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Everton fans have become very bitter… and I can understand why

Everton fans look across Stanley Park in envy and the tide isn’t going to turn soon
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 01: Richarlison of Everton picks up a lit flare as he celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on May 01, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 01: Richarlison of Everton picks up a lit flare as he celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on May 01, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)© Getty Images

John AldridgeSunday World

EVERTON fans have become very bitter in recent years and I can understand why.

Back in the days when I started going to football with my Dad and uncles, they would watch Liverpool one weekend, Everton the following Saturday and might catch Tranmere in action on a Friday night.

That was the way it was back then. A kind of Merseyside united attitude, but those days are long gone.

Roll the clock forward to 2022 and Everton fans are struggling to come to terms with their new position in the English game.

They had a fantastic team in the mid-1980s and would have had a real chance of winning the European Cup if it were not for the bans imposed on English clubs following the Heysel Stadium disaster.

That was when the tide in this once-friendly local rivalry turned nasty. Everton fans blamed Liverpool for the chaos at Heysel, even though the stadium was unfit to host a match of that magnitude and there was some disastrous organisation by UEFA at the time.

UEFA clearly haven’t learned from that mistake after the disgraceful scenes we saw in last month’s Champions League final in Paris, but that’s another story. When you look back on the decision to ban English teams from Europe in 1985, it is clear that two teams were affected more than any other; Liverpool and Everton.

They were probably the best teams in Europe at a the time.

But Everton fans resented Liverpool’s role in the ban on English clubs and, to add to their woes, they have spent all of the years since living in Liverpool’s shadow.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Everton fan Speedo Mick holds his scarf aloft as fans invade the pitch invade the pitch after the Premier League match between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on May 19, 2022 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Everton fan Speedo Mick holds his scarf aloft as fans invade the pitch invade the pitch after the Premier League match between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on May 19, 2022 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)© Visionhaus/Getty Images

They haven’t won a trophy since their 1995 FA Cup win and in the years since, Liverpool have been lifting trophies on a regular basis and pulling further away from their local rivals with each passing year. You only need to look at the scenes in the final week of last season to see the chasm in ambition that has now opened up between the two clubs.

Manager Frank Lampard lead the joyous scenes at Goodison Park after Everton avoided relegation.

You could argue it was a little embarrassing for a club that still likes to be seen as one of the big-hitters in English football to get that excited about beating the drop, but that’s where Everton are right now and the events of recent days have highlighted their decline.

Everton’s decision to sell Richarlison to Tottenham and then try and sign Harry Winks (left) as part of the deal highlighted to me where the club are right now.

No disrespect to Winks as he is a decent player, but he is not likely to set the world alight at Everton and all I can see for them is another season battling to beat the drop.

As for Lampard, he has not done enough to convince me that he is a manager equipped to lead Everton to success, with his failure at Chelsea backed up by a fortunate relegation escape after he took over from Rafa Benitez at Goodison Park.

The mere fact that Everton first had to turn to former Liverpool manager Benitez and then replace him with an unproved coach was further evidence of the mismanagement at the club that has been going on for far too long.

In some ways, you can’t criticise the owners for lacking the ambition to succeed as they have spent as much money as any club in the Premier League, aside from the two Manchester clubs.

In fact, there are doubts over whether Everton have gone too far with their spending as they have pushed the UEFA Financial Fair Play boundaries to breaking point... if those rules are still being followed these days.

Yet despite all that investment, they’ve continued to go backwards as poor transfer decisions and bad management at first team level has cost them badly. New owners may soon be coming in and while plans are in place for Everton to move to a new stadium, there has to be a danger that they will be playing Championship football by the time they get there.

I’d be surprised if Lampard succeeds at Everton and if he joins the long list of failed managers, you wonder whether they will also be facing the reality of a relegation out of the Premier League.

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard© PA

So when Everton fans have a pop at me on social media or give me a bit of stick when I’m in Liverpool, I can only smile. The term bitter Blues has been applied to Everton fans in recent years and if I was a on their side of the football dive in Liverpool, I’d be more than a little bitter.

Look at the way my old club has been run by its American owners. It shows success can be generated using limited finances so long as the management on and off the pitch is right.

Recruitment has been fantastic and in Jurgen Klopp, they have the best manager in the world taking on all-comers while breaking even on transfer spending each year.

Everton fans must look across Stanley Park with envy and the reality is, the tide isn’t going to turn any time soon.

Liverpool finished massive 53 points ahead of Everton last season and when you consider Everton only collected 39 points from their 38 games last season, it highlights how far apart the two teams are on the pitch.

They say winning goes in cycles for top teams and it looks like Everton’s cycles last for decades rather than years.

So I suppose it’s little wonder their fans are so miserable all the time.


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