Never felt more like singing the Blues

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Everton manager Frank Lampard has a tough task on his hands to keep the team in the Premier League. AFP/VNA Photo

Paul Kennedy

There are rarely times I actually miss living in the UK. There are things I miss, of course.

Greggs bakery for starters, especially the morning after the night before with one too many bia hơis, and being able to buy clothes that cater for the more ‘roomy’ physique.

But besides just a few home comforts, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve said to myself, damn, I wish I was back living in Liverpool.

Now is one of those times. And the reason? Everton Football Club.

Right now, Merseyside’s second team (sorry, but it’s true) are languishing dangerously close to the drop zone and were rocked this week with the news they could become the first club to breach the top flight’s profit and sustainability rules.

If found guilty, then a possible points deduction could be on the cards meaning there’s a very good chance Everton would be relegated.

Liverpool fans in my home city will be rubbing their hands with glee right now. The rivalry between the two clubs is pretty intense, and to see your neighbour fail, particularly as spectacularly as Everton are right now, will have the red half of the city jumping for joy.

But sadly for me, seeing funny memes (Liverpool have won more games in Milan this season than Everton have won away from home, or in 28 days Luis Diaz has won more trophies for Liverpool than Everton have won in 27 years) kind of means nothing here, as there’s no workmate, best pal, or relative to mock.

You ask a Vietnamese colleague for their thoughts on Everton and they’ll probably think I’m talking about Everon, the chain of stores here that sell bedding.

Everton are just not that big a club, and I miss going into work at my former job in Liverpool and seeing the gloomy faces of Everton supporters around the office.

And while it’s nothing more than just banter, albeit near the knuckle banter, Everton are in a lot of trouble right now.

The possible points deduction they face is because they have recorded combined losses of over US$342m between 2017 and 2020, which in ordinary circumstances would represent a clear breach of Premier League rules, which state that clubs are only permitted to lose a maximum of $138m over three years.

Their 2020-21 accounts are likely to include another loss in excess of $131m and the club’s financial problems have worsened even further since they were forced to sever links with major sponsor, Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, potentially leaving a $384m black hole in their player budget for the next few years.

Everton are seeking clarification from the Premier League to discover how much of their losses can be offset due to COVID, but even if they are given a pass, and escape any fines or deductions, the threat of relegation is real.

They have some tough fixture left to play. Trips to Liverpool, Arsenal, West Ham and Leicester will on paper surely all end in defeats, and they also have to play Chelsea and Manchester United at home.

Plus throw in the mix some tough games against relegation rivals Watford and teams slightly above them, Newcastle and Brentford.

It’s not a good time to be a Blue. Frank Lampard’s appointment as manager was seen by many as a step in the right direction, but unless he can conjure up some amazing performances over the next few months, Frank could find himself back in change of a team playing Championship football. VNS

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