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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Barry Glendenning

Everton fury and the carefully buffed Premier League brand

Fuming Evertonians, earlier.
Fuming Evertonians, earlier. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images


While the preparation and energy Everton fans put into protesting against perceived Premier League corruption over the weekend was commendable, some folk are finding it difficult to understand what it is exactly they are so unhappy about. Everton are founder members of the Premier League. Everton broke Premier League rules. Everton admitted breaking Premier League rules. Everton were punished for breaking Premier League rules. So while Everton and their fans have every right to feel aggrieved by what they see as an excessively punitive sanction, it seems a bit odd that they have decided the body that handed it down is “corrupt”. If anything, it could be argued that the decision to slap one of their most established members with a 10-point deduction is evidence that the Premier League is demonstrably even-handed and fair. For now, Football Daily is reserving judgment until we see what happens if Manchester City are found guilty of any or all of the 115 charges of rule-breaking currently levelled at them.

Older, more jaded readers will remember that City claim to be in possession of incontrovertible evidence that proves their innocence but for reasons best known to themselves and their lawyers, seem weirdly reluctant to make it public. On Saturday and Sunday, Sky Sports demonstrated similar reticence, going out of their way to avoid broadcasting any images of Everton fan protest banners over the Etihad or in the stands at Goodison Park. They even went so far as to reduce and at times replace the angry crowd noises at Goodison Park, to spare TV viewers the trauma of hearing unhappy fans shouting rude words. Fan fury, it seems, is all well and good, unless it risks damaging the carefully buffed Premier League brand.

Few Premier League crowds do seething fury quite like Everton’s and with everyone apparently out to get them, it was expected their festering sense of resentment would filter down on to the players representing them on the pitch. With an in-form but out-of-sorts Manchester United in town, many had predicted an Everton win. What precisely nobody had predicted was a potential goal of the season contender from Alejandro Garnacho, whose astonishing acrobatic overhead howitzer within three minutes of kick-off prompted scenes of outright delirium on the pitch and in the away end, as well as predictably tedious comparisons with similar efforts scored by other players, from the kind of buzzkills who apparently can’t appreciate one nice thing unless it is evidently better than every other nice thing that has gone before. “I can’t believe it, to be honest,” said Garnacho. “I didn’t see how I scored, I just turned around and I said ‘Oh my god’. But yeah, for me, one of the best goals I’ve scored of course and I’m very happy.”

Despite this early setback, Everton rallied and should have equalised or even been ahead by the time Ashley Young put the game beyond his own team by wafting a lazy leg in front of Anthony Martial inside his own penalty area and bringing the Frenchman down. “The way the game’s going, that’s bizarre to me,” growled Sean Dyche, in his lengthy post-match moan about the perfectly legitimate penalty awarded for a blatant foul by a player on his team. When club managers are happy to air such misguided and illegitimate grievances, is it any wonder fans are prepared to do the same?


Join Daniel Harris at 8pm GMT for red-hot minute-by-minute updates on Fulham 0-0 Wolves.


Football mourned the death of Terry Venables this weekend, but across the land fans, pundits and players celebrated his life. Paul Hayward credits El Tel with saving English football from insularity, while Jonathan Liew remembers him as a football romantic who made every player feel like a star. Richard Williams’ obituary calls Venables one of the sharpest brains of his generation, while this wonderful gallery of images and video obituary offer an insight into the player, the manager and the personality who captured the nation’s hearts. And the Football Weekly podcast pays its own tribute to Venables here. RIP Terry, we’ll miss you.

A tribute to Terry Venables is shown on the big screen at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A tribute to Terry Venables is shown on the big screen at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images


“It always hurts to lose, but more so if it is like this and with an unfortunate action that has limited the team’s options. Football does not forgive, but it does offer new opportunities. Ours is Wednesday … let’s go for it!” – Sergio Ramos tries to put his 29th career red card behind him quickly by focusing on Sevilla’s upcoming Big Cup match against PSV. He’s so good at receiving red cards that he was actually sent off twice. Well, kind of. His two yellow cards that led to a first red were replaced by a straight red after a VAR intervention. He truly is the doyen of taking an early bath. Take a look back at all of his sendings off here. Glorious stuff, Sergio!

Sergio Ramos is sent off.
Fuera de ti pop! Photograph: Juan Herrero/EPA


For some reason I heard the sub-headling in this Big Website piece in the voice of Alan Partridge. Anyway, for the Christmas tree formation, for Euro 96, for being a pundit and laughing and joking with Des on Cup Final day, for winning La Liga with Barcelona when they’d only won it once in the previous 24 seasons, for adhering to football heritage and being the last Spurs manager to win the FA Cup when the year ends in a one and for managing Gazza, as much as anyone could do that is, thanks for the memories. RIP Terry Venables” – Noble Francis.

Pep Guardiola might do well to fear a trip to Sincil Bank (Friday’s News, Bits and Bobs) given that City have lost on their last two visits including this thumping in 1997. To top it all, we won the second leg at Maine Road too. Ah, happy days. But you try telling youngsters this nowadays, and they won’t believe you” – Dr Peter Storch.

I saw this on Big Website’s TV selections (sounds like a good idea perhaps FD could do a football one!). If I don’t see wall to wall Jonathan Wilson I am going to be very disappointed” – Mark Bennett.

Send any letters to Today’s letter o’ the day winner is … Noble Francis, who lands a copy of Woman Up, by Carrie Dunn. We’ve got more to give away, so get typing.

• This is an extract from our daily football email … Football Daily. To get the full version, just visit this page and follow the instructions.

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