8 de diciembre de 2023

The fortunes of Everton Football Club have been a roller coaster to say the least. The season of 2008/09 has been one of bad luck, injuries but a magnificent team spirit. The season started out badly, with the club having no money, players had to be sold in order to fund a record breaking deal for Belgian international, Fellaini – but even he was bought on credit, £3 million a year for the next 5 years. The start of the campaign started poorly and the team didn’t manage to win on home soil for nearly 3 months. Things looked grim.

But the real tale of the season has been the chronic injuries that have decimated the team and the magnificent spirit that the players have created to combat them.

Everton has one of the smallest playing staff in the premiership. It is so small, that at the start of the season, it wasn’t unusual to see several teenagers playing in the first team. Great experience for them, but as one famous pundit said, «you’ll never win anything with kids».

Slowly but surely, Everton crawled their way up the table, thanks mainly to their away form. But there already was a sting in the tale as several first team players were injured for long periods of time. I think the easiest way to show the extent of Everton’s injury list for the season would be to list player by player and the amount of time they have been injured.

Hibbert – Injured 1 month

First choice left back. Suffered medial ligament damage at the end of the previous season. Missed the first month of the new season

Jacobsen – Injured 4 months

Brought in as cover for the injured Hibbert, Jacobsen unfortunately dislocated his shoulder before the season start and has only made two appearances to date.

Yobo – Injured 2 months

Two separate injuries ruled Yobo out for around 2 months.

Jagielka – Injured 1 month

Jags’ injury rules him out for the final month of the season. Unknown when he’ll be fit again. Some rumours say 12 months.

Valente – Injured 9 months

Basically he has been injured all season with a knee injury. Played a couple of games at the start of the season.

Cahill – Injured 2 months

Cahill was injured with a broken foot in the early part of the season. Came back to action in September.

Anichebe – Injured 3 months

Anichebe’s season was ended in February by a horror tackle that damaged his knee. The player inflicting the injury was banned for only 3 matches. Anichebe would miss the remainder of the season.

Arteta – Injured 3 months

Arteta was injured in the same match as Anichebe with a ruptured cruciate ligament. Expected to be fit by the new season.

Pienaar – Injured 2 months

Out with a broken toe, missed the start of the new season.

Yakubu – Injured 5 months

Star striker, ruptured his achilles in December. Hopefully will be fit for the new season.

Saha – Injured 3 months

It was always known that Saha had injury troubles and he has been in and out of the team all season, but his injuries have meant he has missed around 3 months.

Vaughan – Injured 4 months

The premiership’s youngest ever goal scorer has had 4 career threatening injuries before he was 20. His latest was on a knee requiring reconstruction.

These are just the major injuries dealt by Everton in the 2008/09 season. There have been other minor injuries that have kept players out for a game or two, but the total number of months these major injuries have cost the club this season alone (some will remain injured well after the season has ended), the total comes to an incredible 37 months. The season only lasts 9 months.

Despite this crippling injury list, the players have come together and formed a team spirit that is second to none. It has been mentioned by the manager, David Moyes and sources in the media, that if the title could be won by spirit alone, Everton would easily be champions.

Why is this said? Simply, with one of the smallest squads and heaviest injury lists, the club is in 6th position in the premiership (only the mega rich clubs of Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Aston Villa are above them), and amazingly they have got to the final of the FA Cup. Not only have they got to the FA Cup final, but they have already beaten three of the top 5 clubs in England to get there, namely Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester Utd.

If they perform a miracle and beat the other finalists, Chelsea, it surely would be one of the greatest football stories of success in the face of adversity ever.

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