Wayne who?

With Rocket Man blogging about beauty contests again, I have all the excuse I need to blog about my favorite English soccer team, Everton (a reader from Texas recently emailed me that he’s an Everton fan, so I have that excuse too). And there’s good news. We’re off to a flying start, sitting in third place with a record of 4 wins, 1 loss (to Arsenal, arguably the best team in modern English football history), and 1 draw (to Manchester United). As Soccernet put it, after today’s 1-0 over Middlesbrough, “Somehow Everton have emerged from a summer of financial and internal crisis – which saw them lose their England starlet Wayne Rooney – to confound the critics [and supporters like me] who claimed this would be a relegation battle from the off.”
Not that I’m expecting big things. We’re not playing great soccer; it’s more a matter of being workman-like and grinding out one-goal victories. But we certainly seem like a good bet to avoid relegation, the process by which the bottom three teams are kicked into a lower league. Avoiding that fate usually requires about 38 points, or one point per match (you get three for a win and one for a draw). Right now, with less than a sixth of the season gone, we’re more than a third of the way to our yearly goal. A few more wins, and we can start thinking about a top ten finish (out of 20), something we have acheived only once in the past nine years, if memory serves.


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