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By Michael Evans :  06/06/2009 :  Comments (8) :

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.

Reader Comments

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Joe Jennings
1   Posted 06/06/2009 at 18:54:15

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Soul-stirring stuff, Michael.

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.

Nil Satis...
John de Frece
2   Posted 06/06/2009 at 19:38:15

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41 years ago, I was an 18-year-old lad about to finish school. It was 1968 and we all know what happened. I managed to get a ticket and got the train down from Lime Street. I still don?t know how we lost that day and was heartbroken

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.
Jay Harris
3   Posted 06/06/2009 at 19:48:35

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Having lived the rollercoaster that is supporting the Blues for 50 years now, I hope that the club give you young lads some moments to cherish, like the Cup-Winner?s Cup Final, the League Championships ? particlularly in the 80s, when it was dominated by us and the RS, and more cup finals with a win rather than a loss.

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.
Andy Morden
4   Posted 06/06/2009 at 19:50:25

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I remember a post going back to the 07-08 season that discussed the feeling that many Toffees who are in their late 20s and early 30s were begining to believe in the team and the chance of some success. This was around the time of the purple patch in that season where we were playing some good stuff and had put 7 past Sunderland.

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.
Keith Glazzard
5   Posted 06/06/2009 at 22:20:32

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My dad played at Wembley. 1946 Cup Final. He was the first trombone in the Royal Navy band, and he always remembered the experience very fondly.

In 1984 he went back with my brother and me. He was very pleased with the outcome.
Monty Carlo
6   Posted 07/06/2009 at 15:37:31

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My dad introduced me to football too. He was a red-nose, as were my four brothers. However, he may have been a Liverpool fan but he was also a football fan and a decent man and a good dad so when they were playing away he’d take me to Goodison to see the Blues.

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!)
Tim Wardrop
7   Posted 08/06/2009 at 14:30:24

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Monty - I remember a few years ago being on the bus to go to Goodison, chatting to a random fella who was also off to the game. He had a season ticket in the Kop and in the Gwladys Street. Never ever went away, just watched each team when they were at home. When I asked him who he supported on derby day he said something along the lines of "the home team, unless the match has more significance (title, Euro qualification etc) to the away team". Don’t have a clue how he could do it, but he did!

There are people like your old man out there who might support one team, but will go and watch the other too.
john Hazlewood
8   Posted 09/06/2009 at 21:31:21

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Hi Michael.

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!

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