Salvation Achieved on a Night for the Ages

Lyndon Lloyd 19/05/2022 73comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 -2 Crystal Palace

For Goodison Park and a fanbase that has done something unique in the history of football these past fraught few weeks of rollercoaster emotions, this was the Last Chance Saloon. One last push of passion and energy, blue smoke and thunderous renditions from the Everton catalogue of chants.

A trip to Arsenal lay in wait on Sunday but Evertonians knew this was the last opportunity for one more collective trip to the well of emotion and devotion and to use the power of Goodison Park and all its history to finally drag this club out of the mire and preserve its Premier League life.

For a third successive home game, fans lined the streets outside Goodison Park to usher the team coach towards the players’ entrance and turn the air blue. By most accounts, it was the most vociferous welcome yet for Frank Lampard’s team and the hope was that it would be enough to propel Everton to the three points that had eluded them at Watford and at Brentford in the preceding nine days.

By 8:30, the Grand Old Lady was a murmuring shell as Evertonians contemplated a relegation battle going right to the wire at the Emirates, with all the uncertainty and danger that would entail. Everton were 2-0 down at half-time to Crystal Palace following a fairly dreadful first 45 minutes, with many of those lessons from a chastening season seemingly unheeded as a two-man midfield featuring the struggling André Gomes was overrun by Patrick Vieira’s confident charges and the Toffees’ infamous vulnerabilities at set-pieces were exploited by Jean-Philippe Mateta.

To add insult to injury, another one of those dangerous tackles that were supposed to have been outlawed by the Premier League failed to yield a red card for Jordan Ayew and the forward would pop up just two minutes after his ugly challenge on Anthony Gordon to bundle in a goal that was horribly reminiscent of Gary Ablett’s almost comical own goal against Wimbledon 28 years ago.

But, just like that “That Game” in 1994, the Toffees, more Goodison Gang than Crazy Gang, refused to lie down and over 45 minutes that are now irrevocably woven into Goodison folklore, amid an atmosphere that somehow surpassed those that have stunned neutral observers in recent weeks, they dug down deep and pulled off a thrilling comeback victory. Win number 1,878 in England’s top flight… as if it were written in the stars.

On rare occasion, thanks largely to the transformative introduction at half-time of Dele Alli and a decisive switch from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3, it was enterprising and smooth. More often it was scrappy and ugly; direct, uncompromising and uncultured football tailored to the desperation of the stakes. Mostly it was spirited, visceral and, by the end, pure Everton, as a classic diving headed goal scored by a No.9 in front of the Gwladys Street secured a quite remarkable 85th-minute winner.

This was a night that Dele, a largely forgotten January addition who has remained an enigma rather than undergo a renaissance after leaving Tottenham, and Calvert-Lewin, a player who has struggled to recapture anything close to his 2020-21 form, joined the ranks of the redeemed.

This was vintage Calvert-Lewin; all committed running, prodigious leaps, flick-ons and chest lay-offs before the decisive lunge to meet Demarai Gray’s curling free-kick and bury a header past Jack Butland to spark pandemonium in a stadium that was rocking to its foundations.

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Behind him for 90-plus minutes was a cast of tireless heroes, most prominent among them Richarlison and Michael Keane who had scored the goals to bring Everton back from the dead to 2-2, Alex Iwobi who never stopped from start to finish and veteran captain Seamus Coleman who stoned for a first-half error to roll back the years to play a vital role in a game for the ages in L4.

And on the sidelines, Lampard got to reprise those fist-pumping, bulging-vein celebrations that marked his arrival at Everton but this time in the knowledge that he had completed the first part of the massive job he undertook back in January.

Everton had started in the frenetic and adrenaline-charged fashion that has characterised their performances recently under Frank Lampard while the visitors were playing the more measured passing football.

It was the hosts who almost drew first blood, though, after a quarter of an hour when Richarlison lined up a direct free-kick after a foul by Joachim Andersen and from 25 yards out the Brazilian clipped the top of the crossbar with a sweeping effort.

Five minutes later, though, it was 1-0 to Patrick Vieira's side and it came in all-too familiar circumstances for Everton's supporters. André Gomes was deemed to have fouled Jeffrey Schlupp on Palace's left flank and when Eberechi Eze swung the resulting free-kick into the box, Mateta easily got in front of his marker to plant a header past Jordan Pickford from a central position in front of goal.

Vitalii Mykolenko had a decent opportunity at the far post in front of the Park End when he arrived to meet Seamus Coleman's clipped cross but he couldn't steer his volley on target and Richarlison's tame effort was saved by Jack Butland before Ayew ignited howls of protest from the Goodison crowd with a horrible tackle on Gordon that only resulted in a yellow card.

And just two minutes later, the Ghanaian doubled Palace's lead amid calamitous defending from Everton. Pickford only parried Mateta's cross away from goal out to Wilfried Zaha and then got a hand to the Ivorian's bouncing first-time shot but the ball fell to Ayew's head and he bundled it over the line as Mykolenko desperately tried to keep it from going it.

Gomes had once again struggled in a midfield that was being overrun at times by Vieira's men but a chance opened up for him from 25 yards out only for him to slip as he pulled the trigger and Butland was able to gather comfortably. Richarlison then went close with the last chance of the half as his header looped narrowly wide before an edgy Goodison contemplated the ramifications for the relegation battle of Burnley's goal at Aston Villa in the 8 o' clock kick-off at Villa Park.

Lampard, meanwhile, had already made up his mind to make a decisive and much-needed change by sending Dele out to warm up during the break. The former Spurs man had made sporadic appearances up until now but his impact in the second half was seismic and it was the foul on him that led to Everton pulling a goal back in the 54th minute.

Mykolenko swung in a deep free-kick, Mason Holgate headed it back into the danger area where Michael Keane took a touch before guiding a lovely left-foot finish into the far corner of Butland's goal.

Demarai Gray replaced the willing but flagging Anthony Gordon to re-inject some pace and verve to the Toffees' attack but it was the visitors who temporarily regained the initiative in the contest and it required another match-winning contribution from Pickford to keep Everton in it.

Palace moved the ball swiftly through the lines from back to front and Eze played in Mateta for a clear chance at goal but Pickford had positioned himself superbly to bat the Frenchman's shot behind with a raised glove. From the corner, Schlupp eventually fired straight at the Everton keeper who parried and gathered the ball safely.

