A good pal of mine was the Matchday Sponsor for the Stoke game so of course all the lads had the invite and it was an early start 11:45am. The meeting place was the main reception on Goodison Road where, on arrival, 16 of us were shown to the Sponsor's Lounge.
Now it starts to get good. We are greeted by Everton legend Graeme Sharp who is our host for the day and the champagne bottles are already popping. Once all the lads are there, a mini-stadium tour with Sharpy doing the honours begins. Also present is a photographer, who snaps away all through the day and who makes copies for everyone who wants them at a later date. Free, of course.
First off, we go down to the Everton home changing room where all the kits and boots are laid out ahead of the game... and it's here we find out about Fellaini's new hairdo. After a brief look around, we are led down the tunnel and on to the pitch. BRILLIANT, this bit, as I got my mate to ring my mobile phone so the Z-Cars theme was playing as I walked out of the tunnel.
Now I have been on the pitch a few times before but this was always in an unofficial capacity. You know... after the staying-up games against Wimbledon and Coventry. This time, though, I had the chance to take it all in with out being legged by a Bizzie.
Let me say now that if you have ever stood in the middle of Goodison Park looking up at the main stand you will know what an AWSOME feeling it is. It's a must for any serious Everton fan and a 'must do before I die' thingy.
The place looks huge when you are out there in the middle and I was thinking to myself, How can we call this place a dump? ? It's a shrine to me! "This is the Mecca of football", I was shouting, "Do you know how lucky I am right now? Ha Ha!" What a scream.... It must be an amazing feeling playing in front of so much noise, passion and history as a player at Everton FC. What lucky bastards they are.
By now, it's 12:30pm and the five-course meal starts with more wine, champers, beer etc in full flow. The food is top-notch and far better than the crap they serve up in the Joe Mercer lounge. While you are seated in the lounge, your every need is taken care of. Even betting slips and pens are brought in for those who want a flutter on the game. Absolutely spot on service all round.
By now it's 2:50pm and we are taken to the Directors' Box where we are seated in Row A in the big leather seats. Honestly, these are the best seats in the house and watching the match from this area of the stand is a pure pleasure. Not an obstructed view in sight and a perfect position to watch the game.
Part of the sponsor's duty is the Man of the Match award, for which I was out-voted with about 5 minutes remaining. My pick was Joleon Lescott but Jagz won it so he came down to the lounge for the presentation. Phil was first class and took time out to talk with everyone and have his photo took with all the lads. Great guy.
Also joining Jagielka was Ian Snodin, Derek Mountfield and Old Davey Hickson, along with the FA Cup, the original Rotterdam 1985 Cup Winners Cup and the Premier League Trophy. So here we are with all these famous trophies and a room full of Everton legends ? a gang of mad Evertonians who are by now all well sozzled and you can imagine the carry-on. FANTASTIC!!!
We all took away some cracking photos and some wonderful memories from the day and I must say EFC did us proud. I don't think another football club in the country would have bettered the day we had on Saturday. From start to finish, it was perfect and what a guy Sharpy is. A real gent and a great laugh as well. Everton FC really was the People's Club on the day and I can't stress enough how much of a good job they did on this cracking day.
For once, it's not bad news or a horror story where I am concerned and I hope many of you lot out there get the chance for the type of Goodison experience we had last Saturday... BRILLIANT!!!
As for Saturday's pathetic kick off time at Pompey... WTF's going on??? Surely a low key match of this sort cant come under police procedure or overseas TV rights can it? We are leaving at 6:30pm and driving down. There's a boozer on the top road directly behind the away end, about 5 minutes walk where most Evertonians who want a bevy meet.
It's a mixture of fans but is mainly our lot. No trouble and not bad Grub either. I can't remember the name but you won't miss it and it's easy to find for those making the horrible journey to Pompey for the first time. See you there then... COYBs.
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1 Posted 20/03/2009 at 05:22:10
2 Posted 20/03/2009 at 05:55:06
3 Posted 20/03/2009 at 06:17:54
4 Posted 20/03/2009 at 06:51:28
5 Posted 20/03/2009 at 07:34:12
6 Posted 20/03/2009 at 07:52:57
I’m about 3/4 down.
7 Posted 20/03/2009 at 08:29:33
8 Posted 20/03/2009 at 08:21:11
I did the Goodison Experience in 2005 and it was the highlight of my trip to Liverpool. Being a South African Everton fan, trips to Goodison are few and whilst I?ve been lucky to attend a some games at the historic ground, the Goodison Experience Tour with Dave Hickson was by far the best memory.
