So the English Premier League’s long season kicks off next weekend and the marathon haul will take us all the way to next May. Yep, it’s a grueling competition.
There are previews up at all the football websites and on all the newspaper sites; individual teams are rated and slated and writers are falling over themselves to make predictions (which is a mugs game, as so much can happen, and does, over the course of a season).
Naturally for me, my focus is all Everton and like many Blues, I find reason for optimism. That would seem to be the prevailing view across the blue internet boards, at least, from the always hopeful Bluekipper to the mad cacophony emanating from the When Skies Are Grey forum. Why, even Toffeeweb, perennially the pessimistic cousins of the Everton family seem to be allowing themselves a reason to hope for good things. So I’m not gonna go and do a preview, nor am I gonna make any predictions; I’m just gonna list ten things, in no particular order, I’d love to see from Everton this season.
1. After his first summer break in two years, I want Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to prove the doubters all wrong and emerge as a major player at Everton.
2. Speaking of doubters, after I could not see Maroune Fellaini coming good for Everton, come good he did- spectacularly so. I want the mad-haired one to recover from that injury and become the driving force in Everton’s midfield and the obvious successor to Arteta.
3. A Tim Cahill headed goal in the Derby. That never gets old.
4. And speaking of our lovable neighbours, after last seasons appalling Derby losses, is two wins too much to ask? Actually, I think it’s been twenty years since we’ve put four past them — the famous four-four draw — and forty-five years since we slapped four by them in a win, so that’s what I’m hoping for. Ditto mullerings of the nouveau riche Denims of Manchester and Harry Meltyface’s Tottenham.
5. A cup run all the way to a cup final. The Cup Final in 2009 left me deflated. We need a cup run and a cup win to erase the memory. I’ll even take the League Cup, whatever they are calling it these days.
6. Tim Howard being beaten from forty yards out. Seriously. Stop.
7. Hibbert Scores. If it happens we will riot.
8. Jack Rodwell, doing those box-to-box Beckenbauer-style runs match after match and scoring frequently at the end of them — like that one against Man. United last year. And speaking of United, isn’t it about time Everton went to Old Trafford and gave United a game of it?
9. Jermaine Beckford, the latest in a line of David Moyes buys from the lower divisions, to raise his game and become the twenty-goal-a-year-every-year guy we have been looking for. Moyes seems to be one of the few managers who will take a shot on talent from the lower divisions and lets hope this pays dividends like the Jagielka, Cahill and Lescott deals did.
10. And last and by no means least, I would take great pleasure in seeing Mad-dog Johnny Heitinga exact some measure of revenge on that snide bastard Carragher for his classless comments about Heitinga getting to a World Cup final (which of course I can’t find a link to, but he said them anyway). “Measure of revenge” as in boot him up about four feet in the air.
And you’ll notice I’m not asking for a top four finish. Yet. Roll on the new season!