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What makes an Evertonian, Part II — A personal problem

By Gareth Humphreys :  24/10/2007 :  Comments (26) :
Further to Charlie Skinley's excellent article this got me thinking about my own theory of supporting Everton and finally putting something down in writing.

I was born in 74 and initially you would think that I supported Everton due to the mid 80?s team. This, however, is not the case as my first game was in 1979 with my dad. Why did a 5 year old pester his old man to take him to Goodison? What caused this is anyone?s guess however the train of thought that you are born an Evertonian has always rang true with me for this reason.

I kept going, on and off — home and away, until Colin Harvey?s 1st season in charge when my old man bought us both a season ticket for the Top Balcony. I have been going ever since and my dear old dad has only just stopped due to ill health this very season.

When I was younger (and I am sure I am not alone) I lived and breathed Everton. If they lost you could write off the next couple of days as the grief you would get off your school/work mates was just unbearable. I remember in the mid 80?s you used to be disappointed with a draw away from home!! I remember balling my eyes out as an 11 year old after Norman Whiteside?s winner defeated the league champions and favourites in the cup final. Underdogs Manchester United had won - how times have changed.

As my life has moved forward and things within my life have changed dramatically one thing — Everton — has remained constant. Or has it?

I am starting to get concerned as I just don?t think Everton and events surrounding Everton bother me as much anymore. They should, they just bloody should.

For example last week I wasn?t nervous about the Derby until just before Kick off. A few years back I would have been on edge all week beforehand. Afterwards I was pissed off driving home but when I got home my 2 year old boy gave me a big shit eating grin when I walked in and my bad mood was virtually wiped out.

Day to day I still think about Everton more than a grown man should ? I still check Teletext every other hour and the internet an unhealthy number of times but the results ? the bad ones at least - just don?t seem to affect me as much as they used to.

I have two theories for this:

(A) I?m thirty bloody Three, nearly old enough to be James Vaughan?s dad and I have more important things to worry about than some Nigerian that?s just cost Robert Earl 11 big ones.

(B) I am now immune to what this club can throw at me. Last minute Derby defeats, ticket fiascos live on 5, leaving Goodison and Liverpool for Kirkby ? bring it on.

I would be grateful for some input from older Evertonians out there. Is what I am feeling natural or do I have some horrible disease that is eating away at my obsession with all things Blue? I don?t like it — I like the anger and the bitterness — how do I get it back?

Thinking about it, there may be another reason — is it because I?m from Sefton and long distance relationships never last?

Reader Comments

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Andy Ellams
1   Posted 24/10/2007 at 16:33:35

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Gareth that is my life as an Evertonian to a tee. With the slight exception that I live a bit further away these days and don’t get to the match much these days I too have a certain degree to apathy towards all results these days, even if I did break my phone when the second Lescott pen was turned down on Saturday. I too check the this site and others with alarming regularity, especially during transfer windows more in hope than anything else, but when Saturday comes I’m just moderately happy if we win and just shrug the shoulders when we win. Not sure were this comes from, maybe it’s the pre Moyes days when getting three points was winning the lottery, or maybe my passion is finally being killed off. Who knows.
Dave Drewry
2   Posted 24/10/2007 at 16:43:16

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I have and always will be nervous when we play that shower in red.
I cannot understand anyone, who says otherwise. I am 39, and have been following the blues since I was 7.
I was born in Liverpool, and was taken to goodison at the age of 7. From that age to when I was 14, me and dad never missed a home game, going to most of the away game.
Even when we left Liverpool, me Dad still splashed the cash taking me as much as he could.
Now I live in Kent, and work in Dubai.
When I am away in Dubai, and watch the blues lose
I still go in to a mega depression.
When I am home I regularly travel to Goodison. I was there on Saturday,totally ruined me week, and I will be tomorrow again. Fingers crossed for a good jourmey home.I will also be going to Nuremberg, hopefully with a ticket.
When we played the mentalists, the wife text me the score. I was asleep in a sleeping bag in India, on an oil rig surrounded by insects and flying bugs. That result was the ONLY thing that could cheer me up.
The Blues have and always mean so much to me.
They are my life.
Chris Lawlor
3   Posted 24/10/2007 at 16:57:39

