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War fears between Russia and the United States; a vicious government that victimizes the most vulnerable; a concern for the body parts and privacy of people we have never met; yes, as a society we have come a long way since the mid 80’s. Kudos to us! Three cheers for the human race!

One thing that has changed in this era, however, is football; the English game no longer refers to a “Big Five”, consisting of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton – yes, Everton! Winners of two league titles, an FA Cup and a Cup Winners’ Cup between 1984 and 1987, the great old team were not just one of the best in Canon League Division 1, but one of the best in the world .

And then everything stopped. In 1994 they needed a brilliant goal from Barry Horne to stay up on the last day, also ran away on the last in 1998, and it hasn’t improved much since: you can argue that no club in the history of football has wasted more money, with more vomiting, than Everton have in recent years. It’s almost impressive, Brewster’s Millions these days.

So here we are now, with Ev one place and three points above the relegation zone and just seven weeks out of the season. At first glance, they should have something to escape: a few good players and three games less. But on the other, they’re down four or five and have pure, unadulterated brutality; they are in the shtuck.

West Ham, meanwhile, are in turmoil. They have fallen to eighth in the Championship but will face Lyon in the Europa League last eight on Thursday after eliminating Sevilla in period circumstances. It’s the best it’s been, uh, Westfield Stratford since those heady mid-80s days when they fought Everton – and Liverpool – for the league title. It may be that thinking about the middle of the week they have cut a break from their visitors today…or it may be that, with places up for grabs and professional pride at stake, they may be sending them off. plummeting out of the top flight for the first time since 1950-51.

Kick-off: 2:00 p.m. BST

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