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ToffeeNet — Nostalgic Memories

An excellent posting to the definitive ToffeeNet Mailing List from Paul Preston that captures the essence of the list's heyday

Where Are They Now?

In a recent ToffeeNet post by my very good friend Paul Tollet, he suggested that my equally very good friend Kenny Fogarty was guilty of blinkered nostalgia in thinking that Toffeenet was better in 'the old days'.  Well, at the risk of sinking deeper into my old git status, I must say that, in my view, it was indeed a lot better.

That might just be because of the surge of joy that I for one, and I imagine all of us, back then, felt as a result of suddenly finding a forum of intelligent (well, relatively, computer-literate, at least) Evertonians in which to discuss things Evertonian.  Especially for the exiles among us, it filled a big hole in our lives.  Now, perhaps, familiarity with e.mail and the internet has worn away that early edge.

I'm thinking back to the time:

  • When Paul Tollet himself was a near neighbour of Michael Kenrick in Seattle;
  • In the days when the Reverend Hairnet and Mrs Gruntfuttuck prowled the earth in search of Travis Furious. 
  • When all three successively came across an ashen-faced Hampsterman at the Nou Camp queuing up to beg Bobby Robson to become manager in succession to Joe Royle. 
  • When, down at the Ballspond Road Cocoa Rooms, Mrs Gruntfuttuck would always find an extra digestive for the Reverend's two favourite altar boys, Kenny Myers and Kenny Fogarty.
  • When postings from Kermit were a joy to behold before he was embittered by Archie Knox.

Then, and even before then, there were occasional flame wars but does my memory play tricks in making me think that it was somehow more high-spirited?  Lyndon - how is Travis Furious these days?

I think back to the days when all posts ended, not with Topica's signature file, but with the altogether more poetic "Fuck off, Lars".  Where are they now?

  • Snakey and Patchie and Scouse?
  • Lars the Norse himself - did he finally grow out of his bluebottle (the East Finchley hero) cocoon and turn into a RS-loving Norwegian adult?
  • What of the budding romance between Linda the Toffeegirl and Joshua the Blue Dildo (surely not?).
  • What happened to the elegant Joe Banerjee, purveyor of wisdom and wonderful interviews with our managers?
  • What happened to Peter Griffiths whom we used to think was a mafioso called Peter Stafagri until we discovered that he worked at Staffordshire Agricultural College?
  • What of Tommy Bluescouse, who unlike Old Mike managed to combine old-git-hood with unquenchable optimism? 
  • What of Lloyd Sloan, who as bodyguard to the players was an endless source of wonderful high-level rumour?
  • What of Jenny Roberts - a scintillating match-report writing talent who lit up our world for a season or two before academe grabbed her? (At least, there are still sightings of Jenny at matches).
  • What of Kevin Hazard, marooned first in Kazakhstan then in Indonesia?
  • Where is Frank Hargreaves, champion of Goodison for Ever, purveyor of that wonderful cookery column (or am I thinking of Evertonia?), the unforgettable recipe for lard salad and the devastating attacks on Lard the Norse?
  • What of Malcolm Dome, a curious oasis of Everton in the land of Kerrang?
  • What of Liz Wyman, the thinking man's Germaine Greer, with the body of Jordan and the mind of Ena Sharples?  Still on this earth, always gracing the Netley on match days, but gone from cyberspace.

Some of the great names are still with us, thank Alex.  It is not, I hope, invidious to mention San Presland, Kenny Myers and Richard Marland, who have often been the only thing that has kept me from unsubscribing. David Catton remains our very own little sunbeam of optimism and good will.  Others are there, I can sense them lurking and occasionally surfacing:

  • Les Anderson, Dave Shepherd, Marko Poutainnen, Osmo Rihl (where is Spinoza now?);
  • Guy McEvoy, whose match reports stand as one of the great memories.
  • John Lloyd and Dave Morris with occasional snippets from Scotland;
  • Mike Royden who exposed the Leeds United loyalties of Ian Ross.
  • Peter Rowlands whose wedding was turned into a kind of cup final by what eventually became the NTAS.
  • Billy Williams, the closet cosmopolitan, the secret of whose encyclopaedic knowledge is safe with me.
  • George Stuart surrounded by distractingly nubile Australian students but still managing to scour the net for tidbits for us.

Along the way, there has been new blood, and very welcome too:

  • Jon Berman came, and thankfully still lurks, and purveyed the highest of high level gossip.
  • Neil Wolstenholme showing with every post that epistemology is not dead.
  • Then Becky Tallentire, a marvellous ever-present, a fount first of gossip then of nostalgia through the Talking Blue enterprises and now helping the same Everton legends that she wrote about.
  • Gary Davies, the smooth Canadian who is not a disk jockey but a distinguished professor of physics.
  • Steve Bickerton, with great match reports, but strangely absent now.
  • John Shearon, our link with Everton of Chile.
  • Steve Allinson, who has probably done more for Evertonians than everyone else put together by making sure that the exiles get to the match,
  • Ian MacDonald whose agonies need the song-writing skills of a Willie Nelson,
  • Stu Roberts, a fount of wisdom from the south;
  • Colm a fount, nay a raging torrent, of heartfelt speculation from the Emerald Isle,
  • Ted Neeson, another repository of common sense.
  • Phil Pellow, he of the liver of steel, proving that alcohol and wisdom can be fine bedfellows.

I've forgotten far too many despite wracking what passes for my brain and I hope that, if they are out there, they will forgive me. So, still worth belonging too but not what it once was. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Paul Preston

9 February 2002


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