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Having moved over from Ireland 4 years ago I seem to have become a ’Born again blue’. Now I was a fervent Evertonian at home in Cork surrounded by fans of the 2 redshites, but having moved over here I have somehow increased my passion for all things Everton. Like you guys I come onto this site on a daily basis to read the comments of other Blues, I go to the OS and read the team fitness news etc, but I find that I’m becoming more cynical about what comes out of GP these days. The OS is a glorified marketing tool and less of an information centre. The club’s admin is atrocious and overall it is a bloody expensive pastime ( especially because I’ve converted my missus to the Everton way). What im trying to say is , although I now go to games a lot more and am a lot closer to the club, I feel the club is becoming more and more distant from the fans...... I guess the old adage is true... You should never meet your heroes!
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
4   Posted 24/10/2007 at 16:14:21

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I’m 33 myself, Gareth, and you’re not alone in becoming a little de-sensitised to events at Goodison these days. I think it comes largely from a succession of false dawns and, in my particular case, a large dose of disillusionment with the current custodians of the club, the whole Kirkby venture, and the manner in which certain higher-ups conducted themselves on that issue over the summer.

But the derby fiasco hurt and the Blues can still ruin my day just as much as ever so I don’t think I’m going to be falling out of love with them any time soon! Added to which, running this site makes it very hard to detach yourself, even temporarily.

5   Posted 24/10/2007 at 18:18:52

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Like Chris, I too live in Cork but I have supported Everton for over forty years. I get over when I can and I have bouts of nervous tension before all games and I wait patiently for the result to come through.
I actually felt recently that I was handling the tension a little better until the derby game last Saturday.
All the dormant hatred I have for the red shite had somehow drifted into my subconscious but the performances of Chattenberg, Gerrard, Kuyt and Benitez have reignited my feelings towards the bastards. A true Evertonian or what?
martin lam
6   Posted 24/10/2007 at 18:19:23

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I was born in 1977. Glad to read some heartfelt reflections from you and others.

I think there’s nothing normal or not here. As long as you still love the game of football, no other team could take the place of the Blues for us blues. That’s the way and the only way to be.

I have never been to England. Back in those days in the 90’s there was no internet and no live coverage of EPL games like today. I remembered that I always try to read through every bit of the Sports section of local newspaper for news about Everton, for tiny match reports and at times there would be some nifty pictures of Everton players in action. That’s the way I followed my beloved team back ten. And yes, like most of you do, I also visit toffeeweb and a local everton forum every 15 min whenever I am online. That’s the way I followed my beloved team today.

For all the time of being an Evertonian in my life, Everton had brought me many good memories. For me it is an enormous experience, a life-long process to be a blue. There were joy, there were frustration. At the end, only ourselves know what it means to be an Evertonian. For me, I never regreted that I was born to be a Blue.

I do regret that I am yet to be in a home game.
Dave wilson
7   Posted 24/10/2007 at 18:26:28

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I saw my first game in 66, I suppose I’ve probably have averaged 20-25 games a season, I get to more than that now, but I was out of collar during parts of the 70’s so I went less then
These days barely a game goes by without me meeting an Evertonian whose comittment, devotion and willingness to suffer any amount of hardship to follow their beloved team - read Karkiv tales - make me feel like a part timer

When Davey the quiff made that famous "I ’d break every bone in my body for Everton" quote he ended the interview by trying to explain his love for the club, he modestly declared
" I’m just an Evertonian . . . that’s all "
That blew me away and will stay with me forever
Rob Hollis
8   Posted 24/10/2007 at 20:33:38

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Who knows quite what is is that drives people to support a team with constant loyalty despite results. I am 48 and my dad first took me to the game in 1968, which still annoyingly reminds me of the Jeff Astle goal reducing me to tears.

I am from Liverpool and the family still live there. I moved out during the eighties when I came to hate Liverpool City Council cocking everything up and leading the city blindly to chaos. Funnily enough they still seem to be doing a similar job with City of Culture. I never miss a home game and am probably becoming more passionate by the year.

