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It Started With a Tour

By Tony Heslop :  14/07/2009 :  Comments (16) :

Centenary South American Tour 2009

In advance of the Shareholders Forum, a look at a trip made 100 years ago and one made much more recently by a group of 5 shareholders and Ruleteros.

In April 1909, Everton FC responded to an invitation from the Argentine Football Association to accompany Tottenham Hotspur FC on a tour of Argentina and Uruguay. As a direct result of the tour CD Everton was founded in Chile, and over the last century has established itself as one of the nation’s leading sporting institutions.

In order to join in the centenary celebrations in Viña del Mar, a group of Evertonians from the Shareholders Association and The Ruleteros Society undertook a trip that would take in not only the republic on the far side of the Andes but also Argentina and Uruguay, where two additional “Everton” Football Clubs had recently come to light...

CD Everton, Viña del Mar, Chile

Founded: 24 June 1909
Viña del Mar: Population 350,000
Chilean First Division Champions: 1950, 52, 76 and 2008 (Apertura)
President: Antonio Bloise

A few days before Spurs and Everton returned home from their 1909 Tour a group of Anglo-Chilean schoolboys, led by David Foxley, founded “Everton Football Club” in the port of Valparaiso. The boys were a mixture of British-born, Anglo-Chileans and Chileans who had followed the success of the Toffees across the Andes with interest. The British connection was strengthened as David Foxley’s grandparents had emigrated from Liverpool decades earlier and two of the founding members, Frank Boundy and Malcolm Fraser, were to return “home” to serve King and Country in the Great War – they were both killed on the Somme in 1916.

Over the course of the last century, CD Everton emerged from the amateur period, so cherished by its founding members, to take up the professional challenge from the mid-1930s. They still retained an element of the Corinthian spirit so evident during their early years and some would say that this has remained with the Club up to today. In 1943, as a condition to being allowed to join the Central League (national), the Club moved from the bustling port of Valparaiso to the gentler surroundings of Viña del Mar, a few miles up the coast. From their new home at the Sausalito, the Club would shortly capture its first league title in 1950 – the first provincial club to do so.

In 2002, a group of Everton supporters from both the UK and Chile set up the Ruleteros Society, an organisation whose principal aim was to establish links between the fans of both Clubs. Over the years, these links have extended to the very directors. In February of 2009, a delegation from Chile, led by President Antonio Bloise, was received and feted by members of the Everton Board along with CEO, Robert Elstone.

The Club is made up of two distinct but connected institutions: Corporación Deportiva Everton and Sociedad Anónima Deportiva Everton.

The former has responsibility for the non-professional arm of the Club and is based in the historic headquarters in the town centre, where the Club’s trophies are housed. It is funded through its Socios (members) – much like football clubs in Spain. The latter is responsible for the professional wing of the Club (it is a Limited Company much like Everton FC Co Ltd).

Viña del Mar 2009

The travelling group arrived in Chile on Saturday 20 June and were entertained at the home of the Goodison regular, Juan Foxley, nephew of founding member, David. The following day, en route to Viña del Mar, they called into the Anglican Church of St Paul’s in Valparaiso to attend a luch-time organ recital (which included an impromptu version of Z-Cars).

Next stop was the Estadio Sausalito where CD Everton were about to take on Iquique in the crucial second-leg quarter-final Play-Off match. The group were guests of the President, Antonio Bloise, and were presented to the crowd on the pitch at half-time to receive individual pennants commemorating the 1909 South American Tour.

Four of the Group with President Bloise & Director Sandro Rossi.

Four of the Group with President Bloise & Director Sandro Rossi

Fortunately the game was won 2-1 (3-2 agg.) sending the Ruleteros through to a semi-final play-off against Universidad de Chile.

Before the home leg the following Wednesday there were still a number of football related events for the Group to attend. An informal dinner with Club directors and officials was held in the nearby resort of Con-Con on the Monday evening before what was to prove a hectic Tuesday.

Over the last few years, John Shearon has spent many hours piecing together the early years of CD Everton’s early history – making trips to libraries as distant as Buenos Aires, Santiago and Valparaiso. In order to obtain the “British” perspective on their Club, he was invited to give a talk to an invited audience at the Club Viña, one of the most exclusive and elitist venues in South America. The talk itself was well received as many of the details were unknown to the locals – not least the fact that the former Marxist President of Chile, Salvador Allende, had been a champion athlete at the Club in the early 1920s.