Everton regained their footing and after Mykolenko's cross had just eluded Calvert-Lewin, they levelled with 15 minutes of an increasingly bruising contest to go and it came not long after Vieira had introduced the Blues' chief tormentor from the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park.

Coleman turned inside his man and clipped the ball to the back post, Dele's cross-shot was kicked back to Richarlison and the Brazilian dug it out from under his feet before scooping it past Butland with the help of a slight deflection off a Palace leg.

And then, with five minutes of the regulation 90 to go, Everton completed their amazing recovery after Coleman was dragged down by Zaha, setting up a set-piece for Gray to line up on the Blues' right flank.

The winger arced his free-kick behind the Palace defence and Calvert-Lewin threw himself at the ball, powering a wonderful diving header home. Goodison erupted and a small, ill-advised invasion of the pitch by ecstatic fans ensured that stoppage would stretch beyond seven agonising minutes.

Everton hung on, though, as the home faithful cheered every throw-in and free-kick earned before referee Anthony Taylor blew his whistle and charged towards the tunnel as the stands emptied onto the pitch in unbridled joy at survival achieved.

As they did after the wins over Chelsea and Leicester, the celebrations went on long after the final whistle, only this time the Goodison pitch was a high-decibel mass of jubilant Evertonians; a chorus of relief and joy following an evening of high drama and true Blue spirit.

Police and stewards formed an arc around the dugouts within which the players stayed after they had been mobbed by fans, some held aloft on the shoulders of supporters. Arm-in-arm, they chanted along with the crowd from the Goodison hymn book and eventually Lampard made his way through bowels of the Main Stand to emerge triumphant in front of the Directors’ Box to bask in adulation.

In his post-match interview, the manager once again struck all the right notes, acknowledging that while Everton haven’t won anything, the celebrations by the fans were an out-pouring of emotion from a fanbase that has gone through a horrible year, looked square in the face relegation from the top flight for the first time in 68 years and emerged with their proud membership of the elite intact. And they’d done it all together.

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Reader Comments (73)

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David Bromwell
1 Posted 21/05/2022 at 07:35:56
Brilliant Lyndon, what a story, what an ending. It was a football night like no other, it had every thing including three excellent goals.

We left it late for comfort but what a block buster film the story of our season would make. We have had just about everything from the appointment of Rafa, Super Frank, referee howlers, mistakes a plenty, the emergence of three particular heroes in Pickford, Iwobi and Richarlison.

And finally of course us, the supporters who through their belief and will power have simply refused to lie down. We did it, together but let's hope we never have to go through it all again, onward and upwards from now.

Martin Mason
3 Posted 21/05/2022 at 09:05:48
It was a night to remember, a wonderful chapter in the history of a wonderful but very frustrating club. Just one blight and that was the stupidity of fans antagonising Vierra and in some ways the invasion of the pitch itself. Why was it needed? There is a feeding frenzy of anti-Everton sentiment and many calling for points deductions and matches behind closed doors so we could still be out of the pan but in the fire. Great performance from the players though.
Stu Darlington
4 Posted 21/05/2022 at 09:26:26
A deservedly great night of celebration at Goodison on Thursday,but just what we're we celebrating? A cup success? winning the league? champions league qualification? achieving a derby double over the R/S? No we were celebrating avoiding RELEGATION!!

This great club of ours with arguably the best support in the world was celebrating because we weren't relegated!

As Lyndon puts it showing “ unbridled joy at survival achieved “

Well, I don't know about unbridled joy, but I find it disgraceful, unacceptable and somewhat embarrassing that our great club should be put in this position after so many years when the warning signs were there for everyone to see.
So, what of next season?
We have a young enthusiastic manager, although for me the jury is still out on his tactical ability. He has a massive job on his hands and I just hope his decision making and player recruitment is up to the task, because we will still have largely the same bunch of incompetents running the club as before.

He won't have a lot of money to spend because the millstone of FFP is still round our necks so astute recruitment is going to be needed just to get us to the dizzy heights of mid table mediocrity!

Sorry if I have pissed on everyone's chips after a night of celebration but I cannot accept that avoiding relegation is regarded as success for Everton FC,and if things continue in the same way financially, I genuinely fear for the future of the club!

I'm going to have a lie down now!
Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 21/05/2022 at 09:31:07
It was very emotional reading some of this Lyndon, and anyone who knows anything about Everton and Evertonians, will already know that the first pitch invasion was absolutely 100% inevitable, without wanting to discuss the right and wrongs, and getting moved to another thread!

The Richarlison moment with the smoke bomb the other week, was absolutely iconic to me, and definitely one of the best pictures I’ve ever seen taken at Goodison, but is there anything more iconic, than an Everton centre-forward scoring an absolute beaut of a diving header? So thank you very much DOMINIC CALVERT LEWIN🙏

Brian Williams
6 Posted 21/05/2022 at 09:39:31
Stu. Avoiding relegation wasn't and isn't being celebrated as any great success.

The celebrations were, IMHO, akin to someone who's told that they've got a very serious illness with a poor prognosis, who then learns that they're gonna be alright after all.

If you can't take and enjoy what happened on Thursday, sit and think about the alternative outcome.

My comparison comes from first-hand experience so save your anger and embarrassment and just thank your lucky stars we haven't had to face the alternative. UTFT!

John Keating
7 Posted 21/05/2022 at 09:59:39
Correct Brian

Some people want to take the emotion out of football e.g. VAR

For the thousands who live and die Everton and who's lives revolve around everything to do with the Club the spontaneous celebrations at the game were wholly understandable.

I can't believe there was one supporter there on Thursday who sat in his seat during the entire match, politely clapping as each goal went in!!
Yes in the cold light of day possibly we can look back at things but in the heat of the moment and the passion of the result and occasion most people reacted. How many hugged, talked and almost cried with people around us who we had never met before!!

It is a disgrace that we were put in this position and hopefully this will be rectified, however, the emotion of escaping those worse fears was as intense as winning a cup.

I remember us going 2-0 down against Sheffield Wednesday and not feeling as down as I did at half time on Thursday. The euphoria at the final whistle was even greater on Thursday night.

