RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Monday, July 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: EVERTON FC

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football metaphysics methodology utilizing dork methodology of minutes played over the past 100 club competitive club matches to determine which 25 players constitute the strongest psychic force on a club’s current trajectory. Then intuitive analysis is conducted utilizing football metaphysics, performed from an un-American soccer fan’s perspective. We do this every 1st and 15th of the month, cycling through the 20 clubs currently in the English Premier League, because it is the top domestic league based in an English-speaking country, which as un-American miscreants, we were all born to be saddled with this limited, segmented tongue of the global colonizer, oppressor, and capitalizer. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA most prominently, where we live. And yet, it is really important we clarify we hate English, and also America. Maybe we hate ourselves. Our panel consists of chairman Raven Mack, director tecnico Paul Robertson, and director rudo Neil Bulson Our individual contributions to this 5000 words of gibberish will be noted by our name at the end of the blurb. If you enjoy this absolutely free internet content from an un-American soccer perspective, venmo us tips @ravenmack23. You may also enjoy the Sportsball 69 podcast.]

Let us discuss the football metaphysics of this here Everton Football Club, based in the metropolitan area of Liverpool, England. Obviously, that city’s namesake football club has more renown, both historically and recently, what with having won the Champions League only a few short months back in the rear view mirror. And Liverpool proper is also part of the small cartel of mega-clubs known as the Big Six aka the dominators of English football in this Premier League era. Everton has always fancied itself as the seventh, and attempts to see itself on equal footing with their cross-town rivals. And there are bursts of spending which suggest this has the potential to be the case, in fact this very moment there are media claims being made by Everton board humans about how WE EXPECT MORE THAN JUST A TOP SIX FINISH THIS SEASON! This is because Everton is always in belief they are on the cusp of being a prominent English club, and yet those dreams never come to fruition. That is what being Everton means. You are the second best club in the second best city. Maybe third in both if you consider Manchester and the Tranmere Rovers. But nonetheless, hope springs eternal, and Everton are about to surely embark on an amazing jaunt, as Marco Silva’s system is finally taking hold at root level with the right personnel, and they will finish top four and then run across Europe roughshod next season, and in three short years they will be champions of the Moon! [Raven]

#1: JORDAN PICKFORD (same as last time Everton was ranked on 01-Aug-2018, thus his SECOND METAPHYSICAL STAR) – English goalkeepers are a metaphysically accursed lot. Just as there are football positions that seem to lend themselves towards one or another ethnic/national orientation (the aforementioned central African soul-eater defensive midfielder, Slavic goalkeepers, Afro-Dutch central defenders, etc.), some positions spell doom for certain nation-state constructs. I can only speculate here that lily white English keepers—of whom our man Jordan here is a textbook/test tube example—lack the requisite wild-ass eccentricity of a Polish dude with a couple manslaughter charges back in Krackow, a neck tattoo, and 12 years of ballet lessons, or a South American goalkeeper with a BBW facesitting sex dungeon, a gold-plated wall-mounted pomade dispenser in his bathroom, and twelve pitbulls wandering his Andean villa. Maybe it’s because, as I understand it, English/British football as played by the kids really discounts the keeper—no one wants to play it, so you stick the dude that sucks at other positions, or maybe is too meek to assert himself for an outfield run, in the goal. But think about it—possibly the best goalkeeper to ever play in the English league system was a World War II German prisoner-of-war who didn’t want to go home afterwards (Bert Trautmann—maybe not the colonel who trained Rambo, but who knows?) and was willing, even eager, to keep playing with a freshly broken neck that made his head stick out at an odd angle. Even in Victory, the English themselves fractured their starting keeper’s arm so Sylvester Stallone could use his American concussion-ball hands in the goal. And when you get a longstanding English international keeper whose with the nickname “Calamity” (David James), the picture of Anglo keeping misery should be complete. At the last world cup, with some penalty shootout acclaim, Pickford seemed like the Great English Hope that would vanquish memories of literal generations of English goalkeeping suck. But I don’t think that down deep even the most rabid Three Lions or Toffees supporter believes our man is any different from the preceding succession of dudes that have trudged towel and water bottle in hand towards the England sticks like a 17th Century highwayman to the Tyburn gallows. Plus Everton seems to fancy U.S. players more than most EPL sides, and Tim Howard remains a beloved legend. So look for Pickford’s arm in a cast at some point, and Marco Silva shaking Zack Steffen’s hand over a fat contract. [Paul]

