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Something Strange Happened This Last Sunday

By RL Bays :  29/01/2009 :  Comments (37) :
Something quite strange happened to me on Sunday... I was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking my coffee and enjoying an intense FA Cup derby between Everton FC and Liverpool FC when all of sudden, quite inexplicably, my heart began to warm toward those royal blue shirts.

I don?t know what it was or when it happened exactly... Maybe it was seeing American Tim Howard in the goal that warmed my connection with the team. But there are other Americans in the Premier League ? last season Fulham was loaded with American talent, so I don't think that alone was it.

Perhaps it was seeing Australian aerial maestro Tim Cahill?s header and Joleon Lescott?s redirection of the header in to the net to send Everton up 1-0 at Anfield. Cahill contributes gritty performances and game winning goals time and again and as a former footballing ex-pat in Australia, I follow the careers of Sydneysiders like Cahill pretty closely... but still, not enough.

Or maybe it was just something in Everton?s defensive work ethic, led by Phil Jagielka and Phil Neville, weathering barrage after barrage until Liverpool's playmaker (and current troublemaker) Steven Gerrard slotted home the equalizer, but I don?t think that defensive performances are what tipped the scale.

For a bit of history, I?ve always liked Manchester United, but I?ve never really felt close to them. It's a bit of a cliché to say that you follow Manchester United ? they are after all the world's most valuable sports franchise. But I don?t own any of their game kits, I don?t have posters of Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo in my room (I?m married and in my late 30?s, so that would just be weird anyway), and I don?t obsess over their performances (although I am a pretty big Ryan Giggs fan).

As a connoisseur of fine football, I think I?ve enjoyed Man Utd. as much for their skill at winning as anything else. Much like I enjoy watching Barcelona or AC Milan play. But being American, I?ve never really held an allegiance to an English club. And frankly, I?ve been a bit jealous.

I?ve read Fever Pitch and while I understand where Nick Hornby is coming from, I?ve never felt that sense of belonging to a cause. Sure it?s easy to saddle up to perennial powerhouse clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, or Chelsea; they are winners. They have deep pockets. They have global superstars. Pick any one of these four as ?your? club and chances are you?ll have bragging rights for something ? FA Cup, Champions League, Premier League... something... all of them maybe, and yet, I still felt no connection.

My grandmother was from England. She was born and raised in a small town I?ve never been to called St Helens. So this past Sunday, while watching Liverpool and Everton battle it out and feeling suddenly a bit angry at the sight of all of that Liverpool Red (and Liverpool $green) out on the pitch against that other side of everymen in royal blue, I fired up Google maps.

To my surprise, my grandmother?s childhood home was a mere 9 miles drive from Goodison Park (Anfield is a couple miles further)! I wonder then, did her family follow Everton? Did my great great uncle Ron dream of playing for The People's Club? Is there something in my genetic code which made me lean toward Everton on Sunday?

However mysterious the reason, I have decided to dip my toe in the water of choosing sides in English Premier League football. I have finally shaken off the cliché. I will watch and enjoy fine football as always, but I will now call myself an Everton supporter and an unofficial member of the School of Science.

?it?s a grand old team?

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 29/01/2009 at 14:56:37

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That?s "Awsome" RL! Not a word your grandmother would have used, but what a "Brilliant" story ? that?s the word we English use instead!

Welcome to the fold. As someone will no doubt tell you below, Evertonians are born, not manufactured...

A very big Welcome to our family!
JL Slap
2   Posted 29/01/2009 at 15:09:16

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If you have the time or will I would urge you to read up on our great club to get a grip of this ’history’ you will hear us sing about and hopefully you will reliase how prestigous this club is.
As said by Micheal, welcome.

Evertonians are born not manufactured, we do not choose we are chosen, those who understand do not need explination, those who dont understand do not matter. NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM
Alan Kirwin
3   Posted 29/01/2009 at 15:22:36

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To be born an Evertonian is to be kissed on both cheeks by the gods.

...and on both back-cheeks by kopites.

Enjoy the romance, anticipation, love (oft unrequited), frustration, dreams & fantasy of a life in royal blue. But you don’t qualify until your spine is turned into a shimmering wreck and the hairs on your body jump to attention by the sounds of an obscure 60’s TV theme tune. If yer know yer ’istory you’ll know to what I refer.

Welcome, bien venu, wilkommen and ciao ciao to the best club in the universe.
Jim Wojtkun
4   Posted 29/01/2009 at 15:17:52

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I too am an American convert to the Everton way, except for me it is not too recent, and is going on 13 years now. In my early years I was faced with supporting a team that faced its share of relegation battles, while my local friends gravitated to the likes of all those fair weather teams.

