Everton’s season, despite how much progress they have made on the pitch, has unfortunately been dominated by alternative affairs.
It must be so frustrating for the likes of Sean Dyche and his players to see all their hard work expunged because of years of financial failure, the likes of which occurred long before many of them had even arrived.
As Michael Ball will go on to detail, it represents a unique mental challenge for those stars enlisted to save the Toffees, who are subject to all kinds of distractions.
They could so easily look ahead to an appeal process that could reduce the sentence, thus taking their foot off the gas, and yet some might want to knuckle down and start playing out of their skin.
Everyone reacts differently, but the former Toffees defender has offered a unifying rally cry whilst imploring them to do one thing…
What Michael Ball has told Everton players
Writing for the Liverpool ECHO, as he often does, the 44-year-old suggested he knows all about dealing with upheaval.
‘During my time at Manchester City I played under three different managers and three different owners in three years,’ he noted, before going on to outline how his focus never wavered. ‘I had a job to do.’
So, using his experience, he felt best placed to offer some advice to the Everton players in an even more volatile situation than his.
Ball first sympathised: ‘No-one can predict what will happen – whether the club will get points back or whether the second case announced last week will lead to the situation becoming more difficult.’
Then, he gave his support: ‘The players have bought into what Dyche is doing and they need to continue that. Their drive is simple – to keep themselves and the club in the Premier League. If the players continue to focus, to take pride in what they are doing, then they will get the points they need.’
Everton would be thriving without PSR setbacks
As aforementioned, the outcome of the upcoming appeal could have huge repercussions on the rest of Everton’s season.
After all, at one point they were surging up the table with incredible speed, with those even in European places likely surprised at the royal blue machine that was creeping up behind them.
But, that excitement was to be short-lived, and the ten-point deduction sent them crashing back down to earth in frustrating fashion.
Without that sanction, the Toffees would now sit 12th in the Premier League on 27 points, a lofty 11 points clear of the drop zone.
Ironically enough, they would then be chasing the unlimited riches of Chelsea, who would be a mere four points ahead despite having spent ridiculously freely in recent years. Even Joey Barton outlined his frustration with that notion.
Without these continuous PSR setbacks, Dyche would have his side well clear of the drop and be able to focus on more important things. The only hope is that they can achieve some success in this appeal and move on without this dark cloud looming over Goodison Park.