As a supporter, trying to grasp perspective during a wonderful run can be difficult.
You become so immersed in your soccer team when it’s going well; reading every match report after a win, trawling through social media to sample opinions of your team and counting down the seconds until the next fixture.
On Merseyside, there’s been plenty in that kind of mind-set for lengthy spells during this season, and whilst the vast majority of fans will be quick to tell you that they don’t want to get ahead of themselves, it’s in the nature of every supporter to dream.
From an Everton perspective, the last time I penned one of these columns I too was wrapped up in the hyperbole; signing off with references to the Nou Camp and the Bernabeu, as Everton moved into pole position in the race for Champions League football after a 1-0 win against Sunderland.
Despite seeing the team come up short for most of my match-going life, I too was dreaming of the big-time. But as is so often the case, it’s the hope that kills you, and just as Evertonian optimism reached its peak, it all unravelled once again.
Perennial party poopers Crystal Palace rocked up at Goodison Park just four days after that win over the Black Cats, and Tony Pulis’ side produced a clinic in cohesive defending and scintillating counter-attacking to earn a well deserved 3-2 win.
Suddenly, fourth place was out of Everton’s hands. After sorting tickets for the final two away games against Southampton and Hull City, I was hoping that those two clashes would have something on them. Especially when a loss in the next game against Manchester United could have effectively put an end to Everton’s season.
That day — Easter Sunday, as it happens — was probably my favorite of the entire season. The pubs were packed from noon onwards with locals enjoying the bank holiday, so we settled in somewhere to sample the two games on before ours; singing, drinking and laughing for hours.
There’s a lad who I went to university with who always liked soccer, but never really had a team to support. So about two years ago, I asked him along to an away game with me, and since then, he’s fallen in love with the Toffees.
The amount of matches he’s been to is in double figures now, but that game against United was his first ever trip to Goodison Park, and he couldn’t have picked a better afternoon (although I did warn him, it’s not usually that good!).