Fans' View

Fans’ View: I don’t want a trophy for “Participation”

The long awaited announcement of MLS’s 20th club, and that said club was going to be bankrolled by Manchester City and the freaking Yankees, brought back to mind a conversation I’d had a couple of years ago.

When Everton (or at least the preseason approximation thereof) came to visit, I had the opportunity to chat with a few Evertonians pre-match. They had come to the U.S. on holiday to follow their team on the brief tour and were full of questions.

How were the Union? Answer: Still new, but growing stronger (silly me)

How’s the MLS? Answer: Also relatively new and growing stronger. In my opinion, the top clubs would be fighting the drop from the Championship and the bulk of the league would be arguing it out at the North end of the League One table.

What’s the fan culture like? Answer: I recommend you keep eyes and ears stage left (from where we stood) and take it in for yourselves.

At that point, I flipped the conversation around and asked a few questions of them. The primary one being “How do you expect to fair this year?”

The answer came in the form of a wry smile and some mild sarcasm (they were British after all). It seems they were looking at an excellent year. They defined that as 6th or 7th place and/or any finish ahead of Liverpool.

They went on to share that the economics of the Premier League were such that whilst the top five teams played for a title, a team like Everton would be playing to be the “best of the rest”. For them, 6th place was the equivalent of raising the trophy.

Fast forward to the Union of today (and the foreseeable future)… The ascendancy I’d so hoped for, even promised those visiting Everton fans, stalled out. The Union are a mid-table team and I am beginning to fear that that is the business model. They spend just enough to stay just good enough that the gate doesn’t crash. Hope never dies, but there are no dramatic highs and lows, just a steady-as-she-goes revenue stream. From a business standpoint, it is brilliant but it is a lame way to run a team.

I don’t want to be an Everton, Fulham, or Stoke City. I hope 6th place and finishing above N(J?)RB never feels like it warrants a trophy.

 

7 Comments

  1. Getting a trophy for 6th would still be more cups than NY has ….

  2. EllisCarver says:

    They’re 10th in total revenue in MLS. You can’t spend what you don’t have.

  3. Well said… +1

  4. Money does go a very long way, but teams like Red Bull prove that spending power doesn’t guarantee championships.

    There is still room for heart, theres still room to hope that the coach and the players on the field can scrape together enough chemistry to make something happen, regardless of the bottom line.

    DOOP.

  5. Buzzkill_Ed says:

    Reminder: You wouldn’t say the Major League Soccer. So just say MLS. Leave ‘the’ out.

  6. I recognize people don’t want mid table finishes. But it is important to consider Everton is a perennial 6th place finisher in an association that runs 5 levels deep professionally. There is extreme quality to a team like Everton. We can look upon them as mediocre, but they are far from mediocre.

    Again, I do recognize the point being made but context matters too. What I find curious about Everton this year is how differently they are playing the game with Roberto Martinez at the helm as compared to Moyes with pretty much the same players. It speaks to the importance of coaching, plan and philosophy. David Moyes was happy with mid table results and coached to that, Martinez is not happy with mid table results and coaches to that.

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