February 25, 2024

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Demarai Gray, James Maddison and Robin Koch
If Everton beat Bournemouth, Leicester and Leeds will be relegated, regardless of their results against West Ham and Tottenham respectively

Three into two does not go.

With Southampton already relegated, come 19:00 BST on Sunday, two of Everton, Leeds and Leicester will be contemplating trips to Plymouth, Ipswich and Millwall in the Championship next season, while the survivor will toast a great escape.

So, on the eve of a critical final day of the Premier League season, we asked our fan writers for their heartfelt pleas to their heroes as they battle to stay in the division.

17th – Everton, two points clear of drop zone

Everton fansI’ve started writing this piece countless times before eventually accepting the words that truly express our feelings heading into Sunday.

Overwhelming anxiety and apprehension are the only way to describe our current psychological state.

Asking fellow Evertonians what the club means to them, feelings range from unrelenting affection to relentless misery.

The love for our club is what makes the misery of our current plight so heightened.

The golden years of the 1980s were, quite simply, the pinnacle of our club’s existence.

Since those glittering days there has been a fairly steady decline, including numerous flirtations with relegation. That decline has rapidly accelerated over the past two seasons, as our current boardroom custodians are responsible for what can only be described as complete mismanagement.

Relegation battles are becoming a habit. You can only go so long before the inevitable happens. The ramifications would be vast and, without meaning to sound arrogant, outweigh the impact on both Leeds and Leicester.

It was said this week that if Everton go down, it would be the biggest relegation of the Premier League era. It’s hard to disagree.

Players and staff know by now what this club means to us. They know what we have done for them over the past two seasons as well.

We are loyal, proud and have constantly shown we have the stomach for the fight.

We will be here, whatever the weather, whoever is wearing the shirt and whoever is sitting in the dugout. However, it is time to cash in some of our adoration. We need some payback.

Quite simply, it’s do or die. It’s fight or flight. It’s win at all costs.

If we get relegated this weekend, I will be sad, but let’s remember what this club has gone through over the past 10 years.

Things some clubs can only dream of.

My son is too young to remember the dark days of Frank McLintock, Peter Taylor, La Manga scandals, going bust and dropping to the third tier.

But what we have shared is the 2013-14 record-breaking promotion season, eight-hour return journeys to home matches and then the ‘Great Escape’ – accidentally winning the Premier League when you are trying to avoid relegation.

Plus, Andrea Bocelli singing Nessun Dorma, big Wes lifting the trophy, the Champions League theme as your team walk out for a quarter-final, finally lifting the FA Cup at the fifth attempt and crying in each other’s arms, and then seeing your team lift a trophy live at Wembley as we won the Community Shield.

Whatever happens on Sunday, I will wake up Monday morning and thank Vichai (RIP) and Top for those memories. We have been blessed and will be back next season, wherever that is, to do it all over again.

Keep the faith.

If this current Leeds United squad have been waiting for a sign, then here it is.

One final 90 minutes – the May sun shining on them like a spotlight – Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road. A game that to players and owners is worth millions, but to supporters is worth far more.

This is Rocky in the final round, Churchill on the beaches. Who will answer the call to be a hero?

Leeds’ fate might have already been sealed but there is still some hope, no matter how small – unbelievably, and against form and reason – that these players can finally find the fight to rescue their club and salvage some pride.

Leeds fans are not unforgiving if you fight. This is the city of ‘Tubthumping’, we all get knocked down. But it’s time for these players to get back up and fight.

Even if they cannot be motivated by the city, the manager, the fans, or their own bank accounts, they must have some pride to cling to.

Because even after the season we have had, show a little passion and the Elland Road crowd will respond with an almighty deafening roar.

If the players make the crowd believe, this Leeds crowd can carry this team to stay in this league.

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