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Thank You & Goodnight

By Mike McLean :  17/08/2008 :  Comments (20) :

There I was in the Bullens Road for the start of my 44th season at Goodison. Not especially hopeful but not particularly downhearted. Having seen the shenanigans of the early seventies and early eighties, this sunner has been par for the course in oh so many ways. I managed to muster a cheer for the boys and poor blood Moyes, sat back and waited for the fun to begin.

It was all a bit of a shambles, really, wasn't it? A few kids belting a ball around with little enthusiasm and less accuracy. The manager not being able to summon up enough enthusiasm to get angry. You'll have heard it all before and probably more succinctly put by Tony Marsh (a hero of mine ... he acually knows what being part of our tradition actually means) and others.

But this isn't really about football. It's about Evertonians because about 25 minutes into the game, having lost interest / heart in what was happening on the pitch, I did a bit of people watching. Anger, frustration, desperation, and resignation writ large on so many faces.

And something else ... a language of hatred. As a kid growing up in Liverpool, I learned the same words of racial and sexual abuse as everyone else. There wasn't a person of colour or gay man who could escape our eagle eyes and usually they got to know about it. That was the late fifties. Over the years, as I grew older, I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit many countries and notice that life could be lived without meaningless discrimination, and even here, in good old UK, things gradually changed with far less finger pointing and abuse than had been the case.

Well, generally speaking. When I actually looked and listened to some members of the crowd yesterday, there I was, back in the late 50s in some minging street in Vauxhall, with racist chants, sexual suggestions which were as graphic as they were impractical and stewards oblivious to everything, it seemed, but the possibility of a lonely KEIOC flag being raised.

And I suddenly didn't want to be part of that crowd anymore. No, I don't expect any man, woman or kid at the ground to be a flower arranger, male model, or rosary bead clutching saint. And, of course, I understand the sheer frustration of people who have sweated blood to buy their tickets. What I'd hope for is a general understanding that it's no longer just banter to rain down racist rubbish or to use sexuality as an insult. Alabama, Moscow, and Goodison? It's poor company we seem to be keeping. So, after 44 years service to the cause, I'll be spending my Saturday afternoons just chilling ... with maybe a little flower arranging now and again for excitement, and leaving the hatred to those whose ears do not hear and eyes do not see.

Reader Comments

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David Kiely
1   Posted 17/08/2008 at 21:06:20

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I sympathise Mike, but I honestly dont believe what goes on today regarding that sort of language - bad that it is in any volume - approaches the levels of the late 70s/80s. Away support might be different, but at Goodison it’s the odd isolated voice, or at worst a small group of little shithouses. Back in the day (as the horrible saying goes!) racism especially was endemic, now it’s largely an unwelcome abberation. As I say, I dont want to make light of it as it is present. Keep on going the game mate, we need more people like you not less.
Stephen Stuart
2   Posted 17/08/2008 at 21:11:13

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Well said Mike.

I think many should spend a minute pondering your thoughts and looking at themselves. So much for the efforts to ban racism and other forms of discriminatory behaviour by this club. But then, this club can?t even buy new players or play football anymore either.

What do stewards actually do during matches?
Mike Hughes
3   Posted 17/08/2008 at 21:29:13

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I also sympathise. It really grates on me when you get some persistent foul-mouthed moron at the match. I am the first to highlight the deficiencies of kopites and wrote a letter to Radio Merseyside on the subject which Roger Phillips read out some time ago. I highlighted the many crimes and misdemeanours of our red neighbours in the light of chants EFC fans made towards Stevie G ("Laa"). I wanted to redress the balance of the "Liverpool - good, Everton bad" message which the media seemed to play on. But sometimes EFC fans can be our own worst enemies - especially at away games. I’m not saying we should all be saints. I swear in frustration (e.g. another Phil Neville pass gone astray) but it’s instinct and I keep it to myself. Those who like to be heard screaming obscenities at the top of their voices really need to take a look at themselves and consider whether they would be better suited to standing on the Kop. (There was a funny article in Saturday’s Independent relating to Frank Skinner’s view on the subject recently. The odd outburst can be funny but when it becomes the norm......)
Ray Robinson
4   Posted 17/08/2008 at 22:59:42

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Mike, keep going mate. If rational people like you stop going, the lunatics really will take over the asylum.
David Wallbank
5   Posted 17/08/2008 at 22:50:15

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Mike Hughes: I never read the Frank Skinner bit, but that is so true. But if I am honest I don?t mind people swearing at the match. But when idiots start being racist its not on, or abusive to foreign players. But Mike what gets to me even more, and you admit to doing it, is getting on the players' backs. Phil Neville, I bet its also Tony Hibbert. It does my head in when we start screaming at our own! What good does it do? I?d rather get behind the team than try make a player who wears blue feel like crap.