Delighted with the move to Kirby, leave the half-wits who run politics in Liverpool to talk about what a great port it was fifty million years ago......
Rob Lloyd
9   Posted 24/10/2007 at 21:19:28

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My first game at Goodison was in 1966 - I was 8 and I remember people were collecting for the Aberfan disaster. I have so many great memories( and terrible ones to). I guess the greatest game for me was beating West Brom to win the title in 1970. Goodison was magic in those days, the team were magic and they epitomised what life should be about - fairness, sublime grace, hard graft and passion - may those days come back again soon! Please!
Kevin Mitchell
10   Posted 24/10/2007 at 21:09:52

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After following the blues over 45 years I can honestly say I’m still a fanatic even though we are watching poor quality football. (always hopeful of that away win at oxford to start us off again). Having said that since the Kirkby issue reared it’s ugly head I have definately felt different about the way I feel about the club and it’s owners.
For me a move outside the city would finish me off as the evertonian I am today.
Scott Eaton
11   Posted 24/10/2007 at 21:53:51

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I too was born in 1974,only becoming a fan in 84.And no,not because we won the cup,i actually supported them from the semi onwards,i vividly remember Inchy heading home the winner at Highbury.But,i digress.As for not feeling the same,i know what you mean.This derby day,i wasnt too nervous until the day,and even though we were cheated out of a result,i wasnt that angry.Ive got more and more angry over the weekend reading more and more about it but it just didnt affect me like i thought it should.Nevertheless,i love Everton with all my heart,more than the missus in fact(my reasoning is i loved them longer!)
Arthur jones
12   Posted 24/10/2007 at 22:07:52

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I’m 48 yrs old , season ticket holder in the Park End , lost count of the amount of games I’ve been to... An Evertonian , like all who’ve posted on here , another who’s slightly desensitised but as a teenager in the 70’s I was obsessed , my whole topic of conversation was Big Bob , Martin Dobbo , Davy Thomas , Gary Jones , but I suppose I’ve grew up a bit now , I was trying to think of the thing that really painfully hurt me in recent years to the extent of pain I used to feel when I was a kid , The only thing that really got to me was when Rooney went to Utd , How could a player , born an Evertonian , With the " once a blue " T-shirt worn in game actually want to leave us ?? to this day nobody can convince me he’s a better player for going to manure , I know its the old cliche but I’d have put the blue shirt on for nothing , as i’m sure thousands would , I just don’t understand why
Rob Hollis
13   Posted 24/10/2007 at 22:26:00

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I did not understand why until it clicked as Tony Hibbert once again hoofed a ball up to the edge of the penalty area on Saturday.

I was happier than the Liverpool supporters when he got sent off. I was considering self harming by that point.
Kristian Boyce
14   Posted 24/10/2007 at 22:34:31

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I was also born in 1977, and have been following the blues since 1982. We lived in Blackpool, but my parents had a friend who was a huge Evertonian. My dad was a southerner as all his family were gooners, but my choice was the mighty blues. We moved down south shortly after. Obviously the mid eighties was great being a blue, even being the only supporter in your school. But once the dark times came, I think that other fans down south would say this was really tough being in a school being the only fan. I now live in the States and my passion for the blues is every increasing. The worst thing is that I’m on the west coast, so very early morning games on Sat & Sun, are a pain, especially if we lose. But I’ve got my little one starting to watch the matches on the box, plus he’s keeping the faith as his middle name is Everton.
15   Posted 24/10/2007 at 22:52:10

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Like the rest of you sad tossers I am contributing to a web site when I should be doing ’normal’ things. Whatever Ithey are?

I have just spent half an hour in discussion with my brother about how Liverpools inept performance and consequent result in Turkey was ordained by fate after saturdays fiasco (I am both an atheist and a scientist).