#2: MICHAEL KEANE (up from #8 last time; also has A METAPHYSICAL STAR from Burnley ranking on 15-Jun-2017) – Another son of Erin choosing to, tragically, rep the sassanach. Keane was especially shitty on this tip as he worked his heritage at the youth level until he got noticed by the English setup. I got no problem with switching allegiances if you was to do it in reverse—say you’re an English-born dude of Irish heritage who enters the Three Lions setup at youth level, but then it becomes apparent you ain’t never getting that senior call-up and you decide to pull on the green. I think there’s a number of dudes that are 30 years old, bouncing around the Championship, obviously ain’t never going to get that English senior call-up, while Jamaica, or Northern Ireland, or idk, Lesotho (because your white missionary mom squeezed you out while your parents were stationed there) are beating your door down for you to play, and yet you down answer. And this is stupid, because you might as well rep somebody. But also don’t tease your colonized ancestors by hedging your bets like Mike here. Keane has a twin brother that plays as a striker, and he did it right by turning out for England until he saw the writing on the wall and has now declared for Ireland—obviously I hope he completely punks-pumps Mikey, scoring a winning goal in a competitive international match….or at least whacks the ball of his Queen Lizzie-loving brother’s nuts at a free kick. [Paul]

#3: GYLFI SIGURDSSON (up from #10 last time) – Gylfi occupies that #10 jersey for Everton, and occupies it well. Last season he stepped even more into full force role as goal-scoring technician. As a Swansea City man, I have wonderfully fond memories of Gylfi being the lone light of hope during a dark period of turmoil and impending doom. Swansea City’s earlier successes at maintaining Premier League status owed a lot to Gylfi, and his native Iceland’s golden generation of a national team is anchored by him as well. Iceland made their World Cup debut in 2018, and were a crowd favorite, due to the stupid Viking clap thing (worse than vuvuzelas in my opinion, and if you think otherwise, you are a Eurocentric racialist). More than just group stage was hoped for by them, after their shocking run to the quarterfinals of Euro 2016. The metaphysics of football is that these forces ebb and flow, and come like slow waves across the length of an ocean of time, which have more power to destroy the sand castles built by momentary wealth upon the shores of organized club (and national team) football. Gylfi has been a huge energy behind Iceland’s upward surge. Upon first arriving at Everton, he was to be part of a larger movement by entire club towards actually staking out a claim as equal to the lowest parts of the Big Six. But somehow, as he arrives at age 30, it seems to be a return to the same fate he had at Swansea City – a solitary spirit warrior imbued with great calculating savvy and assimilated Viking DNA, attempting to force the trajectory of a club mired in failure demonry. How many spirit warriors does it take to slay longstanding failure demons? Can a single, clean-faced, Viking spirit do it in this day and age? It does not appear to be so. My advice would be to add an African defensive midfielder, a Balkan goalkeeper, and a striker who can play during sub minutes with some sort of melanin-heavy heritage who has frosted the tips of his hair in honor of the gold that can be achieved once failure demons have truly been vanquished. [Raven]

#4: IDRISSA GUEYE (down from #2 last time) – In his prime, Idrissa Gueye has come a long way from Senegal to be one of Everton’s most important spirit warriors. He’s important in a couple of ways. First, his sheer skill and tenacity as a defensive midfielder is critical to Everton not slipping even further into Premier League mediocrity, which shows through in his routine appearance among the league’s best when it comes to the most tackles and takeaways every season. And second, he’s been at the top before, winning a Ligue One crown with Lille, where he spent his formative years before hopping over to Aston Villa and then to Everton after Aston Villa crashed and burned out of the Premiere League. And, of course, you can never discount a dude who got his start playing in African football because a dude like that has seen things, more important he’s lived things that your average English wanker hasn’t seen or lived. His psychic energies are essential to Everton. [Neil]

