If you’re a viewer in America like me, you would have noticed that according to Arlo White on NBC, the season opener at Molineux saw the Champions of the World against some blokes in blue:
If you’re unfamiliar with Wolverhampton Wanderers, they are a huge and historic club. They were champions three times in the 1950’s. Stan Cullis was the manager at the time, he’s got a stand named after him away to our left hand side. We are housed in the Billy Wright Stand, the first international player to earn 100 caps for England. Of course he was the captain of the side, they won consecutive titles in 58 & 59, almost a hat trick in 1959-60, they were pipped by Burnley by a single point on the final day of the season. They were one of the original sides in the Football League in 1888, and they had these high profile floodlit friendlies which at the time really were something unique. One of the first teams to install floodlights here at Molineux, one particular game against Honved – the Hungarian champions, one of the best sides in the world, they won 3-2, Wolves – they were dubbed the “Champions of the World.” And those friendlies against the likes of Spartak Moscow as well were televised live on BBC television in this country and UEFA looked at it and it was instrumental in the introduction – eventually – a few years later of the European Cup, now known as the Champions League. So Wolverhampton Wanderers have played their part not only in the history of English football, but also European football.
I’ve got no problem with Arlo – he’s usually a good commentator – but to turn to an NBC audience (some of whom might not know too much about English football history) and introduce Wolves as a historic, storied team who were one of the original sides in the Football League, and not mention our history was a bit weird. I mentioned this to Arlo on Twitter, and he got a bit angry.
Thankfully, Richarlison intervened four minutes after Arlo’s Ode To Wolves and poked home his first goal for Everton. Not content with spoiling the whole transfer window, our Brazilian did his best to spoil Wolves’ return to the Premier League. Leighton Baines started behind Richarlison, and with Lucas Digne champing at the bit to push into the team, our left hand side looks strong – crucially both defensively and going forward.
Things were going swimmingly up until just before half time when Phil Jagielka, chasing his own poor first touch, slid in on the onrushing Diogo Jota. He got the ball, and then got a red card from Craig Pawson. I didn’t think it was a red, and Craig Pawson didn’t know *why* is was a red, changing his reasoning from denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity to dangerous play – then saying it was both – then vacillating again. The subsequent free kick was taken 5 yards closer to the goal and you knew it was in. Not because Ruben Neves is a god, but because Everton.
Marco Silva, standing on the touchline, went through every stage of grief…
Despite playing with ten men, despite the queasy unease we all feel when Everton do an Everton, we were still creating chances and still looking good. Richarlison’s second attempt at spoiling was a quick one-two with the otherwise quiet Cenk Tosun. Described by many as Henry-esque, wouldn’t it be great if one day they called this type of goal Richarlison-esque?
— Ed (@dixiessixty) August 11, 2018
It was a glorious debut for Richarlison, but clearly one swallow doesn’t a summer make… He’s young, still very very raw, and who knows how good he can be. But – for now at least – it’s one in the eye for acolytes of the Four Gormless Men of the Transfer Apocalypse: Merson, Laurens, Glendenning, and Allardyce.
Wolves’ late equaliser – a header from Jimenez – took some of the sheen off this result, but playing over half the game with ten men, and not looking like it was testament to Silva’s coaching. The last time we’d seen Everton kick a ball competitively was under Sam Allardyce, and how things have changed. The referee, an imbecile, did everything but move the goal posts for their first. There are so many reasons to be positive, and our transfer deadline horde are all waiting in the wings….