What drew me to the Everton cause was the similarities of rooting for the team with the blue collar mindset so close to my native Cleveland sports teams. Now the result of an Everton match colors the rest of my weekend. My son, away at college is also a die hard Evertonian, and we text and call immediately upon hearing the latest goal or result and yesterday shared in the heart ache of that van p*&&y equaliser.

I do have my Everton kit, and key chain and scarf and whatever else I can get my hands on, and appreciated the opportunity to see them in the pre-season two summers ago in Columbus. I would love to get to Goodison before the move and hope I can make it happen.

Mark Murphy
5   Posted 29/01/2009 at 15:36:45

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Gudday mate!

I too am from that "small town of St Helens" where there is a great Rugby League team of whom I am very proud, but nothing compares to my love for the blues and once bitten, as you are, there is no escape, or even wish for it!

My dad tried to get me to support ManUtd when I was a kid. When I was 10 he decorated my room with pictures of George Best and Dennis Law and a neighbour took me to Old Trafford. They were the European champs at the time and I watched Dennis Law score an over head goal to defeat Burnley and thought it was ok!

Then, a short while later, my youth club under 11?s manager took us to Goodison Park for a night match against Derby County and from the moment I saw the green pitch lit by dazzling floodlights from the steps up into the Bullens Road upper I was hooked.

I don't care how many titles or cups they won since or what that Wayne Rooney thinks but I would never swap and never ever regretted my being chosen that night.

Once a blue, always a blue! ? If he?s not a blue anymore then he never really was!

eJ Ruane
6   Posted 29/01/2009 at 15:35:15

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Welcome RL!

Any gum?

Nylons?

By the way, St Helens may have once been a small town, but it is now a city of 4 million people and it’s casino’s, hotels, theme parks and glass-factory make it the Las Vegas of the North Of England! Stars currently living in ’SH’ include Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Grant and Duncan Norvell.

(seriously, good to have you on board.....blue!)
Stuart Duncan
7   Posted 29/01/2009 at 16:36:04

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Dear RL

I’m from St Helens and I have to say that it isn’t quite the metropolis eJ Ruane would have you believe. It is the world home of flat glass (windows) and from a sporting perspective the home of the Saints (a very successful rugby league team - like your football without blocking or forward passes).

It is true though that like me, there are quite a few St Helens Everton fans and would have been more in years gone by (before the kids followed a success story that is Liverpool). In the 20s and 30s Everton were the dominant team on merseyside (my grandfather was a big fan and as a policeman in Liverpool often was on duty at the games).

All the best on your new found loyalty. Good choice.
Dave Williams
8   Posted 29/01/2009 at 16:49:25

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Love that story,my parents and brother tried to bring me up a Liverpool supporter ,it took me 7 years to finally realize that if I was to enjoy football I needed to admit that I was an Evertonian ,so in 1977 at the age of 7 I told my family I was an Everton fan.They didnt believe me at first but eventually it sank in .My dad was so impressed he started taking me to the games and developed a soft spot for the blues himself.
It just feels right ,I cant explain it but I wouldnt change it for the world.
Once a blue always a blue.
Welcome to the family.
Stephen Stuart
9   Posted 29/01/2009 at 17:08:43

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*First love*

Aahhhh.

You?ll grow out of it soon, don?t worry....
Kevin Jordan
10   Posted 29/01/2009 at 17:44:46

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Welcome RL, as a Canadian I went through a similar process about a decade ago. Everton is fully in my blood now, and with the advent of Setanta I’ve not missed a game on telly in over two years. It’s a grand old team, one with history and presence and you’re never going to regret your decision.
Beth Carter
11   Posted 29/01/2009 at 18:19:15

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Eons ago, when I was brought up the teams to support were Derby or Leeds. Soon after Notts Forest were the side to follow albeit for a short time.

Even at this time, under Gordon Lee, we had a good side who challenged for honours, but fell short on more than one occasion

It has been a less than impressive last 20 years, all to shout about was one F.A cup victory, and the best we have achieved is a 4th place finish in two decades. This is not good enough for a club of this stature, the dark days of Johnson, Smith, Walker etc are thankfully now a thing of the past and now we can hold our heads up and are starting to turn heads with our performances.

I can’t remember fully why I chose Everton, with hindsight it was the right choice, the Leeds, Derby’s and Forest’s of old are no more and we are no flash in the pan side who have had a short spell of success as of the aforementioned teams but one with a rich vain of tradition.

