While most Premier League clubs spend their summer juggling splashing millions in the transfer market with lucrative and far-reaching tours of the globe, let us spare a thought for Everton.
As not for Everton is the glamour of a tour of Asia, the dollar-yielding trip around America or the prestige tournament in Europe: for pre-season, the Toffees are sandwiching a trip to Scotland with two matches on the north-west coast of England.
It might not be so bad if their depressing financial situation wasn’t plain for all to see. But the juxtaposition between David Moyes’ men jumping on the train to Morecambe, as they did on Saturday, as rivals Liverpool hold court across the pond couldn’t further highlight, even if inadvertently, Everton’s money woes as chairman Bill Kenwright continues to hold on to the club despite his obvious lack of cash.
Their next match is away at Dundee United, which not only conjures images of Kenwright getting stuck into a Toblerone and driving a Vauxhall Vectra to Tannadice in his bare feet a la Alan Partridge, but also makes you wonder how this ‘old school approach’ (if we’re being kind) to pre-season helps – the Toffees start nearly every season like relegation fodder.
Still, Everton will be hoping the summer pays dividends and their match against the Tangerines offers another step towards full fitness for August. The Blues are 31/50 to follow up the 4-1 success over Morecambe with another victory, while the draw is 5/2 and Dundee United are priced at 15/4, and even for a friendly match this is a difficult one to call.
Bill Kenwright continues to hold on to the club despite his obvious lack of cash. Their next match is away at Dundee United, which conjures images of him getting stuck into a Toblerone and driving a Vauxhall Vectra to Tannadice in his bare feet a la Alan Partridge.
Moyes is still missing his Euro 2012 contingent (most notably Nikica Jelavic) and his men are playing just their second 90 minutes of the summer, meaning regaining fitness is the overriding concern.
Despite that, Moyes still has a strong squad to choose from, even if he looks sure to mix and match his side with a blend of youth and experience if last Saturday’s selection is anything to go by.
His counterpart Peter Houston will be buoyed by an emphatic 3-0 win over city rivals Dundee on Saturday, which came after a reverse by Rapid Vienna by the same scoreline.
A little bit further ahead than Everton when it comes to fitness, Houston has his eyes on the Europa League qualifiers, the first leg of which comes before the start of the SPL season.
It means Houston is likely to take this very seriously, as United will no doubt face some stiff competition when the draw is made next week. So if the extra incentive and fitness is there for Dundee United, the extra quality lies with Everton, but their odds-on billing in a friendly like this doesn’t appeal.
Instead, play safe, keep your stakes small and take the 5/2 on the draw, which would return a decent for anyone backing it successfully with the free £20 bet awarded when registering with bwin.
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