He would only ever show me victories, never defeats. What he told me, as his level smile always implied, was for my own good. Everything would improve, he promised. There would be glory. I must trust, I must keep the faith. He tells me what I long to believe. He was, and still is, very convincing.
It was my Dad who groomed me into one of Goodison?s most dedicated patrons. It was he who showed me the way. It was he who educated and indoctrinated me, it was he who recalled our healthy list of honours every day to me as if it was as important as learning the alphabet. It was thanks to him that I found love, real love.
I always swayed towards my Dad and his Everton spell, I was hypnotized. I would ask everything ranging from the players, the trophies all the way up to the width of the Goodison pitch, I had found my passion.
I would daydream in school and just say ?Everton? over and over in my mind. The name had an aura around it, like an amulet, a charm that had survived from an unimaginably distant past. Without his guidance, would I at this moment in time feel frightened, the fear that is now tightening my muscles, tensing my spine and pulling me so taut that I?m certain I would break if touched? I doubt it. But that?s just pre-derby day jitters.
It is an indescribable feeling which extrudes, expands and winces before it all begins. You can't diagnose it, only Everton can effect and overpower you in this way. Come 19:50, I will be sitting in my Gwladys Street seat. I will lower my head and close my eyes. I will listen to the held breath, the almost inaudible gasps, the shaking transpiring behind my back. I will pray silently. I don?t know what it means, but it will feel right, and it will have to do, because I don?t know what else I could say to God. Because this game is everything to us, defeat is not an option. Maybe my antics are a sign of insanity, but Everton are my therapy.
If I am to leave Goodison Park come the final whistle and my Everton, our Everton, have lost, I will feel empty. You can wet the rim of a glass and run your finger around the rim and it will generally make a sound. This would be how I feel, the sound of glass. I would feel like the word shatter. And I owe that all to my old man.
I often liken Everton to a room. Hear me out. A room where things once happened and now nothing does, except the pollen of the weeds that grow up outside the window, blowing in as dust across the floor. I?ve wanted to change that for years, I?ve wanted my Everton to seize the moment and believe in themselves. I still do. I still believe they can attain our dreams.
Whenever Liverpool visit, I feel surrounded by a smell, the smell of a cooped up animal in a dirty cage filtering through our beautiful Old Lady. A smell of arrogance. I can safely say that nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing those red shirts trudge off the electric Goodison grass come the final whistle having been outfought, outwitted, outbattled, ?outeverythinged? by my Royal Blue heroes, it would possibly draw me to tears.
They say sanity is a valuable possession, but my Dad made me give that up the day he proudly helped his son but on his first Everton jersey. I would wear it day in, day out. Come rain or shine, my Danka would more often than not be on show for the world. It gave me a sense of identity, a sense of unbridled pride.
He would tell me that I was part of a transitional generation. It was the hardest for those my age. He helped me comprehend the sacrifices you are expected to make. He helped me accept my Everton duties with a willing heart.
He still tells me we?ll be great again, and I believe him. I believe in everything he has instilled into me from an early age. This deluded, and somewhat contradictory way of believing seems to me, right now, the only way in which my mind can really believe that we can beat our red nemesis.
The greater the risk, the greater the glory. Come on you Blues.
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1 Posted 04/02/2009 at 01:18:30
2 Posted 04/02/2009 at 06:46:48
3 Posted 04/02/2009 at 08:05:29
This artcle has really brought that responsibility home to me.
I don’t have any kids of my own yet, but my sister’s 2 year old son has already learnt the phrase "Everton, yeah!" even though he doesn’t know eactly what Everton is yet. She now has another one on the way and I have confirmed with her that I will have the opportunity to influence this one as well. The Dad, by the way, is RS and we are watching the game together tonight.
4 Posted 04/02/2009 at 08:03:09
I played against Smith, Lawler, Temple and A?Court as a schoolboy and marked Wainwright when I played for Southport in the old 3rd Division North when he played for Rochdale in the twilight of his career. My heroes were originally Wally Fielding, then Hickson and Young, Roy Vernon and the holy trinity, Tony Kay, Alan Ball, Bobby Collins and Tommy Ring. So I have been a ?BLUE? since 1948 when the great Billy Liddell put the fear of God in me every time he got the ball in Derby matches.
I have loved the Blues and argued over them more than I ever did with my ex wife... I will still watch tonight with a sick feeling in my stomach that I cannot dispel until the final whistle has blown, when we have beat the Reds and then comes the euphoria (or is it pent-up relief?), especially if we have won well and deserved to.
Everything later is an anti-climax until there comes another worry about the next tie versus probably Villa... and so we go on. I must admit that my enthusiasm, heartaches and sometimes elation gained from supporting a team like ours has never diminished even though we have endured some bad times of recent years. It's a roller coaster I joined in 1948 and am still aboard today... and long may the ride continue!!!
