THE future success of the two Evertons was toasted when the Shareholders Association held their annual dinner at Goodison Park recently.
The theme of this year's dinner was the centenary of the Everton in Chile, which was formed in 1909 a few weeks after Everton had sailed from Britain to South America with Tottenham Hotspur to play a series of exhibition games.
Guest of honour was Ray Wilson, the only Everton player to have played at both Everton grounds. Ray was not only England's left-back in the 1966 World Cup finals, but also in the 1962 tournament which was held in Chile.
The World Cup parallels between Goodison Park and Everton's Sausalito stadium in Viña del Mar are remarkable. In both 1962 and 1966, Brazil played all their group games at the Everton stadiums. In both tournaments, a quarter-final and semi-final were played at the Everton stadiums.
And in 1962 and 1966 the draw worked in such a way that the host nation was earmarked to play their semi-final at Everton — only for there to be a controversial switch that resulted in the host nation playing their semi-final at the national stadium.
The 1962 quarter-final played at Everton was between England and Brazil who had the player of the tournament in Garrincha. Ray Wilson signed a framed photograph of himself tackling the legendary Brazilian and this was one of a number of items auctioned during the evening.
Around £2,000 was raised which will be shared between the Everton Former Players Foundation and a special needs school in Viña del Mar.
Also in attendance was club chairman Bill Kenwright, who wished our Chilean cousins every success as they represent their country in the Copa Libertadores, the cup competition for the top clubs of South America. Other guests included Dave Hickson, Honorary President of the Ruleteros Society which was set up in 2002 to help forge links between supporters of the two Evertons. He was joined by Derek Mountfield, Gordon West, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool — Councillor Steve Rotheram, and City Council leader Warren Bradley.
The Shareholders Association were delighted to welcome more than 20 guests from the Liverpool office of the Chilean shipping line CSAV.
The meal had a distinct Chilean flavour, having been prepared with the assistance of Julio Arellano, proprietor of the Valparaiso Restaurant in Liverpool city centre and Chilean vice-consul to the city. Dave Hickson presented him with a gift to pass on to the Chilean Everton.
After the dinner, there were two videotaped messages screened from Antonio Bloise, president of the Chilean Everton, and Juan Foxley, nephew of one of the founders in 1909, which were warmly received:
Tony Heslop, vice-chairman of the Everton Shareholders Association and president of the Ruleteros Society, said: "It was a great, heart-warming evening which helped to further cement the unique friendship between the two Evertons and their supporters."
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