That’s how it happened for Everton Football Club.
Their supporters have gotten caught up in a furious online debate with Newcastle supporters over becoming the biggest club ever to be relegated from the Premier League.
Now there is a special meeting room in Hell reserved for football fans to argue about the “greatness” of their clubs for all eternity.
But in this particular context, the reverse bragging and one-downmanship provide great comedy.
“Ours will be a bigger ball than yours”, . . . “No, we’re taller than you, ipso facto we stuffed it more royally.”
That jolt was sparked by childhood Evertonian Jamie Carragher, who claimed on Sky that if the Toffees stay in the bottom three, they would become the biggest club ever to be relegated from the Prem.
While former Newcastle manager Graeme Souness makes a counter-argument for Toon’s ‘size’.
But Newcastle’s two relegations under Mike Ashley were the minor miscalculations of a narrow-minded owner hoping to spend the minimum amount possible to finish at least 17th.
Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has collected more than half a billion in transfer fees.
Still, Frank Lampard named a starting line-up for Sunday’s Merseyside derby that read and played with the ambition of a relegation team.
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When Everton ended up with 17 percent possession, midfielder Allan made it A completed the pass in 73 minutes – and that was the whistle to start the game.
And yes, Allan is a real Brazilian international. And yes, Michael Keane really is a £36m England defender. And Alex Iwobi really cost £38million.
And yes, a further £40m has been spent on Richarlison in a £50m deal. And no, he really doesn’t stand up very often.
For those of us old and wrinkled enough to remember the days leading up to the Premier League, Everton’s slipping into the drop zone so late in the season had a certain ‘wow’ factor.
If the Goodison club fall into the championship, it’s going to feel pretty jarring.
That’s based on the Toffees’ title wins in the 1980s and the longevity of their 68-year top status.
But for younger fans, Everton’s historic ‘greatness’ has little appeal.
Would the Premier League be a worse competition next season without them? Hardly.
For my money, West Ham’s 2003 squad – which included Paolo Di Canio, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, David James and Trevor Sinclair – was the most gifted group to ever take the plunge.
And the relegation of Leeds United the following season, amid a financial meltdown and just three years after they reached a Champions League semi-final, was the fastest and most impressive decline.
But if we wisely ignore debates about the ‘size’ of each club, it’s nigh impossible to argue against Moshiri’s six years at Everton, which constitute the most thorough clusterf**k in Premier League history.
The details of this extraordinary shambles have been broadcast here before.
Since Moshiri arrived, Everton have paid 18 players transfer fees in excess of £20million, a list that doesn’t even include the signing of the all-time England goalscorer and a former World Cup Golden Boot winner.
Did Lampard think all this through before accepting the gig?
Or the impressive list of managers who have tried and failed under Moshiri?
The only consolation is that if you fail at Goodison, no one sees you as a failure for very long.
Carlo Ancelotti and Ronald Koeman started the campaign as Real Madrid and Barcelona managers.
Roberto Martinez is in charge of Belgium, considered the best international team in Europe.
And Rafa Benitez is still adored by fans of two of England’s biggest clubs – Liverpool and Newcastle. Marco Silva is on the verge of winning the championship in Fulham in style.
And Sam Allardyce will never be short of offers – after turning down a chance to be relegated to Everton at Burnley.
Everton could still scrape their way to survival with six games to go – and the fact they lasted 62 minutes at Anfield suggests a certain toughness.
But in the very real scenario of them falling through the trapdoor, fans of Newcastle, Leeds and West Ham should come down and allow Everton their moment of perverted glory.
It would be the biggest car crash the world’s biggest league has ever witnessed.
And it really doesn’t get much bigger.
RICE WORTH 400,000
DECLAN RICE is a world-class player who is wanted by Manchester United and Chelsea and could make around £400,000 a week at both clubs.
He is undoubtedly West Ham’s most important player as they are on the verge of Europa League glory and a landmark qualification for the Champions League.
Rice is effectively under contract until 2025 – and has yet to agree a new deal, which is being offered by West Ham at around half his market value.
West Ham owners could claim offering Rice close to £400,000 a week would break their ‘wage structure’.
But no one who’s ever met Rice would call him a prima donna, and no teammate could reasonably argue about whether he makes twice or three times what she does.
Rice is exceptional. So make an exception to him financially.
If not, West Ham’s golden era could fall apart.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5200346/everton-relegation-premier-league-frank-lampard/ Everton’s relegation would be the most thorough clusterf*** in Premier League history