As for Dave not wanting to go the match cos of Saturday and the idiots around him, well that?s up to him. But I know what he means totally, its embarrassing going to away games being an Everton fan, I actually cringe. At Derby County away last year I was surround by people slagging of Yakubu, and being racist. Calling him a lazy black Nigger!

I couldn?t believe it, and they had the cheek to celebrate when he scored in the second half. I felt like ripping someone?s head off, it made me so mad. It couldn?t care if someone was blue with pink spots, as long as they played for Everton I don?t care! But lastly I wouldn?t say it was an Everton exclusive issue, lots of other clubs have these same morons!
Christine Foster
6   Posted 17/08/2008 at 23:55:21

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Mike, coming from the same ming streets in Vauxhall (Burlington street actually) I remember all to well the 70s, the level of abuse that wasn?t there in the 60s and I have to say I agree with you. It's not Everton in particular, I went to watch the team against Man U and Arsenal last year and frankly I was disgusted with the chant and the abuse Everton fans got.

One can understand the anger and frustration due to the clubs failure to live up to fans expectations but that doesn?t doesn?t mean its right. I agree to, the club must give the Stewards more direction as racial abuse cannot be tolerated.

I have always been treated courtiously by both fans and stewards in match days but stopping abusive chants can only be done by removing the offenders.

I remember a rather large guy some 20 yards from me effing and blinding at one of our own players only for a 60 odd year old woman next to him telling him to stop giving the team "awful fucking abuse will you, there are kids here" had to smile but it is up to all of us too

As was said above, keep the faith Mike, keep going or the lunatics will end up running the asylum.
Jim Lloyd
7   Posted 18/08/2008 at 00:35:23

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Blimey Mike,
You?ve hit a spot with your post. I was sitting at the same match and, to be honest was bored rigid. Probably, I was spoilt. I saw a magnificent team in the sixties, probably the best I?ll ever see wearing the blue of EFC. I was also lucky to see what could have become the best team in Europe but events put an end to our chance.

Now, well if I?m honest, I felt the same as you. However Mike, we have a responsibility. We?ve seen the best, now we have to make sure that we don?t let the scumbags win.

Keep going mate, as you?ve seen from other replies; society in general will suffer if we duck our responsibilities. Our club will suffer if we allow the morons to take over. I?d be pleased one day to have a pint with you and to anyone else who believes our club doesn?t need the scum bags.
All the best & keep the faith.

Alan Willo
8   Posted 18/08/2008 at 07:56:55

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What is the point of this post? Are we social engineering now, do we all have to play PC both at work, home and the match. Just because the odd person doesn?t think before they speak then you throw in your hat, truth is you can?t be bothered and you?re using this as an excuse. In the eighties you had tens of thousands of EFC fans singing ?Everton are white? colored people being slashed and beaten up just off County Road, if I remember one black lad (West Ham Fan)was only saved from death by the goodwill of local residents but he still received well over 150 stitches due to knife wounds!!!

I?m sorry but GP and Everton fans in general have improved considerably over the years and you can?t expect the community of L4 and surrounding areas not to have the odd idiot who shout these silly chants. I too sit in the Paddock/Bullens Rd and I hear shouts all the time but believe me it's not as bad as it was, people will always disappoint you no matter what but the day you ask for social perfection on the terraces of GP then your just as much as an idiot as the people who shout out the crap. Admit it you?re not going because the performance was crap that I understand but dot use behaviors of the few as an excuse is not fair on the 98% of us who treat people with respect. COYB

Mike Hughes
9   Posted 18/08/2008 at 10:57:43

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@Dave Wallbank - re-read my post Dave.
I stated that "I swear in frustration but it’s instinct and I keep it to myself." I certainly don’t "scream at my own" as you suggest. Attention to detail, Dave!!! What do you do when professional footballers lump the ball in a seemingly amatuerish way - applaude?