This event was followed by a short walk to the Club’s social headquarters in the heart of Viña. Here the party was greeted, on the ground floor, by representatives of the Corporation, Don Oscar Padró and Jorge Miranda along with Erasmo Zuñiga, President of the Former Players Foundation. After a display of local folkloric dancing the group were apprised of the plans surrounding the Foundation’s main ambition, the building of a mausoleum where players can be laid to rest with dignity. This was brought about by the sad case of René Melendez (CD Everton’s “Dixie”) who had died in poverty a few years earlier – the members are determined that this should not happen again.

The Group with members of the Former Players Foundation

The Group with members of the Former Players Foundation

After being presented with gifts and souvenirs, the party was whisked to the basement where members of the “Barra de los Ruleteros”, one of the main supporters clubs, were preparing to hold their own welcoming party. Here the Group were presented with a commemoration pennant by President Ricardo Morales.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 — Centenary Day

This day proved to be as hectic as the previous. The first event was to be held at the Corporation, where representatives from all branches of the Club were present along with local politicians, former players and a host of media. The Group were invited along and John Shearon was asked to address the crowd on behalf of the “other” Evertonians. From here the celebrations were transferred to the Sausalito Stadium, where representatives from the players, directors and supporters ate a celebratory lunch.

Inevitably, absent friends were remembered, those who were unable to make the trip and those who were no longer with us. In particular, Steve Bickerton, who did so much to set up the Ruleteros Society, set up its website and organise the first group trip to Chile in 2005. Steve, who died in May, is sorely missed. Another Steve, Nolan, who came to Viña in 2005, did not make the trip this time and his Dad, who gave him his Evertonianism and love of football culture (and songs from every decade), died on this very day, after a long illmess.

To cap the day there was a small matter of the semi-final first leg against La Universidad de Chile. Once again, the Group was invited by the Club to attend the game. The stadium, although three-quarters full, had a definite cup-tie feel about the place, helped no doubt by the 6,000 travelling away fans.

Pitchside presentation to mark Everton Chile's centenary

Pitchside presentation to mark Everton Chile's centenary

After a close, goalless first half, during the interval, Harold Mayne-Nichols, Chairman of the Chilean FA, along with Anne Asquith and Paul Wharton from the Shareholders Association, presented President Antonio Bloise with tokens to mark the historic centenary. CEO Robert Elstone had commissioned an engraved silver-salver which was presented with an engraved crystal decanter set provided by Dave Hickson. A banner representing the two Clubs was presented to the “Barra de los Ruleteros” by President Bloise and John Shearon.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first and was heading for a goalless draw until Argentine striker, Ezekiel Miralles, popped up in the dying minutes to head the Ruleteros into a first-leg lead. A fitting end to a memorable day and even more memorable century.

The Group with Julio Arellano and a “Merseyside” Engine

The Group with Julio Arellano and a “Merseyside” Engine

El Melon

The following day, the Group set off to the interior to visit Julio Arellano, the honorary vice-consul for Chile in Liverpool and the local fire-fighters. Julio, when he is not working in the Valparaiso restaurant in Hardman Street, spends much of his time “collecting” fire-engines, ambulances and related equipment from local North West Fire Brigades to send to Chile for distribution amongst the rural, volunteer fire-fighters. And in co-operation with CSAV, the Anglo-Chilean shipping company based in Liverpool and Valparaiso among other centres, he arranged for the shipping out of around 1000 Everton shirts kindly donated by the Reverend Harry Ross on behalf of the Everton Former Players’ Foundation. These shirts have now found delighted institutions and households in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

The visitors were once again treated to a magnificent reception, organised by Julio, where they were able to present two complete Everton strips to the local mayor on behalf of the local amateur league. (Many thanks to Gary Wilton from Everton Football Club for arranging this kind gift.)

Final Viña del Mar Events

Prior to setting off to Santiago for the semi-final second leg and subsequently on to Argentina and Uruguay, the Group had two more events to attend.

