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Fans Comment
Paul Traill


Never forget, lads, one Evertonian is worth twenty Liverpudlians
27 April 2006

 

We set off at about 5am on Monday for a 6:40am flight to Dublin. We got a quick beer at an impossible hour at the airport before boarding the 25 RyanAir return.

We were sat nice and comfy on the plane when Gary goes Paul, theres Bob Latchford.  I looked up and sure enough there he was in all his glory.  A steward was stood behind him and I noticed he was holding a pen.  Seizing the opportunity I said hey mate, can I borrow your pen.  He obliged.  I then said Bob, can I have your autograph please.  Yeah. In a minute though, wait til we take off was the response.  The steward took his pen back and I assumed my chance had gone as Bob took his seat two rows behind us. 

Mid-flight, I got a tap on my shoulder from his mate next to him who asked if I wanted an autograph.  I said I didnt have a pen now so he sorted that out.  Gary and Gaz also wanted one by this point so I scrambled through my wallet for anything he could sign and produced three scraps of paper.  Bobs mate opened up the pieces of paper.  The first was the name of my mates bands website whats this, a porno site? he said.  The next was a bank slip for when I paid some money into my sisters account bloody hell Bob, theyll do you for fraud here he said.  I dont know what was on the other one.  Bob signed the lot Best Wishes Bob Latchford and the journey couldnt have started much better.

His mate had also written www.boblatchford.com alongside the bands website www.thebandecuador.com.  A fella a few rows further forward came down with a few different books which he wanted signing.  I was baffled as to why he had so many but when we bumped into the same fella in a bar on Temple Bar he told us about a dinner Bob was attending at Bohemians that night.  He also mentioned that his mate was Steve Milne.  Id heard the name from somewhere and the fella mentioned that he was head of some sort of Everton Foundation.  It was later that the penny dropped that he was once one of ToffeeWeb's army of correspondents.

So we had a good day on the ale on Monday and there were a few other blues milling about.  The next day, me and Gary got up bright and early to find this bloody ground.  Id taken some directions off Bohemians official website which got us near the ground OK.  We thought we could see it when we got to a certain point and just followed the ground until it somehow seemed to disappear from site.  When we asked someone, we found that wed gone the wrong way altogether and then realised wed actually been following what I think was Landsdown Road.  How stupid can you be?

So we then found the ground and got our tickets for the game at the princely sum of  20.  We had a little look round and went out onto the pitch and took a few photos.  We then went into the lounge were there were some decent photos of Ireland shirts and team photos from Bohemians mighty 1927-28 league winning team.

We made our way back to get Gaz and go for some food; having done that, we went back to the hostel and Gaz checked the internet.  It was then when Gaz broke the very sad news that Brian Labone had died.  Gary had spookily put on a t-shirt that day stating:

Never forget lads, one Evertonian is worth twenty Liverpudlians. Brian Labone

In all the four years or so Ive known Gary, Ive never once seen him wear that.  We also checked the squad for the game and realised it was completely reserves, quashing any rumours of a first-team run out. 

We then headed off towards the Temple Bar area.  The first bar we went to me and Gaz got pints of lager and asked Gary what he wanted. Double vodka and coke, dont feel like pints today.  I put my foot down at that.  I know how expensive spirits and mixes can be in Dublin as you pay for the Coke separately.  There was no way I was paying for a double vodka as well as a single vodka and coke came to about 7.  We moved on to another bar and overheard some Scousers in there.  As we looked across the road, we saw a few younger Evertonians milling about outside.  We then saw two big bald scruffy looking fellas come out and light a fag.  On closer inspection, we realised the bar was rammed full of Evertonians.  We finished our drinks then went to join the party.

It was a brilliant atmosphere over there with plenty of singing.  I took some good photos and then my flamin camera broke which was a real shame.  I also saw a lad Jay who I hadnt spoken to in ages.  I met him in Austria a few summers ago and had a good day out with him there and it was nice to see him.  Somebody put a banner up as well as the blues had taken over the pub.  I sympathised a bit with a band who were playing there as they were continuously being drowned out by the Evertonians. 

At one point, an Evertonian was standing up on a table and when they guy from the band asked him to get down he just slapped him on his bald head.  It was really funny.  Somebody said quite loudly Excuse me everybody can we have a minute silence please Ian Macs getting the round in.  There were also many chants for Labone. 

After a few hours and many beers, we headed towards the ground and everybody now congregated in a bar called The Bohemian.  Again the atmosphere was good and I got chatting to a few Irish Evertonians who had made a trip from Kilkenny for this one.  One was telling me that he lived in Liverpool for a year when Brian Labone was playing and told me a bit about him.  Said he was quite a quiet, unassuming sort of player but very good.  A bit like Weir?  I asked.  The guy looked offended.  He was better than that!.  I tried again A bit like John Terry?. Yes, aye. John Terrys a good example.

At about 19:20 we headed on to the ground.  As we were walking past, we heard the match announcer explain about Brian Labone and Im pretty sure there was a minute's silence.  We went in and sat down and tried to enjoy the football.  Gaz went for a piss.  He came back and said bloodyhell its like some Eastern European block down there.  Gary went after that and said it has to be seen to be believed.  So I had to see it and have never seen a toilet like it at a football ground.  Incredible.

The game was I reckon the worst match Ive ever seen in my whole life.  Nothing happened at all.  I know it was all reserves but it was really rubbish.  Evertons liveliest player wore Number 7, had long hair and was tanned.  No idea what his name was though.

These are my observations from the game:

  • John Ruddy A very confident keeper who reads it well.
  • Mark Hughes A bit too slow, a bit too hesitant.  Probably why hes being released which is a bit of a shame cos if he was a bit more commanding hed be decent.
  • Sean Wright Solid right back but distribution is worse than Hibberts. No joke.
  • Bjarni Vidarsson Shows some good flashes of skill and may become a very good player.  Seemed to be playing within himself.
  • John-Paul Kissock You can tell hes got a good footballing brain.  Played some lovely balls into attacking areas.  Was the holding player as well.  Reckon hes make a good attacking midfielder.  Got a lot of growing to do.
  • That no. 7 Anyone know who he is?  [Er... One of Phelan, Harris, Irving, Dennehey, Seargeant??? Ed] Got a lot of skill and works incredibly hard.  Will make the first team at some point I feel.
  • Victor Anichebe Played within himself. Probably hoping not to get injured as I guess hes got a chance of being involved in the next two games.
  • Paul Hopkins Will make a decent forward maybe in League One or League Two but wont cut it at the top level.
  • Wynne Came on late. Hard to make a decision, but like Hughes, Hopkins and Sergeant is being released.

There was a mass exodus at half time as we went to get something to eat.  We decided on a large pizza.  While we were waiting we went to the pub and watched a bit of Villarreal vs Arsenal.  We were tempted to just stay there but thought we might as well go back for a bit of the game, so went back in with this fucking huge pizza much to everybodys amusement.  We watched quite a bit of the second half and saw Bohemians miss a decent chance which Hughes did well to clear off the line, and Anichebe also miss a sitter.  That was about it.  We went to the pub, saw Lehman save the penalty, went back towards town and drank way into the night.  We bumped into a blue later on who explained that thered been a bit of trouble outside the ground as well.  I guess these things cant really be avoided at times.  Said it was their fault though.  Isnt it always.

Hope your head's OK, Gary, after smacking it on the sink after being sick.  I told you that would go no further.

Brian Labone RIP

Paul Traill


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