Football is all about passion and instant reaction. Too many people are trying to take that away. Never happen to Evertonians.

Lyndon Lloyd
8 Posted 21/05/2022 at 10:10:16
Stu: "Sorry if I have pissed on everyone's chips after a night of celebration but I cannot accept that avoiding relegation is regarded as success for Everton FC"

I've written about it before and will again in the coming days all being well but this was a celebration not of success but of a team and fanbase coming together to save an institution; of fans taking control of their football club in the face of near-catastrophic mis-management from the top.

We haven't won anything but a collection of fans refused to allow Everton to go down and I'm utterly convinced we'd already have joined Norwich and Watford before Thursday night's game if it weren't for our magnificent supporters.

I can't tell you how proud I am to be counted as one. That I was fortunate enough to be there at Goodison to witness the win over Palace will never be lost on me. I celebrated like we had won a trophy but I'm under no illusions about how far we've fallen or who was responsible.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 21/05/2022 at 10:14:59
It was a pure outpouring of emotion. A pure reflection of what the club means to the supporters. The more I reflect, it was incredible to watch. Incredible emotion, incredible scenes. Incredible supporters.
Stu Darlington
10 Posted 21/05/2022 at 10:19:19
Just listen to yourself! Thank our lucky stars we don’t have to face the alternative of relegation! Come on,that’s not what we should aspire to at this club,we as long time supporters should DEMAND better.
IMHO we should be aiming to compete with the best in Europe not being content with Premier League survival.Accept nothing less!
Brian Williams
11 Posted 21/05/2022 at 10:34:38

No, you listen to yourself. I think I wrote, and meant, thank your lucky stars we don't have to face the alternative (the alternative being relegation itself).

We all want to be challenging at the top but we're a long way from that and Thursday wasn't about that. I don't know whether you're purposely missing the point I made or not. Either way, you don't seem to have grasped it.

So, simply, the celebration was all about beating the circumstances we found ourselves in at that time. The alternative was relegation!!

Yes, it's an absolute scandal that we should be in that position… but we were and we avoided it – if that's not cause to celebrate, then explain that to almost 40k Evertonians who did!

Martin Mason
12 Posted 21/05/2022 at 10:37:43
Stu, sorry buddy but no fan of any club can demand or expect success. Demands and irrational expectations are the problem with modern fans. You do nothing that enables you to demand anything from the club, only the wish to support it and, by virtue of this support, hope that the club and supporters can achieve some kind of success. The degree of success acceptable will vary from supporter to supporter.

Expectations can only be based on the resources of the club and Everton's ability to achieve success in the next 5 years is very limited. If you demand success, then don't support Everton because the chances of achievement are tiny.

Success for me now is ridding the club of its deadwood at all levels and a sustainable improvement based on organic growth – not the illusion of big money buys. Very few clubs sell good players. Top 8 in 5 years would be a great achievement from a club that is effectively out of the transfer market.

Brian Denton
13 Posted 21/05/2022 at 10:48:51
Reluctantly, I have to accept that assessment Martin.

I think we ARE entitled to expect decent attractive football, top 8 finishes and a return to our standing as many fans' favourite 2nd team.

It makes me very cross that the FFP rules baked in the advantages the money clubs had, together with 'coefficients' etc.

John McFarlane Snr
14 Posted 21/05/2022 at 11:28:51
Hi Stu, [4&10] I know that Michael Krenrick doesn't like me to reveal my age, so I'll just say that I am old enough to have watched Everton prior to their relegation in 1951.
Since then I have basked in the glory of returning to the top flight on an evening in 1954 at Boundary Park [Oldham] in a 4-0 victory. Seeing League Championship wins at Goodison, the only one I missed was the away game 1-0 at Norwich, plus 3 FA Cup victories. I also had the good fortune to have witnessed the Cup Winners Cup victory in Rotterdam, and I can tell you that retaining our position in the top fight on Thursday ranks with any of those occasions, and if I was a bit younger I may well have celebrated with those who invaded the pitch at the end of the game.
Jerome Shields
15 Posted 21/05/2022 at 11:53:16
I did think of it as a night of Salvation avoiding relegation.It would have been a disaster for Everton given the mismanagement that got Everton into the situation they where in.Going into the Championship and Football League scrutiny would have set Everton back so far, they might ňever recover.

A Great Club like Everton should have never such a situation.

Martin Mason
16 Posted 21/05/2022 at 12:13:38
Jerome, the terrible thing is that great clubs can and do not only go down but some stay down. Remember also that we have a world class side in Liverpool to compete with for support and resources. There's nothing in being a historically big and successful club that means you are immune from being mismanaged into the ground which is why demanding success from Everton is not sensible as we can't influence the composition of the team that manages the club. I'm sorry if I criticised those who invaded the pitch Thursday, perfectly legal and absolutely understandable given the situation. I only criticise the Neanderthals who disrespectfully taunted Vierra. He of course should be prosecuted for assault. I won't demand success from Everton but I would expect them to do their absolute best for us the fans in terms of the product they serve up. I hope but don't expect that their efforts produce success or even meet my wishes but I will support them forever. Well over 60 years since my first game now.
Stu Darlington
17 Posted 21/05/2022 at 12:16:38
Thanks for your responses guys and I do take on board your collected wisdom.
I totally get the emotion and reaction on the night and how important it was to retain premier league status.
The point I am trying to make ( obviously very badly! ) is that avoiding relegation does not in my book rank with FA cup wins, league championship wins or Cup Winners Cup wins as John highlights above.
Yes it was a massively emotive night for Everton fans and I’ve already stated I believe we are the best in the world,40,000 at Goodison for every home game and fantastic support on the road despite some of the dross we have had to watch says it all
I cannot subscribe to the Mike Ashley school of thought that premiership survival is all we should be aiming for each season.
Sorry to disagree Martin but fans can demand success,they may not get it,but it is only by constantly demanding it that they can hold the powers that be to account.
As a fan group we are a very powerful lobby and let’s not let this Board forget it.
Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 21/05/2022 at 12:18:43
Stop and think, I think I know what you’re saying Stu, but the prize was bigger than any trophy imo, especially when you consider the idiots in charge of “our great football club” allegedly didn’t even have relegation clauses in the players contracts.

