Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Evertonians riled by latest 'small club' jibe - And this time it wasn't even Rafa!

Daily Mail Journo Martin Samuel got up the noses of Blues yet again this week, referring to the Blues as a 'small club' in his article about Moyes' chances of getting the Man United Job.

This is ,of course, a ridiculous statement. As has been done on several occasions in the recent past by miffed Evertonians a simple check through the history books show that only three clubs have been more successful than the Blues. And while the modern era has brought little success, 20 years of under-achievement does not wipe out the previous 80 years of consistant achievement.

I would like to think Mr Samuel got his words wrong and what he meant to say was that Moyes's work at Everton is so impressive because of the vast difference in resources between the Blues and several clubs in the Premier League, both above and below them in the table. It has been the hand constantly tied behind his back that has made the Scotsman's achievements so remarkable.

But to be fair to Mr Samuel he is an established and accomplished wordsmith so I very much doubt he got his meaning wrong. His opinion of Everton is merely a sad indictment of today's press and the impact of the media-driven, cash rich commercial machine that is the Premier League.

The modern media conveniently seem to forget that there was football before 1992 (Sky are the worst, anything they don't have the rights to show, doesn't exist in their eyes). It is unfortunate then that the longest period without success in Everton's illustrious history has coincided with the advent of the Premier League. Before then a reasonably level playing field meant that a tactically astute manager could turn a side into champions within a few years - just like Howard Kendall did in 1985.

I am convinced that if the Premier League riches had occurred 10 years earlier Everton would have continued their dominance of the English game beyond the late 1980's. As it was the main beneficiaries were first Manchester United then, latterly, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. The rewards for success are now so vast it is almost (and I say almost) impossible for the 'have nots' to compete.

This isn't a whinge from another 'bitter' blue who can't get over the fact we have won just one trophy in 23 years. That has been done many times before and has fallen on equally deaf ears. It's just a resigned acknowledgement that it will be a long, long time before anyone outside of the local media will look upon us without a hint of patronising contempt.

The only way to change this twisted perception of what constitutes a big club is to finally dust off that trophy cabinet. It is going to be harder than ever given the financial disparity between us an the 'Sky four'. But if it can be done - and without the need of a sugar daddy - I think it will rank among the greatest achievements in the clubs long and illustrious history.


  1. I think it's fair to say that Everton are not a small club, however, until they consistently challenge for honors like the Sky Four do then I'm afraid they will always be in tier two of the premier League.

    David Moyes has probably spent as much as Arsene Wenger yet Arsenal are still challenging on 3 fronts and Everton are not. I think that is what Samuel was getting at...

  2. I'd say they were a small club in terms of fan mentality - too many Everton fans betray the history of the club by only really caring about beating Liverpool these days.

    I wouldn't say Everton dominated the 1980s. They won the league in 84/85 and in 86/87, and runners-up in 85/86. In the Cup, they won in 1984 and were runners up in 85, 86 and 89. They also won the Cup Winners Cup in 85. Four trophies.

    There are arguments to say they'd have won more if it hadn't been for the European ban, which is true. However, so would have Liverpool who after all actually did dominate the 80s winning the league in 7 times(79/80, 81/82, 82/83, 83/84, 85/86, 87/88 and 89/90), the cup in 86 and 88, the league cup four times running and, in the 1980s, two European Cups.