You never know what’s around the corner, but silverware cannot be far away. That’s what I like to think anyway.

Liverpool and Everton. Two clubs now travelling at the same speed, but in different directions.
Rezzie Flanders
12   Posted 29/01/2009 at 19:03:48

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RL, (I’m an RL too, BTW) I’m a Yank who is about 1 year into my royal blue obsession, and I’ve been thinking about why we are attracted to this side so thoroughly. My thoughts - work ethic, class, earning and building your quality rather than just buying it, devotion of the fan base, and the knowledge that when you watch the Toffees on the pitch you see a team, rather than a gathering of mercenaries. The game played here isn’t just a "chuck and duck" outfit, to use an American football term - it’s about playing the total game with the emphasis on defense - err... defence. Sorry, boys.

In any case, the deeper I dig into all things Evertonian, the more commited I become. Welcome aboard. This is no bandwagon full of Norwegians, here. Plus, that red lot and the fat waiter are so easy to loathe.

Q: What movie was named after the sound of the Kop just before a match?

A: "Song of Norway"

COYB!

Ajay Timothy
13   Posted 29/01/2009 at 18:57:49

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Great article.

Living here in New York you do feel somewhat detached from Everton. The interest here has grown considerably in the premiership and once in awhile you will see a fellow Evertonian in the only true "football pub" in New York - Nevada Smiths.

I will be there on Saturday cheering my beloved Blues in the middle of all those Manure fans

Chris Mac
14   Posted 29/01/2009 at 20:20:51

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RL we all welcome you with open arms mate. Its fantastic to hear of someone who hasn?t just followed one of the ?fashionable big 4? when making the decision on who to support.

Please ignore all comments from Stephen ?closet red? Stuart who never has anything positive... or for that matter interesting to say and is unquestionably a complete and utter blurt!

[Editor's Note: Chris Mac ? Please do NOT use this website to call ANY fellow Evertonian a 'closet red'. Please also provide your full name in future. Thanks.]
Bradley Nolan
15   Posted 29/01/2009 at 21:26:51

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RL

Randy Lerner?
I hope
Peter Hall
16   Posted 29/01/2009 at 21:50:02

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Well RL, you’re in now, and there’s no getting out. Try to enjoy - it won’t be easy!
Thomas Bourns
17   Posted 29/01/2009 at 21:57:08

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Ohh get out the violin
Chris Stone
18   Posted 29/01/2009 at 22:01:44

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Lovely story, welcome on board mate!!
Shaun Levesque
19   Posted 29/01/2009 at 22:44:46

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RL:

I live outside of Boston, but my Mother is English and I was born in St. Helens. In 1967, my grandfather visited to explain to me that I was going to play this game where you kick a ball and that we were Evertonians. Two years ago, I took the older two of my boys to Columbus to see Everton play the Crew. They are now firm fanatics. Welcome to the family.
Dick Fearon
20   Posted 29/01/2009 at 23:19:11

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By now you will have come to understand that we evertonians are more gently spoke and sportsmanlike than that lot of red bastards who’s name I won’t even mention and who’s total defeat by whatever means possible is our life time ambition.
Beating them dirty sods brings a trancedental kind of joy thats better than good sex.
You will rarely experience that kind of thing but when you do it is all the better.
Er, what was I saying about gentle words and sportsmanship, fraid I got carried away a bit there.
Martin Cutler
21   Posted 29/01/2009 at 23:29:31

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Great posting RL!!

Funny how you have connections to Oz, UK, USA...I too have lived in all three. A Brummie (and always will be of course) but have supported (and lived and breathed) Everton since 1964!!!!!!! Lived in Oz for a year in 1970/71, now in the USofA since 93.

Anyway, that’s probably bored you to tears.

I just wish I had access to more games where Everton played. (I’m not overly keen on watching games via the internet....if only because I’m not available when the game is shown.)

Missing these THREE games v The Shite has been tormenting to say the least.

However, due to the scheduling change the game v Man Utd (who my wife supports, grrrrhhhhhh....) is being shown on Saturday on FOX TV. I’m just hoping that isn’t the game where they have a dip in form!!

