Relegation can create the most horrible feeling in sports. It can also create the most beautiful moments.
It doesn’t get much better than watching a club, playing at home, secure survival against all odds. On Saturday, we saw Stuttgart stay in the Bundesliga thanks to a 92nd-minute goal on the final day of the season. On Thursday, it was Everton’s turn.
The Toffees went into Thursday’s game against Crystal Palace knowing a win ensured they’d remain in the Premier League next season. The club has never been relegated from the Prem, but Frank Lampard’s side has teetered incredibly close to the drop zone all year. Anything other than a win would mean Everton might need to get something out of the season finale on Sunday at Arsenal, a team fighting to return to the Champions League.
It didn’t start well for Everton. Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew scored to give Palace a 2-0 lead at halftime.
It looked bleak for the Toffees, real bleak. America’s most famous Everton fan, Men In Blazers host Roger Bennett, was in despair.
Football has given me some of the sweetest memories in my life. Right now I could not hate it more— roger bennett (@rogbennett) May 19, 2022
Then Michael Keane gave Everton a lifeline in the 54th minute. Richarlison scored a scrappy equalizer in the 75th.
In the 85th minute, with Goodison Park rocking, Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the goal that shook Merseyside.
SCENES AT GOODISON PARK! #EVECRY pic.twitter.com/gukdG4i57x— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 19, 2022
Dozens of fans ran onto the pitch despite the fact there were still at least five minutes to play. Who can blame them? The emotions were so incredibly high at that moment.
My favorite reaction, however, came from Bennett. Who claims to have pooped his pants. (He probably did not poop his pants.)
Roger Bennett Reaction To Everton Winner
Only watch if you want to see Grown Man Crap Own Pants pic.twitter.com/xGEBmIJNTj— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) May 19, 2022
Enough to make a grown man cry. A beautiful moment, and one you’ll never see in American sports because there is no relegation.
When the final whistle blew and Everton escaped the dark claws of relegation, the supporters streamed onto the pitch. Fans storming the field used to only be seen in college basketball and football, but it’s become a regular occurrence now in Europe after Stuttgart and Nottingham Forest fans did so in the last few days.
The escape is complete!Everton have achieved Premier League safety after coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
Look at the post-match scenes! #EVECRY pic.twitter.com/m0LagfNPa6
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 19, 2022
Hear Dom ROARRRRRR pic.twitter.com/u6d80eEIG6— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) May 19, 2022
I’m sure naysayers will complain about player and fan safety, but honestly, don’t knock it until you try it. Speaking from experience, storming the pitch, court or field is a perfect way to cap a night of intense passion with unbridled ecstasy.
And it beats crapping your pants.
By the way. I heard from more people in last 10 minutes than when family members have died— roger bennett (@rogbennett) May 19, 2022