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I haven’t thought about Everton for a month - and it’s been fantastic

All good things must come to an end

AFC Bournemouth v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

So after a month-long festival of football we got the fairy-tale ending, with Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup to crown his already glittering career and elevate him into the pantheon of all-time sporting greats.

It was achieved after a World Cup final for the ages, certainly the best final of the century if not of all time, and a tournament littered with memorable moments.

The first World Cup in the northern hemisphere winter was an unusual experience. The world’s greatest football competition is usually associated with barbecues and long summer nights rather than Christmas trees and dark chilly evenings. But four games a day on a soggy November Tuesday kinda worked.

But do you now what the best bit was?

I haven’t had to think about Everton for a month, and it has been fantastic.

I was of course cheering on England during the tournament, but there isn’t the emotional attachment I get watching Everton (which is probably a good thing as the Three Lions disappoint nearly as often as the Toffees).

Casting my eyes over social media it seems I am not alone. Plenty of Blues have had fun watching consequence-free football for a month, enjoying it for what it is. But with the tournament in Qatar at an end we will barely have chance to draw breath before the domestic schedule resumes.

Indeed the Carabao Cup fourth round is this midweek. But Everton aren’t in that - remember why?

Oh yes, it is all coming flooding back now.

AFC Bournemouth v Everton - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It pays to note that had we halted the Premier league a week earlier our outlook will have been a lot different. Going into the Leicester game the talk was of moving into mid-table and beyond. But a disastrous week kicked off by that defeat to the Foxes followed by those two losses to Bournemouth brought back that familiar sense of Toffee despair.

Supporting the club has become a real burden for the fans over the last five or six years, worn down by repeated disappointment and dashed expectations, meaning it is tougher to rouse yourself to go again after each bad result, even if things can improve just as quickly.

The break probably came at a good time. Things were close to boiling point at the Vitality Stadium as the fans barracked the players following their second limp display against the Cherries in the space of four days. The opportunity to take the heat out of the situation was a timely one.

But the reality is the fans, and more importantly the players, have to be on it from minute one of the resumption. We will be flung straight into a huge relegation six pointer against bottom side Wolves on Boxing Day, the start of a crucial six weeks that will decide the outlook of the season.

The Blues also face critical home games against Brighton and Southampton in December and early January, in-between trips to Manchester City and Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Two or three wins from those games would lift the Blues away from the bottom of a very tightly congested table, easing the sense of crisis surrounding the club.

The January transfer window is also upon us, with attacking players high in the agenda. If the board are to back Frank Lampard to turn things around - and I believe they should and will - then they need to get the transfer deals done as early as possible in the window, not scrambling around on deadline day again.

Christmas is supposed to be about hope and goodwill to all men. That will be in precious short supply at Goodison Park if we go a goal down early against Wolves this weekend.

In fact, it would be like we’ve never been away.