COYB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ian Maher
22   Posted 30/01/2009 at 00:26:45

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Shaun Levesque - Where about’s ’outside Boston’ are you..I’m in Melrose

Ian

igmaher@msn.com
Carlos Camacho
23   Posted 30/01/2009 at 01:24:04

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It was back in 1999 when I decided to start watching the English Premier League. I looked around for a club to support. I was born in Brazil, but grew up in the states, and was living in Japan at the time. Which club? Which club? I almost settled on Blackburn because of B.F., but something drew me to Everton. I can’t remember what. Then later McBride came. Oh joy. I was hooked! I love Everton! Now I’m back in the states, living in New England, next to a town called Manchester. And each weekend, I watch the blues... usually get the blues.. but when they win.. OH JOY! I actually met an Evertonia by chance once. He was officiated my team’s match. Small world!

You guys who live in England and get to go to the matches.. You have no idea how envious the rest of us blues are of you!
Chris Wilson
24   Posted 30/01/2009 at 04:31:41

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I’ve made a couple posts on here, and it’s nice to see a few fellow ’mericans join our ranks.

I became an Everton fan in 1987 (not a bad year to start), but it wasn’t because the Toffees were champs. I grew up in Oklahoma and the coach for my club side was a man named Brian Harvey aka Colin Harvey’s younger brother. So because of our direct lineage to the club, it felt natural for us to embrace Everton as our team.

I’m pretty sure Brian enlisted Colin’s help when we would pop overseas to play in some footy tournaments like the Aberdeen International Football Festival as well as friendlies in Liverpool and Chester. Got the pleasure of scoring my only goal overseas right in front of Colin too - that was sweet!

Ever since the internet, my father and I listen to the matches and chat about transfers and European qualification; we talk Everton like people over here speak of the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys, and we’ve never missed an opportunity to see them when they come to the states. The two of us even made a game at Goodison in December 2002. A trip up from London to see us play Chelsea. We lost though, oh well.

I try to do my part to get my fellow American footy fans to do the proper thing and support the Blues, but they’re all locked into the Chelseas and Arsenals of the world. Although all my friends love Cahill, Arteta, and were impressed when we signed Saha. I think more Americans should give Everton a look because the club has been one of the very few to give American players a chance: Joe Max, McBride, Howard, and in the past we’ve been linked to Eddie Pope, Demarcus Beasley, Danny Szetella, Clint Dempsey (still like to get him), and Jozy Altidore’s name came up recently.

My father and I love the club. We have been loyal through thick and thin and will continue to do so until the end of days.
Jamie Crowley
25   Posted 30/01/2009 at 06:26:23

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RL-

Fellow Yank says welcome! Be careful - this will become an obsession!
You will:
check the websites daily
learn to hook your laptop up to your TV to pirate the games off the internet so you never miss a single one
call in sick on match days
hate LFC more than any other sports organization on God’s earth

consider giving a body part for a Champions League spot
and probably begin to drink a little more

Get your family (if you have one) involved. it’s fantastic. I have 4 sons and one on the way. Match days are awesome (brilliant). The whole family watches, screams, listens to their Dad beller obscenities (unfortunate but unaviodable), and then eats a huge brunch. My boys LOVE Everton and LOVE hanging out and watching the games.

One thing you’ll see and appreciate as well is that Evertonians are true fans. Americans are so fucking wishy washy with their loyalties. These folks would walk through Hell in a gasoline suit for a title. You’re about to figure out what a true fan really is.

Bleed Blue, and enjoy the ride!
Michael Coffey
26   Posted 30/01/2009 at 09:21:55

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What a fantastic story, RL. Welcome on board.

If you want to know more about your DNA, and St Helens in particular, I warmly recommend. "Lancashire- where women die of love" by Charles Nevin.
Roger Trenwith
27   Posted 30/01/2009 at 11:08:27

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Welcome RL - a heartwarming story on a dismal cold January day (still gutted from the Arsenal "defeat")

Although I was born in Liverpool we moved away when I was 2 in 1962 due to my dad?s work. As a small boy my favourite players were Alan Ball, Joe Royle, and, dare I say it, Roger Hunt! Back in the mists of time (1969 actually) I chose the mighty blues over the shite, when my dad (a Red) told me there was no way I could follow players from both teams. I can remember Everton choosing me because they played the game as it should be played, and the shite had Tommy Smith, a thug amongst thugs!

No regrets ? COYB
Joeynkoo Ludden
28   Posted 30/01/2009 at 11:53:44

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RL - I can only reiterate the posts above, a nice article and good to have you with us. Read the history of our grand old team, how we were league champions at Anfield, how the dark side are but a spin off of us. Read up on our legends, William Ralph Dean, the Golden Vision, the Holy Trinity, the entire class of ?85.