The fans did unite, and this definitely helped to save us, but we need to unite more, we need to get rid of the idiots who nearly took us on “the road to ruin” and get people in, who know how to run a professional football club, make us competitive, and get us to where Stu, is talking about, and especially because, this is a place where Everton football club, should truly belong, imo.

I’m sorry for bringing the jinx’s name in once again, but I don’t believe Everton will ever compete for trophies, until we have got rid of Mr Managed Decline/ Mr Good Times.

Paul Burns
19 Posted 21/05/2022 at 12:41:52
The damage that has been done to Everton FC by the present administration is incalculable. The club has been reduced to a minority joke in its home city. Those who don't live in Liverpool have no idea.

Everton are the worst run professional sports team in the world and, if those celebrating staying up don't quickly get back to reality and demand a total change of how the club is run, then all we've done is put off the disaster until a later date. You've been warned.

Chris Leyland
20 Posted 21/05/2022 at 12:51:59
Listen, being in a relegation dog fight is nothing to be proud of but what we can be proud of is the wonderful fans of this great and historical football club.

I honestly believe that no other fans in the country would have done what we’ve done over the past month to drag this unispiring and woefully inadequate squad over the line.

No other fans would have endured the chronic mismanagement at board level and the toxic and devisive appointment of Benitez but still gave our all and given our unconditional support.

The scenes at the end where cathartic. An outpouring of emotion for avoiding what could have been. I shed a tear when from my seat in the Upper Gladwys when I spotted my teenaged son dancing on the pitch. He’s had a very hard year health wise and, unlike me, he’s never been fortunate enough to witness us winning anything, but he’s loyally and steadfastly given his support week in and week out and kept the faith when, at times, it would have been easier for him with everything else that’s been going on to jack in watching Everton.

Finally, a word for Lampard. He’s learning on the job and he’s made mistakes but he gets the club and what we are about more than any other manager in a generation. Martinez talked the talk but I never really believed him. Frank has won everything in the game as a player and was a club legend at Chelsea but he’s immersed himself in Everton bad understands that it means more to us than these so-called ‘big 6’ tourist clubs. Let’s give him time to rebuild the squad. It might not be pretty at times but he deserves the chance.

Martin Mason
21 Posted 21/05/2022 at 13:29:48
I think it's a question of choice of words and what they actually mean. For me you demand something when this demand can actually achieve that which is being demanded just by making the demand. The following definition is typical.

Def: demand - an insistent and peremptory (insisting on immediate attention or obedience, especially in a brusquely imperious way) request, made as of right.

We have no right to success and can in no way demand it. I'd say that we have the right to request, hope and judge but not to expect or demand as of right. I'd say we perhaps have the right as supporters of a once big club to expect better but that is different.
I believe that we have the right to judge and criticise the product that we see but my view on that is the criticism has to be constructive and made in a way that it can be taken on board and acted upon.

Chris, a very good summary of what I believe Thursday meant to us.

Stu Darlington
22 Posted 21/05/2022 at 14:12:59

You are right, semantics can be a bugger, but I would argue that, as a very powerful stakeholder group, supporters must be able to exert much stronger influence than the “request” or right to expect better that you advocate.

As you say, we have no right to be successful but we do have the right to judge and criticise constructively. Couldn't agree more!

I agree that just making the demand achieves nothing, but coming from such a powerful supporters lobby cannot surely be ignored by the powers that be.

Making it obvious that we as a group are not prepared to accept anything less than maximum effort on the part of the Board to make Everton competitive in the Premier League and on the European stage — I guess that is what I mean by 'demand'.

Pete Clarke
23 Posted 21/05/2022 at 14:31:45
Just after our defeat of Wimbledon in 1994, where we looked doomed only to scrape an incredible win to survive, Graham Stuart was interviewed after the the game – and he said it perfectly then and it applies equally now:

“We are not celebrating a victory but celebrating survival. A club like Everton with its massive fan base and fantastic history should not be in this position and we should make sure it does not happen again.”

Well, it has happened again, and – as good as it feels right now – we find ourselves celebrating something for all the wrong reasons. This may be Bill's idea of success but it's not the fans' idea of anything like success. That guy has to go.

We are all relieved after a total shit show of a season so let's put our trust in Frank Lampard to get this club back to hunting for trophies and proper success. It is not going to be quick and it's not going to be easy but I for one am sick of the managerial changes and shit recruitment at the club.

We have to put trust in him and a plan for the long term. A plan that would start with professional training techniques so the kids coming through are taught proper ball skills, high-level fitness, awareness, confident passing of the ball and anything else that we all assume top-flight players should have but, as we have witnessed for a few years, very few actually have.

I cannot imagine Frank Lampard with his background of skill, vision, prowess and all-out effort would entertain bringing in such average players as we have in our squad. At the least, he would only entertain players who have good basics and could be improved. I hope I am correct in this and players are not forced on him as our previous managers have been.

Finally. It has been the amazing effort of those tremendous supporters who got this team over the line and I know they will carry us on into the future. For the present, I hope they put pressure on Moshiri for an immediate board change as I was still in the midst of my celebrations when I saw that ugly mugshot of Kenwright in the directors box. There he was again basking in the glory of another one of his 'good times'. That spoilt my joy a little.

This guy is a poison to our club and we risk losing our chance to gain a foothold into the future by allowing him to remain as chairman. Keep the pressure on him.

Ian Riley
24 Posted 21/05/2022 at 14:42:56
Terrible thing is my expectations of our club is getting to 40 points. Why? The squad comparsion to other clubs. Winning trophies is based on quality management and quality of players. These go hand in hand. My history of Everton success is 1995 fa cup, champions league qualification and maintaining premiership status.

Deep down Thursday night was relief. Relief what could have been. Relagation may have put us back 25 years. Relegation takes you out of the golden league, worldwide audiences, financial gain, fan recruitment.

No one gives you anything but unless players are sold and players brought in we will be fighting relegation next season. The mentality must change. Frank has won everything and worked under top management teams. Let him lead us into next season? Interesting what the board decides. Remember we will need patience. Premiership status will be success over the next few years. Anything more will be amazing. The gap between top and bottom is getting wider.

Most emotionally draining season for all. Rest over the summer and go again!!

