El Cazoosico: We demand a bitter rivalry between Everton and Villa

Dave Tickner
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez tries to claim the ball under pressure from Everton players

The Gerrard-Lampard angle surely makes Aston Villa and Everton prime contenders for a confected rivalry? It will if we have anything to do with it.


For some time now I’ve enjoyed the curious, largely online, rivalry that bubbled up between Spurs and Liverpool during the 2010s.

While Liverpool are and were clearly the bigger club, their own relative struggles combined with a spell of relative competence from Spurs and, not insignificantly, the emergence of Manchester City as a huge force threw them together as rivals. Liverpool and Spurs were suddenly both chasing the same thing – a top-four finish and maybe with a bit of luck a doomed title challenge – and targeting the same players.

It lasted a surprisingly long time, too. While most people remember the ‘Does Not Slip’ season for Liverpool’s ultimate failure to end that league hoodoo, real heads remember it as the one season in a nine-year run where the all-conquering Reds actually managed to finish above Spurs. And given Spurs had Tim Sherwood in charge, it also barely counts.

As recently as 2017, Spurs could thrash Liverpool 4-1 and nobody would be all that surprised and, while the clubs have moved in wildly differing directions in recent years, the old rivalry still rumbles on thanks to a never-ending discussion over whether Mo Salah or Harry Kane is the bigger diving cheating scumbag and which one of the two is always called out for it and which one is never called out for it. There will never be consensus on this, and thus the rivalry will exist for as long as social media is there to poison the discourse.

Any concerns that the heat of this entirely silly and confected nonsense might start to cool as their on-field rivalry fades away have been assuaged by the deliciously funny Luis Diaz saga, which is sure to keep the two fanbases drearily antagonising each other online for many years to come. Marvellous.

Anyway, that’s all a very long-winded way to introduce the prospect of confecting another artificial rivalry out of thin air. We want Aston Villa and Everton to absolutely despise each other and won’t rest until it comes to pass.

We want wild conspiracy theories every time one or other gets on the right or wrong end of a contentious VAR call. We want absurd nicknames that make no sense for opposition players. We want it to be impossible for Aston Villa to tweet without the first reply being an Everton fan saying ‘finished club’ and vice versa. We want to watch the world burn.

Everton vs Aston Villa

The ingredients are all there. The best non-local rivalries are born from two clubs have something in common. The Salah/Kane thing is clearly the best example of this from our Spurs-Liverpool case study.

With Everton and Villa, the possibilities here are myriad. Both are grand old traditional clubs with rich and storied if increasingly ancient histories. Both have been pretty ropey for much of the Premier League era but both have had their flirtations with the top four. Both have iconic old stadiums that echo with memories of glory and despair. Both will start next season with similar ambitions.

Most importantly of all, of course, both are sponsored by Cazoo, as second-hand car hawkers become the new Far East gambling firms of Premier League shirt sponsorship. This even gives our fledgling rivalry a name. You can call it El Cazoosico if you’re a complete prick, and we are.

Lucas Digne and Anwar El Ghazi swapping clubs during the January window only reinforces the idea of these two clubs as basically the same. The history is the same, the sponsor is the same, the ground is the same and even the players are the same.

But now of course it has an extra something to push it right over the edge. Now Aston Villa v Everton isn’t just Aston Villa v Everton, which we now realise is also just about the most Sunday 2pm game imaginable, but it’s also Steven Gerrard v Frank Lampard. Now that’s a narrative with a rich history.

Gerrard in direct opposition with Everton means Liverpool fans with their proven track record in this department can help things along with their own vested interest and wild theories and shoulder chips, while the press are sure to get involved given their fondness for repetition and the many, many years of Gerrard-Lampard content they got out of the travails of England’s Golden Generation.

Frustratingly, the two clubs met last month just before Lampard’s arrival in a rare misfire from the prescient and mischievous fixture computer. Villa won the game 1-0 which is a bit partridgeshrug.gif really, but it was marred by a bottle-throwing incident so there’s that.

By this time next year as the battle for eighth place hots up, we expect mild indifference to have exploded into full-blooded mutual loathing and will be disappointed in ourselves and this sport if it hasn’t happened.

And now if you’ll excuse us, we’re just off to have a quiet word with Everton to ask them if they’ve heard what Aston Villa has been saying about them.