I agree with the rest of your post - especially the racism stuff.
John Lloyd
10   Posted 18/08/2008 at 11:40:59

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I’m with Alan Willo on this one, why you’ve even posted this baffles the life out of me?? If you wanna stop going the match thats fine mate, your an adult who can make his own decisions but dont come on here blaming racism and ’industrial language’ from people around you. If you were so incensed you would of reported it to not only a steward but a policeman!!

Like Alanwillo has stated if your such a stalwart you will of seen some atrocious behaviour in & around Everton matches throught the 70’s & 80’s but now you’ve had enough??

If you woulda comeon and said its too much money for what we’re seeing or 44 years is enough blah blah I would of had more respect, but nevermind that, why are you on posting this at all??
Mike Hughes
11   Posted 18/08/2008 at 13:03:18

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Err......there are many reasons why we’ve moved on from the bad fan behaviour of the 70’ of which is called evolution.

Another, more basic reason to curb obscene chanting and racist abuse might be because - if it continues - the club will get fined (or points deducted) and we’re not exactly n a position to throw money away like that are we?

Also, we’re trying to attract investors - some of who may be foreigners. Are they going to want that sort of atmosphere to invest into?
stephen williams
12   Posted 18/08/2008 at 13:29:10

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Evil flourishes when good men do nothing
Paul Gladwell
13   Posted 18/08/2008 at 13:57:18

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Got to agree with Alan Willo on this one, going to Goodison these days is like a vicars tea party compared to yesteryear, I remember those days of "trigger trigger" flares being fired like bomby night every time a London club where in town and fellas hangin on the street end railings dressed in KKK outfits chanting at a smiling Alex Williams as the whole Street end laughed, although to be fair the hoodie pricks who follow us away with their Gerard chant have put me off big time and my aways we be kept to Europe, but that does not look like costing me much this year.
Shaun Brennan
14   Posted 18/08/2008 at 14:24:28

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Mike, fair point. but there is an even stronger point.

Do something about it, we all should

Why not tell these people to pack it in? Or to be fair, go to a copper and tell him to keep tabs.

you can do it discreatly. don’t have to tell the nearest copper!
It’s our duty to clear up this filth, not just walk away from it.
Mike Hughes
15   Posted 18/08/2008 at 15:10:13

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Shaun, wouldn’t it make sense to highlight the implications for the club on these kind of websites first? There are people who are seem almost misty-eyed for the 70s behaviour. Maybe they’re too thick to educate. I agree we should all do something about it -you included. The sad fact is that the stewards are next to useless and you can never find a cop when you need one. We have CCTV but everyone needs to be involved in stamping this out. I don’t want to be at a "vicar’s tea party". My fave song is, "Kopites are Gobshites" but that’s very mild in comparison to what the original post was apparently all about.
EJ Ruane
16   Posted 18/08/2008 at 14:50:32

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Mike, it depresses the shite out of me as well

I know I could soon end up joining you and fucking it off but still (just about!) have enough scrap left in me to think I CAN’T let these hateful, evil little cunts win.

At the Anderlecht game a few seasons ago, I watched a young ’Evertonian’ giving the Heil salute to the away fans.

Me and the two fellers I was with, enquired.

"Hey lad, what the fuck is that?".

His only slightly sheepish response "just a laff like".

My opinion used to be more tolerant (ie: "it’s a lack of education/parenting/guidance" etc) now I just hope they all burn (yes I DO see the ’irony’ but I’m not prepared to waste ANY time trying to reason with the thick and wilfully unreasonable).

As woody Allen Says in Manhattan "When you’re dealing with people in Jack-boots, a satirical piece is one thing, but baseball bats really gets the message home"

To say it was ’worse’ in the 70’s is a TOTAL red herring


Because in the 70’s (and I’ve been going since 67), yes it WAS bad (and I could now weep when I think of what it must have been like for black players) BUT!...we hadn’t had 30 years of information, ideas, integration, racial diversity, education and experience that today’s generation have had.

For us, there was our mam’s and dad’s watching the Black and White Minstrels on BBC on Saturday night.

There was ’The Comedians’ on Granada where all Irishmen were thick and all Indians waved their heads as they spoke.

This was on the telly, (the MAINSTREAM telly!), it MUST be ok...right?