5 Posted 04/02/2009 at 09:45:04
6 Posted 04/02/2009 at 09:38:54
7 Posted 04/02/2009 at 09:58:28
8 Posted 04/02/2009 at 10:19:49
Trevor Lynes, fantastic post ? young Evertonians should read it and learn.
What influenced me to be a blue? My Grandad really. In 1963 he insisted that I made my own mind up and got my uncles to take me to Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere as well as New Brighton at the old Tower Grounds. He was a very quiet man my Grandad and he was a docker and an Evertonian himself. He said to me that deciding which team to support was important for me and would be a decision for life ? wise words indeed.
So off I went around the grounds in 1963 and Everton was the last one for me to see. The fact that it was 1963 meant that Everton were the top side around and on my 1st visit I saw us win 4-2 and Roy Vernon scored 2. After that there was no decision to make really ? it was Everton for me. When I told my Grandad that after going to Everton that they were the team for me ? he gave me a huge smile ? said "Good lad" that was all that was needed. No more Liverpool or Tranmere.
I am 54 now and never regretted my choice and I am as daft about Everton now as I have ever been.
I will be there tonight for what is a massive game with that same feeling in the pit of the stomach that Trevor described. Derbies are just too tense to really enjoy and the atmosphere between the 2 sets of fans has deteriorated over the years. Particularly since Benitez has been at Anfield.
It won?t be for the faint hearted tonight... Us by the odd goal.
9 Posted 04/02/2009 at 16:50:23
I’m a Dad who has two sons who like me live in Cornwall and they are as Blue as the Mediteranian on a good day.
I’m going to e-mail them with your post because I think like them everyone who has the slightest conection with Nil Satis should read.
Trev, 10/10 also poetry
10 Posted 04/02/2009 at 17:23:13
Hopefully Joe your dads words and inspirations will come right. If we do everything you hope we do tonight then it will be the icing on the cake but heck if we play incredibly shite and win, will i be complaining- like shite would i be complaining, in fact even better. Lets settle the record straight.
11 Posted 04/02/2009 at 16:58:24
Made me think about the start of my own relationship with Everton and actually, It was slightly different for me.
Don’t get me wrong, my dad was a blue until the day he died (as was his Dad) and he took me to Goodison from 1967.
However, it was my (late) mother who instilled in me not only a love of Everton but a detestation of...’them’ - of the colour red, of all that homespun Shankly bollocks etc etc.
If I’m honest, she WAS bitter.
What was, on reflection, even stranger was that my mother wasn’t even from Liverpool (she arrived from Ireland - Roscommon - in the early 50’s, worked as a nurse, married my Dad, 4 kids etc etc).
What little I do know is that when they were ’courting’ (love that word) my dad (the old romantic) regularly took her to Goodison and it seems she was bitten ’big-time’ (as ’the kids’ say).
I think the fact that Tommy Eglington and Peter Farrell were playing must have had a big hand in things.
As the years went by, my dad stopped going regularly (not helped by all the 70’s hoolie stuff) and anyway, by then, I wanted to go with ’the lads’.
His attitude to football generally became more "None of them these days could lace Lawton/Hicksons/Etc’s boots" (er...bit like me now).
My mam however never stopped hating anything to do with ’them’.
Her language, very ’rural’ and ’Irish’ at the best of times, would become more than a little ’fruity’ if there was the wrong quote in The Echo or on Kick Off.
Tommy Smith was Satan as far as she was concerned but they were all ’gets’ and ’gobshites’ (snotty-nosed gets, shitty-arse, snot-nosed gets etc).
In 1980, I moved to London and EVERY week received a rolled up ’thing’ full of pages from The Echo about Everton.
I’d go home every couple of weeks and while eating a big plate of bacon and eggs would listen to her talk about how "that big ugly get Smith/Souness/Paisley was on Merseyside talkin’ shite..." etc.
I can truly say that none of my mates or anyone I’ve ever met, had such a Everton loving, LFC hating mother.
Odd I supose, but it made me the man I am today.
(I think these days, the social services would have been notified!).
(and fuck you Rafa you big ugly get!)
12 Posted 04/02/2009 at 17:43:23
13 Posted 04/02/2009 at 23:32:28
14 Posted 05/02/2009 at 01:06:01
Get that, you 'orrible arrogant scumbags, this is the greatest moment since my son has been born, get in there!!!!
15 Posted 05/02/2009 at 04:12:04
It?s a grand old team to support eh? What a day ... I can?t stop smiling ... even on the other side of the world in New Zealand.
16 Posted 05/02/2009 at 04:17:24
17 Posted 05/02/2009 at 04:56:38
He?s been strictly worm food for nearly fourteen years now, but tonight I know that he?s very, very happy worm food!
18 Posted 05/02/2009 at 12:23:41