It’s time for Newcastle United to face Everton in a weird midweek game, so for this rare occasion, we have cooked something special.
We felt the urge to ask someone from the enemy lines about a bunch of different things related to Toffee World from the potential relegation to the Championship to who NUFC fans should fear the most, and so on and so forth.
Here is our little Q&A with our friends from Royal Blue Mersey. You can follow them on Twitter over @RBMersey.
CHN: Everton has earned three ties while losing two of their most recent five matches. You are still in 18th place but tied with Leicester at 28 points apiece with six games left. What’s the overall feeling? Are the Toffees staying up or are they inevitably doomed to getting relegated?
There is some skepticism and frustration of course, but there is eternal optimism too. Things did not look good last year, and they don’t look good this year. Some points in each of the next two matches—ideally two wins, but I’ll settle for one—would quell a lot of nerves.
The team has looked good at times under Sean Dyche, and at other times, the situation appears too big for both him and the players. I am an eternal optimist as well, however, and I suspect that points will be taken in matches where maybe they shouldn’t be, and the side will escape in 16th or 17th.
CHN: There has been some talk of late about how Newcastle should make everything to “not turn into Everton” and overspend wildly without taking proper care and precautionary measures just in case things don’t go according to plan. What would you say has been the main reason for Everton to be in the position they’re at, facing relegation, after such a massive investment over the past few years?
Well, Everton bought players who weren’t good enough to wear the shirt more often than not. Newcastle—from what I can see—have not yet begun doing that to the extent that the Blues have over the Moshiri era.
You have to spend economically and get good returns on players, no matter their age—unless you have the funds to eat those types of mistakes. The early portions of administrations do have those types of funds (Chelsea) but they’re about to see how much flubbing can really gum up the works too.
Everton spent liberally to start and didn’t get materially or financially better in the process. By the time the side had Carlo Ancelotti for some time, the writing was already on the wall that European football would be necessary to balance things out to some degree. His departure was almost a warning gone deafly heeded.
In the time since it’s all fallen to pieces; players have been sold, and because of the financial troubles, pieces haven’t been brought back in, and our youth has yet to produce a Saka to spell us in the meantime.
But the team fights on and does certainly have the players to stay up and built upon. Everton is a legendary club and if it can weather this storm, it will return to that space sooner than later.
Newcastle will be in Europe, and have not even spent very much money relative to the biggest spenders in England; I wouldn’t be concerned about that if I were a Magpie.
CHN: Who is shining in the side right now, considering the precarious league position? Is there anyone Newcastle fans should fear entering Thursday’s matchup? Someone that, if nullified, would make it impossible for Everton to overcome that development?
Alex Iwobi has been a bright spot under every boss since Carlo Ancelotti, and even he was keen to figure out how to get the best from the young man. He gets the ball up and down the pitch with brilliance and ease, technicality and vision.
He makes mistakes sometimes, but who doesn’t? Nullifying him puts Everton in a bind, but the same could be said about Idrissa Gueye and Dominic Calvert-Lewin too. The side is without much depth to be fair. This has hurt the cause all season long.
CHN: What is the main reason for the underperformance of the squad this season? Is it a collective failure? A lack of tactical and strategic gameplan on a weekly basis? Can you blame it on injuries, maybe? Are players disinterested?
Injuries are a major factor. They have sprung up across the side all year, and have taken chunks of the season from Ben Godfrey, DCL, Nathan Patterson, and others.
Our coaching hasn’t been great since the departure of the masterful Italian back to Madrid, but there have been bright spots at times too.
The team is simply not as deep as it was even a year ago. Two or three years ago? A completely different story. The team has gotten some good players since those days, but they have not always replaced players either - see our discussion on financials. Without a roster of players, it’s difficult to blame the coach entirely, but he must also learn to get the best out of what he has.
It could be that, at times, that is precisely what coaches have gotten out of this lot.
CHN: What would you say could happen if Everton ultimately get relegated? I’m asking because I’ve heard a huge, brand-new stadium is getting built and I’m not entirely sure how that makes sense for a second-tier club. Also, will there be a massive sellout of players to make up for the economic impact?
I think they will sell off players to some degree, but maybe not the fire sale people expect. Sean Dyche will—if he is kept around—be keen to run through the Championship with a good mixture of the good young players that remain on the team, the pieces he looks to bring in, and the youth that lives at the youth and academy levels.
The stadium is already a done matter—whatever a supporter might think of it—and while it will be a disappointment for all of the Blues on Merseyside to watch Everton dominate Championship football, we’re not there quite yet; and by all good fortunes, we won’t be at all.
CHN: Finally, what’s your prediction for Thursday’s match... and the final position Everton will be sitting at when all is said and done?
Everton has to get something from this match, and this is a massive trap game for Newcastle after disgracing Tottenham.
Going to say 2-1 and going to say 16th position—SAFE!!!