For some time, the Ruleteros Society has had contact with this special needs school in the area — Centro Educativo Viña del Mar. It caters for children from 8 to 16, some of whom are educationally as well as socially disadvantaged. The Group visited the school to present a cheque on behalf of the Everton Shareholders Association, which was raised at this year’s Annual Dinner.

The guests, who included representatives from Everton and the Town Hall, were treated to tremendous displays of gymnastics, traditional dancing as well as an orchestral performance from the neighbouring school of Lord Cochrane.

Dancers from the Centro Educativo

Dancers from the Centro Educativo

From the school, in the hills above the town overlooking the Pacific, the Group once again returned to the Corporation Headquarters where Anne Asquith presented Jorge Miranda with an engraved crystal decanter set (matching that presented to President Bloise).

Anne Asquith with Jorge Miranda

Anne Asquith with Jorge Miranda

Semi-Final Second Leg – National Stadium, Santiago

Our last planned event in Chile was to attend the second-leg of the Championship semi-final again La Universidad de Chile. The group were guests of the home side on this occasion and were afforded seats that gave not only a matchless view of the action on the pitch but also the impressive snow-capped Andes beyond the opposite stand (many thanks to Marcelo López and Juan Pablo Salgado).

Estadio Nacional with Andes backdrop

Estadio Nacional with Andes backdrop

The match itself was quite eventful. Everton fell behind to two early goals before seeing earlier hero, Miralles, dismissed for a rush-of-blood offence. Despite pulling a goal back through Riveros, the Ruleteros eventually succumbed to a third and subsequent elimination by the eventual title winners.

The Chilean leg of the trip was about to come to an end — next stop over the Andes, La Plata, Argentina.

Club Everton, La Plata, Argentina

Founded: 9 April 1905
La Plata: Population 300,000
La Plata Amateur Champions: 9 Titles
President: Gonzalo Uranga

Club Everton La Plata was founded in 1905 in the newly created capital of Buenos Aires Province, La Plata. Although they have competed in the amateur league for the last 104 years, they are referred to as “El Decano Platense” — the title given to the oldest surviving club in the city.

In 1909, as a result of the successful tour of the region by Everton FC, the members voted to change the name of the Club from “25 de Mayo” to Club Everton — despite some resistance from a few older members. Since then, the Club has thrived in the First Division of the La Plata League, providing its members with not only access to football but also skating, gymnastics, tae kwon do, “frontón” as well as a library, bars and restaurants.

The Club is an example of how it is possible to involve the community in diverse and worthwhile activities — all at a cost of €1 per month. This is not a unique set up within Argentina but a remnant of the community club set up developed mainly by Italian socialist immigrants at the end of the 19th century. The Club is thriving today with over 1,000 members and has recently acquired a new sports complex on the edge of town with three full size, floodlit pitches, changing and restaurant facilities.

In preparing for the trip to Chile, contact was also made with Club Everton in La Plata, who welcomed the prospect of a visit from the “gringos”.

La Plata, 2009

This was how the visit was reported on the Club website:

On the evening of 30 June, a reception was held at the club offices of Club Everton La Plata in honour of the visit by a delegation of fans of Everton Football Club, Liverpool. The fans, John Shearon, Paul Wharton, Michael Durkin, James Asquith and Anne Asquith, were met at the airport by the Chairman and Vice- Chairman of our club, Sr Marcelo Mazzacane and Prof Gonzalo Uranga, respectively.

After checking in at the hotel they were taken to the club offices where they had a chance to have a look around and later have dinner. Upon their arrival, they were met by various directors and by Prof Santiago Katz who briefly talked about the book he had written on the centenary of Club Everton La Plata; he also showed the visitors around the Club library.

After the meal, Sr Marcelo Mazzacane presented the delegation with a silver tray to commemorate their visit. It was inscribed with the following, written in both English and Spanish: Club Everton La Plata, Argentina to Everton Football Club, Liverpool, forging links of Brotherhood and Fraternity. The tray also bore the crests of both clubs.

The Everton FC delegation was also presented with a book on the club’s centenary as well as another book about the city of La Plata, and each of them was presented with a club shirt. In return, the delegation representing Everton FC also gave the Chairman a memento of their visit, at the centre of which was the Everton Football Club crest.