I am 45 and have followed them through thick and thin. The Everton of the 70’s sometimes get a bad press maybe its nostalgia but it did seem a whole more exciting back then. Everton have been the constant in my life, as careers, partners and life has moved on the trip to goodison has been an ever present. I have inculcated the same belief in my son who is 24 studying for phd and is generally a sane individual, however at the final whistle on Saturday I turned around to see him volleying his seat with all the might of a crunching tackle from Psycho Pat. I did know whether to laugh or cry (I laughed) as he limped away .

Later I did reflect on his nineteen years as a season ticket holder and thought of the absolute shite that has generally been served up by Everton over that period. I could only feel sorry and slighlty guilty for him. Yes it about winning cups and matches but I yearn to see us play with a little more flair and be an attacking side, rather than a defensive one.

The premiership with its emphasis on money and marketing are symptomatic of a change in society in general and to my mind are ruining football by negating true competition (its seems hard to imagine an Ipswich, QPR, Derby, Forest etc challenging and winning major trophies anymore). Its pretty boring watching a re-run of the same title race each year, knowing the what teams will fight relegation and what teams can aspire for Europe.

I love Everton but fear we are in danger of losing our soul, somehow it does not seem right to be going to Kirkby (I have heard all the arguments but ?) Following a football club is not a rational activity it is an emotive passtime and I am not sure we can be Everton FC when and (if) we go there.

On the pitch there are some small embers of progression (it is a long time since we had so many attacking players of ability). As a group of supporters (whatever our differences) we need to encourage any creeping positivity Davey boy is toying with. We must remember that new partnerships (Lescott & Yobo) new players (Baines and yes Yakubu) and new ideas (passing to feet) takes time to bring success. If Dave is on the road to Damascus regarding tactics that can only be a good thing. If he can’t then we must consider bringing someone else in. I would like my lad to able to talk about watching us play great stuff instead of me pissing him off all the time telling him about Sheedy Steven, Latchford, Dobson, and even more distant memories of watching us in 1970.

To me the relationship I have with Everton is best summed by the words of someone else to quote

"But I am the sort of person who can walk into a room and immediately sense vibes about a place-and when I first walked into Goodison park I could feel something almost spiritual. People may say that so much mumbo-jumbo, but I still get that feeling when I go back. Everton possess a kind of magic- and it is a magic generated by the quality of players who have graced the stadium."

For me that magic is generated not just by the players but by all the supporters past and present who have graced its terraces and stands through the good times and bad. It is for this reason more than any other I call myself an Evertonian it is simply an intrinsic part of who I am and my identity. For those who deride people who voted no to Kirkby and people who are still trying to stop the move, they should recognise they are fighting for someting more substantive than whether we move to a new stadium. I have no wish to alienate or abuse those who voted yes, I just want the right to protest without having our credentials as Evertonians being questioned.

Liverpool in the UEFA cup? to knock them out of Europe would be wonderful, sorry dreaming again as all blues do!
Dave wilson
16   Posted 25/10/2007 at 06:16:23

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Kevin Mitchell

Between the two of us we’ve supported Everton, closing in on a century, I was an evertonian long before me mam let me go to the game
I dont want to reopen the stadium debate, but how desperately sad we both feel the same . A move to Kirkby will finish me off too
Some will claim we’re the past, not the future, but I intend living another 30 + years,at least, some people will come on here and say we’re not true blues, thats a matter of opinion
wonder how many more life long blues will simply drift away
Richard Flaherty
17   Posted 25/10/2007 at 11:10:23

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Back in 1985, i was living in swinton, on the outskirts of machester and went to stay with my aunt and uncle who had recently moved to wavertree from barnsley.

Arriving on the monday, i went the following day to goodison with my uncle who had followed them since the early 1960s. As i remember it , West bromwich albion were the opposition, a few days after the semi final with luton, and before THAT game with the germans.

Im sure graeme sharp scored (two?) and sheedy also. Of course at the time, we were the best club in britain, although not champions, we were soon to claim the accolade we so justly deserved. From that day on i was hooked, and travelled from my home as often as i was able to see the team. Sadly, andy gray was soon to leave, but a more than adequate replacement, one gary lineker was brought in. the good times were over before they really started, but i was proud to be involved in a significant part of it.
Laurie Hartley
18   Posted 28/10/2007 at 09:28:47

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You will be OK Gareth. It’s just a phase your going through. Being an Evertonian is like being English or Scotch or Irish or Welsh - Once you are you are. Cheer up - good times are coming soon.

