After the failure of Liverpool’s ‘title challenge', Kopites across Devon, Ireland and Norway will now sit and watch Everton try and lift the FA Cup, when they take on Chelsea at Wembley. To sum up archetypal Cup Final weather, it will hopefully, quite literally, be Everton’s day in the sun, and a sweet victory for the Blues over their more successful, (that hurt!) rivals.
It has been a brilliant season for Evertonians, especially considering the start the team made to the season, which began with a sickening 3-2 defeat to eventual relegation candidates, Blackburn Rovers, and a 3-0 capitulation to Portsmouth, both at Goodison Park. These defeats followed harrowing words from manager David Moyes, who declared Everton were: “probably not ready to win Premier League games”, but those now distant August days seem a million miles away, and the Blues have an opportunity to lift their first piece if silverware for 14 years.
The contrast in fortunes from the beginning of the season to the end are as stark as possible. If Everton can manage to overcome Roman Abramovich’s pampered all-stars, it is doubtful that any team will have had a tougher route to the final, Everton having been paired with Manchester United, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Macclesfield, and of course, Liverpool.
Dan Gosling’s extra time winner which settled the 4th round replay has just been voted Everton’s ‘Goal of the Season’, and even if goals of much more importance, or a mirror of Carlos Alberto’s famous World Cup wonder goal had been scored by David Moyes’ men, none would have got the vote ahead Gosling’s 118th minute strike. The moment inspired the injury-ravaged team to carry on a hot streak of form, whilst giving the fans ammunition for plenty of banter with their neighbours.
As the season has unfolded, the team has given the opportunity for an even bigger laugh at our weird, and now disgruntled cousins across the park. Accusations of bitterness can be thrown the other way as Liverpool have ended up pot-less, and Everton have an excellent chance to upset their richer opponents on May 30th, to round off a rollercoaster of a season.
Heroes have been made in Gosling, Phil Jagielka, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini, amongst others. And, whilst walking down Wembley Way, fans might wonder what Liverpool fans are doing for a fleeting second, before laughing and enjoying the icing on the cake of a season to remember. However, this is no less than such loyal fans deserve.
Everton 1 Liverpool 0.
By Peter Fitzpatrick
More Sport from JMU
Everton's best chance of silverware in 14 years coincided with a trophyless season for rivals Liverpool
(Photos courtesy of Flikr.com)