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This time, COS reader and Everton supporter (we think) Mike is tired of people telling him to stop dreaming.
I’d like to question the views of those who say we should be satisfied to be top of the second mini-league within the Premiership, or views to that effect. Those who see the Big Four, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal as an impenetrable boys’ club.
I agree that those four teams are ahead of the others in wealth (only Newcastle and Tottenham can come close to competing), ability to draw in world-class players, European pedigree and media coverage. What I disagree with is the belief that somehow we can’t get in amongst them inthe league. Look back at the past three seasons (including this one). 04-05: Everton broke up the big four with Bolton not far behind. 05-06: a dodgy curry denies Spurs a place in the Champion’s League. 06-07: Bolton blow their chance to capitalise on an Arsenal collapse, taking Everton’s hopes with them.
Ok so only Everton have actually succeeded in those three years, but the stories hardly tell tales of four clubs soaring high above the rest. The Big Four are a media and financial invention and they are far from impenetrable. Whilst Tottenham and Everton continually improve their squads, can anyone say Liverpool or Arsenal are really any better than they were five years ago?
Many have pointed out that we really only have ourselves to blame for not being in the top four this season. Similarly in 04-05 you may have forgotten we collapsed in the second half of the season after Gravesen left. Prior to that, we were hanging about 2nd and 3rd. Hardly the stuff of plucky losers mixing it with their betters. I would agree that surpassing Chelsea and Man United at the top of the Premiership is, at this time, out of our reach. Yet Chelsea’s success is based on an unsustainable operational deficit. If Abramovich leaves they will be forced to sell and sell big. As for Liverpool and Arsenal, I don’t see either of their squads as significantly in excess of either ours or Spurs’. Take Gerrard out of Liverpool and I honestly believe they are no better than us man-for-man AND we have a better ‘team’. Arsenal are coached by a man who can only play one way, it’s a pretty way, but it means, if you find a way round it, you can do it everytime. Witness ourselves and Bolton consistently achieving good results against them.
So let’s drop this mythologising of the fabled Big Four. They are there to be taken down. They deserve to be taken down because the reality is that although they have the attributes of an oligrachy in terms of media and finance, in footballing terms it’s a skillful piece of misdirection to fool us into believing they’re better than us.
And I mean better in a ‘class’ sense; somehow they’re portrayed as the aristocracy to our serfs. With the help of G14 they aim to secure this class structure. Anyone fancy being terrified? Read the entirety of the G14 website. It’s like a handbook to arrogance and dictatorship. Think Blair’s obsessed with securing his legacy? He’s got nothing on the self-appointed big boys of football. I say football, but of course there’s very little football discussed on G14, it’s about securing their financial position not their footballing one. THAT, right there, is where we come in. They are not above, they are not innately superior and they have no divine right to play in the Champion’s League. Anyone who buys into this belief in mini-leagues, best of the rest, drastic drops in quality outside the top four, impenetrable positions or any of that nonsense… You are simply perpetuating the myth! In footballing terms, they are one single small step ahead of us.
I firmly believe that ourselves and Tottenham are highly capable of turning it into a ‘Big Six’ within a couple of seasons and Bolton are capable of coming along for the ride.
So let’s hear none of this rubbish about fifth being the best we can hope for. In my view, the best we can realistically hope for from next season is to finish third and Spurs finish fourth and then get together with the Spurs fans to celebrate humiliating our arrogant neighbours by exposing the fallacy of their dominance. And you know what? IT’S POSSIBLE!
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