(Ex pat since 1973 but there is still only one team for me.)

Come on the Bluuuues!!

Anthony Newell
19   Posted 28/10/2007 at 10:47:11

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Ha Ha Ha, sounds like a load of AA intro confessional statements

No seriously, my interest started when my Granddad took me down to Queens Drive as a nipper to see a jubilant victory bus homecoming. There just seemed to be some mystique, quality, magic and just plain ’Liverpoolness’ about Everton FC, part of which explains my ill-feelings about being wrenched away to East Lancs even if I don’t live in Merseyside anymore

I was surrounded by bloody reds as a kid and actually went to the first home game on my own. I never forget that day, the nervousness at the age of buying a Mersey Zone card saver (or whatever it was called) and making the solo trip to Sandhills then changing for Kirkdale. Throngs of fans making a religious like pilgrimage to Goodison which in that day was buttons to get in through the turnstyles. I just remember getting crushed like fuck on the Gwladys Street terraces and thrown around by a crowd movement with a life of it’s own, utterly intoxicating and then the feeling when those goals went in. Celebrating with strangers who just felt like instant friends and family. The smell of horseshit, pasties, fag smoke, alkie breath, being moved on by over zealous coppers on horseback. A commitment started that day that has never been dented by the disappointment of those late 80’s cup finals or having to watch the likes of Mike Milligan or Claus Thomsen ply their ’trade’ or making trips to godforsaken places like Plough Lane whilst living/working in London and coming away fully dejected

The sad thing is that the more Everton FC hurt you the more you kind of become immune to the hurt. I crave for this club to do well and last Saturday was an utter knife blow. It wasn’t just about Saturday though, it’s about this season full stop. People just don’t get that I want this club to be back up there, standing proud, I won’t fully settle for anything less. I remember those days when Everton sat proudly at the top of the league table on Grandstand, Bruce Hornsby’ ’ The Way It is’ playing in the background, complete pride. Good to see tonight that passing football is back on the agenda and what a difference! (Is it mere coincidence that Neville is absent, I think not). One thing for sure is that McFadden must surely have had his last chance, he is fucking useless! Better, much better
Steve Green, London, Canada
20   Posted 28/10/2007 at 14:40:05

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I think what you’re experiencing is the maturity that comes with added responsibilities as an adult, and more specifically, a father. Real life has a way of truly putting football, and Everton, into perspective, as I found out earlier this year when I lost my wife to cancer (she died six hours after Johnson’s winner against Arsenal back in March).
That doesn’t mean you’re becoming less of a Blue, as I don’t think that’s possible. Once you’re bitten by the Everton bug, there really is no cure (thankfully). The bug can lay dormant for years, but it never goes away.
In my case, it started in 1970, when at the age of six I asked my gradnfather, with whom I was very close, why he was so happy one day. He told me Everton had won the title and from that day I followed Everton.
It wasn’t easy doing that in Canada as for years all I could do was look for the scores in the local paper. In the 1980s there were the FA Cup finals on TV (the 1984 game coming four months after my gradnfather passed away) and a few newspaper stories as football got more coverage, but it wasn’t until the advent of theInternet and specialty TV channels that my passion became a full-blown obsession, as I can get all the Everton information I want any day I want.
It’s a double-edged sword in a way, as I’m exposed a great deal more to the down times than I was as a teenager, but I’ll take it any day.
Micky Norman
21   Posted 28/10/2007 at 15:21:04

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Gareth, you summed it all up when you said about your two year old. All parents go that way for a while and its just the nature of being a dad. Bring him up a blue and all the old feelings will come back when you go to the match together. Not quite sure whether its a good or bad thing though. Our lads are in their 20,s now and I could forgive them for absolutely anything they did, but if they ever turned into RS or Manure supporters they would never set foot in our house again- not that there’s any chance. It will be just the same when they have kids.
felix fulcrum
22   Posted 28/10/2007 at 15:43:02

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I find that I lose a little fanatical intensity when i’’m working abroad - I dont know why this is, maybe its becasue there isnt the same opportunity to take the piss out of(or suffer abuse from) the red shite.

