The recent comprehensive and humiliating FA Cup 6th round defeat suffered by Everton at the hands of Wigan Athletic was greeted by a massive outpouring of vitriol and dissatisfaction by large numbers of supporters both during and after events at Goodison Park.
The very apparent toxic atmosphere was broadcast live to the nation and many neutrals would have been sat in front of their television sets wondering where such an unhappy reaction came from given the widely accepted and portrayed vision of Everton as a stable club.
Stable is possibly an accurate description when considering that the manager and chairman have been in-situ for 11 and 14 years respectively, but when this so-called stability is built on foundations of uncertainty, suspicion and downright animosity, the true picture is quite different to that you see peddled in the media.
Spanish giants Barcelona go into Tuesday night’s Champions League round of 16 second leg clash with AC Milan, with the Italians and history to beat if they wish to reach the quarter finals of Europe’s premier club competition.
After their subdued display in the first leg at the San Siro two weeks ago, they find themselves two goals behind thanks to an impressive team display by the Rossoneri. Barcelona also drew a rare blank in front of goal as their much-vaunted attack all failed to hit their usual heights.
With the two goal deficit and no away goal in the bag, the Catalans must become the first club in the competitions history to advance through the knockout stages after overturning such a position.
This great Barcelona team has broken many records and set the bar to levels rarely met before in world football and should they be able to vanquish AC Milan, this new achievement would be another to add to the ever-increasing list of milestones.
The FA Cup has reached the quarter final stage and the weekend kicks off with an all Premier League clash at Goodison Park as Everton and Wigan Athletic go head-to-head.
For David Moyes, this game takes on huge significance for his career whether it lies on Merseyside or elsewhere, as speculation continues to grow about his future beyond the current season.
Moyes, whose contract expires this summer, has been making uncharacteristic noises of late regarding his intentions. The Toffees’ boss has been traditionally unequivocal in his loyalty to the club who gave him his Premier League break back in March 2002, and as he fast approaches his 11th anniversary in charge, doubts are now surfacing about whether he has the will or energy to work more miracles with one hand tied behind his back under the current Everton board.
As more top jobs in England and abroad become either available or increasingly speculated about, the one thing conspicuously missing from Moyes C.V. is a major trophy and as the League is an impossible dream for the likes of Everton currently, he has quite obviously thrown all his eggs in the FA Cup basket.
This Saturday sees FA Cup quarter finalists Everton welcome basement strugglers Reading to Goodison Park for a clash which will have significant effect at both ends of the Premier League table come 5pm.
Everton, who have had a dip in form over the last month, are trying to re-energize their season following their victory over Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup in Tuesday, a game that sees them paired with another Premier League club in trouble, Wigan Athletic, in the quarter finals. A win over the Latics would give the Toffees a second successive semi-final spot at Wembley and another shot at glory for David Moyes.
The Scotsman has been coming in for criticism lately following Everton’s poor run and they will be desperate to make amends for last weekend’s capitulation at Norwich City when they threw away the points in a 2-1 defeat.
Having been strong contenders for the much-coveted fourth place in the division for most of the season to date, the Blues have seen their main rivals, Tottenham and Arsenal, put daylight between them and have also seen neighbours, Liverpool, close the gap on their current sixth place.
News from Old Trafford today is that legendary figure, Ryan Giggs, has signed a new one year contract that will keep the Welshman in Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans for yet another season.
The new deal will see Giggs past his 40th birthday in November and has been signed on the eve of the 22nd anniversary of his Manchester United debut against Everton back on March 2nd 1991 when the young starlet was a mere 17 years old.
Fittingly, should Giggs play any part in Saturday’s Premier League game with Norwich City at the Theatre of Dreams, it would be his 1000th professional appearance for both club and country.
The one-club-man has had an incredible career, breaking records left, right and centre since the early days of the Premier League formation when United were yet to become the dominant force they have been for the last 20 years.