Barry Rathbone
25 Posted 21/05/2022 at 14:48:03
Great to see us survive our unmatched longevity in the top division is the last link to being a big club and seeing match goers as one unbroken in a determination to see us through was epic.

However, relegation would have forced a clearout whereas heroic survival brings the temptation to give the benefit of the doubt.

Frank needs to avoid the sentimentality trap and be brutal these events will be forgotten in the blink of an eye if we continue uneventful, unchallenging mid table dross perfected in the Moyes era. Since then bar one season we've drifted aimlessly. Frank needs "it's now or never" by Elvis on a loop to remind him.

On the subject of songs what a difference having a catchy sing along anthem like "spirit of the blues" makes

Jerome Shields
26 Posted 21/05/2022 at 15:04:19
Martin#16 and Stu#22

I find myself agreeing with you both as you clarify your positions.

The elephant in the room is the current internal Management of the Club, that give rise to the current situation. I do think the Fans selected the right Manager and gave extraordinary support to get Everton over the line.

But as the Bright Future and Smart thinking article of a few weeks ago shows the current internal Management is determined to stay in place and are embedded in place to do so.

'How Everton’s smart planning has built them a bright future – if they survive relegation'. - May 3rd.

Stan Schofield
27 Posted 21/05/2022 at 15:59:30
Stu@4: I fully understand what you say. I was raised on Everton in the 60s, on Young, Ball, et al, and for me Everton not being top dog is always unacceptable.

That said, before the match on Thursday I hadn’t slept well for days (like many Evertonians have described on these pages), going through permutations, wondering whether we’d play well, whether we’d get cheated by officials, etc. I was basically on edge and trying to hide it from my family. At half-time I probably looked a zombie, out of it, thinking that was it.

But then, in the second half, it was just astonishing, and when the third goal went in I just couldn’t believe that this great thing was happening to Everton, that we’d pulled back as we seldom do. And then the sheer relief at the whistle, my whole body felt different, and I found myself in tears, a grown man in tears over a game of football.

So you’re right, there are big problems to sort out. But, what happened on Thursday is beyond discussing, it just WAS. There’s no argument for or against the feelings of misery then joy, they just WERE. That’s it, it was a truly joyous occasion to be celebrated in that moment.


Rob Halligan
28 Posted 21/05/2022 at 16:05:09
I can kind of see were Stu is coming from. I said after 1994 and 1998 that avoiding relegation is nothing to celebrate but, as some say, it's more a case of sheer relief flooding out of everybody – the thought of relegation didn't bear thinking about.

Stu says we haven't won anything or qualified for the Champions League, yet how many clubs, especially the owners and chairmen, celebrate just qualifying for the Champions League, with its vast fortune? Some clubs would rather qualify for the Champions League than win the FA Cup or League Cup.

For us on Thursday, that was like us qualifying for the Champions League, because to remain in the Premier League and the pot of gold for every club at the end of the season is something we simply cannot afford to miss out on.

Mike Gaynes
29 Posted 21/05/2022 at 16:06:08
This article gets it. Great stuff:

It Doesn't Get Better Than That

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 21/05/2022 at 16:06:48
I don't necessarily disagree with the point you made, Stu. We should have expectations for this club.

Sadly, the manner in which it has been badly managed has beaten a generation or 2 into submission and resigned expectations.

This season became about getting it over the line so we can reset.

Martin Mason
31 Posted 21/05/2022 at 16:32:21
After the emotion of this season, we must still accept that, If nothing changes, the chances are that we'll be in relegation trouble again next year because the Premier League is now so competitive.

In the '60s, because we were a big club, Top 3 was expected and a trophy most years. 40 points is a genuine measure of success now because of the money the Premier League brings in.

What we need now is stability, very careful purchases, pray for a miracle, and keep our best players. Frank must now be allowed to clear out his deadwood and turn around the team, I'd hope that he gets less hung up on 5 at the back and just keeps it simple.

Stu, sorry mate, I didn't mean to be picky (but usually am) and understand what you mean. It's just that I associate "demand" with clenched fists and foot stamping... :-)

Here's to next season and our renaissance on the back of the best fans in the country and not a plastic in sight. I'm not the same now but one winter night many years ago, in another year of struggle, I went to a home game by bike from Horsham thinking "What a fan I am!" and I stopped at Oxford Services and met another lad who was also going up on bike but from Bournemouth – and he went every week.

Stu Darlington
32 Posted 21/05/2022 at 16:34:36

Me too. 1st game I saw was Everton v Arsenal, October 1963. Everton won 2-1, Alex Young and Derek Temple scoring for us if memory serves me right. So I guess my expectations started there.

As I have said, I get the depth of emotions before, during and after the game and the sense of relief that came with it but, after the initial euphoria had died down, my thoughts turned to next season.

I don't want to see us going through a similar situation again – we've been through too many of them… and what had we actually achieved?The right to fight another day!

Just imagine what the fans' reaction would be if the team gave them any success to celebrate!

Martin Mason
33 Posted 21/05/2022 at 16:56:14
I believe that one thing is essential for Everton to recover: Bill Kenwright and some of his henchmen have to go.

There is no conflict with this and anything I have ever said as the game has changed completely since Bill's type could be useful, even the Kenwright - Moyes double survival act wouldn't work now.

Football Clubs are big turnover businesses now and have to be run by professionals. Everton is run by amateurs at the very highest level and, until that changes, we will revisit our current situation every year.

We had become an average to small club when Moshiri came in with his money and we have gone down since then. We are effectively broke again now but we've survived.

If only Man City could win against Villa Sunday, I shouldn't say that because surely I would prefer Liverpool to win rather than a Manchester side. This year has really made me look on Liverpool badly because of the media obsession with them, their top Sky Club attitude and the snivelling patronising attitude of the plastic element of some of their fans.

Tamhas Woods
34 Posted 21/05/2022 at 17:33:01
A great night and a great article - I WAS THERE! In the early 2000s I went on here to read your reports on "great escape" games like Coventry 98 and other games where Everton were on the brink.

I was aggrieved in a way to have missed Cov 98 (the pouring rain, the transistor radios tuned in to Five Live at Stamford Bridge) but that Palace game knocked it into a cocked hat from what I've seen.

