Everton in a very long time. Think of Fiorentina, a glorious defeat, or 2014, when the Toffees got a points tally which would ordinarily secure Champions League football but not that year. Or the time we did qualify, we drew a top Villarreal side and saw a perfect goal ruled out. If the pendulum is going to swing in Everton’s favour, it usually swings back at the last minute. But not against Spurs as the ball fell perfectly for Bernard to rifle home. It was a change of fate for the better. Finally.

Remember too, the times we would struggle to land a David Dunn or Sean Davis. When we would lose out to Blackburn, Bolton and Fulham. When the top managers went to other clubs, not Everton. That’s the past. Now, we boast a three-time Champions League winner on the touchline who has worked with the game’s biggest talents. James Rodriguez wows every game with a sumptuous piece of skill or trickery. The Brazil No 9 scores goals for us too. Not in our wildest dreams could we have foreseen that back when we couldn’t gather the funds for Brian McBride. Times are great. Not perfect, but great.

So many things we have desired for decades are slowly coming true. Embarrassing records smashed to smithereens, world-class talents signed and even an iconic new stadium on the Mersey waterfront is in the pipeline. Titles and competing in Europe’s top competition aren’t on the horizon yet but the progress is there. Everton are moving forward. Farhad Moshiri, Carlo Ancelotti, Marcel Brands are all playing a starring role.

James Rodriguez excites like Andrei Kanchelskis did while Ben Godfrey battles like the ferocious Dogs of War. Allan bites, barks and patrols the turf like Peter Reid. We love our heroes, our history, and can see it all in the present.

This team haven’t achieved anything yet but something is happening. You can feel it. It feels good to follow the Blues again. Matchday is fun and there is reason for serious optimism.

Imagine Everton as a grand old house in need of repair and Ancelotti the man to bring it back to life. If winning at Tottenham on the opening day was fixing a leaky roof and a 94th-minute leveller at Old Trafford was giving the place a lick of paint, then going to Anfield was like contending with a giant sinkhole in the front garden. But Ancelotti fixed it. It’s no longer an eyesore and we can enjoy the view.

Duncan Ferguson’s emotional reaction to the full-time whistle at Anfield was all of us. He has been there through everything and feels for Everton like we all do. It’s been a slog; 21 years of the same rhetoric, the same outcome, the same old scorelines. No more.

As he led the Blues to victory over Chelsea in his role as caretaker manager, the fact Big Dunc wore a watch that belonged to Howard Kendall, this club’s greatest manager and Dunc’s mentor, the man who made him captain, was intrinsically Everton. So too is the fact Ferguson is a massive part of this new era. He is in partnership with Carlo Ancelotti in a beautiful double act which just fits so perfectly. It all makes for an enjoyable narrative which everybody can feel.

They are slowly changing the mentality. Dread has been replaced by belief. Fear replaced by fight. For every setback, Everton have shown up again, shown character. Of course, they’ve posed questions with some bafflingly insipid home performances but always come back with an answer. The more answers they provide over the course of this season, the less questions and Goodison defeats we’ll endure next term. This team is learning from the master.

When Everton enjoyed massive success under Kendall in the Eighties, many claim Kevin Brock’s backpass which Adrian Heath latched onto to score against Oxford was the catalyst. Our Kevin Brock moment could be weeks away, or maybe it happened recently and we just don’t know it yet… but it’s coming.

Remember these days, how you feel and all of the finer details. Even Fulham, even Newcastle, memorise it because there is a chance you may just have to regale these days in the future. When your grandkids ask about the time Everton returned to the top you want to remember it all. Something is happening and it feels great. It’s hard not to have a spring in your step right now.

The Toffees are on a good track. This could just be the start and you’ll have a story to tell.

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Reader Comments (17)

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Steve Carse
1 Posted 23/02/2021 at 19:47:34
And to think it was only a couple of weeks ago the majority view on here was to prioritise clearing out the shit we still had on our books and forget Europe for another season. It's a funny old game.
Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 23/02/2021 at 19:59:56
I like positivity, and so if there is a time to write something positive then it's definitely now Ell. But it was only nine days ago that the pages of ToffeeWeb, was full of absolutely livid Evertonians, so I think we are still on a bit of a rollercoaster, when it comes to our team.

We are definitely better, with everyone fit I'm sure we can knock City, out the cup, and the next two league games are also winnable, but these are the games that probably put the most fear into Evertonians right now?

Great news today on the ground, and it was great to win at Anfield, especially because a couple of our players were below form, but the difference was that where Schniederlin, shrugged his shoulders, Doucoure shakes his head at his own mistakes, and just keeps working even harder!

Paul Kernot
3 Posted 23/02/2021 at 20:54:48
Lovely piece, Ell, and although most of us still have a foot in both camps, like you, I'm leaning into the 'here it comes' camp.

Meanwhile, no Siggy & James double-act in the derby win. One or the other. Not both. And Tom is coming of age, just as Dom already has.

Paul Kernot
4 Posted 23/02/2021 at 21:03:20
I made it home from New Zealand three Christmases ago. Trekked way down the docks to the Bramley-Moore site to check what all the fuss was about. Dismal looking place but real Liverpool.

I also felt really lucky to get in to all 3 home games in those 10 days under big Sam, hired to save us from the drop, for fuck's sake. 1 win (Swansea), 1 loss (Man Utd) & I remember thinking our best effort of the three, holding Chelsea to a nil-nil draw. How things have changed.

You're so right, Ell. It's coming. It really is this time.

Tony Everan
5 Posted 23/02/2021 at 21:23:03
Thanks Ell, enjoyed reading this.

It's interesting talking about the catalyst. The lyst could be a long one! I think that Farhad Moshiri is the catalyst. He gives the appearance and body language of a shy and retiring accountant. The reality is that he is tough, determined and focused beyond belief.