It was the day the IOC announced that London would host the 2012 Olympics and we watched that announcement with Dave, on the telly, in the players lounge. Bill certainly has a great seat in the Directors Box.... COYB!!!
9 Posted 20/03/2009 at 09:58:01
Enjoy your trip tomorrow and come back with more feel-good factor stories.
10 Posted 20/03/2009 at 09:59:52
I was also fortunate to be a shirt sponsor for the first few years of Moyes reign and met some true legends and real gents - particularly Dave Watson, Joe Royle, Big Nev and Mr Moyes himself. Good to see that at some level they recognise the fans as being crucial in a world where football is less sport and more business.
Enjoy Pompey Tony.....least they have a roof on now!!!!
11 Posted 20/03/2009 at 09:53:28
The Old Lady certainly is a special place. And though I don?t get there as often as I like due to living in Australia, it still gives me goosebumps every time I do visit.
I was fortunate enough to be on the Goodison Turf in 1988 on an "unoffical" tour of the ground when one of the staff announced Everton had just broke the British transfer record by signing Tony Cottee. Feel good times back then too. COYB!
12 Posted 20/03/2009 at 10:08:20
Just a couple of questions....
Did you call Moyes a coward to his face (If you met him) and tell him you’d once asked Steve Copple to be manager of Everton?
13 Posted 20/03/2009 at 10:12:30
14 Posted 20/03/2009 at 10:33:26
Sounds almost like a perfect day. The only two things that could possibly have improved it would have been beating Liverpool 5 - 0 on the day (to win the league) and receiving a blow job from Scarlett Johanssen under the table.
Great stuff, very jealous and already planning my turn with my little boy. Now, for Portsmouth...
15 Posted 20/03/2009 at 11:21:00
For a laugh, even though he stayed on the bench, you should have voted for Shandy!
16 Posted 20/03/2009 at 12:06:27
My Uncle used to be a good friend of Brian Labone and we got a behind the scene tour before a match with Man City about 10-11 years ago. I met Neville Southall who took the piss out of my hair! To be fair it was dreadful (the hair, not the tour!)
17 Posted 20/03/2009 at 13:04:16
18 Posted 20/03/2009 at 14:10:29
I?ve been around the stadium, pitch, etc. - Dave Hickson took us round, great Fella.
19 Posted 20/03/2009 at 14:21:47
Well il be expecting the usual rant and pessimism from you tomorrow if we dont get 3 points! Did make a nice change to be honest you writing an article that didnt try to convince us our team are shite, so thanks for that, hope you enjoy tomorrow and that its another 2 weeks before you post another article because it would mean we’ve got a decent result! COYB
20 Posted 20/03/2009 at 14:47:08
21 Posted 20/03/2009 at 14:42:50
22 Posted 20/03/2009 at 16:28:53
23 Posted 20/03/2009 at 16:52:37
Throughout the game you were all up and down to the loo, no doubt too much free drink.
Glad you enjoyed it but no accounting for rudeness and lack of consideration for those who want to watch the match and not have to keep getting up and down for people more interested in the free drink.
There are a lot of people in corporate in the section you sat including the directors and Dixie Dean lounge and nobody, once the game starts, gets up to go anywhere, except for the different people who are involved in a one-off sponsorship for a game who have not a clue nor care about any etiquette what so ever.
Sure this won't matter, rant over.!!!!!!!!
24 Posted 20/03/2009 at 17:08:35
were interested in the match.We just went there to annoy you.maybe the lack of interest in football is why nearly every one of us that went Saturday will be making the trip south to Pompey this weekend.<
I am sorry Paul but I have been a Joe Mercer lounge member since 1994 so I am used to protocol in these parts of the ground.For your information people are up and down in the Joe Mercer and the rest of the ground like Blue Arse flies
throughout the match but what can you do?
Its a mans game,men like to drink and when they drink the need a pee.
Hope the cheering when the goals went in didnt hurt your ear drums mate as that justwouldnt do.Lets face it rowdy noisey types in a football ground WHAT EVER NEXT????
25 Posted 20/03/2009 at 17:27:03
I have no problem with cheering, noise whatever else, but their is nothing more annoying than someone who constantly gets up to go to the loo or is late back from half time or indeed for the start of the game.
