Marouane Fellaini has been suspended by the FA for three matches following his headbutting of Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross. What nobody ever realized, until now, is that this singular event was the catalyst for the one of the saddest stories in the history of English football.
The Everton Football Club is a famous and historically significant part of English football, whether you'd like to admit it or not. They may not have the multitude of titles or European successes that other clubs have had, but they are still a legitimate part of the footballing lexicon.
They're the only club to spend over 100 seasons in the top flight of English football (110 as of this season) and have only spent four seasons out of the top flight. Everton was one of the 12 founding members of the English league and have been in the Premier League every season since its creation. Basically, they are historically significant...and that's what makes this story so sad.
I've looked into the magical SB Nation Soccer crystal ball and seen the future, the horrific ramifications that will occur in the wake of Fellaini's headbutt and suspension. Here, presented in an easy to follow timeline form, is the sad and tragic fall of the Everton Football Club. The Fall of the House of Toffee, if you will.
December 17th, 2012: Marouane Fellaini suspended by the FA.
December 22nd, 2012: Everton struggle to a 0-0 draw at West Ham. Fellaini's absence along with fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas prevent Everton from mounting any serious attack.
December 26th, 2012: Everton struggle to a 0-0 against Wigan. See previous match for reason.
December 30th, 2012: Chelsea hammers Everton 6-0. After the match, Rafa Benitez strips nude and does a lap around Goodison Park, making various rude gestures towards Everton supporters. Meanwhile, Roman Abromovich sits quietly out of sight admiring various promotional shots of Fellaini and practicing writing large cheques.
January 30th, 2013: Fellaini has an excellent month, leading Everton to four wins including a glorious defeat of West Brom on this day...it will be his last game for Everton.
January 31st, 2013: Chelsea signs Fellaini for £25m as Bill Kenwright goes on Sky Sports saying the deal was too good to turn down. Kenwright is later seen carrying a giant bag of rubles to a bank known to be holding Everton's debt. David Moyes is seen storming out of Goodison Park and driving away in the night. Kenwright announces later that night that some of the Fellaini money has been re-invested and the club is proud to announce the signing of Robbie Fowler.
February 7th, 2013: After a week of searching and planning, Everton supporters burn down Bill Kenwright's house and cover his car in faeces.
May 19th, 2013: Everton are again destroyed by Chelsea 6-0 with Fellaini netting a hat trick. In celebration, he shaves his trademark afro and then tells the media that he always hated the thing but was doing it to "make those fucking scousers happy".
May 20th, 2013: David Moyes leaves Everton, refusing to sign a new contract. He explains that the board selling Fellaini in January was the final straw and he felt betrayed after a decade-plus of loyal service. Moyes is seen boarding a flight to the Caribbean, presumably to sit on a beach (under an umbrella, he's a ginger after all), sipping fruity beverages with little umbrellas in them until Sir Alex finally decides to retire.
May 21st, 2013: A group of Everton supporters protest outside Goodison Park demanding that the board sell the club to proper owners. Another group of Everton fans get on social media and fights with Liverpool fans who taunt Everton supporters for stealing their tried and tested tactics. Yet another group of Everton fans blame Tim Howard and Landon Donovan and are mocked by Liverpool supporters for "blaming dem Yanks".
July 22nd, 2013: After two months of turmoil, Bill Kenwright, who refused to sell the club, announces that the coaching search has finally come to an end. He calls a press conference for the next day in which the new manager will be unveiled.
July 23rd, 2013: Bill Kenwright introduces Rafa Benitez as the new Everton manager. Benitez again strips off his clothes at the presser and makes various rude gestures towards Everton supporters.
July 24th, 2013: The Everton ticket office is overwhelmed as every single season ticket is returned by angry fans over the appointment of the "Fat Spanish Waiter".
August 10th, 2013: Everton kicks off the 2013/14 season against Chelsea at Goodison Park. Fellaini nets another hat trick as the Blues win 8-0. The entire stadium is filled with Chelsea supporters as Everton fans refuse to attend the match. Rafa Benitez strips nude and runs around the stadium making rude gestures towards Chelsea fans.
May 24th, 2014: Everton lose to Liverpool on the final day of the season and are relegated to the Championship. Rafa Benitez is fired and the remaining core of Everton players are released from their contracts. Everton fans find Bill Kenwright's new home and burn it down.
June 6th, 2014: Everton announce the hiring of Duncan Ferguson as the club's new manager. Fans rejoice and re-buy their season tickets to support the beloved Big Dunc as he tries to return Everton to the Premier League.
June 7th, 2014: Ferguson head butts Bill Kenwright at the press conference announcing his hiring after he finds out the chairman has hired Steffen Freund as the team's technical director.
August 16th, 2014: Everton begins the Championship season having signed the likes of Emile Heskey, Jaime Carragher, David Bentley and Joey Barton in a desperate attempt to win promotion. In their first game against Leeds United, things get ugly as Duncan Ferguson substitutes Joey Barton out in the 66th minute and the two have a fist fight on the touchline.
December 13th, 2014: Everton climb into a playoff spot after an emotional 3-2 win over Blackpool. Heskey is the hero, bagging a hat trick, scoring the third goal in stoppage time. Jaime Carragher scores both of Blackpool's goals on mis-directed back passes.
March 14th, 2015: Everton's joy from December is in shambles after a stunning 4-0 defeat against Crystal Palace. Injuries to Carragher and Heskey in early February began the tailspin. Heskey was injured putting his Rascal scooter in the special trailer attached to his SUV. Carragher suffered severe burns while cooking a pot of scouse.
March 15th, 2015: In a desperate move to save the season, Everton fires Ferguson and hires Tim Cahill as a player/manager. It doesn't help, though Cahill does cheer up the Everton supporters by punching the corner flags after some of their rare late season wins.
May 2nd, 2015: Everton lose in spectacular fashion to Blackburn on the final match day of the season. In the 91st minute, Blackburn's Ryan Giggs scores on a set piece scramble to put the Rovers ahead 2-1. Everton appear to have a stunning equalizer in the 94th minute after the Rovers goalkeeper misplays the ball and can do nothing as it slowly rolls towards the goal. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a chicken wearing a Blackburn flag runs between the ball and the goal. The ball hits the chicken and stops. Referee Michael Jones never sees the chicken and blows the final whistle. The FA deny Everton's appeals and they finish in 22nd place on goal differential. Everton are relegated to League One, never to be heard from again.
In conclusion, the morale of this story is this: Whatever you do Bill Kenwright, DO NOT SELL MAROUANE FELLAINI IN JANUARY.