Once the official presentations had been made it was time for coffee and cakes and the evening concluded with champagne for a great Evertonian toast!!

The following day was spent visiting the Club’s installations on the edge of town and revisiting the headquarters to view the various activities on show. A noticeable feature at the Club was the library, run by Olga Stabile, with a vast array of books and an internet facility. Younger members are encouraged to drop in after school to carry on with their own studies.

Club Everton sporting complex

Club Everton sporting complex

Before setting off for Buenos Aires the following morning, both visitors and hosts shared a final meal in a local restaurant.

After a few days in Buenos Aires, which involved a trip to Boca Junior’s “Bombonera” stadium, the group prepared to cross the River Plate for the final leg of the journey, to Rosario, Uruguay.

Club Atlético Everton, Rosario, Uruguay:

Club Atletico Everton

Founded: 23 June 1920
Rosario: Population 14,000
Rosarina League Champions: 9 Titles
President: José Carlos Canela

Club Atlético Everton were founded in 1920 by railway workers who were completing the line from Montevideo. Although 11 years had passed since Everton FC had defeated the Uruguayan League in the capital, the name still had an attraction. As with the set-up in La Plata, the Club serves as a focal point for its local community with its own bar, indoor sports hall, restaurant area and “bocha” court (bocha is a version of bowls played throughout the world — except the UK).

The football team competes in the Liga Rosarina, which consists of just 6 teams. Each Sunday, all matches are played at one of the town’s football venues to enable full coverage from TV, radio and press. From next season the league will combine with that of the neighbouring town, Nueva Helvecia.

Club Atlético Everton Social Centre

Club Atlético Everton Social Centre

As with Club Everton La Plata, earlier contact had been made with the Uruguayans. The Group took the ferry crossing across the River Plate to the historic Uruguayan port of Colonia where they were met by representatives of the Club, Jorge and Hugo.

A pleasant afternoon was spent touring the city, which included an invitation to lunch at ex-Everton player Ruben Martinez’s restaurant. The evening was spent at a local bar with Club representatives (and the obligatory “parrillada”) before preparing for the big events the following day.

89th Anniversary:

The Club had postponed their 89th anniversary celebrations to enable the visitors to attend. The day started with a league game at the Colegiales found and an “eventful” game resulted in a 3-1 victory for CA Everton. From the match to the Club’s HQ where the cow slaughtered the day before was being slowly grilled above a log barbeque.

The party was attended by some 300 guests who ate, drank and danced the afternoon away. As proceedings drew to a close, gifts were exchanged between Club President, José Carlos Canela and John Shearon — Club pennants, shirt and an engraved commemoration framed plaque were presented to the visitors.

With the party in full swing, the visitors said their goodbyes as they had a ferry to catch back to Buenos Aires on the eve of the return home.

All three Clubs had shown incredible hospitality to the visiting party — from the terraces to the Board Room, although in the latter two cases these were one and the same. The one thing that united them all was the name “Everton” — all Evertonians following their own particular colour and flavour of the great name.

It is amazing that, across the three countries that make up the Southern Cone (Cono Sur) of South America, there should be three Clubs named after Everton FC — especially in the absence of any other British club name in the region (with the exception of Rangers in the Chilean town of Talca); Liverpool in Uruguay was actually named after our fair city.

Over the years, countless Evertonians from all four Clubs have paid visits to each of the others — not always in the blaze of publicity which accompanied our intrepid travellers on this occasion. It would be nice to think that in the future more Evertonians could take advantage of the wonderful hospitality that is awaiting them in each of these wonderful locations.

100 years ago, Everton director E Bainbridge, writing an account of that pioneering tour, observed that he was humbled by the feeling that what they had done was rather special and mused that perhaps in some way they had touched the heart of a continent in its early footballing days. All the effort, preparation and travel really was worthwhile. Indeed.

Thanks to all those who supported this trip. We look forward to further development in the next 100 years in relations between the clubs at all levels and, within a much shorter timescale, to a day when Everton take on Everton on the pitch. Or even, why not, a tournament of the Evertons. Nothing but the best is good enough for Evertonians “de corazón”.

Reader Comments

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Karl Masters
1   Posted 15/07/2009 at 23:03:49

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Fascinating stuff, as is the whole Everton in South America story.

