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My Everton experience

By Sean  McKenna :  08/10/2010 :  Comments (27) :
The last time I stepped inside Goodison Park, I was nine years old... as you can imagine, at such a young age, you don't take in the whole experience. Now, 20 years on, I had the chance to go to Goodison with my mates, and what a match it was, against Manchester United, here's my story.

I'm from Ireland, we had booked a package deal with Thompson Sports Travel, £235 a head was the deal, I know ? very pricey ? it would nearly pay for a season ticket!! In that price, we got hotel (Premier Inn), matchday tickets and our flights.

Saturday morning arrived, 4:30 am. I headed down to the airport where I was quite surprised by the number of Evertonians knocking about the place. Of course, us Irish love our drink so the pints were in (5:30 am) and I got talking to some of the Evertonians. We were in good form, all optimistic about today's game for some reason; we all thought we would take the Mancs.

We landed in Liverpool at 8:00 am, straight to the hotel but for some stupid reason we couldn't check into our room till 2:00 pm (wtf?). Not to worry, after a few swift pints at the hotel, I wanted to head to Liverpool One to find Everton Two (great, that) so off we went. I was expecting Liverpool One to be one big building but we couldn't find Liverpool One... well, so we thought...

We asked a local, "Where's this Liverpool One?" The guy said, "You're standing in the middle of it, lad!" Feeling like a right twat, we marched on and finally we found Everton Two. Of course it had to be right beside the Liverpool megastore, which was double the size!! I decided to by the pink away top (I know, I know) and got Arteta on the back; I also bought a very trendy fleece top, scarf car freshener, me dad a keyring, them small boxing gloves for the car... so £150 spent and worth every penny.

It was kicking on 11:00 am and the match against the Mancs was at 12:45 pm, so we had another few in the hotel before getting a taxi to Goodison. We went so early too get a good look around and soak up the atmosphere. As the taxi approached, there she stood in the middle of an estate: old, rusty... but fucking fantastic!!!

First stop was to get a picture with the statue of Dixie Dean with my pink top on, and then we went into the ground for a pint and a pie. (Now I understand why Evertonians love the pies ? they were great, but pricy at £2.50 each). Our seat was in Row MM in the Main Stand and i was a bit disappointed to be honest because you couldn't see the full stadium because of the restricted views, not to mention those pillars!! Z-Cars rang out and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck!!! It was almost erie because, after watching on TV for so many years, to be here in the flesh was very hard to take in.

The match started and we were playing some good football, Arteta hit the bar with a free kick and a few long shoots had United on the back foot. To be fair to the United fans, they were giving it the big one ? very noisy lot, I thought. Just before half-time, Mickey burst through one-on-one but, damn, he was so slow... I think Vidic was catching him with every step, he took the shot which was saved but fell to Pienaar and bang, Goal!! Goodison went bananas. I was in my element, fucking great stuff!

Not two minutes later, Fletcher sneaked in, bang: 1-1; then it was halftime, a great game so far. One of the funniest moments of the game was United supporters singing "Rooney, Rooney" all game, then someone from among the Everton supporters threw a blow-up doll onto the pitch and all the Everton fans pointed at the doll and shouted "Rooney, Rooney"!!! ? laughed my balls off at that, great stuff.

Second half... bang: 2-1 down, Vidic with a header. Then 3-1, fucking gutted!! We could've been 6 or 7 to be honest. So I'm sat there, head in hands for 20 minutes, Everton doing fuck all... then a few minutes to go, Baines whipped a cracking ball in and Cahill with a thumping header, 3-2. Half the stadium had emptied (silly fuckers) yet another cross from Baines, a big scramble, the ball popped out to Arteta who thumped it... fucking get in, son! The place went mental, the stadium was really shaking, I couldn't believe what I was watching!

Then, all of a sudden, with seconds left on the clock, we were 4 v 2 on the counter, the ball slid into Jags who was one-on-one with Van der Sar but he makes easy save. The whistle went and we saw Moyes and Round going mental on the pitch, we didn't understand till later that day the ref had blown before Jags took the shot, which was a disgrace. The ref was awful all game, might I add.

So, game over, I was still buzzing. We headed to the Crown Bar, a few drinks in there which was cheap, then we headed out for the night. Someone had mentioned to us about Matthew Street which was meant to be good, so off we went, into a bar called Hardy's... very loud music but great craic. After another few, as typical Irishmen, we went to O'Neil's bar, great bar great craic, and ended up meeting a few girls from back home. To cut the story short, we all had a good time :)

Sunday: time to fly home. For goodbye drinks, we headed to the Pilgrim, a student bar, the craic was great and after a few sambucas later, we missed our fucking flight!! Off we went back to O'Neil's, another piss-up and, £85 later for another flight, we got home on Monday.