He is like a boxer that has been punched, counted and keeps getting up. He has a plan and he is going to execute it no matter what. That incredible determination is start to bear fruit.

I think the confidence is redoubled by Usmanov being in his corner. Whatever the structure really is you have got to admire the relentless progress of the Everton FC project against the odds. He hasn't wavered.

Clive Rogers
6 Posted 24/02/2021 at 09:51:35
Tony, 5, you are spot on. It is all down to Moshiri really and the contrast with the previous regime is vast. We have gone from championship managers to world class. Onwards and upwards.
Dave Ganley
7 Posted 24/02/2021 at 10:06:22
This is a breath of fresh air article Ell. It's something I have thought over the last few days. Spurs in the cup was definitely a turning point for me because, as you say we would have lost that many times before, but for once we showed proper fight and played to the end.

Being an Evertonian of course, the thought of it all going t#ts up is never far from your thoughts, however, it's been a long time since we dared to dream realistically so I'm going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Robert Tressell
8 Posted 24/02/2021 at 10:48:52
Lots of reasons to be positive on and off the pitch. Which is why we need to keep some perspective about the inevitable bumps in the road. The squad is still quite patchy and with limited reinforcements we'll have our off days. But we should go into every game now believing we can find a way to win.
Mark Louch
9 Posted 24/02/2021 at 11:38:08
Moshiri. pure and simple.
Without his lavish expenditure we wouldn't have Ancelotti, we wouldn't have BMD as a reality, we wouldn't have Ben Godfrey; a last minute £20m bargain.

There have been mistakes, very expensive ones, and we are far from the finished article as proven by the games against Fulham etc.
But it is genuinely exciting and positive!

Our manager gets the club in the same way that another successful guy across the park does, that's truly positive.
We have some players that really seem to get it that this club has got the potential to be one of Europe's best and that they can be instrumental in achieving it.
Finally, I think us fans are starting to get it as well, that we might finally be turning a very long corner to sustained success.

There will still be dead ends and wrong turnings However, this season we have 40 points with 14 games to go and we are in a cup quarter final.
In 3 seasons we will be in the best ground in the country with, we hope, a manager and players to grace it in the way that so many have done in Goodison Park.

Thomas Richards
10 Posted 24/02/2021 at 11:41:01

Great post.
Bursting with positive vibes.
Cheered me right up that.

Mark Louch
11 Posted 24/02/2021 at 12:28:00

Cheered myself up as well as I've spent the morning angsting about stupidity of Brexit and the damage it is doing to my business.

Better to concentrate on Ancelotti, Richarlison, Godfrey and the future possibility of slaying a European giant in a Champions League Semi-Final at a bouncing Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium!

Cheaper than therapy...

Thomas Richards
12 Posted 24/02/2021 at 13:09:35
Sorry to hear that, Mark.

Best of luck.

Barry Rathbone
13 Posted 24/02/2021 at 18:45:52
As the perennial curmudgeon about all things Everton, I will enjoy this period.

I previously stated restoration of our historical seat as kings of the city and winning silverware are my only metrics of success

The first tentative step has been taken, booting the arse of the shite, and hope is higher than ever that silverware is no longer just a pipe dream.

How long it lasts... who knows? But I'm loving it!

Danny O’Neill
14 Posted 24/02/2021 at 23:42:41
Love to see what I presume is a slightly younger generation supporter than me have hope and positivity. Fantastic stuff.

Without stamping on your positive chips, I said a few weeks back that for every last gasp equaliser at Old Trafford and late winner against Tottenham, this team/squad still has a Newcastle (now Fulham) moment in it.

Fortunately in the main, those are in the minority now as the league position suggests and should become less so as we progress. We are not there yet but there is so much to be genuinely positive about. And it's great that the younger fans feel that way too, as they are the future just as much so (more so) as the players.

Lee Courtliff
15 Posted 26/02/2021 at 20:35:25
This past week I've allowed myself to (foolishly?) day-dream about success.

My Dad told me about the 80s but I've only ever seen the 1995 FA Cup win. But that didn't stop me from visualising us winning the League when I was in the shower the other night!!

People, quite rightly, talk about Moshiri or Carlo being the (hopefully) turning point but, for me, it's the Cup game against Spurs.

I haven't got a single doubt in my mind that we'd have lost that game if it was played anywhere between 1997 and 2019!! Not a single, shred of doubt.

Even watching the game, I was convinced we'd lose after it went to 3 apiece. I've just seen it too many times before.

But this time... we won.

Derek Taylor
16 Posted 28/02/2021 at 18:48:52
Tony @5, this is a delightful piece of work but I can't buy into your worship of Moshiri - not after the crap managers he's vested on us before Carlo. Let's just hope he's got there in the end !
Kieran Kinsella
17 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:44:36
To Ell's point, I am loving the fact we have broken various psychological barriers. For too long, we've satisfied ourselves with striving to be the best of the rest. We've seen acceptance (from managers e.g. Moyes, Sam) that it's hopeless trying to win at "the big six." so we at best park at bus and get a dire 0-0 but more often than not just roll over.

It's a bit like yesterday on the forum, as soon as the RS scored various people said "here we go" "now the floodgates open" or words to that effect. The inevitable would happen after Sheff Utd had a goal disallowed then conceded one. The inevitable did happen. That kind of mentality has plagued us for too long with regard to our own games. In the past the "inevitable" turning point would be Utd taking the lead, or Kane equalizing in the cup. We would have then capitulated and the manager would have given a braveheart speech and talked of guns and knife fights. The difference now is that we are saying "it's not over until the fat lady sings." Of course we've a ways to go but getting past this mentality that six away games are lost every season before we kick a ball is a nice development.

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