I shall always be grateful to my Father for many things. Showing wisdom beyond his years, he decided as a young Shropshire lad that, in the late 1920s/early 1930s, he would begin his love affair with Everton.
I suppose you could say that he was an early glory hunter as the honours list for that period testifies to Everton's success. However, he would then continue to support Everton for a further 70 years.
My parents' marriage was a blue match made in Heaven. My Mother was from a Bootle family of Evertonians and she joined the Land Army in Shropshire to escape wartime bombing. They met at an Army dance and my father always said it was love at first sight ? whether this was before or after he discovered my mother was a Blue... I'm not sure!
I would like to think that 1963 was a good year for my father. His beloved Everton won another title and my mother gave him the son he wanted. The Championship-winning side of 1970 came a little early for me and it was at the beginning of the 1973-74 season that I attended my first match, at home to Arsenal.
How do you describe your first visit to Goodison? Words can't do it justice really can they? I remember that sheer visceral sense of excitement and that we won 3-0, with Martin Dobson oozing class with every cultured pass he made.
For my father, this was a special moment too. Father-and-son relationships are sometimes not easy, are they? So much we would like to say and yet can't find the words... With Everton, we could share a mutual love and speak with one voice.
My father's knowledge of Everton was fascinating and he could easily compare the merits of, for example, centre-forwards spanning decades with reference to Dean, Hickson, Lawton and Royle etc. He had seen the greats play and when he talked about them, his face lit up with the passion that true football supporters have.
And yet my Father was troubled by the Everton legacy that I was now sharing with him. Would the mediocrity of the Lee and Bingham eras and the initial failure of the Kendall tenure mean that I would just have to keep listening to how good the Everton sides of the past USED to be???
Travelling back to Shropshire together after the 1984 FA Cup Final against Watford, I remember my father was thoughtful for a while and then smiling said, "I think we'll be having a good season next year." I truly believe that he knew the foundation of another great Everton side was in place, and that this time his son would be able to experience the joy of success with him.
Twenty-five years on and the dust is slowly settling after the loss to Chelsea. I have found my thoughts have turned more and more to the younger generation of supporters, such as Joe Jennings and Adam Cunliffe who have written with such enthusiasm for the club on this site. Perhaps they too have older generations within their respective families who have more than "being proud despite defeat" to comfort them. Instead they have experienced the true sweetness of success when your pride is based on your club not just being "the best of the rest" but being simply the best.
The younger generation of Everton fans deserve to experience what we have experienced and must not be let down. Please take note, Moyes et al.
I write this on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. My Father was a sergeant-major in the Royal Artillery and landed on the Normandy beaches on D-Day + 1. Sadly, he died in 2005 and to commemorate his war service a Royal British Legion standard bearer lowered a flag at his funeral. Perhaps it would also have been fitting if an Everton flag had been lowered too.
God Bless Dad.
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1 Posted 06/06/2009 at 18:54:15
When you mentioned the ?84 final, I couldn?t help but cast my mind back to last week, my first final.
The day ended in heartbreak, but no-one can ever take away the moment when Saha scored. Ever. It will stay with me until my dying day.
I believe in this team and I believe in our manager. I believe in them with a force that annihilates rational logic. We are on the cusp of something special.
Chelsea take the cup home to conclude the season, but they can never recreate what we have here, at Everton Football Club.
2 Posted 06/06/2009 at 19:38:15
Fast wind on and it's 2009 and my younger son is exactly ? 18! This time, it's a lot harder than a train... this time it's a plane. I taught my kid everything about Everton and he caught the bug.
So we get on a plane from Tel Aviv, spend a king?s ransom for tickets ? only for history to repeat itself and another 18-year-old is heartbroken. Still, what can I say ? just to be in a sea of Everton fans thrilled him and me. To hear "Z-Cars" live after so many years ? well, there were tears in my eyes.
And to tell the truth ? I didn't think I would see us at Wembley again. Well, I will... and so will my lad.
3 Posted 06/06/2009 at 19:48:35
I do believe we are on the verge of something special but I also felt that in 04-05 when the Board let us down again.
I just hope this time we can stretch to bringing in the quality additions to make us competitive again.
4 Posted 06/06/2009 at 19:50:25
I think this post hits the nail on the head. I dimly remember the glory years of the 80s and I was just shy of 17 when we won the 1995 FA Cup. I desperatley desire a great Everton team to develop and to go on and wins things. Of course, I take pride in the fact we have stayed up and have a proud top flight record ? lesser teams would have gone under. I took great pride in our FA Cup win in 95, but I want a team who mount challenges and will give us a glory period.
Time will tell if such a team is being built.
5 Posted 06/06/2009 at 22:20:32
In 1984 he went back with my brother and me. He was very pleased with the outcome.
6 Posted 07/06/2009 at 15:37:31
I don’t remember much about that first game in the 60’s (I must have been about 8 or 9) except that it was against QPR but I’ve been hooked ever since.
He died of cancer some years ago but even during his slow decline he was always interested in football, and was as worried as I was when we looked like perennial relegation fodder. There aren’t many like him around these days - if only more football fans were like him and could follow the example he set (incidentally he was always very sporting after they beat us but my brothers weren’t - you know how it is in mixed families!)
7 Posted 08/06/2009 at 14:30:24
There are people like your old man out there who might support one team, but will go and watch the other too.
8 Posted 09/06/2009 at 21:31:21
I too was born in 1963 - and went on to see us beat Watford in 1984 with my dad who for years went on about all our history and the greats who played for us. I was lucky to meet Dixie Dean at one of the shareholders nights in the 70’s, and then grew up watching us at Goodison but had to endure a trip over to Anfield with my Dad every other week as he insisted I went to see both clubs! My Grandad was a big blue, buying original debenture shares in Everton that have been handed down to me and got me a ticket for the Chelsea final. I was fortunate to get an invite to the post match players party at The Grosvenor Hotel with my little boy who is ten. What a night. This squad will go on to greater success I am sure - we have a spirit that will see us win something soon!