I feel as though going 2-0 down was the best thing that could have happened, as was the case in Wimbledon 94. It gave a clear objective: attack. And Alli is arguably the reason, as much as DCL and Rich that the apocalypse was averted on Thursday.

Anyway, onto Arsenal tomorrow. With nothing on the line we'll probably win, or lose 4-3 in a ridiculous game (as we did 20 years ago at Highbury in the finale to Moyes' "bedding in" at the back end of 01/02. Let's hope Frank (of a similar age) can pull a few surprises as Moyes did in 2002/03.

It's strange how history can repeat. But we want it to repeat for the right reason. So who in your opinion should be first in and first out? The general consensus I'm getting is Gomes / Rondon first out, Tarkowski first in.

Not sure about Tarks TBH, still think we grossly overpaid for Keane. Just want to swerve lower-mid table signings altogether - though I wouldn't say no to Gallagher or Guehi.

ps. These reports did much to inspire me towards a career in sportswriting - strangely though, it was the defeats that did the most to expand my vocabulary and sense of occasion! Such is Evertonian life.

Andy Crooks
35 Posted 21/05/2022 at 18:03:15
Tunnel Access: Everton v Crystal Palace

Tony Abrahams sent this. Not to be missed by any Blue in the world. Hair standing on back of neck…

Ian Bennett
36 Posted 21/05/2022 at 18:11:39
I still can't get over the Ayew yellow card. A terrible tackle that could've ruined Gordon's career.

How that wasn't a red for the VAR is an absolute disgrace.

Kim Vivian
37 Posted 21/05/2022 at 18:22:26
Fuckin' 'ell - anyone want to buy a raffle ticket for an all expenses paid night out with Stu? Just £1 for five goes.
Stu Darlington
38 Posted 21/05/2022 at 18:24:54

No need to worry about being picky. It's good to have a debate and I'm sure we all want what is best for the club

I agree the club is run by amateurs in what has become a cutthroat big-money business. Just look at the so-called European Super League debacle where the so-called “Big 6” were prepared to sell out the Premier League for personal greed.

I cannot see things improving much at Everton, however, unless we have a change of ownership.

Graham Hammond
39 Posted 21/05/2022 at 18:41:21
I totally agree with Ian (#36) Bennett, that tackle could very easily have ended Gordon's career on another day, as could the Shelvey tackle on the same player up in the North East a couple of months back.

Anthony Taylor, you are an absolute disgrace and completely unfit for purpose. Dark forces indeed.

John McFarlane Snr
40 Posted 21/05/2022 at 19:45:29
Hi Rob [28] & Danny [30],

Every fan at every club at the beginning of each season will hope that his/her club will have a degree of success; unfortunately for every winner there is a loser.

The game on Thursday was basically our Cup Final, the scenes that followed were a celebration of relief, and I don't understand anyone who regards it as anything other than that. It appears that our fans from all around the world appreciate that, and I would say to them, "Multiply your delight X number of times and you will understand the euphoria that enveloped Goodison."

We have experienced many special nights at Goodison over the years but I think that this one was extra-special. I took pleasure from seeing the number of youngsters who were present,

Yes, Rob, some football owners would rather the team finish in 4th place, it's all about the money, and the sad thing about that is the fact the fans buy into it, as witness the attitude of Liverpool fans. Whatever happened to the saying, "First is first, second is nowhere"?

Danny O’Neill
41 Posted 21/05/2022 at 19:50:37
It was special John. Very special.

And like you, what struck me was the young fans.

I haven't quite had my time yet as I need that 10th league title and FA Cup. I don't like odd numbers.

Oh and a League Cup. That's always bugged me.

And Europe.

I'll stop now.

Allen Rodgers
42 Posted 21/05/2022 at 20:06:29
John @40 and Danny @41,

I have been banging on about this for ages. The amount of young lads and lasses I see on the train from town to Kirkdale and around Goodison is astounding given our recent history.

Loads of kids will have been hooked on Everton by the events of Thursday night. The lads dancing on the bus shelter by The Brick are just an example of our fanbase which covers all generations.

John McFarlane Snr
43 Posted 21/05/2022 at 20:14:09
HI Danny [41], Don't despair, you've got time on your side. I saw my first League Championship in 1963, 2 months before my 25th birthday, and 3 years later, I made my first trip to Wembley in 1966, which also saw us come back from 2 goals down.

In 1963, I did what I wish I could have done on Thursday, that was when I trod on the 'Hallowed Turf', but my Grandson Josh represented me on Thursday, while I watched from the Park End.

Chris Corn
44 Posted 21/05/2022 at 20:43:04
I find any critique of anything the fans have done this last 6 weeks an absolute joke.

I have followed Everton since 1978 as a 5-year-old lad (Duncan McKenzie's return to Goodison as a Chelsea player).

I have seen us win leagues, a European trophy, and FA Cups as a teenager and a young 20-something. I cried when Whiteside denied us a treble and when Rush denied us a double and an FA Cup in 1989.

I watched in awe as we dominated the league and Rotterdam as a 12-year-old lad and the fans played footy with the cops. I watched a decimated squad win the league in 1987.

I then watched as we declined into an also-ran and perennial relegation battles in the Premier League era only to watch us take three sides of the ground at Elland Road, destroy Spurs and the media's dream final in 1995. Against all odds, we beat Man Utd to win the FA Cup.

I've watched frustrated as I was told we were punching above our weight, getting to semis and finals and bottling it.

I feel I am qualified to comment on what qualifies as success. I don't want to be celebrating avoiding relegation, especially after the money we have spent. However, what I will say is, what I have witnessed over the last couple of months in terms of support is something I have never experienced before.

Let's not forget, our neighbours have been successful the last 5 years. Our upcoming fanbase could easily have stepped over to the dark side. Yet we have men, women and children of all ages committing their heart to Everton's cause to pull the team up by its bootstraps.

We have secured a fanbase for generations to come with affordable football. And by God, they paid it back in buckets. I had my 16-year-old autistic son with me on Thursday. He came out of that ground with a smile so wide telling me "Wow, that was wild!" One of the best moments of my life.

Yes, we need to make sure it never happens again. Yes, significant changes need to be made. But don't criticise that magnificent fanbase for saving their club.