#5: SEAMUS COLEMAN (up from #14 last time) – One of my Football Manager old war horses. Though he’s went about it quietly, probably the best footballer the Republic of Ireland has produced from the post-Roy Keane generation. Props for surviving Neil Taylor’s absolute doing of his leg in a 2017 World Cup qualifier—seriously, it’s not many players that come back from getting wrecked like that. To be honest, I’ve always been saddened that Coleman has such a long connection to Everton, a club that I straight up hate for reasons I don’t completely understand. Could be just as simple as that royal blue “mark of the beast” color (Duke, Rangers, Chelsea). Could be that my Liverpool sympathies are deeper than I realize. Could be that I read something about a Everton connections to Orangeism. I also feel bad for him being named Seamus—which, like Declan or Aoife, is a solid enough Christian name in an island of Ireland context, but once again privileged American white-ass suburbanites with enough supposed cultural sophistication to be dangerous/extra insufferable have ruined. And there’s also that walking Elmer’s Glue white and Manic Panic Vampire Red wrestler dude running around loose, too. [Paul]

#6: LUCAS DIGNE – A French dude who plays for Everton… I can’t imagine this is a guy I’m gonna feel good about. I do remember when off-season started there was some dumb twitter clip of him scoring a goal from a sitting on the bench position while he was practicing. I bet his agent leaked it. He looked like an asshole. [Raven]

#7: KURT ZOUMA (previously ranked #8 for Stoke City on 01-May-2018) – Zouma is a Chelsea starlet not quite ready for the Chelsea spotlight, so he spent season before last on season-long loan to Stoke, and last season with Everton. Andre Gomes (seen further down this list) was also a season-long loan with Everton last season, and when he recently signed a permanent transfer from Barcelona, he sent messages of hope to Zouma wishing he’d do the same. And Everton appears interested in negotiating just such a move. This all seems silly to me though because the fucking Toffees only finished 8th last season, and even that was no dominant effort that appears poised to challenge for Europa League qualification. I mean, you can’t really differentiate them from Leicester City, Watford, and West Ham United in terms of quality. It ebbs and flows. So to sink all this money on guys who you had last year, on loan, who were playing for either more prominence with their parent club or enough notoriety to get a permanent move somewhere else, AND they’re all a year older… how the fuck is this gonna be any better? I guess Everton is buying into the Marco Silva genius theory, that in his second full season at Goodison Park is going to result in greater than ever things. But Silva’s PL record (between Everton, Watford before that, and a brief window with Hull City to finish their 2017 relegation effort) is only 33-18-39. I mean I guess that’s pretty good for a non-Big Six manager, but isn’t the whole purpose of Everton to pretend it’s equal to the Big Six? Plus, the only job Silva’s had more than a single season was his first with a second-division club in his native Portugal, which he got to the top division, where they overachieved and got to play in the Europa League in 2013. And I guess if Everton seals up Zouma as well, and everything goes lucky, and top four clubs win the FA and League Cup, then sure, Everton might make it into the Europa League if they’re lucky. I guess that’s their Marco Silva dreams. [Raven]

#8: DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIS (up from #11 last time) – Got lost researching the history of English double-barreled surnames again, which about halfway through my third wikipedia page I realized I’d done the exact same thing previously for one of these. I’m not really that smart of a guy. [Raven]

