Club Focus – Everton – Toffees’ Blackpool triumph provides respite from rumour mill and financial concerns

After the misery of a transfer window that saw no senior players added to David Moyes’ squad and the joy of taking a lead at Arsenal eventually turning to the despair of defeat, the jubilation felt by Everton supporters during and after the team’s 5-3 victory over Blackpool on Saturday was understandable. With those three points, weeks of frustration have lifted and the Toffees’ Premier League position looks a lot cheerier.

Only time will tell if the good feeling generated by the triumph over the Seasiders is premature. One win does not make a season but defeat by Ian Holloway’s side was unthinkable – it would have sent Everton spiralling perilously close to the relegation zone – and the relief of avoiding that fate was perhaps only matched by the relief Louis Saha and Jermaine Beckford felt as they were both on the scoresheet – a rare feat in what has been a difficult season for both men. Concerns over the club’s finances have not gone away – and may only increase when the accounts are published this week – but such was the verve on show from the Everton midfield, and the lethal touch from Saha, that anxiety about matters on the field has receded, for a few days at least. Any renaissance will be strongly tested when the Blues travel to Bolton Wanderers next weekend.

Predicting what will be revealed by the club’s annual report, however, is an exercise in futility. Lower turnover and higher wages would be the most educated guess, but sifting through the conjecture, speculation and rumour prevalent on the internet and elsewhere means educated guesses are hard to find. It is these same vague mumblings that said Moyes had resigned late last week, and days earlier that Everton were doomed to administration. The latter piece of worthless gossip was generated by an email that flew around Everton supporters and Everton forums, and contained nothing of substance, nothing that stood up to even the merest of scrutiny. That it still played on Evertonian minds hints at the depth of worry that was felt when the transfer window drew to a close last Monday, but a week later, the manager is still in place and the club is still trading, hopefully a salient lesson next time the ill-informed whispers start up again.

But days after one of the most exhilarating afternoons at Goodison Park in a long time, the focus should be on the players and the manager. If not for a somewhat fortunate opening Blackpool goal and two defensive mistakes Everton might have recorded a rare clean sheet against the Tangerines, something they have not done in their last 10 games, and lost in the commotion of such a scintillating spectacle was that Everton played superbly. Greater concentration from Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga aside, there is little Everton can realistically do to improve on Saturday’s performance. Consistency and clean sheets is what Everton need now, two hard-to-find factors in such a tight Premier League.

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