Another thing. With reference to what Lyndon said, the actions of the clubs custodians (no matter how infuriating) would never affect my love for Everton. I support the TEAM - thats the 11 blue jerseys on the pitch. To start losing interest in EFC becasue you don’t like fat bill or his gang would be like falling out with your mate becasue his boss was a twat. Anyway, It’s not THEIR club afterall, its ours.
Arthur jones
23   Posted 29/10/2007 at 09:57:55

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Reading Steve Green’s post just now , brought a few memories back to me , My mum passed away last year , she’d never been to a football match but when she was alive , she used to watch every Blues game on the telly ’cos she knew where my seat was and her aged 79 and her 84 year old sister would watch all the shots of the crowd just so she could tell their friends , " our Arthur was on the telly Yesterday " , She bought me my first Everton kit in 1968 , just before the west brom cup final , bought me a pair of Alan Ball white boots , and used to give me a ten bob note every second saturday to watch the blues at Goodison , ( 3d on the broadgreen road footy special , 2s/6d to get in the gwladys street and the chippy in mill lane , old swan after the game , the rest was my pocket money for the week "" but don’t tell your dad ""
I too voted NO , and thats why , but no matter what , those memories live forever !!
kenn crawford
24   Posted 30/10/2007 at 03:45:04

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Hi guys born in the Wirral way back in 52
first game in 57 went with my dad and uncle cant remember who we played just remember that even at that tender age there was something magical, even mystical about G.P cant remember the result, the only result from that day was an obsession with all things EVERTON
all these are experienced during a season of supporting our beloved team use to play abit myself when i was younger so did not get to the matches as much as i would have liked. 74 moved to australia to try somthing new, still here still supporting the blues early morning tv games bleary eyed days at work all part of being a blue.go to G.P every time i am back home the magic is still there and will be for as long as she stands. this is my EVERTON we EVERTONIANS are different to all the rest dont ask why just except it. Keep the faith we are simply the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
25   Posted 30/10/2007 at 18:08:09

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Could not agree with more with most of the comments on here, but especially with Ed’s, i think he’s nailed it SPOT ON. I, just like you Gareth, have sensed a little of my passion waning recently, and I even commented to my mates during the week running up to the derby and even outside The Spellow during our pre-match drink that I didn’t feel as nervous as usual. Couldn’t work out what it was, early kick off, all the ground move business etc. but I think I know the answer. As one of the fellas who writes in the When Skies Are Grey fanzine always signs off, "Hate football, love Everton", and I think that just about sums it up for me. I’ve become very cynical, and in truth detest almost every aspect of the modern game, from overpaid, prima donna players to greedy chairman and dickhead pundits on Sky (spit!!) TV, but I just can’t give up on Everton!! I too am in my 40’s and was first introduced as a kid of about 7 or 8 (West Ham at home, Upper Gwladys right behind the goal), and despite a lull in my interest during the 70’s (bikes, rock music, hanging around with lads who didn’t give a sh*t about football) I never lost the bug and rekindled it when taking my wife along to her first ever game. It had been a decade but all the passion and indescribable..... uniqueness about the place came flooding back!!
I don’t think you’ve fallen out of love with Everton Gareth, maybe just modern day football, like me.
Keep the faith!!
george brooks
26   Posted 06/11/2007 at 15:48:45

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I’d just like to say to Dave wilson,i assume he’s talking about Dave Hickson,but just like Dave Hickson,I’d like to say the same,i’d break every bone in my body,just to listen to the "commentary" of an EVERTON game,i work abroad,and the highlight of my week is every saturday or sunday catching EVERTON on whatever channel with my shirt on and believing that cos i’ve got my shirt on,they’re gonna win,you don’t choose EVERTON mate,they choose you,At the end of the day......"I’m just EVERTONIAN.

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