Everton players and manager sent blunt message as supporters make fresh rallying call

Everton supporters are being urged to play their part once again in a season-defining match.

Blues have dragged the team through two relegation fights already, pushing beyond the frustration of recent years to deliver in the stands when the team has needed it.

Ahead of the latest huge game for the club, influential fan group the 1878s has issued a rallying call on the eve of the tie with fellow survival fighters Nottingham Forest. Following the 6-0 defeat at Chelsea, the organisation declared: “No one wins by staying down on the canvas, they only win when they get back up and fight.”

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The words come with the club at another low ebb after the humiliation at Stamford Bridge, a chastening result in a game Everton entered with genuine hopes of a positive result. With the pressure now on the club’s home form ahead of three games at Goodison Park in a week, attention has returned to what supporters can do to inspire those on the pitch.

The 1878s have spent this week curating plans for Sunday’s match, organising displays and urging fans to do what they can. Flags have been laid out across the Gwladys Street and supporters are being urged to bring their own to create an emphatic display when the players step out from the tunnel. Supporters are being urged to wear blue and to continue to sing Forever Everton into the start of the match, rather than halting for kick-off.

The plans are part of the latest efforts to galvanise a team that is struggling to confirm its top-flight status. The work of groups like the 1878s came to the fore in the survival campaign under Frank Lampard two years ago, when intense coach welcomes fostered unity between the stands and dressing room that helped Everton avoid relegation. Similar efforts followed last year and are again deemed necessary - though this season the relegation threat has been heavily influenced by the deduction of eight points for off-the-pitch matters.

Explaining their plans, the 1878s wrote on social media: “This week we are working hard again in our own time and are continuing with our plans for our huge game versus Nottingham Forest. We can’t and won’t tell our fans what to do, we can only encourage ideas. This is the third year running. We know how this all works now and unfortunately we all know the script.

“We will try our best to create a great visual and help lift the mood but this weekend the atmosphere is completely down to the players and manager. As usual we, the fans are not giving up, we never do but there is only so much our fans can do without getting something in return. We need something back from the team and manager. We need something to feed off from the first whistle to the last. Our fans deserve it. Twelve months on our message is simple again….FIGHT FOR US!”

*Please leave all flags on the Gwladys Street under your seat at the end of the game, so that they can be used in future displays