Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Our day at Goodison - if only people would sit down!

We set out on the road with high expectations for the visit to Goodison Park. Stephen and I had been up in Liverpool earlier in the season for the Capital One Cup match but this time we would not be staying over so it was a mad drive up, see the game and a dash back all in one day! I knew I would get to know the motorways pretty well. 
Kirkdale at last.
We started at 7pm which is probably later than some of the Bournemouth fans on the south coast with our first stop turning out to be the services at Oxford on the M40 as top journalist Cherry Chimes had forgotten to pack his notebook! I did not get the pad that I wanted though and so after a quick break we drove on and I thought I'd have to see what I could find in the way of paper later on in the day.

It was only after passing Birmingham at 10.30 that we had another stop off at the Stafford services on the M6. It was good that we rested up there as when we got back in the car a hail storm started to pelt us and the weather closed in. The last 25 miles of the M62 before the turn off for the M57 were set at a painful 50mph as the road widening scheme was in full flow.

Having made it to Liverpool at 12.00pm, operation park and find notepad became a bit more urgent as well as finding somewhere to eat. I had already scouted the best parking places and while I motored around Walton Village I decided that with my well emblazoned AFCB car it would be best to pay the £5 to park at the Walton Sports Centre and still have a car to return to later. That sorted, we walked on down towards Goodison and started taking photos. We had a quick look in the Everton FC Shop where we saw Big Rich and Adrian who both sell MatchDay programmes at Dean Court. 

Then it was a food stop as a fast food chain. We had been stopping at every newsagent on the way down but none of them seemed to sell notepads, not even a Post Office. Eventually after eating from food we did find an Echo newsagent and while there were no pads on display the seller did come back with a pad from out the back and our problems were over.
Friendly Everton fans are pleased to talk and share the day with away fans.
The crowds were filling the streets now and we were approached by a lady who asked for some change for a phone call. I managed to find a £1 and handed it over only for her to say she wouldn't put as much as that in a phone box. So I hastily delved into the pocket again and replaced the £1 with a 50p. Stephen laughed, but I am not sure the lady saw the funny side of it as I switched the coins and headed off sharpish. By the way, if you are worried about our finances eagle eyed Stephen found £1.50 on the streets of Kirkdale - maybe money comes to those who give?
Get your Everton gear here.
Stephen and I headed back to Goodison next and we bought a programme before being asked by a Bournemouth Echo photographer in Goodison Road for our photo which we duly provided, scarves waving and happy faces. We then interviewed two Everton fans who were just finishing off their fish and chips. I picked on them as the young lad called Cameron had a splendid white and blue Everton jester hat on and I thought they were a good father and son combination to talk to. Cameron did not say much but I liked his pessimistic view of his team with his score prediction of a 0-4 win for AFCB!

Mark and Cameron discuss Everton with Cherry Chimes.
The Everton fans were very friendly and some of them saw me getting out our tickets to see where we needed to head to. They were quick to tell us the quickest direction to go and we headed off to the Bullens Road Lower Tier stand. Having seen our entrance though we had one last walk around to the fan park by the corner of the Park End stand where two AFCB fans were getting grilled on their preferences for AFCB's team selection. 
We even said hello to the local constabulary who happily took a Cherry Chimes card.
Lots of red and black shirts were about.
A historic club and it all started in 1878.
We knew the stadium was old and had a lot of character and it was good to see some of the history of the club around all four sides of the ground. The turnstiles had electronic ticket reading and we were soon in side to be directed to our seats right near the corner post. I have to admit the view was not great for the far end of the ground but at least they had two big screens up which we found would show live coverage of the game. It was just as well too as while we had selected the lower tier hoping that we could sit down to watch the game only the fans to our right did that while many tall adults stood in front of us and gave us no view if we chose to sit. It is something that really angers me as young kids, and us fans that are a little shot, just can't see if people stand and we have paid for a seat and there is not supposed to be any standing. When we tried to sit down no one else would around us, so we had no choice. Stephen chose to stand for a bit then rest and watch the big screen at times - it spoiled a lot of the enjoyment for him. I imagine it is the same for may young fans who go to away games. Perhaps some of you who like to stand should consider that next time you think it is fun to stand and ignore the announcements asking you to sit in the seat provided?

There were plenty of kids around us but they all had trouble
seeing the game. It's selfish not to sit down when asked to help others see.

Scoreboard watching.
Right, moan over. We still had a better view than some who probably had a white pillar to peer around for 90 minutes. The game was fairly even and although Everton's fans were not getting behind their side much they certainly bellowed out their support when they went 1-0 up. It was quite a subdued atmosphere when Marc Pugh equalised though. I was so pleased as usually AFCB melt when they go a goal down early on. This match would be different I felt. 

I was busily scribbling away my match notes which was causing interest among some of those in front me so I ended up passing out quite a few Cherry Chimes cards which was greeted with beaming faces. Sadly it did not mean they would help me get a better view by asking everyone to sit down but I could stretch to look between shoulders most of the time.
The players wore the Truth and Justice for the 96 T-shirts. I almost
 caught one but a lady in front of me was first to it.
A tribute to the 96.
It is going to be a few nervous days for Roberto Martinez.
It wasn't long though before I was looking straight up to the skies though as the first flyby of a banner telling Roberto that it was time to go went past, and again, and again etc. I think he might have got the message and the Everton board as well. In the ground I did not see that many signs but the flatness of the Everton fans said it all. 

As it was, they were about to get their fifth home win of the season. A good run up the right wing ended with Tom Cleverly not quite able to finish the move but Leighton Baines was on hand to sink our hearts. Half chance misses from Benik Afobe and Callum Wilson had proved costly but Tim Howard had not had a hard day at Goodison.
No win but we support our team.
We were left with the walk back to the car which was accompanies by thousands of slightly happier Everton supporters. We managed to get out fairly quickly and were soon headed back on the motorway. We reached Redhill by 9pm and even had time for a stop off to get a pizza. It never tastes as good as when you win but maybe next game AFCB will get three points to make our day a bit better. 

A big thanks to the Everton fans. They helped make it an exceptional day.

Premier Talk: congratulations Leicester! Chelsea deliver the title to Ranieri's boys!

The Back of the Net podcast is out today. Visit the website to see how to listen in to Episode 10: Goosbumps.


  1. Glad you enjoyed your trip overall, shame you have to endorse the stereotype and mention about your car

  2. As a life long Everton fan sitting in Upper Bullens Stand across from you all,I'm glad you enjoyed your day At Goodison,despite us winning,please come back next year,it is a great read,this story of your day out.

  3. Pete The Paddock3 May 2016 at 13:41

    Ditto re above. It's great to see away fans enjoying our hospitality. You're always welcome on matchdays in the St Hilda's pub on Walton Lane. They've got parking too.