I laughed so hard at the airport after the security checks we had one more check, the guy stopped and said, "What do you work as?" I said "I'm an engineer." He asked, "Were you over for business or pleasure? As I was wearing my trendy new Everton top, I pointed to the top. He said "Get out." Ha! ? a typical redshite, eh... bitter!

Overall, £500, a great game, a great city, a great experience, great people... and I have to say, for all you Evertonians who don't live in the UK, it is a 'must' trip for you!! COYB

Reader Comments

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Tony Cheek
1   Posted 09/10/2010 at 16:57:01

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Great read, Sean... good stuff!!
David Hallwood
2   Posted 09/10/2010 at 18:18:15

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Nice one Sean, sounds like you had a great weekend, but don't leave it so long next time, in fact try to make every home game and suffer like the rest of us!
Eugene Ruane
3   Posted 09/10/2010 at 18:06:52

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Great stuff Sean, but next time elbow the pies and take my advice on the Goodison Supper Bar.

Something (call it intuition!) tells me the people who fill those pies have never heard...

"Come on now people, quality, quality, quality! Make sure there's only lean quality meat going into those pies - no fag ends, sticking plasters, gristle or shite."
Robert Daniels
4   Posted 09/10/2010 at 19:55:04

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Nice one, Sean, sounds like you had a great time. Next time Sean, give us a shout, and we could grab a pint together.

The sound of Z-Cars always makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck too, and has since my first match in 1969.
Tony I'Anson
5   Posted 09/10/2010 at 20:01:36

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Marvellous. I feel priveledged having grown up within "milk crate holding distance" from Goodison between 1977 and 1988 before going to "Univeeeeeeeerstiy". Oh he must be ded clever.

Many things in life change, and come and go but being an Evertonian is burdened on your soul more than anything else. Welcome to hell and heaven.
Tony I'Anson
6   Posted 09/10/2010 at 20:21:22

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Sean,
Oct last year I wrote this:

http://www.toffeeweb.com/season/09-10/comment/fan/13359.html

No one responded on TW but a few people sent me great comments directly.

My name is Tony and I belong to a cult called "Evertontology". Those that does understand, need no explanation. (or whatever).
Ped Pearl
7   Posted 09/10/2010 at 20:16:17

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Yeh great read. Though I would of been pissed off too at a company selling packages with restricted views.

Eugene - you need to take Seans advice and have a 'few' pints first... you might not care for the quality as much. Or go veggie! I had a tea in the ground once, believe it or not, and spat it out. Really disgusting.
Eugene Ruane
8   Posted 09/10/2010 at 22:31:47

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Ped - I tend these days not to drink before the game, the bladder not being quite as reliable as it once was (it'll happen to all of you!).

However as a younger chap, I would often be outside the Hermitage before it opened and on opening would sink pint after pint until about 2.45pm.

I can tell you from experience, even in that state, I could tell those pies were filth (and on the odd occasion my taste buds let me down, my 'arse-buds' never did).
Bill Slater
9   Posted 09/10/2010 at 23:29:32

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Has anyone ever seen a hot dog seller go for a pee? Where do they go? Do they ever wash their hands? Are they the ones who contaminate the free bowl of nuts at the bar? Do they ever shave? Are they ever sober? Do they have a City & Guilds cetificate to cook? What are hot dogs made of? Are hot dots more or less healthy than kebabs?

I don't want to slag them off, rather these questions are more a market research exercise. And finally, when we buy a hot dog, do we really give a flying fuck about health and safety? We've just survived another "condemned" Goodison for another match, and to date I've never been killed by a fucking hot dog.
Bill Slater
10   Posted 09/10/2010 at 23:30:01

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... although sometimes I wish I fucking had been.
Christopher McCullough
11   Posted 09/10/2010 at 23:47:23

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Bill ? Simmer down.

Sean ? I enjoyed your article, thanks. Z-Cars is the highlight for me, too. O'Neill's is a nightmare, though. I usually bump into fellas from school etc there which ruins the feeling of 'getting away' from Ireland for the weekend. I prefer to avoid the seemingly ubiquitous Irish theme pubs for that reason.

David ? Not everyone can afford to spunk 500 sheets on a trip to Liverpool every weekend. As nice that would be.
Andy McNabb
12   Posted 10/10/2010 at 02:17:16

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Thanks for your account, Sean. I was back in the UK from Australia for 6 days because of a family illness and couldn't believe I managed to get a ticket. Just to the left of the goal when Arteta cracked it in - priceless! Think I was was last one out the ground.

My favourite purchase was the Everton wheelie bin sticker. Not cheap but you don't get many of those in Melbourne!