#9: RICHARLISON (up from #14 last time) – I remember seeing this dude against Liverpool back when he was with Watford and thinking he was a pain in the ass, and that was before he really blossomed into a potential superstar. He’s already on his way to being too good for Everton and I imagine it’s only a matter before he’s on to bigger and better things. I mean, he’s already routinely subbing for Roberto Firmino on the Brazilian national team, he’s a Nike poster boy and a 22 year old playing on a £50 million transfer fee isn’t long for the Premier League mid-tier. But for now, he’s Everton’s, and is probably their best hope at making a move up the table. At least until someone steals him, but shit that’s life in the big city, baby. [Neil]

#10: THEO WALCOTT (up from #17 last time; also previously ranked #23 for Arsenal on 15-Sep-2018) – A young Theo Walcott was the hope for Arsenal’s future for a thousand years straight, never equaling the glory that had been expected of him. Finally he was unleashed to exist at his true level with Everton, becoming their standard big fish in a small pond (unless they have an actual big fish like Romelu Lukaku, who then get sold to actual big ponds, even though it’s all actually cities not ponds, forgive my metaphorical digressions) who now gets to the hope for Everton’s future as he ages gracefully into his 30s, probably good for chipping in a handful of goals a season even as his trademark speed deteriorates. But in the end, his obituary will always speak of his potential, not his actualizations, which is about as perfectly Everton as it can get. [Raven]

#11: BERNARD – The Brazilian winger made a name for himself playing for Shakhtar Donestk where he helped win three Ukrainian Premiere League titles and found himself counted as one of the best young Brazilian footballers in the world, but success in the Ukraine is one thing for a fast rising and fast living Brazilian, success in England quite another as shown by his shaky debut season with Everton. Still, he’s young, Brazilian and has probably fucked a thousand and one models so he’s still got plenty of spiritual upside. He’s pretty tiny at only 5’5” which has led to some saying he’s too small for the rougher Premiere League but that is all vaguely racist talk from fat English journalists who never grew up in big city Brazil or spent years doing god only knows what in the Ukraine. As a general rule, you can never have too many Brazilians when it comes to stockpiling psychic energies. Sure, you might end up with a locker room ankle deep in pussy juice and STD’s but that is all just part of winning. [Neil]

#12: TOM DAVIES (down from #7 last time) – Davies is still a baby, only 21, and was born in Liverpool, and spent his youth academy years with Everton, so he’s as homegrown a boy as you can have. About a year ago, in a League Cup match, he also became the youngest ever player to captain Everton. His appearances and minutes in Premier League matches were halved last season from the previous one, but the hopes is he’ll develop into earning more time this season, as opposed to hitting the glass ceiling homegrown talents often hit where they’re good, but not great enough to take the place of foreign talents transferred in TO TAKE THESE PRECIOUS ENGLISH JOBS IN THE MIDFIELD! [Raven]

#13: ANDRE GOMES – The talented midfielder was a season-long loanee from Barcelona last season, which means he was football illuminati as a young player. The loaning of a potentially great player who is not quite up-to-snuff to make it at one of the greatest football rosters on Earth is such a wonderful con move by the larger clubs, because of course Gomes performed well for Everton, whose supporter base and star players, like Sigurdsson, would like to believe they are on equal footing as a worldwide great. So the club is sort of forced to make a permanent move for Gomes, which they just did, to ensure they are on-par with their perceived destiny. Of course they’re not, and if Gomes actually does end up being as great as his potential possesses, he’ll move on to bigger things than Everton. I’ve often wished there was a migration chart of from and to whom players were loaned in world football, because such a data chart would determine the actual pecking order of clubs, with real data, in my opinion. It’s too much work for a poet-philosopher like me to do. The fucking spreadsheet for these 25-man rosters is already pushing the limit for me thinking “holy fuck, what have I wrought unto my life?” already. [Raven]

