A talismanic figure injured and questions over who can possibly replace him.

Seamus Coleman has started the season brilliantly supporting James Rodriguez down Everton’s right-hand side; Carlo Ancelotti will have to decide then whether to go with the natural replacement, Jonjoe Kenny, or continue with the encouraging derby debutant Ben Godfrey.

Obviously all the above is dependent on Coleman actually missing the Southampton game and whether Kenny is fit at the moment – but why let facts get in the way of a really obvious opening?

We’re not above that. Frigging hell, we almost wrote a match report the other week, following Rodriguez’s performance against West Ham, just to shoehorn in the title ‘HAMMERS CUBED’.

The derby was a veritable hoot, with Liverpool looking what they are, a really good team who have been playing together for a while. They were excellent and in seasons gone by would almost certainly have twatted Everton playing like that. 

The difference with this incarnation of the Blues though was simply the amount of talent in the squad. Despite being on the back foot for stretches, there was enough ability to carve out decent opportunities and, crucially (like, obviously), to take some of them. Not least Rodriguez and the sublime Lucas Digne combining to set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s ridiculous header. 

Seriously, that’s a contender for the most Everton goal of all time.

The midfield, who have been the key to this season’s form, were collectively poor. Andre Gomes seems to take ages to recover from injuries, while little Allan never looked completely fit either. Abdoulaye Doucouré, the sleeper hit of the season so far, just had a bad game. 

Clearly the biggest controversy to come out of the match was the revelation that there appear to be fellas sat in front of the telly watching the game in homemade studios pontificating over the action with some authority. 

How long has this been going on?

You would like to think that literally nobody watches them apart from opposition supporters trolling them after a defeat – but the fact that there are so many of them would lead you to believe that there is some audience? 

How is that a thing?

Is it just a COVID phenomenon? They can’t be doing that when actual games are on with fans in the stadium, can they? That can’t be a thing. Your team can’t be playing at home and you are watching some fella who can’t be arsed going himself, sat there commentating on something you could at the very lest just be watching on telly yourself. 

That is insane.

That’s worse than Donald Trump that.

Everyone involved needs to be ashamed of themselves.

To be honest though – following games like this when something doesn’t go Liverpool’s way – just for fucking once – you always receive a deluge of texts and see yards of madness on Twitter, with Kopites going bananas and trying to outdo each other in their incandescent fury. It used to be fun, but it’s boring and feels contrived now. 

Because ultimately, and you can say this of 90% of ‘outrageous’ things that people tell you generally, not just about football – nowadays your first reaction is surely nothing but a jaded ‘Yeah, but it’s just some tit on the internet.’

The petitions, the threats, the Echo’s remembrance book. Tits on the internet. Or worse, organisations pandering to internet tits. 

Fuck off. Grow up. The lot of you.

Talking of Liverpool, rumours abound that along with their cohorts in drawing up The Big Picture – the Axis of Easel, if you will – they are now playing the age-old ‘that’s it then, we’re leaving for the European Super League’ card. To which the reaction from the fans of every other club in the country is, as always, ‘Hurry up and fuck off then.’

The worry for the supporters of United and Liverpool has to be that enough other greedy Continental clubs eventually buy into this scheme. It’s clearly a terrible idea in a sporting sense and utterly unsustainable even on a business front. But crucially it doesn’t have to be a long term success for its architects to make a killing. FSG and the Glazers just need the mega broadcast deals and sponsorships that would inevitably be attracted to some brand new elite competition at first. They would then need to get out of Dodge with the dough before the lustre fades. And that would be entirely in keeping with the model of US sports ownership – move in with leveraged debt, sweat the asset, then do one, leaving carnage in your wake.

But that’s their problem.

Going back to the derby, the offside was clearly almost as ridiculous as Alex Iwobi’s marking. Seeing that mixture of elation then dismay across Jordan Henderson’s contorted bat-face was absolutely rib-tickling like, as it always is when these decisions go your way. And while those spawny, diving gets more than deserve a little of their own medicine, we can all agree that no one really wants to see games settled by the same sub-atomic measuring equipment that’s presently being used to decide whether a serving of food in a pub is deemed ‘substantial’ or not. 



Long pause.

Concerned murmurings across the bar.




Finally, another little recommendation. Another podcast. Boxing Life Stories, hosted by Tris Dixon. Absolutely brilliant, even if you’re not a massive boxing fan. The ‘life’ in the title is as important as the boxing, as these are more often than not just extremely honest and human interviews with working class men who found themselves pursuing the most brutal and unforgiving of careers. There’s as much stuff about identity, addiction and mental health as actual fighting, as Dixon, the former editor of Boxing News, clearly cares deeply about his guests.

All the episodes are good, but the recent one with Tony Bellew is absolutely superb. Support the podcast on Patreon if you can – that way you get to ask questions, like mine to Bellew, about the sirens at Goodison and whether he was ever advised to play down his Everton affiliation.

These stories are genuinely special.

Actually, no, that wasn’t the finally bit, this is, on the subject of punching people.

Be safe. Look after each other.

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