Saturday, September 17, 2005

Best on Merseyside? Correction - Disgrace to Merseyside

Everton's Biggest Success Is Liverpool’s Loss
Letter from Jarrod Lythgoe

So at the end of last season, with Liverpool lying in 5th and European Champions and Everton above them in the league, the English FA did nothing but sit back and wait for the uncomfortable silence to spur UEFA into inviting Liverpool into a demanding series of games which would give them access to a cup competition that by its own definition of being for "Champions" would have been devalued without the current champions taking part.

Liverpool were encouraged to jump through hoops, cancel massive revenue earning tours of the far east, ask their players to play a record amount of games before a difficult season starts, simply because the FA wouldn't choose them as their 4th representative in the biggest cup competition.

And now, Liverpool have been drawn in the same group as Chelsea; undoubtedly one of the most underrated (by UEFA's ranking system, although we do know how this works) teams in Europe, (and therefore likely to win every game in their league), putting Liverpool's progression in jeopardy unless they follow suit and take 6 points from Betis and Anderlecht. The FA could have granted Liverpool national protection (as Everton would have been given) simply by giving Liverpool that 4th spot.

They didn't of course, but for what?

So Everton could pointlessly struggle against teams far better than they, and embarrass themselves and the Premier League. The wife summed it up on Wednesday night when she asked why Everton hadn't appeared in either of the 2 Champions League nights, when I explained that they hadn't qualified, she said "what? After all that?" exactly. After all that.

And then last night. What an embarrassment. Everton need to learn to walk before they can run, and if Liverpool get dumped out of the Champions League at the first group stage, the FA should consider what they could have done to prevent them being in such a tough group. Liverpool being dumped out by the strongest club team in the world as a result of all this, would be the biggest European success that Everton could hope for this season. And thats a bit sad.


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