#14: MORGAN SCHNEIDERLIN (down from #5 last time) – There was a time when Morgan Schneiderlin was a dude destined for big things after killing it with Southampton big enough that he caught the attention of Manchester United, who bought him with an eye towards becoming a lynchpin of their defensive midfield, but those days seem long ago as he’s steadily gotten worse since being sold off to Everton after a disappointing run with ManU. How bad has it gotten? Well, he never even played from October until February of this past season which his manager said was due to “personal reasons”, which is always an ominous sounding thing, suggesting shit like heavy drug use or troubles with the ladies, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him sold to an even shittier situation which I doubt would help with the drug problem or the ho problem, but to be fair that is just idle speculation on my part. Still, that is not the sort of psychic energy you want hanging around your club, unless of course you want to come play for me, I have no problem with massive drug use or questionable women. But fancy English folks think they’re above that shit and that is a sort of dissonance that’s hard to overcome. Maybe he’s just too good for England, or maybe England is too bad for him. I don’t know. Or maybe he just isn’t as good as people thought he was. I mean, I get it, I can relate to disappointing everyone who have unrealistic expectations of you. You just gotta hold on and readjust and become okay with who you are, and if that’s still not good enough, fuck ‘em. [Neil]

#15: JONJOE KENNY (same as last time) – I dislike all Jonjoe’s, regardless of how they spell it. This will never change. I have never met a “Jonjoe” in real life but I carry with me at all times a small pocketknife, and keep a kukri machete in my vehicle, as well as in the coat closet of my home, all of these items kept at the ready in case I ever do meet a real life “Jonjoe”. All Jonjoe’s are trash. Anybody with even the most basic common sense knows this already. [Raven]

#16: CENK TOSUN (up from #21 last time) – In the Venn diagram of shit Raven Mack the dirtgod is gonna appreciate, a doe-eyed Turkish striker who came of prominence playing for antifa-supported Besitkas is gonna land square in the middle of that diagram. Add in the fact Tosun abandoned conventional football numerology to play as #23 for Besitkas because he loved Michael Jordan, and I’m even more bout it bout it. Ultimately, more than any “grassroots effort” to involved the poors, or Target building more “soccer play spaces” in inner-cities in America, what’s gonna drive the improvement of soccer in America is gonna be when the type of innate toxic masculinity present in all human males that gets channeled into sporting dominance, as exhibitions of that toxic masculinity but in mutually consensual ways, gets translated from basketball to soccer for young American boys. Once kids realize the posterization highlights of sick dunks after a crossover can just as easily be achieved through a bending goal after nutmegging some chump, American soccer will improve to the point we might even be able to call it football without irony. [Raven]

#17: PHIL JAGIELKA (down from #6 last time) – Feels more like a hockey name, to be honest. We shall speak upon Wayne Rooney here in a minute, which was the story of a good footballing dude returning to his boyhood club. Jagielka has a similar story. He came up through Sheffield United as a youth, and helped them achieve promotion to the Premier League all the way back in 2006. But they only last a single season that time, so he transferred to Everton, where he played the past dozen seasons, with almost 400 appearances. With Sheffield United’s return to the Premier League, and Jagielka older than ever plus Everton dumping their elder weight, Jagielka has gone back to Sheffield United, which will be a nice thing, whether he plays a lot or not. [Raven]

#18: LEIGHTON BAINES (down from #4 last time) – Everton’s other fullback has both the name and physical appearance such that I’m just going to think of him as the butler for some Downton Abbey-esque Duke Accrington Mountebatten of AssSuck, Fourth Earl of Dogshite, bowing and scraping as he helps his better into a dinner jacket and powdered lice-infested wig, and agreeing that “yes, my lord, those hindoo monkeys are a vexatious lot”.  Seems Everton hooked Bainsey up with a late-career one year contract extension, probably as a reward of sorts than in any expectation of on-field contribution. It looks like he’s had a statistically impressive career, but again, Everton, so I don’t really give a fuck. [Paul]