The match is the most important to me and it does not take much to be there for the start of the game and to expect people to sit for 45 minutes without constantly getting up.
I actually think those that are regular in corporate or lounge like yourself know the score and in the main dont do this, unfortunatley its a new experience for most people in the sponsors section and they are in the main oblivious to etiquette due to ignorance or drink because its free for the day they indulge, fair enough and I am glad they enjoy it but it still pisses me off or it would if it happened near me which it does not.
By the way, nobody and I mean nobody does hopsitality better than Everton thats a fact.
26 Posted 20/03/2009 at 17:24:10
27 Posted 20/03/2009 at 18:47:04
I presume the pub you mention is the Brewer’s Arms, it certainly fits the description. Methinks there’ll be a mighty queue of Evertonians outside at opening time!
28 Posted 20/03/2009 at 19:05:53
Hope the rabble didnt spoil your day
but I think most of them were so hyped up because of the occasion.A few of those with us had never been in a lounge before so its a bit harsh to be critical.There was no malice intended maybe just a little to much alcohol and high spirits.
29 Posted 20/03/2009 at 19:55:10
I’m sure anyone who’s been on it will agree there is nothing quite like walking out of the tunnel to Z-cars?!
30 Posted 20/03/2009 at 20:08:05
Good read by the way.
31 Posted 20/03/2009 at 21:09:20
Said hello to Rhino down in the changing room and Kevin Campbell and Big Dunc were there in their suits as they were both injured at the time. During the game, sat a few seats along from Kenwright. The Grand Old Lady, eh? Oh yeah, Goodison was pretty grand too...
32 Posted 20/03/2009 at 22:14:55
33 Posted 20/03/2009 at 22:33:01
travellers that matters .Thanks Mate
34 Posted 20/03/2009 at 23:13:54
Seriously though Tony, your account has inspired me to get my act together and make a serious effort to visit the Old Lady with my brother and my nephew before it’s too late (when everyone jumps on the bandwagon of our upcoming CL place and FA Cup win!).
As a footnote, a mate of mine who played for UCD in the Cup Winners Cup tie back in 1984 (when they were a crossbar away from knocking us out in the 1st round) speaks very highly of Graeme Sharp - he made a special effort to look after them after the match with pints and geting them into discos etc... good man Graeme!
35 Posted 20/03/2009 at 23:34:05
36 Posted 21/03/2009 at 01:10:40
That was an enjoyable read. Sometimes as fans we forget that.
at every level Everton Football Club is incredible.
One thing no-one on this site can question is your sincerity. After that endorsement I for one will be looking to enjoy that experience.
37 Posted 21/03/2009 at 11:08:51
38 Posted 21/03/2009 at 11:24:39
39 Posted 21/03/2009 at 12:44:45
I don?t always agree with a lot that you have to say but don?t doubt you?re a true Evertonian! Would love to have that experience one day!
Let's hope we keep the push on for the CL place today at Pompey! COYB!
40 Posted 21/03/2009 at 17:11:39
I?ve actually read that after the pompy loss and it cheered me up. Will await your observations on Pompey with baited breath...
41 Posted 22/03/2009 at 11:13:42
The first was the link to Big Dunc at the Hall of Fame dinner ? fantastic speech from the heart. The second was reading this piece by Tony Marsh ? the new ?happy? Tony Marsh?! Again, great bit of ?from the heart? writing Tony and I especially related to the sneaky visits onto the hallowed turf. I?ve still got the pic from the back of the Echo with me on the pitch at the end of the Coventry game.
Pompey were the better side today but we?ll still be in Europe again next season and we?re still improving. As Dunc would say... "Once A Blue, Always A Blue".
42 Posted 25/03/2009 at 00:05:45
We had the pleasure of meeting many of the legends too and Harry?s really chuffed to have met a World Cup winner now. Ray Wilson was also real gent, and Harry is so happy to have one over all his mates. We live 125 miles away so most of them support any team but our local ones.
Not being backward, he also got his hands on all the cups before the rest of the guests got anywhere near them.
No booze for me ?cos of the drive home and Harry had a plate of chicken, chips and beans rather than the posh nosh for the grown ups. We stayed behind to meet the players and all were happy to pose for a picture before driving off (Jags in a Mini!).
Great day, great memories and we?ve plenty of terrific photos of the day.
We?ll just have to do it all again!
43 Posted 28/03/2009 at 19:30:02
44 Posted 31/03/2009 at 21:52:26