Is A Fourth Place Finish Attainable For Everton FC This Season?

My favorite matches of each Premier League season come down to the fight for European qualification. I find these matches have an even greater intensity than any final, including the World Cup. There is no holding back. Win and you’ll have the chance to play in the exclusive Champions League. Lose and it’s oftentimes a season that almost was.

Qualifying for Europe isn’t the same as winning a trophy, but you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference by the euphoria from the winners. And while we can count on every season the usual big three or top four to qualify easily, there’s always a club or two that’s on the outside looking in, waiting and lurking for a chance of a team to slip up. It seems though that every season for the better part of the past 6-7 years that Everton have been one of those clubs, on the edge. Ever since they finished fourth in the 2004/2005 season, they seemed pegged as the club that might finally challenge for a spot in Europe and do it consistently. But for whatever reason, they’ve been doomed with horrid starts in their campaigns and while ending up respectably in the top 6 or so, they’ve never really been able to kick it to another level that we’ve all been waiting for. And while the fans and the owner have been patient and faithful, this season may be their very last shot at glory.

Everton, in recent memory, have largely been a selling club. Their manager, David Moyes has been commended for his ability to keep Everton as a top 10 caliber club on a shoestring budget. In every transfer window, there seems to be headlines and rumors of an Everton player being plucked away by a bigger club offering higher wages. To date, Everton have been successful at bringing through players that they’ve been able to sell for a handsome amount (Wayne Rooney to Manchester United, Jack Rodwell to Manchester City, Mikel Arteta to Arsenal, and Joleon Lescott to Manchester City). And while most clubs’ fans enjoy the transfer market and love the speculation of incoming players to help improve their club’s chances, I have found many Everton fans dreading this period as the papers often just link their best players to being sold rather than them buying anyone (for example, Leighton Baines to Man Utd and Marouane Fellaini to Chelsea.)

This could be a make or break season for Everton. If they cannot secure qualification for Europe, I cannot see how they can hold onto Baines and Fellaini to balance their books or match the players ambitions to win silverware. They will get good transfer fees from both players, but it won’t change the attitude or the mindset that Everton are a selling club.

But this could all stop with one match in the Champions League. If they succeed in a top 4 finish and win qualification, they’re guaranteed a minimum of €17.2 million. (This is based on the previous two years’ distribution. €10 million, a very conservative estimate, from the market pool and €7.2 million from just participating.) This doesn’t even include any performance bonuses (€800,000 for every win and €400,000 for every draw in the group stage) or gate receipts which the club is allowed to keep.

An injection of cash flow would give the club the chance to change the operations of the club and start competing with the top tier of the Premier League. Top 6 finishes are acceptable and even welcomed when you are battling relegation by the halfway point of the season, but with this campaign they are sitting comfortably in 5th place with a little under half the season to go. I believe it’s time for Everton to finally reach the promised land of the Champions League group stage.

6 thoughts on “Is A Fourth Place Finish Attainable For Everton FC This Season?”

  1. I really hope so. Would love to see a team other than the traditional “big” teams qualify for the Champions League for once at least. Unfortunately for Everton they can’t seem to win enough games even if they have their full squad available.

  2. We need a goalscorer to partner Jelavic and unless that happens we would be very lucky to push past Spurs, Arsenal or Chelsea for one of the 2 realistic spots (3rd and 4th) – Darren Bent please 😀

  3. Everton have no chance of finishing in the top 4. David Moyes persistently selects a chronically out of form Jelavic, while not giving a chance to the very good Vellios. We have never beaten Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premiership, away from home with Moyes in charge. Everton have to play all these teams away in the remaining games (as well as Spurs away and Man City at home). We will be lucky to to achieve 1 or 2 points from these games. We will also be lucky to finish in the UEFA positions. Mid-table is the best we can hope for.

  4. If Everton can stay injury free its possible. However Spurs and Arsenal are favorites. If Spurs get a good striker in which is imperative then I’m not sure you’ll have a chance.

  5. Everton usually start slow and end the season strong. This season they started strong and it is left to be seen how they finish. If they can finish the season like they have in seasons past then they have a shot at 4th. To do so they will have to get Jelavic scoring again and hope they don’t suffer injuries to key players. It’s a 3-way race for 4th with Arsenal and Spurs being the others.

  6. Injuries to Mirallas and Gibson have really hurt Everton the past few months. Naismith hasn’t filled in as well as has been hoped and the Blues are struggling to break down defenses like they did earlier in the season. It doesn’t help that Jelavic has been failing to finish recently as well. There aren’t many goal scorers on the club and they’ve lacked the clinical finishing that the other top sides generally have.

    While I don’t think Everton are the 4th best club in the Premier League, they aren’t far away and, with a little bit of luck, could wind up in the coveted Champions League spot.

    The new guy Leroy Fer looks pretty good from what I’ve seen and it sounds like Fellaini will stick around until the summer. Funny to have a Dutch guy named Leroy. Reminds me of my dad singing “Bad, bad, Leroy Brown. Baddest man in the whole damn town. Badder than ol’ King Kong, meaner than a junkyard dog.”

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