In 1974 there were no black newsreaders, sports reporters, businessmen, TV Chefs, Mayors, politicians, or U.S presidential candidates.

Now thankfully, we live in a different world.

Yet despite this sea change, you still get a LOT of weasel-faced little gob-shites, calling themselves Evertonians spewing out their racial bile.

For many of our generation, when it was pointed out and explained how disgusting racism was/is, anyone with a (half a) brain and a heart, eventually embraced this notion.

I’ll be totally honest, this education personally turned me from someone who would have laughed in 1974 at a joke about ’wogs’ or ’coons’, to someone who, in the 90’s, worked on awareness campaigns for the Commission For Racial Equality.

(I remember being embarrassed when, at some ’do’, Sir Herman Ousley, the then head of the CRE, asked me "what is it with Everton and no black players?" I spluttered something about nobody wanting to join us MARSHALL!!)

I genuinely understand your frustration Mike, but they must NEVER, FOR ONE SECOND, be allowed to feel they’re ’winning’.
Paul ONeill
17   Posted 18/08/2008 at 23:42:30

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I wasn’t at the match yesterday Mike, I had to give up my season ticket last year for financial reasons, but did keep an incereasingly depressed eye on the score during a 14 hour day on the gastro ward where I work as a staff nurse in Manchester. I must admit, that over a fair few years now and most of them as a season ticket holder, I’ve heard virtually no racist chants at Goodison (though sadly that isn’t the case at away matches though it seems to be minimal when I’ve been). As for the homophobic stuff (I’m gay myself) even that is thankfully in reasonably short supply in my experience, and these days my reaction to some inarticulate overgrown schoolboy spitting stunningly original comments like ’queer’ at certain players is mainly a mixture of wry amusement and pity. Perhaps I’m just lucky and there is a lot of it about still, but it’s great that you’ve brought this subject up. Keep going to the match though mate. Just ignore them, they’re a vulgar, pseudo koppite embarrassment and nothing more. As the saying goes, ’never argue with a drunk or a fool’.
Dave Johnson
18   Posted 19/08/2008 at 03:11:25

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We were no worse than any other fans in the 70s and 80s. That's just utter bollocks. Fans from all clubs responded in a favourable way to the influx of more black players. It made the more cerebrally challenged think and empathise. As for the tits who scream abuse at the top of their voices we laugh at them and not with them. I certainly would not report them to the nearest cop I'd just let them carry on making a cunt of themselves. If we can hear it so can the cops so it's up to them to have a quiet word, It will probably take the sad fucker's first black niece, nephew or grandchild before the message sinks in. It won't stop me going because there has always been gobshites and in my opinion it's better now than when I first started going in '68. Just wish the football was.
Dave Johnson
19   Posted 19/08/2008 at 04:04:46

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Writing the above got me thinking. If I'm such a reasonable fella, then how come I hate the shite with such a passion? Can we separate the two? I'd be interested to hear the opinion of others.
Mike McLean
20   Posted 22/08/2008 at 17:15:27

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A short time ago, I wrote an article regarding my matchday experience at Goodison last week.

As it referred to the despicable behaviour of a number of "Evertonians", I was quite surprised that the editorial team decided to publish it.

This article has now been referred to by the writer of a letter in the mail bag and I hope it won't test the patience of the editors if I give this short reply.

Briefly, it is cited as "bizarre" that I should choose to withdraw the relatively small amount of money I put into the club on the grounds that some .. the number can't be determined ... supporters choose to chant racist and homophobic filth, seemingly without fear of the stewards. I hope there are those in the ground who would tell them to be quiet but, if there are, they haven't met with much success.

Any Evertonian of a certain age will know we don't have much to be proud of in the race relations area. I find it stunning that we still allow nazis - there is no other word - to infest the place.

I am certainly not expecting pats on the back, nor do I think my individual action will have the slightest impact on the club's response to such individuals. I've taken my decision solely because I cannot possibly feel easy in the company of such people and believe that by being there with them, I may be seen to give tacit approval to their nastiness.

Others will have different views. Fine. One thing is sure, however, Mr. Doolan: until you produce the diaphonous wings and sparkly wand, you are not the labelling fairy and you don't have the magical power to define Evertonians into good and bad according to your own, frankly alarmingly limited, perceptions of loyalty.

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