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Gwladys Street ? The Passing of Time

By Charlie Skinley :  18/01/2008 :  Comments (12) :
After reading some of the excellent responses to Peter Corcoran?s ?New Chant Challenge? on Toffeeweb?s mailbag, it got me thinking of times gone by.

I only started taking a real interest in football when I was about 15 and my first match was Everton v Sheffield Utd ? it was 1-0 and I can?t even remember who for! All I can remember was sitting in the Upper Bullens in total awe of the Gwladys Street.

I?ve gone through many ?phases? in my time but I can say my love affair with Everton started that day in a way I can?t explain... but I?m sure you all understand what I mean there. And, like most marriages, there have probably been more fallouts than I care to admit.... however like all true loves the feelings still there!

Anyway, back to my point; the following season a season ticket followed, probably down more to the fact my dad was so delighted I was showing an interest he wanted to keep it that way. After several seasons elsewhere in the ground, a season ticket in the Lower Gwladys was inevitable. Although I now occupy a spot in the Upper Gwladys with my brother, which was where my dads final place of worship was before he passed away, there is something about the Lower Gwladys I will never forget.... a very special place indeed.

For some reason one of my fondest memories of the Lower Gwladys was the greetings each Everton player received just before kick off. Every player from the goalkeeper (Southall?s "Wales, Wales number one") right through to the number nine would have their own song chanted prior to kick off. You got the impression the players really appreciated it because when it got to their turn it gave them an opportunity to acknowledge the crowd.

So why doesn?t this happen anymore? If it does happen the chants are that low that I can?t even hear them in the Upper Gwladys ? although I am prepared to accept my ?hard of hearing? might be one of the many side affects that Chang (ghastly stuff). Is it the demise of the terraces, the ever increasing gulf between us fans and the millionaire players or just simply the passing of time and changing of traditions?

There are other examples on how things have changed over the last decade and although Goodison can still be the most intimidating ground in the country (backed up by Mr Wenger), I can?t help feel a bit of fun has also disappeared from the old lady.

Speaking of fun, do you remember the chant when an opposing goalkeeper took a goal kick? Stupid I know but it used to make me laugh. Don?t get me wrong I know the same has disappeared from other grounds but I really do think it is a shame.

I really wish the acknowledgment of each player before the game would start again because at the moment chants during the game, in general, are only reserved for the favoured few. This is the one opportunity to show we are all together, fans, players, directors and if you?re Liverpool Referees as well (couldn?t resist that). It was interesting to hear Jags comment on how pleased he was hearing his name sang for the first time by the crowd, so the players do notice.

Don?t get me wrong this is in no way a criticism of us fans, just an acknowledgement that things have changed. Anyway, enough nostalgia ? we now have two big games ahead. It?s understandable why many heads are turned towards next Wednesday against Chelsea but Sunday?s game against Wigan is just as big. I will be going to Wigan on Sunday hoping we finish the match in the top four, a real possibility.

And of Wednesday?s game.... the ground will be pumping, led by the Gwladys Street to create one hell of an atmosphere! and maybe, just maybe, starting with a chant for each Everton player just before kick off... just like the good old days?!?

Reader Comments

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Bon Stevenson
1   Posted 19/01/2008 at 21:00:13

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Good shout! I sit in the Main Stand, middle tier, near enough to Gwladys Street and I love hearing all the players' chants before the game and their response ? it sends a shiver down me. I am going to be there on Wednesday and would love to hear all the songs known to Everton. COYB
Dave O'Brien
2   Posted 19/01/2008 at 22:48:25

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The Goalie chant? Do you mean wooooo (starts slow and low) oooooooo - You?re SHIT Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!? It still goes on at London Road when I make it to see POSH, alas the days of mindless abuse are gone but if you think about it, the chant wasn?t clever or that funny.
John McGrath
3   Posted 20/01/2008 at 01:08:30

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Dave’s right. After the woooooooooo you’re shit ahhhhhhhhh bit there was the inevitable 2 minutes of "shagged yer ma"-type shouts that all rhymed and were really hilarious. Not.

The Street End is still the place to be at Goodison, though. The Park End does get excited now and again and the Paddock have the brilliant ’Paddock Kick Off’ as we call it which entails all and sundry getting on their feet at the award of a dubious free kick against us and telling the referee he’s not very nice, and then geting back down again to talk about what shift they’re on at Jaguar. It’s boss. It will be hard, but not impossible, to replicate in a new stadium (N.B. please stay on topic)
Michael Hunt
4   Posted 20/01/2008 at 03:54:12

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Let?s use one at Wigan, how about this:(To the tune of Walzing Matilda)

Scoring Tim Cahill,
Scoring Tim Cahill,
We?ll come a?watching Tim scoring today,
As we watch in delight as he batters the corner flag,
We?ll come a?watching Tim scoring today!
Dave Wilson
5   Posted 20/01/2008 at 03:29:40

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John McGrath's post about the "paddock kick off" made me laugh. It was always like this, I remember in the sixties, looking down the then standing Paddock from the boys pen would often be as entertaining as the game itself. The Old lady has such a unique mix around all four sides.
Ajamu Mutumwa
6   Posted 20/01/2008 at 10:39:47

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Mike Hunt , I really like that song.

Evertonians have come up with some really great songs and lyrics, but we need more.

" we watch in delight as he batters the corner flag"
Jay Campbell
7   Posted 20/01/2008 at 11:33:53

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Let’s fuckin twat these cockney helmet’s on Wednesday.
Rocky Green
8   Posted 20/01/2008 at 12:59:04

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I too think we need new songs especially Tim Cahill.
When he scores the whole crowd singing,
’There’s only one Tim Cahill
One Tim Cahill
Walking along
Singing a song
Walking in a Cahill wonderland.’

Walking in a winter wonderland tune i.e Ricky Hatton

David McBride
9   Posted 20/01/2008 at 15:35:55

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We need to celebrate the greatest of them all in song. I'm talking about the late great William Ralph Dean. Maybe a variation of the old His name was Dixie Dean, He was the leader of our team, The greatest centre forward that the world has ever seen.

Maybe someone else could come up with one. Just seems a shame that a man of such stature should be virtually ignored in song.

Greg Murphy
10   Posted 20/01/2008 at 16:36:52

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Jay C - what tune’s that set to mate? ;-)
Pavil Benson
11   Posted 20/01/2008 at 16:25:28

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It?s all about the Gwladys Street standing up. They don?t stand up in front of their seat regularly now due to the back 2 rows not being able to see due to an obstructed beam blocking their view of the pitch when they do stand up. They therefore tell everyone to sit. In the early to mid 90s, we didn?t sell out, so if you couldn?t see you moved seat, so the singers at the back could stay stood.

Tom Davies
12   Posted 20/01/2008 at 23:10:29

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The problem for me is not the fans but the players who just cannot be arsed any more (with the exception of Tommy Graveson), because the fact is if you chant a song about Lee Carsley for example, he just pretends he can’t hear you and it makes me abgry some games as it does to many people around me.

I sit in the Lower Gwladys and the most sang players are probarbly Howard, Lescott, Cahill, Arteta and Johnson and even Graveson and as I said earlier, it’s only Tommy who really acknowledges the crowd to deserve his own chant.

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