On the eve of the Premier League 2014-15 season, the prevailing feeling for most Everton supporters is one of hope. Some hope for a successful Europa League campaign or an FA Cup triumph. Some hope for a top four finish. Some, though you may call them crazy, even hope for a Premier League title.
As of today the league table is a deadlock of zeros, without a ball kicked, a pass completed, or a goal scored. Those teams in perpetual danger of relegation stand on level ground with the big-money, top-of-the-table sides known throughout the world. Today Burnley and Manchester City are equals, or at least that's what the standings say.
Only five teams have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992. One of those teams was Blackburn Rovers, who prevailed in the Premier League's third season, 1994-95. The rest of that list is Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United. Some names you may be familiar with.
So what can Everton fans look forward to this season? Manager Roberto Martinez has raised expectations, finishing fifth in the league for 2013-14. But can he do better than that this season? Can the dream of Champions League football be achieved? The fifth place finish brought with it a Europa League spot, but that and other competitions could stretch the squad too thin to reach those high expectations.
Martinez delighted Evertonians with the offseason acquisition of Romelu Lukaku, as well as securing the services of the likes of Muhamed Besic, Gareth Barry, Ross Barkley, and Christian Atsu through transfer, loan, or extension - to name a few. It is evident that the head man is doing his best to make this a top-four team without a top-four pocketbook.
The night before the first match is an exciting, but anxious time. The new season is a clean slate and there is great anticipation amongst Evertonians. Can Roberto Martinez and his team live up to it?