Interestingly - because of the exchange rate, I only paid $7 AUD more to watch the boys against Man Utd at Goodison, than the dross I recently experienced at the Emirates Stadium against Melbourne Heart. Twice in one season ? my cup runneth over!

Bill Slater
13   Posted 10/10/2010 at 08:54:08

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Chris - fair point. I do get too wound up now and then.
Tony Cheek
14   Posted 10/10/2010 at 09:45:18

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Have now found I can get home this weekend but can't get hold of a ticket... It would have been the perfect weekend: Porcupine Tree live at the Royal Albert Hall, then up to Goodison to watch us tonk the RS.... another downer was me favourite pub's shut for refurb... oh well!!
Simon Harris
15   Posted 10/10/2010 at 10:58:42

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Frstly Seán, thanks for detailing your account of going to Goodison.

Now I also live in Ireland can I suggest that you bin the travel agent that ripped you off there. £235 ? what a rip-off. I'm going over for Stoke game and, with me getting my own flight and hotel, I will pay a lot less than that ? and I'm staying in the Marriott Hotel rather than the Premier Inn. I know it was the Man U game, but tickets were still available and quite possibly you could've got yourself an unobstructed view ticket.
David Hallwood
16   Posted 10/10/2010 at 12:03:16

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Christopher McCullough (#11), the way I'm feeling about the season at the moment, Sean can have I my season ticket and I'll put him up in the spare room!!
Tony I'Anson
17   Posted 10/10/2010 at 13:49:28

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David, that's not a bad idea about the spare room.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/TaxOnPropertyAndRentalIncome/DG_4017804

Evertonians welcoming Evertonians into their house for a place to kip after the match. Guest pays owner in pre and post match bevvy.
Norman Merrill
18   Posted 10/10/2010 at 13:37:54

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Sean, I am glad you enjoyed your visit and the match, and your trip to Liverpool 1, Everton 2. I am sure you will glued to a TV on Sunday, when we entertain our red neighbours, and hopefully enjoy a great performance and result from the boys in BLUE.
Sean McKenna
19   Posted 10/10/2010 at 14:47:47

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Yea, lads, it was just fantastic, the scoucers have the same humour as us Irish.

Roll on Sunday, I've my day off work booked hitting the pub first thing. We owe them one that's for sure... and the idea of fellow Blues putting up none UK Blues for the night is an excellent idea, maybe Michael Kenrick could arrange something on ToffeeWeb for like a club or something were it can be arranged on this site.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
20   Posted 10/10/2010 at 14:56:35

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I think you could use the ToffeeWeb Message Board. I think it's "fit for the purpose", as the FA might say... Just post a message ahead of time when you are visiting the great metropolis. I'm sure someone will let you bunk up for the night.
Peter Stone
21   Posted 10/10/2010 at 15:21:53

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Sean, lads, I'm about to move to Dublin - is there a favourite haunt that Evertonians meet up to watch the games?
Eugene Ruane
22   Posted 10/10/2010 at 15:34:28

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Peter - Fraziers, upstairs, top of O'Connell St.

The guvnor is Everton friendly and when I lived in Dublin, he would give us ('Irish Toffees') preference on the big screen (unless we clashed with Celtic).

The only downside is the smell of burning fat from the kitchen downstairs, but there is a large deck upstairs so it's let's a bit of air in (and you can get out for a ciggy).

Go to www.irish-toffees.com, they'll have all the details (say hello to Gary and Whamo, two scousers living there and both rabid blues)
Peter Stone
23   Posted 10/10/2010 at 16:41:07

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Nice one Eugene. I'll go there this weekend and check it out. Thanks for the Irish-Toffees link too, great stuff!
David Hallwood
24   Posted 10/10/2010 at 18:47:38

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Sean McKenna # 19 wrote "Yea, lads, it was just fantastic, the scoucers have the same humour as us Irish" ? That's because most of us are of Irish descent ? the craic's in the genes!
David Price
25   Posted 10/10/2010 at 19:05:35

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Great story, Sean. Couldn't you change the bit were Jags scores and makes it 4-3. Other than that, perfect, mate!!
Peter Norris
26   Posted 11/10/2010 at 13:02:19

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Great note Sean. Nice to hear someone coming on and not maoning about the Goodison experience. Bill # 9 - can't remember seeing a Hot Dog van for a while - isn't it a health & safety thing?
Kevy Quinn
27   Posted 11/10/2010 at 21:01:55

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Sean, you might want to consider in future flying from Belfast. Easyjet usualy in and around £50, then hotel and ticket you would save a fortune.

I was at the game myself, it was a great end, hopefully this week's game is a more positive result though!

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