Last week, following the win against Cardiff, I opened with a passage about Birmingham turning over a new leaf under Steve Cotterill, assuring myself more than anyone that it wasn’t a lucky victory. I would just like to retract the optimism from my previous muse following the 2-0 defeat at Millwall, and embrace the calamitous situation at St. Andrews for what it is.
At least I’m not an Everton fan. Of the many disappointing starts to this season, Everton fans – alongside those loyal to Palace of course – may just have endured the worst. I thought Palace’s campaign might have finally picked up after their victory against Chelsea, but it appears to have been a momentary glimpse of optimism, flickering briefly in the abyss that is the bottom of the Premier League. Everton, sitting 18th, resemble the one bright child in primary school who’s started to become mixed up with the some of the trouble-makers and found themselves very much out of place in the headteacher’s office.
“I’d expect this from you three: Swansea, Stoke and Palace, I’m a little frustrated at West Ham and Bournemouth but I must say I didn’t expect this from you, Everton. I’m incredibly disappointed, but not nearly as disappointed as your parents will be.”
It turns out Everton’s parents were rather disappointed. So disappointed in fact that they sacked Everton’s nanny, poor Ronald Koeman, with David “rhino” Unsworth stepping in for now. If you needed anyone to steer/shove/kick a naturally talented team down the right path I suspect a former centre-half with such a nickname would fit the role quite nicely. I have a soft spot for the toffees, and so it pains me to see them in such disarray. In a similar vein to Spurs, integrating young English talent with great players can only improve the national side’s situation on the world stage.
And so to Koeman, who signed Pickford and Keane, who put faith in Tom Davies and Calvert-Lewin, you have my respect. You might not have your job, but congratulations, you have the respect of an insignificant human you are likely never to meet. With any luck, Everton will soon be back on their path towards straight As. I would expect the likes of West Ham and Bournemouth to clean up their act and follow suit, however, I just can’t see Crystal “Ralph Wiggum” Palace making the grade this year.