Since its inception in 1992, the English Premier League has been won by just six clubs. Forty-nine clubs have competed in the competition and out of the six winners, only four have taken home the trophy on more than one occasion. Has the English top flight become a closed shop for a side of middling support and spending power? Probably, but it is not impossible: as Leicester City proved in 2016, you just need the stars to align exactly at the right time.
Premier League miracles only happen once
For a club like Everton, rich in history but lacking success in the modern game, the Premier League title looks like a pipe dream. Manchester City are spending the annual GDP of a small nation on transfer fees, Liverpool are successfully building a squad to finish second every season while losing in at least one European final before blaming it on the lack of a decent goalkeeper, defender, creative midfielder or striker (delete as applicable), while Manchester United remain in a state of flux.
Leicester City. Champions of England. pic.twitter.com/WRwfysTn2N
— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 2, 2016
Marco Silva knows he has the ability within his squad to build something special at Goodison Park, but he is also realistic about his side’s chances of breaking into a top four that has even seen Arsenal and Man United struggle to keep company with.
The FA Cup is the winnable trophy
Where Marco Silva can win, is in the FA Cup. The competition is constantly being talked down by pundits in love with the Premier League and clearly no longer as enticing to fans as it was in the past.
In fact, the FA Cup should see the winner take the fourth Champions League spot, rather than a team being rewarded for finishing behind three others. Everton didn’t have a great competition this season, in part due to officiating but, as Watford have proved, getting to the final is doable. The Hornets are 5/1 to win the competition in FA Cup betting markets, but Wigan once overturned odds a lot longer than that to beat Manchester City.
Everton, winners of the trophy in 1995, and indeed any number of teams that strive to finish somewhere between tenth and seventh (or if you are West Ham, twelfth and twelfth) each year will be desperate for some success and the FA Cup is the best, most meaning way to achieve it.
The proof is in the pudding as relative minnows Wigan and Portsmouth, as well as perennial underachievers Liverpool, have all won the competition since the millennium and Everton should be looking to do the same in 2019/20.
Ask any fan whether they’d prefer a top-half finish in the Premier League or an FA Cup final appearance and nearly all of them would likely opt for the latter. There is magic still well and truly alive in the competition and in an era where winning some silverware is becoming harder and harder, this trophy offers hope to everyone.