By now, we all know what is at stake on Sunday. A potential Champions League spot for us, and a chance to finish ahead of hated rival Liverpool for Everton. With Survival Sunday less than 24 hours away, I present to you a Q+A with Calvin of Royal Blue Mersey, Everton's local SBNation joint. Everton are well renowned as one of the most likable sides in the Premiership, and RBM does a great job of representing that cordiality and affability. This was definitely one of the most enjoyable and in-depth question exchanges I've done, and I'll take "no pleasure at all*" in having to go through them in order to make our mark in Champions League. You can find my responses here. The Q+A after the jump!
*Any GFOPs on CHN?
1. A wonderful season for Everton this year! How does it feel to know you've got a good shot of finishing ahead of Liverpool? Would finishing ahead of them on the table wipe away some of the anguish of going 0-3 in the Merseyside Derby? Is it disappointing to come so close to Europe without anything to really "show" for it?
2. What are your thoughts on David Moyes? He seems to be a magician who consistently had made the best looking dish with the slimmest of ingredients. Do you think he'll be at Everton for the long haul, or could opportunities at Chelsea or Spurs lure him away?
3. As long as we're talking staff, what are your thoughts on Kenwright and Co. in the front office? Do you faith that there will be investment, or will the worries of balancing the books lead to another Rooney (or more recently, Arteta) like PTSD experience for Toffees fans? How safe are the young guns like Rodwell, Silva, and Vellios?
The Blue Union had some of the right ideas earlier this year as they raised their voices about apparent mismanagement in the front office, but the chaotic and riotous way they acted ensured they would not be taken seriously.
4. After a bizarre set of circumstances, notably Landon Donavan's undying support and Tim Howard's stalwart goalkeeping, Everton have developed a reputation stateside as "America's Team." What are you thoughts on Everton's presence in America? Do you think the club/staff is aware of this sentiment and plans or capitalize, or is it little more than whimsy? Any young Americans you'd be keen to get your hands on?
I doubt that Moyes is specifically targeting American players, he is just that kind of manager who looks for a certain work ethic from his players, no matter how motley a crew that results in - the current squad has British, Australian, American, Croatian, Dutch, French, Belgian, South African and many others.
5. Where do you see Everton going next season? No silverware since 1995 has got to sting (said the Newcastle fan ironically). Do you think that "Moyes and The Boyes" will be stuck in mid-table "better than average" mediocrity, or do think you can make a serious push for Europe, and success therein? Are Everton the best side in Liverpool?
If you're asking me if Everton is a better team over the duration of a season than Liverpool, I will say yes. However there seems to be a mental block the boys in blue have and need to get over pronto whenever they play the folk from across town, and it goes up right to the manager. Moyes has made some headscratching tactical decisions when playing Liverpool and the derby results over the last ten years show that.
6. Speaking of the future, do you think that new stadium is ever going to happen? Is The Kirkby Project completely dead, or is there hope? How would you feel about leaving Goodison?
The new stadium plans now seem to be tied in with the new ownership issue. Fans would love for a moneybags owner to come in and flash the cash to build a new 75,000-seater stadium and let Moyes buy a bunch of world-class players. That doesn't look like it's happening anytime soon.
7. Who has been your MVP this season? If Kenwright decides to throw another axe at the Barclay's debt, whose head do you think will roll to the highest bidder? Which player would be the hardest to see depart?
Everton's most valuable commodity right now would be Baines, and word is Sir Alex has his eye on him as the long-term replacement for Patrice Evra. There is always talk about Jack Rodwell too, but the boy needs to get more games under his belt before anything else happens. Baines leaving would definitely hurt the side the most, he has been a key part of this team and Everton have no backup for him either, with Distin playing in his spot while he has been injured the last few weeks.
8. Finally, a prediction for Sunday's exciting match!? I'm sure Goodison Park will be rocking, and there is plenty on the line for both squads.
Bonus: Round out your top 9 for us. Where do the CL Spots fall? Who does get to hold the mantle of "Best Team in Liverpool?" ... also, Fulham... because they won't go away.
Thanks, mate! I know I asked a lot, but I'm genuinely curious about Everton. You're one of the more personable and likable sides in the Premier League, and I'm an American, so I definitely have a soft spot for Timmy Howard. Feel free to inundate me with questions, as these are definitely my favorite pieces to post and write!