Then get your good self to Goodison for a game and the second Z-Cars pipes out, the boys in blue march onto the hallowed turf and the Goodison roar goes up to greet them... words cant describe the feeling! You?ll realise then you were chosen and did not choose. COYB!!

Howard Don
29   Posted 30/01/2009 at 12:34:02

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Careful RL ,in the immortal words of the late, great Alan Ball "Once Everton touches you, nothing is ever quite the same again". I was first taken aged about 9 and I’m late fifties now. I’ve seen triumph and disaster but I’m never going to be able to shake it off now, neither would I want to. I’ve seen and loved all our successful teams down the years but I must say there’s something I love about the indomitable spirit of the current team, maybe that’s what you picked up on. Welcome to the family.
Trevor Lynes
30   Posted 30/01/2009 at 13:04:47

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The USA should have millions of football supporters because football is the world's biggest game, every country plays it. Welcome aboard to one of the ?bumpiest? rides imaginable. I've been a ?blue? since 1948 and seen them relegated and bounce back as Liverpool went down. I witnessed the re-birth under Sir John Moores when Liverpool was the top city for football with both sides competing regularly for the top trophy... when did Man Utd and Man City fill the two top places ... I cannot remember anyway!! Unfortunately money has taken away the old fashioned competition where any side had a chance to win the league.

I have won and lost money on the blues placed for winning the league title and my how I groaned when I lost lots on the West Brom cup final. We actually scored 10 against them in the two league games but inexplicably lost in the cup final in 1968 :(

Welcome to all Blue fans I must say I converted a couple of Sudanese operators to be Blues during my time in Abu Dhabi..... COYB Z-Cars is the best anthem at any football ground!!

Kase Chow
31   Posted 30/01/2009 at 13:49:10

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Welcome on board mate!!!

Glad to have you

CYOB!!!!
Howard Don
32   Posted 30/01/2009 at 14:13:11

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Hey Trevor, I too was in Abu Dhabi, we had a select band of blues fans out there in the ’80s. I missed the Bayern Munich game flying back off leave but we all congregated for The Rapid Vienna Final. They delayed live transmission half way through for prayer time and I remember throwing my specs. at the telly in frustration.
Terry Hayes
33   Posted 30/01/2009 at 17:23:31

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Roger, I too was chosen in 69. I was born in Altrincham and all my mates were City fans. I was 11 when one of my mate's dad took us all to Maine Road, my first ever game. City scored they all jumped up... not me; I was mesmorized by Alan Ball's white boots.

Everton scored, I was the only kid in the kid's pen to jump up. Walked out the ground spent my spends on an Everton rosette and never looked back. Had some great times and have always been made welcome at the match. Like someone else said, once chosen, there's no way back.

Denis Richardson
34   Posted 30/01/2009 at 18:17:08

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Welcome to the fold RL.

Understand where you?re coming from but I have to admit I?m one of a few Everton fans, of a certain age, that started supporting them because they were "awesome" as well as because my favourite colour was/is blue (hate red). These reasons would seem a little shallow to many but then again the year was 1984 and I was 7 years old and we?d just won the FA cup - so I hope people understand.

Still over the last 25 years of supporting the blues I?ve had my fair share of ups and downs (if only I could find a way to erase the 90s from my memory (?95 excepted), but every new season brings new hope and I cannot imagine supporting another team (although I have to admit I?ve a soft spot for Reading as I went to school there).

Still welcome to the people?s club.
Gavin Fennessy
35   Posted 30/01/2009 at 20:46:30

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As an Irish Blue welcome to the gang. I am 28 years an obsessional Toffee. For better or worse there is no cure! Never a dull moment and always a brighter day around the corner! Come on You Blues!
Phil Wilken
36   Posted 30/01/2009 at 22:21:55

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Glad to see all these fellow Everton supporters here in the good ole USA. I live just outside of Memphis, Tennessee (home of Elvis?s Graceland). I have been a devout Evertonian since 1977 when my cousin and uncle took me to a couple of Everton games at Goodison, hearing Z-Cars and seeing the royal blue jerseys coming on the field sends chills down your spine. I saw big Bob Latchford get his 30th (what a match that was). Been through the ups and downs over the years, but nothing compares to being an Evertonian. I also went to see the blues in Chicago this past summer, we lost, but what a great feeling to see my beloved team again.

COYB
Adam Cunliffe
37   Posted 31/01/2009 at 16:26:53

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E.J, more importantly I also live in St Helens.

Very nice article, a great read, welcome to the wierd and wonderful place that is Everton Football Club.


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