I support Everton, for good or bad as people from other clubs might say, cest la vie, or que será, será, but for Evertonians ‘it is what it is’ seems to fit better. That is the approach of many supporters who have followed the club from the faintly remembered heights of the 80s through the mediocre mid-table malaise since. With the very occasional moment of glory.
I remember sitting in a bar in Spain watching the FA CUP final on my own, when Everton beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA cup. Of course, Man United went on to dominate football for the decade after, Everton went back to mid-table consistency and of course the knife edge of relegation with Wimbledon and again this year.
I am and always have been an armchair supporter, I’ve said before that supporting Everton became a way to interact with my dad as our lives diverged. My dad stood on the terraces in the ’50s after arriving from Ireland when Everton had a reputation as a more Irish club. In the nineties, I even took him a couple of times when I got freebie tickets from sponsor NEC. My older brother was a real fan, going every time he could before joining the army- and in pre-internet days getting the ‘pink’ echo saved and sent to him. My nephews still are committed supporters.
The last year was a real roller coaster, without many highs but lots of lows, until just staying level seemed like an enormous rush and the biggest ride ever.
I shared a tweet a few weeks ago from the family of an NHS worker who ran up debts of 12,500 and walked out in front of a train leaving a wife and young daughter. I retweeted it because it has sickened me to see very wealthy footballers and ex-footballers promoting these betting sites. Lots of things can be harmful and addictive including alcohol and tobacco. Society has recognised this and limited the timing, location and targetting of these ads.
Football is the number one passion among young men and increasingly women, boys and girls. To see their idols bearing the brand, and promoting these vulture companies is disgusting. Sports washing is not just for authoritarian regimes, it’s also for people who profit off the pain and addiction of many struggling families.
Many supporters fall into the trap of defending their club or team, whatever happens, this is silly. Chelsea fans with Abramovitch, Newcastle with the Saudi owners, and now Evertonians with their new kit sponsor, betting company Stake. We correct, and chastise our loved ones when we feel it necessary. Surely we can do the same with our clubs. I have seen at least two Everton supporter channels say well ‘it is what it is’.
Yes, it ‘is what it is.’ – Wrong, and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so.