#19: WAYNE ROONEY (down from #9 last time) – Wayne Rooney has been showboating for DC United the past year-plus, and DC United is the closest MLS club to where I exist as a human, and it always reminds me of how performative and unimportant MLS actually is, being a corporate creation to justify getting the 1994 World Cup. I guess I tacitly identity performatively, but then when a guy I think so little of like Rooney shows up, I pretend to not like it. But then I laugh when he does good for them, and feel a little joy, but not much. Any time I’ve found myself riding the DC Metro around the time of a match, and there’s a bunch of super-white suburban dudes and their kids in DC United gear riding up to the match, it makes me feel gross. These are not my people at all. Soccer in America is not a game of the people, at least not yet. And then there’s a branch of the idiotic American Outlaws supporters group called DC Outlaws, and fuck man it’s all so ridiculously cosplay. Anyways, Wayne Rooney’s legacy as Everton fan having a swan song in England with his boyhood faves has new been supplanted by another swan song in America. We are the last stop for famous names to collect a fat check after relevance, at least for Europeans. South Americans have to go to China because we are also for the most part racist. Which is why everyone loves Rooney here. [Raven]

#20: YERRY MINA – Mina is only 24, but has already made a name for himself as a Colombian star defender. The story of homegrown South American players is usually pre-Europe and post-Europe, and 2018 was the year of Yerry breaking out. He transferred to Barcelona in January of last year, becoming the first Colombian to play for Barca. During the World Cup in Russia, he set an all-time record for defenders by scoring 3 goals, which in fact was half of their goal total. Their knockout match with England, he actually scored the equalizer in second half injury time, saving the hopes of Colombians everywhere. It was a clutch fuckin’ goal too, which ended up not being enough because England won on penalties after extra time, but it put him on the English radar, and he signed with Everton before the start of last season. He’s got a high trajectory still, so the Toffees should enjoy him while they can. [Raven]

#21: MASON HOLGATE (down from #13 last time) – Sounds like the type of guy that would play for Duke University basketball here in America, so I automatically disdained him to the 69th power. I googled holmes though, and he is of part-Jamaican descent, which went against my name-based stereotyping of him. I still refuse to accept him as a decent being of spirit warrior value, because he is immersed in Evertonian gear, as a young adult, and unless I know how much ginger brew (and how strong the ginger is) and goat meat he’s consuming, I can’t make a change on my initial stereotyping of him as weak. Although I guess I have a cousin I love whose only kid is named Mason as well, which is a family surname, so you’d think I’d go easier on it. But nah, my blood family is toxic, and of course that means to a certain extent I’m toxic too, so I don’t give a fuck. [Raven]

#22: ADEMOLA LOOKMAN – This young dude is meant for bigger things, but for now he’s just a kid who hasn’t quite broken through yet. He’s made a little bit of noise with smaller clubs like Charlton and had a nice if short run with RB Leipzig when he was out on loan, but Everton hasn’t really given him a shot yet. That’s all fine when you’re only 21, but he’s either got to make a move soon or risk being sent into oblivion, which is a tenuous place to be psychically. Also, it’s always troubling when a dude like this spurns his roots, as his parents are both Nigerian and yet he has chosen to rep England in international play, but then again, he was born and raised in England so I suppose we can’t hold that against him. Still, he has a lot to prove, and his own fate may be tied to Everton’s, who need good young dudes like him to boost them back up the table. I don’t know what the future holds for young Ademola Lookman, I just hope that it is a good one, less for Everton’s psychic destiny because fuck them, and more because I want to see young dudes like him succeed. So, do it for me Ademola, do it for yourself, and hopefully you become too good for Everton. [Neil]

#23: CUCO MARTINA (down from #12 last time) – Solid enough right back who to be honest only made this list because of the Seamus Coleman’s aforementioned shattered and desecrated leg. Cuco gets credit for doing that international rep thing right—born in Netherlands but choosing to come out for tiny-ass CONCACAF Curacao, even serving as team captain. Seems they even put the shitty USMNT through the damn wringer here recently (and man, any time one of the Caribbean teams wreck the US, I am happy as fuck). After a loan back to the Netherlands last season, Cuco’s back at Everton for the final year of his contract, possibly as cover for Coleman, unless the Toffees move for this Arias dude from Atletico (fuck them too, their shorts are royal blue) and the chatter seems to indicate that they want our dude here gone—back to the Netherlands, or maybe after working over US players on international duty, some MLS club wants him. [Paul]