Brian Denton
45 Posted 21/05/2022 at 20:48:38
But don't criticise that magnificent fanbase for saving their club.

Seconded, Chris!

Brian Murray
46 Posted 21/05/2022 at 20:52:15
Allan @42.

Yes, I have seen and spoke about the age of these kids (well, I'm 59, so they are to me). Tears welled up in me by the brick seeing the scenes.

You have to remember West Ham and Chelsea have decent sized fanbases but Frank will never come across this in his life if he makes it on our journey or not.

It's a real quirk and a freak of nature, the amount of kids and young people in this city especially who like my lads have hardly seen a derby win never mind a trophy.

This new ground will make us stronger and I hope Frank and his team do enough to still be around for that. God love Everton. Good luck, Carlo and Man City. See you all soon as.

Neil Copeland
47 Posted 21/05/2022 at 20:54:21
Chris, cracking post that. My dad first took me to Goodison in 1971: 1-1 vs Ipswich. I was hooked immediately. We went to the 8-0 vs Southampton. Like you, I went through the nearly years of the '70s.

My dad's last game was the 2-0 FA Cup win against Chelsea which was also my daughter's first game.

Even the Bayern game couldn't compare (for different reasons) with last Thursday. The outpouring of emotion and "we will not lose" attitude was incredible. I feel truly blessed to be a Blue but like the chosen one to have attended the game against Palace.

Chris Corn
48 Posted 21/05/2022 at 21:20:16
Neil, for reasons I wont bore you with, it was a fantastic night. It will live with me forever. I wouldn't mind a few winning trips to Wembley and some more Euro away days though. 🤣
Danny O’Neill
49 Posted 21/05/2022 at 21:28:28
Chris, I didn't leave the ground until I was asked to. Then I took in the atmosphere inside and outside the Winslow.

Then I swapped emotions with the Evertonian taxi driver who dropped me off at a pub behind St George's Hall. I think it was Doctor Duncan's but didn't look. The atmosphere was still going there for a good while.

They replayed the match and people were still acting as though it was live.

Unbelievable. We literally painted the city blue.

Brent Stephens
50 Posted 21/05/2022 at 21:31:32
Allen #42,

My guess is that any young person in the city, and possibly well beyond, not yet committed to a team and wondering who they should support, will have looked at the scenes over the last few weeks, the thrills, the cliff-hangers, Thursday's lows and highs, the camaraderie, the emotion, and will have made his or her mind up.

We might even have had a few converts from somewhere else. And anybody wavering would have had their convictions strengthened.

Chris Corn
51 Posted 21/05/2022 at 21:40:54
Danny, I know exactly what you mean. These kids deserve some success and I hope it's delivered.
Anthony Murphy
52 Posted 21/05/2022 at 21:57:16
I may be biased but, if you include the coach welcome and scenes at the end, I think we were lucky enough to witness the best atmosphere the Premier League has ever seen. Honestly, I can't think of a better one – maybe Man City winning the league in 2012, but I can't think of any other.
Paul Birmingham
53 Posted 21/05/2022 at 22:16:55
Let’s hope tomorrow and henceforth in every game preseason and next season, and beyond, that the Everton Teams, can take the spirit of 20/05/2022, with them, and use the spirit of the unequivocal Evertonian support, to drive them on.

During the Palace game, it was at times eery up to half time, seeing the meccano ground over Stanley Park, and the sunset with the sky going red, and Everton struggling to get a grip on the match.

Old Nick spawning, passed through my mind, and I then thought about the old saying about the “Red Sky at Night, Shepherds delight”.

And thus was a majestic evening that ran into Friday morning, and sadly work.

What happened in the second half on the pitch and in the stadium, is immortal, what’s been happening the last six weeks at Finch Farm with the Everton coach send offs, and at Goodison Park, is Everton Folklore.

I’m proud, to be an Evertonian, regardless of the shit Creek of a season, and this campaign in adversity has tempered the belief and hope for the future.

I’ve no doubt it’s gonna be a very tough ride next season, all considered based on what we are told about the clubs finances etc, and potential sales of key players.

But the Sprit of Evertonians, of all ages and across the world, has provided the club with the most priceless commodity of the most loyal, fervent and gracious supporters in Football, with a lifetime guarantee.

The Everton Band of Brothers, Sisters, - the greatest..

“Whats Our Name?”


Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 21/05/2022 at 22:20:29
John @43. If you'd got on the pitch I think you'd have banged in a 4th and demanded it count!

I hope Josh is still buzzing.

Danny O’Neill
55 Posted 21/05/2022 at 22:46:03
It's not biased, Anthony.

Watching back the footage. Players on the pitch with the fans belting out the songs in unity. Richarlison climbing amongst the crowd and making his way back down through the supporters. Frank with his arm around a supporter (I presume) looking down from the Main Stand, singing along with him to Spirit of the Blues.

Look at the footage in the changing room and how he has unified those previously fragile players.

No other club. We've got the best supporters in any football ground as long as they're behind us, as the words go.

Forever Everton.

Peter Carpenter
56 Posted 21/05/2022 at 22:53:46
There's a fabulous scene in the match video seconds after Calvert-Lewin's goal. The players are running to the fans, the screen flashes GOAL and there is a brilliant sunset between the Main Stand and the Gwladys Street with a church spire silhouetted there. Beautiful. I might print and frame it.
Brent Stephens
57 Posted 21/05/2022 at 22:55:47
Peter, that sunset stood out for me as well. Iconic. A perfect ending to a perfect ending.
Neil Copeland
58 Posted 21/05/2022 at 22:57:26
Apologies if this has already been posted but the win against Palace was Number 1878 in our top-flight history – very apt.
Brendan McLaughlin
59 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:04:42
Neil #58,

Can't be posted often enough... here's to the next 1878!

Christine Foster
60 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:05:19
Great article and thread, some excellent heart felt posts.

Sitting so far away (for now) gives a little more perspective but also great pride and sadness on occasions such as these. A few observations I would make though:

1. The fans, for the past 10 years or so, many on here and other sites have commented that our fanbase was now mostly made up of "the older generation". Well, that myth got well and truly blown out of the water on Thursday night, so many youngsters and teenagers will never forget that night. Our future fan base has arrived!

