Why Being: Everton would have made for a better show
Hooray for Hollywood. I’ve got this great idea for a fly-on-the-wall football documentary. It’s set in Liverpool, a city defined by the passions of our national game. It’s a study of the people, principles and philosophies of a club in tune with its community. I’d call it Being: Everton.
The timing couldn’t be better. Everton are currently second in the Premier League, having realised the season starts in mid-August rather than early November. They are playing with a freedom not normally associated with a team that has tended to be on the earnest side of dour.
Even David Moyes, a manager who, unlike some, would definitely not draw comparisons with David Brent, is cautiously optimistic that a repeat of the 2004-05 season, when Everton broke into the top four, is on the cards. Only Chelsea of the usual suspects are playing with any degree of authority.
Manchester City have been resilient rather than fluid; Manchester United have been beaten twice and need a reaffirmation of traditional qualities when they play CFR Cluj in Transylvania tonight; and Arsenal and Tottenham have been intermittently impressive, yet need to find an additional level of consistency.
Moyes has bought brilliantly and sold shrewdly. The departures of Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell, at contrasting stages of their careers, have freed up the wage budget and funded the return of Steven Pienaar and the recruitment of Kevin Mirallas. Nikica Jelavic, who has scored 10 goals in his past 11 Premier League games, is another product of effective scouting.
If you want working-class heroes, Everton have got ‘em. Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert are criminally underrated. So, too, is Phil Jagielka, despite his England exposure. Phil Neville, who has the family trait of assiduousness and sheer bloody-mindedness, is a manager in the making.
Everyone knows Everton are among the paupers of the Premier League. The necessity to make the most of what they have means they cannot afford high-maintenance players with poor professional habits. They reward loyalty and revere unfashionable virtues such as honesty and hard work.
The relative lack of depth in the squad may make a fairytale finish unlikely, but it certainly makes for a more promising script than some shows I could mention.
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Watch Everton live on BT Vision:
QPR v Everton, 3.30pm, 21 October, Sky Sports 1
Everton v Liverpool, 1pm, 28 October, Sky Sports 1
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