It never ceases to amaze me that Everton (our one) fail to capitalise on this more because we have something unique that possibly no other Club in the world has — you could call these clubs children.

For Robert Elstone to cite lack of quality on the playing front for a reason not to play the Chilean Everton in their Centenary Year with them reigning Champions of their country is hard to fathom. I’m sure they are better than Bury, Rochdale or probably the Canadians we’ll be facing. Malaga are no world beaters either.

Another thing the Club could do would be to sell CD Everton shirts. I’d buy one for sure. But there you go. Am I surprised? Not really, but a little saddened? Yes.
Damian Scott
2   Posted 16/07/2009 at 11:27:20

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Great account of a fantastic trip. Really friendly people in that part of the world...

Most definitely, the chance to play CD Everton in a pre-season friendly should have been taken and ties between the clubs needs to be strengthened at a more official level... What’s that phrase being used lately?? "The People’s Club"?

Our CEO needs to get his finger out...
Carlos Alberto
3   Posted 16/07/2009 at 09:32:58

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From time to time, you run stories on Everton in Chile. I feel that you shouldn't. This site is devoted to Everton of the English league. That is the team I follow. I don't care about other team's called Everton. I realize the connection, but I think it is wasted space. I should mention that I am from South America, so this isn't a racial attitude. ToffeeWeb is for Everton; I think I'm not alone in this thinking.
John Shearon
4   Posted 16/07/2009 at 14:28:33

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Carlos, I’m surprised a Latin American should take such a parochial attitude to the links with the other Everton’s but you are more than entitled to your opinion. Where exactly are you from - there’s a chance there might be another Everton in your area?

My own personal take is that this is such a unique situation (there are very few examples that come even close to the "Everton" phenomenon in Latin America) that we should celebrate and promote it. The proposed game against Malaga will struggle to attract more than 10,000 — had we been playing CD Everton I’m sure the interest would have been a lot higher and the justification even more so.

Adrian McGrath
5   Posted 16/07/2009 at 22:48:01

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As John has said, the link between the two Evertons is so unique that mention of CD Everton on any Everton FC website should never be considered a waste of space. There should always be room for great stories like this and if the historical link between the two clubs is of no interest to you, no problem... don’t read it!
Chris McGinn
6   Posted 17/07/2009 at 06:59:30

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The account of this trip has been fascinating reading. What great hospitality from the South American Evertons.

I just hope that the club understand how much interest there would be in an Everton v Everton match and one can be arranged for next pre-season.

Alan Kirwin
7   Posted 17/07/2009 at 14:58:57

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I was saddened to hear about the apparent snub to our Chilean compadres for a pre-season game. And the fact that it is their centenary made this even more inexplicable & regretful.

The idea that CD Everton, as Chilean league champions, wouldn't put up as much fight as a Bury or Rochdale is amusing. And frankly Malaga is not the name on most people's lips when they think of quality European opposition.

I'm rather surprised that, after finishing 5th, 5th & 6th in recent seasons, we don't get invited to the mini-tournaments that some Dutch & German clubs host. And yet Spurs do. So I think this year's pre-season is particularly poor planning for a team that just missed out on CL qualification in the toughest league in Europe.

I also think the club have missed an absolutely massive goodwill, friendship & marketing opportunity by overlooking our brothers in Chile. The club's explanation is neither plausible nor agreeable. Big shame.

Paul Stowers
8   Posted 17/07/2009 at 21:40:36

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Must have been a great trip. No disrespect to Malaga, but hard to see how they offer more in footballing terms than the Chilean champions. Everton v Everton would surely have been a chance to build a useful relationship, and create a bit of media interest at this end too.
Paul Wharton
9   Posted 18/07/2009 at 20:33:51

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Carlos, well done the first person who is negative. Never mind coming from South America, you should have come from OZ and been an ostrich because they stick their heads in the sand.

If this Everton/Everton/Everton/Everton is of no interest then I wonder why that when we visited Chile/Argentina/Uruguay? Newspaper, radio and TV journalists were climbing all over each other to get interviews with John Shearon. Let's also throw in Futbol Mundial who thought it was a great idea to make a short film of the two Evertons.

