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Proud to be Blue

By Paddy McSweeney :  25/04/2011 :  Comments (18) :

On Saturday, I went to Old Trafford to my first away game since we won the title at Norwich in 1987. I grew up watching Everton home and away with my Dad in the 80s and early 90s but growing up, being skint and moving away from the area meant that going to the match fell down my list of priorities.

10 years ago, work brought me back to the North-West and I have settled In Manchester. Over the years, I?ve always tried to get to Goodison Park when I can and have too frequently come away disappointed with the atmosphere, negativity, sheer lack of singing or all too frequently songs petering out. At times I?ve felt embarrassed to be barracked by away fans without any vocal response from our fans.

I keep reading from Moyes, managers like Wenger, the players and some journalists about how intimidating Goodison can be, but have continually come away from Goodison disappointed. Then I listen to Everton?s away games on the radio or watch online and realise that this vocal support does exist among the away fans. So I?ve been plotting for a while to get to an away game but various events have got in the way until I managed to get a ticket for Saturday?s game in the Everton end.

From the minute the boys came out to warm up, the Everton fans made their voices heard and really started warming up as the clock ticked down to kick-off. Throughout the game, the Blues fans continued to out-sing and overwhelm the United fans. Even at the end, it was our fans who could be heard loudly claiming their pride in our club.

Despite the disappointment of the result and the performance of some of our team, I came out of Old Trafford buzzing and feeling like I had when I used to go the games when I was a kid. To spend 2 hours hearing and singing songs I haven?t heard since the glory days, and newer ones, was great and reminded me of why I used to love going to the match so much.

I guess what?s inspired me to write here is to pay a tribute to the Everton fans for their passionate, inspiring, positive and sheer bloody minded support. It really felt like we were the 12th man and you could tell by the players? reactions at the end how important our support had been to their effort. I felt like we came away from that game with our pride well and truly intact and I, for one, was proud to walk out of that ground as a Blue.

After that experience, my mind is firmly made up: I am an away-day convert. Bring on Wigan

Reader Comments

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Lee Courtliff
1   Posted 25/04/2011 at 16:10:04

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Bloody hell mate. Wait until you attend an away game where we actually play well... you will cream yourself.

Glad you enjoyed it though. Wish it would have been a better result for you/us.
Trevor Lynes
2   Posted 25/04/2011 at 16:29:00

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I've noticed the same thing ? our away support is first class. Perhaps it's because we are away and the fans think we need a lift. We expect to win home games so the fans easily get frustrated unless we are playing one of the top 5 or 6 or Liverpool of course. Games against the so called lesser lights are often muted because we expect to win and tend to criticize the team if things don't happen quickly.
Adam Wilkinson
3   Posted 25/04/2011 at 16:24:27

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I feel the same way about Goodison. My mates and I go to watch each others teams on occasion and I always get ribbed about the lack of singing when we go to Goodison Park, but at the away matches I think our fans are second to none.

Saying that though, this is often the way with a lot of teams, perhaps down to the journey to the ground and the "behind enemy lines" feeling etc...

Micheal Lynch
4   Posted 25/04/2011 at 18:17:06

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I was at Old Trafford Saturday and our support was brillant. Full of passion and really got behind the lads. Wish it could be the same at Goodison Park. I firmly believe the Street end should be advertised to season ticket holders as a singing area only. This would allow all the singrers to come together. The club need to address this.
Tony J Williams
5   Posted 25/04/2011 at 18:43:16

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Michael, I have noticed a few in the Lower Gwladys actually starting to get pissed off when lads try and get the singing going. Strange times we are in at the moment.
John Talbot
6   Posted 25/04/2011 at 19:40:50

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I agree it is noticeable the difference between Home and Away.

I think it is the seating in modern stadium, the supporter who are vocal used to congregate together. This is difficult with the seating now.

Maybe the away support is a greater percentage of vocal fans.

Bring back standing I say the Paddock was great in the 80's.
Chris Butler
7   Posted 25/04/2011 at 20:20:40

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The thing is, home fans are hopeless because too many up-tight idiots sit in singing areas.
Martin Mason
8   Posted 25/04/2011 at 21:29:16

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God bless you guys who contribute to our incredible away support.
Jay Harris
9   Posted 25/04/2011 at 21:59:14

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You're absolutely right Paddy but I guess the main difference is the tonsils get more lubrication at away games.

Free Chang for everybody at Goodison I say.
David S Shaw
10   Posted 26/04/2011 at 10:13:43

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Luckily the fans who reckon they're great Evertonians for not singing are getting laughed at these days and about time too.

Some fans are talking about the possibility of moving the main focus of singing into the old Boys Pen area. (The corner of Gwladys St, Bullens Road side).

With reserved seating it's increasingly hard to get it going in the middle of the Gwladys Street as this is a popular place, meaning there's little space for singers to congregate.

As with all initiatives, they're not easy to get off the ground. Fans will wait to see if it's any good before going in them, but if everyone does that then no-one goes in them meaning that it can't get going.
Mike Atherton
11   Posted 26/04/2011 at 11:30:15

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Personally, in terms of singing, I think our away support is one of the worst in the league. Yes, we take the numbers but we sit down all game and have about three songs.

It depends on what you define as good I suppose... take West Ham: they take less numbers than us but stand all game and are always singing, no matter what the score.
Chris Butler
12   Posted 26/04/2011 at 17:01:43

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Very true, Mike.
Michael Kenrick
13   Posted 26/04/2011 at 17:19:03

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Wow... now turning on the faithful Everton away support!?!

Incredible... Now I've seen everything.

What are trying to do to us???
Chris Butler
14   Posted 26/04/2011 at 19:23:41

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Micheal, if you're referring to me and Mike, I merely respect West Ham fans as they are excellent. Considering all the shit they've gone through, they sang for 90 minutes non-stop.

As I watched the match in the pub, I could hear what our fans were like. Actually I have come round to agreeing with you that atmosphere does largely depend on what's happening on the pitch. I wish our fans certainly did stand up and support the team for every game, but unfortunately that's just a dream.

The atmosphere at Chelsea was excellent but most fans that I know have said our away fans have been poor this season with the exception of 1 or 2 games. But we're still better than Liverpool and United fans.

Mike Atherton
15   Posted 27/04/2011 at 07:31:58

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Michael, Turning? ... No! I have always thought our away support was terrible in terms of generating atmosphere. I used to go to every game away from home until I moved overseas in 2009 and back then it was the same. All the lads that I still know that go say the same thing.

I'm not having a go at the lads who pay hundreds of pounds to follow Everton, I'm just merely stating the facts.
David S Shaw
16   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:06:23

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We don't have enough fans who are preparered to put their bollocks on the line and make a stand themselves.

Start off songs, standing, join in with songs when others start them off.

Fans need to take matters in their own hands if they want a better atmosphere and not sit around hoping others do the same.

I recognise Chris Butler's name on here from a couple of great articles getting a standing area together, I hope this has another go this next season. This is what we need, this is what needs to be pushed. Perhaps start it off far smaller than what was done for the Chile game, and just concentrate on getting it established.
Mike Berry
17   Posted 27/04/2011 at 18:45:27

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Our away support is awesome. The title of the piece is so true.

I've been a fan for 48 years in August and a season ticket holder for the past 20 years.

So, no matter what ever we do ? always proud.
Peter Norris
18   Posted 28/04/2011 at 12:38:44

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Michael 13. The fans who make the effort to attend away games are entitled to their opinion, as I am sure you will agree they have a better feel versus those who don't. I go and it is mixed dependent on where you go... the loyalty is undoubted as we sell out almost every game but atmosphere can be inconsistent.

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