Everton finished the 2020-21 season tenth in the Premier League after a humiliating defeat at the hands of Champions, Manchester City. But it may as well never have happened.
It will be in the record books. City will rightly claim their title. But it won’t stick in the memories of many fans, especially those who have been robbed of their chance to watch their team in person.
I’ve always been a bit confused when overseas fans show the same passion for a team as match-going fans do. I’m not saying it doesn’t, or can’t happen – we see it on our Everton forums every day – but I just don’t really understand why it happens.
I grew up on stories from my dad and his mates about the glory days of the 60’s, and then I watched the more glorious 80’s. My suffering is deep rooted and steeped in history. I have been to Goodison more times than I’ve been anywhere else. I enjoy more about match-days than just the football. But what excuse do those who get up at 3am to watch us lose from thousands of miles away have?
Having not been to a football match in 14 months, I’ve come very close to completely losing my connection with football, never mind Everton. The connection and loyalty shown by overseas fans has deeloped a whole new level of respect.
Watching on TV just doesn’t do it for me. Winning is great, but not as great. Losing doesn’t even really hurt that much when it’s on TV. Even the win at Anfield had some of the shine taken off it. Sure, it was great to finally win again there, but without fans it felt like it lacked something. I wondered what it would be, as I have never stepped foot in Anfield and never will. So surely it should be the same for me? Then it hit me. Without their fans inside the ground, it didn’t hurt them as much. I wanted their fans to leave the ground with the feeling of dejection that has happened to Evertonians at Goodison. They can just shrug it off as a bad episode of their favourite TV series if they weren’t there.
We’ve signed perhaps the best played to play for Everton in decades in James Rodriguez, but without seeing him in the flesh that excitement didn’t last as long as it could have.
That Liverpool result aside, I couldn’t tell you much about the rest of the season. It may as well have never happened.
The record books will show that this season happened. There will be a wealth of video footage of it available to prove to future generations that football was played without fans. But it will quickly be banished from the memories of most fans.
Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I’ve had other stuff going on? I mean, I’ve worked in senior positions in health over the last two years, with several months of that being “quite busy”.
Maybe Everton have just not been very good or entertaining to watch and I’d feel the same had I been able to drag myself to Goodison every other week to shout at Gylfi Sigurdsson for, well, pretty much anything.
Next season it looks more likely that at least some of us will be able to watch live football. My pent up “fuck off Everton” and “Come on Everton, these are shite” need an outlet. My TV screen can’t take them anymore.
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