Landon Donovan's Everton Love Affair: From the MLS to the EPL
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Love…the strongest human emotion that could make even the most hardened New York investment banker sing his heart out on karaoke night, warbling on about his love of money and his latest 21-year-old, gold-digging girlfriend.
The Beatles were also not afraid to voice their opinion that “Love is all you need,” so hands up everybody who is in love right now.
Among the millions of hands being raised are those of a young man from Los Angeles named Landon Donovan.
So who—or what—is Landon Donovan in love with?
Is it the incredible beaches, delectable mojitos and picturesque scenery that Los Angeles has to offer?
Maybe it is the idea of winning the 2012 MLS Playoff finals with LA Galaxy for the second successive year.
Or is it that his heart appears to belong to an entity from across the Atlantic Ocean?
The entity in question is Everton Football Club.
Now, before LA Galaxy fans start bombarding me with hate mail, allow me to present the evidence to you.
Although Donovan has played for the Premier League side for only two short-term loan periods, the passion emanating from his many interviews and tweets about the club speaks volumes.
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He was only part of the Everton playing staff for four months, but he has been part of the Everton family ever since he set foot inside Goodison Park on that bitterly cold January afternoon in 2010.
Evertonian legend Alan Ball once proclaimed, “Once Everton has touched you, nothing will be the same,” and I believe Landon Donovan has been bitten by the blue bug.
Granted, we don’t get every piece of Landon-related news on this side of the pond, but most interviews that seep into our mainstream media appear to involve him talking about Everton. For a man who hasn’t even completed half a season for the football club, talking so avidly about Everton only shows how smitten he has become.
He also had an instant rapport with the fans. They loved his swashbuckling, all-action style; he is the type of player the supporters fully appreciate. The deafening noise coming from the Goodison Park stands was as wonderful as it was emotional when Landon signed off his first loan spell with a goal against Hull City.
Indeed, even when he scored against England for the USA in World Cup 2010, many Evertonians smiled wryly; he was now part of their family.
Donovan has spoken about how much he appreciated everybody at Everton for making him feel so welcome and how he will never forget that feeling of warmth and togetherness.
Well, Landon, Evertonians will never forget you, either.
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Donovan conceded Everton "was a fling that grew into a full-blown affair" but insisted he needs some time to think over his future in football before committing to a move.
Travelling appears to be of interest to him, but if you’re reading this, Landon, I am a well-travelled man, and trust me: A Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan doesn’t even come close to the atmosphere at Goodison Park on Merseyside derby day.
I would rather be surrounded by devout, raucous Everton fans than by lobster-skinned, drunken beach-party revelers in East Asia any day.
He needs to let his heart decide his next chapter. So put down the espadrilles, Jack Johnson CDs and Lonely Planet guides and book a one-way flight to the blue half of Liverpool.
I fully believe Donovan is the perfect fit for an Everton Football Club.
Is Landon Donovan destined to return to Merseyside?
Well, the idiom clearly states that “three times is a charm.”
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