2. "Never again", is the call I see and hear from the likes of the Echo, but where have they been in the last 20 years? When questions should have been made of the club and its management? The seeds of this season were planted all these years ago and have been allowed to grow unchecked.

3. A season like no other deserves to be wiped from our memory, but weeks and weeks ago, I said the time for an inquest is when we are safe. That the only topic of conversation should be supporting the team – which, my God, the fans did this club proud. What sights we have seen, made me cry with pride and homesickness.

4. The door to an inquest has been opened, not by us fans, but by two clubs, Burnley and Leeds, both now forever, and I mean forever, tainted by trying to take legal action. If they are going to do that, then every single club, top to bottom, has to be investigated the same way. It's never going to happen. But...

This is the kicker. For around 16 years, I have posted on this site my views on how badly the senior management and executives have run this club. We have been lied to, disrespected, ignored, but none of that mattered compared to the gross mismanagement both prior to Moshiri and more pointedly since.

The current claims by other clubs would, if successful, destroy for many years the respect, the standing and history of our club. It would also destroy FFP as a construct, no matter how false, as a concept. Its bias towards high-turnover clubs is built-in, any action should be taken against its in-built bias. But any action against the club would be the sole responsibility of its owner and board.

The years of Sir Philip Carter and Co and shady finance loans, 'Shadow Director' claims and such. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This road had only good intentions planned for a few, not the many. If the current threat of action goes ahead and is successful, it would be the most condemning confirmation of mismanagement of a club. Even if it is not successful, which is highly unlikely, the very thought of it should be enough to ensure the current executive stand down. I say 'should be'...

So, Thursday night proved again to me, we own this club. Not on paper perhaps, but every soul who was there, every supporter in faraway lands, everyone who has died and left a seat empty in the stands... If emotion and love for a club was a currency, we would be the richest people on this planet.

Let me tell you, in this bottom-of-the-world country, as far away as you can get from Goodison Park, the events and crowd scenes were shown on national news... and let's face it soccer has comes pretty low down the list of newsworthy sports here in New Zealand, but it made even the Kiwis sit up! Proud to be a blue!

Lampard has a tough job ahead and he will need every bit of that support. But, despite the pain of this year, new legends are being born.

Peter Carpenter
61 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:05:24
I'll put it on my wall, next to the photo of the 1984 FA Cup win!
John McFarlane Snr
62 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:06:40
Hi again Danny [54],

I'm afraid I would've had to walk it in, I'm walking like an old man now. I first brought Josh to the match when he was six years old and he will be 18 in September, now it's his turn to look after me. I would like to bring him to the next get together at The Bramley Moore if God spares me.

Neil Copeland
63 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:07:16
Brendan #59, with the first of those coming tomorrow!
Mike Gaynes
64 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:27:54
Chris #44, blown away by that post. Brilliant.
David Currie
65 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:46:53
John Mc Snr 43,

Happy that you and Josh both got to see the game and Josh got on the pitch. Really wish I would have been there but my brother was there. I saw both the 1985 and 1987 Champion teams but not old enough to have seen the 1963 and 1970 title winners.

Out of the 4 title-winning teams, where would you place them in order 1-4?

Also would be interested to know what your best 11 would be from those 4 title-winning teams. My son is the same age as Josh and I hope one day he can see Everton win a League Title. Hope you are doing well and love to hear you attending games with your grandson.

Jamie Crowley
66 Posted 21/05/2022 at 23:53:43
One thing I found very interesting, and wonderful, was the player's reactions to the victory.

Allan, who didn't play, happy as a lark.

Mina jumping around like a schoolboy absolutely thrilled.

Michael Keane belting out Sprit of the Blues with the crowd.

Calvert-Lewin mobbed by fans tilting his head back and bellowing a war-like victory scream.

Richarlison smiling – that doesn't happen all too often.

Ben Godfrey shirtless absolutely overjoyed.

The two Scouse boys in Gordon and Davies just completely on Cloud Nine.

Players who've taken a helluva lot of stick, absolutely Blue as Blue can be, celebrating with a pitch invasion peaceful mob.

The players wanted this, starters, subs, those who are injured, those who didn't dress, they all wanted it.

It was really cool to see Everton touch them and how they wanted the Club to survive because they care.

And everyone one of them, to a man, said the fans were the catalyst. Just awesome.

Ron Marr
67 Posted 22/05/2022 at 01:10:10
Jamie, how about Tom Davies yelling "fucking brilliant" in the tunnel. That was shown on USA channel.
Mike Gaynes
68 Posted 22/05/2022 at 02:06:27
And Frank telling Seamus's two little girls, as they posed for a picture on the now-empty pitch, that their daddy was the best man he had ever met in his life.
Steve Brown
69 Posted 22/05/2022 at 05:09:19
Best moment for me was Andros Townsend trying to run down the touchline on one leg to join the goal celebration!
Rob Halligan
70 Posted 22/05/2022 at 07:15:29
Watching the video clip of “Calvert-Lewin's goal from different angles”, did anyone notice when the goal went in and everyone, players, Frank, coaches and fans went loopy, Seamus Coleman just stood on the halfway line, didn't make any movement whatsoever to join in. I think the occasion just got to him. Or he may have thought “Job not completed yet, we've still got to hold out for another ten minutes or so…”

Anyway, I'm leaving for the coach to Arsenal soon, for a stress-free day out. See you down there, Danny.

COYB… and Pep and Carlo!

David Bromwell
71 Posted 22/05/2022 at 07:30:14
Love the after-match stories, all that emotion, just brilliant. Now today go and play like a Premier League team and win at Arsenal in style and that can be the template for next season.
Bill Fairfield
72 Posted 22/05/2022 at 08:55:44
Nice to see Seamus getting the tributes from his manager and team mates. The man has been a giant for this football club.
Kim Vivian
74 Posted 22/05/2022 at 12:34:10
What a great photoshop - you could sell that.
Even got the long lost Tosun in it!
John Maxwell
75 Posted 23/05/2022 at 04:32:19
I wonder if the relief of staying up after an awful season is better than actually winning the league by 20 points ?

Its like having blue balls for 9 months then the relief or having a supermodel waiting at home every night just because you have a few quid in the bank.

I'll leave it upto ToffeeWeb to decide...

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