#24: ASHLEY WILLIAMS (down from #3 last time) – When I first got into Premier League, jumping in as Swansea City fan, Ash was the anchor of that defensive line. But he started getting older and slower, so the fact they were able to cash him out to Everton seemed like a good move. I hadn’t kept up with him this past season but it looks like he got loaned down to Stoke City, and then got released by Everton after last season ended. There were rumors of offers to play in America or China, but it’s hard to believe Ashley Williams is famous enough for all that. Seems like he should be able to land on a lower-level Championship club, and ride out any Wales run towards Euro 2020 next summer, and then fade into retirement. He’s captain of the Welsh national team still, and you gotta figure he’s trying to hold onto finishing whatever happens with them for Euro 2020. [Raven]

#25: OUMAR NIASSE (down from #22 last time; also previously ranked #18 for Cardiff City on 15-Apr-2019) – FYI, African Cup of Nations has been ongoing the past few weeks, and it’s one of my favorite events. There’s a strange post-colonial colonialism aspect to the world’s football, especially with players claiming African nationality, because many of them were born and/or grew up in Europe, in some post-migratory or post-independence transitory state. People will love an African player, like Salah and Mane for Liverpool for example, without realizing much like material resources of the past, these talents have been extracted from the African continent many years back, and generally speaking it is only during AFCON or World Cup (and the associated qualifying stages) that they physically touch back down on their native continent. Niasse is Senegalese, and the Senegalese team has made it to the finals for the only second time ever with the potential for the first win (they lost the final in 2002). This has added greatness because they are one of the few examples of African national team being coached by a non-European (meaning “white” in our American terms). That means not only does the nation get to celebrate players with their same nationality, but the manager represents that as well. At one point, both Oumar Niasse and Idrissa Gueye were Evertonian representatives on the Senegalese team, but Niasse was not on their AFCON roster, and in fact hasn’t appeared for them in over a year. His presence at Everton has been stalled too, having been loaned to Hull City the first half of 2017. He came back and appeared sparingly last fall, but was loaned out again, this time to Cardiff City the second half of last season. He likely will be released again in some sort of transfer or loan capacity, which is sad because Oumar Niasse is the rare example of somebody who actually began their pro career in Africa proper, playing in Senegal less than a decade ago, and working his way up through the European domestic levels (Norway, to Turkey, to Russia, where he made enough splash to make it to the Premier League). The metaphysical journey of a man from streets of Ouakam (not even one of the 10 largest cities in Senegal) on through Scandinavia then the strange smashing of cultures that is the Turkish Superlig, with a stint in notoriously racialist Russian leagues, playing in Moscow, all before even landing at Merseyside… it’s one of those incredible human journeys that no sport allows for quite like the world’s football. But it appears to have peaked for Niasse, who now will begin the downside of his pro career. And yet, a man can find solid footing on that downward trajectory as well, perhaps he’ll land back in Turkey, where many African strikers advancing in age make a late career flourish for themselves. Niasse is not yet 30, thus the same age roughly as Gylfi Sigurdsson, but both their paths and futures appear to be going in opposite directions, which is signifier of that deeper metaphysics we hint at with these lists, where the economic dominance of the European continent affects so many lives which make up this culture of football, to where a small island nation can have its core golden generation based one quick flight from Reykjavik, across their home continent, while Senegalese men – often having no physical life in that nation due to the chaos and diaspora that colonialism manufactured as well as refined sugar and tantalum capacitators for smart phones from conflict coltan – ply their athletic trade in far-flung places which appear not far-flung to the majority of us consuming this sport in nations of affluence, but to a kid who grew up in Ouakam… it’s not natural. And I doubt any Toffee supporters give half a fuck about Niasse either; he has become a useless human resource to the unforgiving beast that is sports identity for the idle consumer. [Raven]

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