But just as in life, being a football fan is a learning curve, and I can remember my first painful experience of being duped into believing my beloved Everton were set to make an unrealistic signing.
I was 10 years old and I remember it vividly. I picked up a copy of Shoot Magazine only to see Ian Rush pictured on the front cover wearing an Everton shirt. I rushed home and read the two-page exclusive interview where Rush explained why he was swapping red for blue.
I couldn?t believe my eyes. I mean, I hated Ian Rush. Here was the guy who had scored goals against my team for fun. He had broken my young heart countless times already. I hated listening to the kids in the playground bang on about the so-called best striker in the world.
But now he was ours! And I am ashamed as a Toffees fan to admit that at that moment I had a new hero.
Even as a 10-year-old I knew the importance of banter between rival football fans. So in my naivety I rushed off, clutching a copy of the magazine, to find and boast to the first Liverpool fan I could find. In this case, it would be my neighbour Sean who lived down the road.
Sean was five years older than me. At that age, five years was a massive gap. He was forever ribbing me for being an Everton fan, but not this time. This time he would have no comeback. Victory would be sweet.
I remember marching up to him with a big grin on my face. He was standing with two or three other lads and I simply held the copy of the magazine up to him. His expression was one of shock. Without saying anything he took the magazine from me and frantically turned the pages.
I watched as his face scanned the pages of the magazine. ?What do you think of that, Sean?? I sarcastically asked. ?Don?t worry, Rush will still score a ton of goals at Anfield.?
I can?t begin to tell you how pleased I was with myself at my little dig at Sean. Even now, 20 years later, I still appreciate the maturity of my banter at the tender age of one decade. At the time I wasn?t too sure if I needed to explain that Rush would still be scoring loads of goals at Anfield in an EVERTON shirt, but I had heard the older lads make lots of leading comments like that before without dragging out the punch line so I was certain I?d done the right thing. A fact proven by the sheer look of panic now washed across Sean?s face.
But suddenly his expression changed. His spotty face cracked into a grin, and that panic turned into smugness. He took great pleasure as I fought valiantly to hold my ground and try not to look nervous. He waited just enough time as I managed to mutter the words ?What is it?? before turning the magazine back to me.
RUSH SIGNS FOR EVERTON? NEVERTON!
There it was in black and white. A cruel April Fool?s joke.
I snatched the magazine from him as the laughs began to break out. I stormed away, not giving them the satisfaction of seeing the tears welling up in my eyes.
These were not tears that Ian Rush would never turn out in an Everton shirt. In fact, I hated him now more than ever and I never wanted to see the big-nosed Serie A flop ever grace Goodison Park in the famous blue jersey. He wasn?t a patch on Graeme Sharp.
They were tears of anger. I was angry at myself ? angry at being duped in by a ridiculous media-made story. Okay, this was an April Fool?s joke and not necessarily a tabloid rumour, but it taught me an important lesson: take every transfer story in the media with a pinch of salt.
For what it?s worth, of all the latest stories doing the rounds at the moment, I hope we do manage to capture one or two of the names being mentioned.
Stephane M'Bia would provide us with that defensive midfielder we have longed for since Carsley left. Steven Defour or Joao Moutinho would supply that extra creativity and class we need in midfield. Moyes has a fantastic track record at bringing players in from the Championship so I would welcome a move for Kyle Naughton and Joe Ledley.
Even Michael Owen on the right wages for a free transfer would supply us with much needed cover up front, and he is still one of the most natural goal scorers in this country. Talking of free transfers, why have we not been linked with Jermaine Pennant yet? In my opinion, seeing as we have little money to spend and need a winger, then why not Pennant? I suppose we have been linked with Stephen Hunt...
Wait a minute ? I haven?t learned anything!
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1 Posted 28/06/2009 at 20:35:28
Painful experiences and Everton ... wow, where to begin? So much to write!
I don?t know what it is about this time of the year. You consider yourself to be a reasonably intelligent, level-headed person You tell yourself that this time it?s going to be different. You won?t keep checking TW, NewsNow, Sky etc for that magical, mythical, "final piece in the jigsaw" signing that?s going to turn us into Worldbeaters.
Your brain tells you that we probably haven?t a pot to piss in. You fear that our debt might be the size of Bolivia?s and yet the "Trust in Moyes" mantra permeates your unconscious mind, making you suspend all logic.
Will the Ginger Wizard wave his wand yet again? Can he conjure up another unpolished diamond for the cost of two Curlywurly?s and a complete set of plastic cutlery (second hand)?
2 Posted 28/06/2009 at 21:14:57
I’ve been given a bit of info about some of the French players.
Lorik Cana - from Marseille - he is likely to be signing a new contract he is their team captain.
Stephane M’Bia - from Rennes - I’ve heard very positive things, that he is live a young Patrick Viera.
Steven Defour - from Standard Liege - good player but not consistent, is would be fair to say one of his top three performances last season was against Everton.
Kader Keite - from Lyon a left winger with a bit of pace but hasn’t done much!!
Interesting to read your anecdote about Shoot magazine - I used to buy that.
3 Posted 28/06/2009 at 21:30:23
4 Posted 29/06/2009 at 00:27:36
5 Posted 29/06/2009 at 09:40:47
6 Posted 29/06/2009 at 12:52:38
The Reyes link (albeit we require players in other positions) excited me, but that?s been subsequently dismissed. As the old addage goes, I won?t be getting excited until I see them wearing the shirt ? on the official site.
7 Posted 29/06/2009 at 13:03:25
He?s just another prima donna footballer we could do with out... but as always it?s only a rumour, until he is sat there in the blue shirt waving the scarf with the cheesy grim... erm, I mean grin... then there is nothing in it!! He doesn?t fit the mould for Moyes in signing anyway, so I would doubt it....
Incidentally, I recall that issue of Shoot as i did exactly the same thing, except the crying bit... oh the memories...!!
8 Posted 29/06/2009 at 13:59:47
I wonder how many US players will be linked after the Confederations Cup as well...
9 Posted 29/06/2009 at 20:49:21
10 Posted 30/06/2009 at 10:42:25
Of course, the first thing I did is go to a school pal, red supporter, and produce it in front of him. The look on his face was priceless which then turned to a pissed off expression and him uttering ?well, he?s shit now Rush anyway?!!!
It was only later in the day on reading the mag properly that I realised it was a particularly cruel spoof, I felt like the lottery winner who had lost his ticket.
Of course, I then had to reveal to the school pal the truth before he came to me with it. He told me that ?he never believed it in the first place? but the look on his face meant that was bollocks and I could always turn round to him and say ?ha ha, you said Rush is now shit? ? little consolation though.
One thing's for sure, Rush must have been a particularly sadistic bastard to take part in this and hence even greater reason to hate him. I?ve learnt painfully over the years that trying to have a laugh at the redshite's expense has a horrible tendency to backfire and thus should be avoided against all temptation. That exact same school mate, grown up now, was the recipient of a text message salvo from me at half time 3-0 down against Milan... Say no more.