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This might not be too popular but do we really want rid of Everton? A bit of balance…

4 weeks ago
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So, it’s May 2016 and due to the growing apathy around Ashley’s NUFC, I’ve decided to Nash off to Cyprus towards the end of the season, catching United’s last few games in bars and having my trip spoilt by the horrors of another avoidable relegation.

We did ourselves no favours drawing against a shabby Villa side, but the deal was sealed by a surge in form from the mackems, beating Chelsea before taking great delight in ensuring we went down by easily dealing with… Everton.

And that’s where this starts to become relevant.

I don’t know where the whole Mackems / Scouse mackems bromance came from, but it was thriving enough at the point of this critical game that the Ev decided not to turn up, rolling over to accept a 3-0 defeat that no one can tell me was representative of any kind of effort. Fair enough, you might say, some teams will stand down at the end of the season and it’s not the job of others to keep you up. Which brings me to the pending events at Turf Moor on the 22nd May.

Things at the bottom of the table look so magnificently tight that it could very well be that we go to Burnley with Everton relying on the very same favour from us, that they could not stir themselves to deliver when the shoe was on the other foot six years ago. If this is the case, a lot will be written before then, but I’m sure the question will be raised as to whether you want Newcastle to actually try, or if we’d rather sacrifice a couple of meaningless league places to white flag it and condemn the Ev to a relegation a lot of people will enjoy.

Regardless of what we actually want, I am sure Eddie Howe has far too much professional integrity to do anything other than go for the win, but here’s the thing: do we really want rid of Everton? Before you jump on me, think of it like this:

There is already a clamour for away tickets and a subsequent bout of whingeing about the allocation process. Everton not only offers the full 3,000 allocation but offers no novelty value for regular travellers (we play there every year, there are two trips to the same city, etc.) so those complaining the points don’t fall low enough have a very good chance of getting in this one, whereas Burnley’s smaller capacity offers closer to 2k away tickets and given its a fairly short hop, will likely sell out on a high points total. Also, with all due respect, if you’re looking at an overnighter, or even a few beers in the destination city, I would quite emphatically choose Liverpool over Burnley, having been to both.

However, then there’s this needle that’s grown up of late. Scouse mackems, Jordan Pickford, the Everton fans displaying the entitled attitude we were accused of for so long; we’d love to see them go, right?

Again, I’m not sure. I reckon a game with a bit of an edge to it is far more appealing than a fairly moribund opponent rocking up. If, as we would hope, we are to be fairly decent next year, then surely the opportunity to beat Everton a couple of times along the way is an appealing thought?

Finally, there’s the empathy factor.

When Newcastle dropped out of the Premier League it annoyed me as to how many very upset households there would be on Tyneside at the thought, whereas smaller, “well-run” clubs maintained their top flight place to the delight of a couple of thousand hardcores. With Bournemouth (lowest average attendance in the Championship) potentially being joined by Luton (second lowest, both under 10k) I think it would be a bit more interesting to have a couple of big clubs sticking around.

So there it is, a bit of balance, I think the away ticketing is something people haven’t thought about too much and while the alternative seems restricted to losing another northern club unfortunately, from a strictly sensible point of view we may enjoy it more with the scouse mackems hanging around.

On the other hand, who am I kidding. Eddie, stick Jacob Murphy in goal at Turf Moor!

You can follow the author on Twitter @Mr_Dolf

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