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Dominic Calvert-Lewin accuses TV broadcasters of having 'agenda' against Everton this season

Dominic Calvert-Lewin believes TV broadcasters had an agenda against Everton and were desperate to see the club involved in a relegation fight this season.

For large parts of the campaign, the Blues found themselves struggling to preserve their long, proud top-flight record, as their season was impacted by two separate deductions, totalling eight points, for breaches of profitability and sustainability regulations.

However, after the nerve-shredding drama of the past two seasons, when fingernails were chewed until the final week, in the end, Everton’s campaign played out sedately as they secured their place in next season’s Premier League with three games remaining.

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Following a 6-0 hammering at the hands of Chelsea, the Blues picked up three wins in the space of the week, with the last of those against Brentford, ensuring that Sean Dyche’s side could not be caught by the three clubs in the relegation zone.

And now, speaking to the club’s official matchday programme, Calvert-Lewin has said that he, just like a number of supporters, had a feeling throughout the campaign that TV broadcasters were selecting his side for live coverage as they thought the Blues would once again be battling until the bitter end to stay up.

He said: “I definitely feel a responsibility to fight this club’s corner. I lead the line for Everton Football Club and that’s a responsibility I never have and never will take lightly.

“Of course, that’s in your mind on the pitch, but also off the pitch. If I’m asked questions about something, I know there is a duty to represent the club properly and stand up for us when necessary.

“It felt like there was an agenda against us in terms of broadcasters putting all of our games on TV in the hope we’d be in the thick of a relegation scrap.

“It felt like they tried to build their own narrative, but we built our own and completely flipped the script with three wins in six days.

“Then, in terms of the derby win, we put that one to bed, having not won one at Goodison for a while. We are creating new narratives, new history. It’s on us.”

Calvert-Lewin, who the ECHO understands is a potential target for Newcastle United as they seek to strengthen over the summer, played a key role in his side being able to secure top-flight status before the end of May. His goal against Liverpool in the 2-0 victory was the most notable contribution.

The England international has been hampered by a litany of injuries over the past two years, but his form towards the end of last season was a reminder of his hunger and ruthlessness. And during the bad times, both for him personally and for his side, over the past couple of years, he never lost sight of the pressure that comes with wearing Everton's iconic No.9 jersey.

“I think [the No.9 shirt] brings something with it,” he said. “When the going gets tough, it’s tough – don’t get me wrong. It’s a tough load to carry.

“On the flip side, when it’s going well, there’s no feeling like it. Look at now, scoring four in five and you’ve got the fans singing your name… there’s nothing better.

“People talk about the importance of embodying the spirit of the club and I feel like, naturally, I have done that over the years – knowing how much it means to people. I understand it.

“Honestly, in the toughest moments, I’ve looked at the Gwladys Street and I’ve been criticised and you feel the rage but then, on the other side of it, I’ve seen the pure elation it brings – people who have worked hard all week to come and watch us play, to hopefully watch me score goals. That’s huge.

“Criticism is part of the job and I can deal with that, but to give them that feeling of joy and give them that release is a huge thing. I’m getting the same thing from it. I’ve not worked all week to not get that buzz on the weekend.

“Because I take so much pride in this role and wearing Everton’s No.9 shirt, there have been times where I’ve been as equally angry as them. I don’t mind being open about that, because I feel the same as everyone else feels through the highs and the lows. I’m only human.

“But I’m mature and experienced enough now to see the criticism for what it is and it’s from people who just care deeply. When I was a bit younger, perhaps not as much, and I’d take it more personally, but you have to go through things to gain perspectives.

“Ultimately, fans want to look on the pitch and see a reflection of themselves – they want to see players giving everything and, in my case, scoring goals. It’s part of the role – people look to me to produce big moments and to win games. I love that. I love that ‘He’s done the business for us’, kind of feeling. When there’s a situation where it’s a, ‘Who’s going to produce for us?’, that’s what I live for.”