Everybody likes an underdog. When two teams face each other, the team with less resources, the worse players and the smaller fan base is usually the one that wins the affections of the neutral.
What is even better than an underdog is a successful underdog. Everton operate on a fraction of the budget that a lot of the Premier League teams do but are consistently there or thereabouts when it comes to European places in the table. Since 2005, Everton have finished 4th once, 5th twice and 6th once. They do not attract Europe’s finest but they are capable of giving the very best teams a good game.
However, this is a team that live in fear. Continuously, they have lost their best players but unlike Arsenal, they simply to not have the stature to attract suitable replacements. Wayne Rooney, Joleon Lescott, Landon Donovan and Mikael Arteta. These are all players that have been snapped up by rival clubs without Everton being able to find suitable replacements but just like the phoenix on their local rivals’ shirt, they have always come back stronger. Come this time next season Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines could also have joined that list but you can’t help but think that Everton, as they have shown time and time again, will come back stronger.
This is the team that, lest we forget, were the first to break the strangle-hold of the ‘traditional’ Top Four, finishing above Liverpool in 2005. This was also the team who finished above Liverpool last season despite the £35 million they spent on Andy Carroll alone being more money than Everton have spent on transfers in total for the last five years. Even more recently though, this was the team who completely destroyed Manchester United in August, with Fellaini the tormentor-in-chief. Most importantly of all however, is that I have many Everton players in my Fantasy Team and they have never dissappointed me.
I can see Baines staying at Everton until his services are no longer required by the club, but he is not the one that can win games. It is the funky-haired Belgian in the middle of the park who causes the most danger for the opposition and on his day he would walk into the starting XI of any team in the league. Fellaini is the kind of player that turns 1-0 losses into 1-0 victories and without him there will be nobody in the midfield with the same natural ability to set up Nikita Jelavic.
I’m not sure how many Everton fans read this blog, or even how many Everton fans there are outside of Merseyside but I’d like to know who you consider your best/most influential player. In my opinion it’s Maroune Fellaini. Baines can’t win games from left-back and Jelavic needs service in order to tick. Bar that trio nobody really stands out as a talisman but that is a post for another day.
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