Bird stopped play at The Hawthorns on Monday night, writes John Foster...
Monday’s Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Everton was briefly halted while players from both teams stopped to watch a seagull circling overhead, its gentle movements through the evening sky a heartbreakingly beautiful reminder of the natural world's wonder.
The seagull appeared above The Hawthorns after 56 minutes with Everton leading 1-0, although the score was rendered temporarily irrelevant by the sheer wonder of watching a living creature glide through the air, as players from both sides raised their eyes to the heavens and marvelled at the sheer insignificance of all human endeavor when set against the miracle of flight.
All 22 players, the coaching staff, and each of the 24,184 spectators in attendance stood silently for approximately four minutes as the bird wheeled around in hypnotic parabolas of watchful abandon before vanishing back into the night, leaving everyone present feeling exulted and profoundly changed by the experience.
“West Brom’s never an easy place to come so it was important we put in a professional performance,” said Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
“But I think I speak for all the lads when I say that the highlight of the game – and perhaps the most important event of the season so far – was when that seagull, illuminated by the floodlights, shifted its wings in the breeze and glided around and around in a magnificent arc, making us all reflect on the preciousness and fragility of life.”
West Bromwich captain Chris Brunt told FourFourTwo that his side deserved a point, but he too preferred to focus on the seagull and its intimations of deeper meaning for all those present.
“Everton asked a lot of questions tonight,” said the Northern Irish midfielder. “But we were asked even more questions by that seagull’s brief yet powerful challenge to our humdrum daily existence.
“Questions like: is all our endless toil in vain? Are we so blind to the majesty around us? Why can’t humans live their lives free of care, like birds?
“It’s just like I’ve always said,” he continued. “At the end of the day, all things hang like a drop of dew upon a blade of grass.”
Everton are expected to rotate their side for Saturday’s FA Cup game against Stevenage, as all 11 players who faced West Brom are reportedly still lost in thought.