In the local press here, David Prentice always puts a great angle on Everton/Everton and all things blue. Imagine the press coverage that will go out all over the world if the Everton/Everton gets off the ground, Everton FC here will come out winners all the way and thats why all Evertonians should support this game. As we show the rest of the football world what they don’t have.
Come on, Carlos, get that head above ground and get on the bus with us for the Everton v Everton game.
All the best.

Justin Packett
10   Posted 19/07/2009 at 20:58:06

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What a fascinating trip that must of been for you and the other Ruleteros, John. A good a bit history that should be explored by all True Blues, (Carlos!), and the club itself as a match between the two could only bring positive publicity to Everton, and it also would get me out of a weekend away with the wife's workmates, who I guess have the same opinion of the EVERTON v EVERTON meeting as Carlos, but at least they don’t claim to be Blues. So come on Everton get your finger out and make it EVERTON FC v CD EVERTON
Henri Weller
11   Posted 19/07/2009 at 21:34:29

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The reception you have all received from these fans, like ourselves, but from a different continent is heart warming. Everton is showing itself as truly a people’s club.
I’m sure this is the Everton everybody is proud to be a part of.
Hope EFC v CDE happens soon.
Juan Foxley-Rioseco
12   Posted 19/07/2009 at 22:33:02

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I have witnessed the tremendous impact your recent visit has made in Chile. As if it were 1909 when Everton FC did not hesitate to tour South America, your trip has confirmed no other Premier League club could claim to be more influential in the southern cone.

Also, the timing of your centennial trip couldn't be better. Everton-Chile as well as the national squad are both doing very well in the region and professional management standards are being boosted. I am sure we are poised to strenghten our common roots since we could both only benefit from doing it.

Juan Pablo
13   Posted 20/07/2009 at 18:11:29

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First, sorry for my english. We are many chileans who thrilled us with the contact between the two Everton, who dream of seeing a game between this two teams and we are disappointed because the negotiations did not work. But we will keep trying.
Once an evertonian, twice an evertonian.
Juan Foxley-Rioseco
14   Posted 20/07/2009 at 21:13:50

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This is the link to one of the interviews the Chilean media published during the EFC visit:

Similar stories can be seen gathered in my Facebook space. All the best, dear Evertonians!
Mike Owen
15   Posted 21/07/2009 at 17:07:09

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To those who went, you’ve done a great job in marketing EFC in South America, well done, all at your own cost too.

To Carlos Alberto, that was a great goal you scored in the 1970 World Cup fina.
Ian Bikeman
16   Posted 22/07/2009 at 07:53:48

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It’s great to see something totally grass-roots and fan based succeed — to grow and do something our club should have been doing in the first place. Eventually EFC may cotton on to marketing opportunities and take this thing over in some corporate way. If it wasn’t for the linguistic ability and contacts of some of the Ruleteros, who they’d need, the fans responsible for it in the first place would be forgotten. The club is nowhere near that stage yet though — as the decision not to stage a game shows.

I was in Chile recently and visited the stadium and HQ. Unfortunately, no game was on when I was there — but that does give me a reason to go back! The welcome I received was fantastic and it was a reminder that our game is about the fans, about extending friendship and — in this case — celebrating a connection.

Sadly, it was also a reminder why I’ve not had a season ticket for a few years. I’m a Blue and always will be, but I don’t really feel a part of Everton anymore. I still go to some games but feel sad that, with few exceptions, the players and officials are so far removed from the fans in every way.

Listening to Chairman Bill talk about a transfer recently just reinforced that. I think it’s great we have a fan as chairman and I genuinely think his heart is in the right place. However, he was talking about private jets and ridiculous sums of money and there was a sense that he didn’t appreciate that some of his audience were ordinary folk and that what he was talking about was a world alien to us. That the reverse is true of the other Evertons is so refreshing.

I see Juan Foxley has left a post here. How good is that? I know we’re an altogether bigger, richer club and it’s going to be harder to do but I think we could do much better in this department. Maybe I want the romance back. Too much to ask?

I think the fans would like to see Everton v Everton. This is an example of what I’m banging on about. Who at the club has thought about what we want? Why has nobody realised, as someone’s already pointed out, there’d be more publicity and a bigger gate? Everton forever blinkered?

Well done on the visit and it’s a great read!

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