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Everton ?? unique or not?

By Gareth Humphreys :  28/04/2011 :  Comments (29) :
Something has been nagging away at me this season with regards to what is the ?Everton Way? and the way that Everton fans are different from the rest. It raises 2 questions in my ever increasingly cynical mind:

(1) Is there an Everton Way?

(2) Why do we feel that we are different /better than the rest?

My view on an ?Everton Way? is that if there is one I?m not quite sure what it is or what it entails. I actually think that there isn?t one and that that is only a good thing. The reason being that clubs change their way of doing things subject to its circumstances at the time and to say a club/side has a particular way of doing things is horseshit. A manager might, a player might ? but a club?

A few examples:

(1) The Liverpool Way is allegedly the boot room, promote within, not sack their manager?s etc. Well tell that to Rafael Benitez and Roy Hodgson ? both unceremoniously booted despite the party line being that they were both terminated by mutual consent.

(2) The Arsenal Way has apparently always been slick passing, keep it on the deck beautiful football etc. Well one of the most effective Arsenal teams was managed by George Graham, had Alan Smith up front and that was about as far from a Fabregas-Nasri-Wilshere midfield as you can get.

(3) The Brazil way is apparently all Jairzinho and Pele, Socrates and Zico. Well if that?s the case no one told Dunga when he was in charge. As such I think these ?ways? are actually just aspirations in which clubs/teams hope to be perceived ? either internally by their own fans or externally by the wider audience. If that is the case, what actually is the Everton Way?

I think the only constant we have is that we are pretty much the backbone of top flight football in the UK. 4 seasons outside the top division since 1888 is, in my opinion, underplayed by the club and something we are never given enough credit for. Apart from that though what is the Everton Way?

The second question is why we feel as Evertonians that we are different and/or better than other sets of fans. Are we?

I have met some absolute whoppers who, to my delight, support Liverpool. But it also has to be said that Everton have their own fair share. Likewise, I have met an awful lot of cracking lads who support Liverpool. As such, it is obviously too simplistic to say all Reds are clowns because they probably aren?t.

Is it a general mindset then amongst a certain set of supporters? Do all Man Utd fans think they are invincible? Now ? probably yes? Mid-80s ?certainly not. Do all Liverpool fans think they are unbeatable? Unlikely. If you had asked the question 20 years ago you may have got a different response though.

My theory is that Everton fans now, in my view, are generally pessimistic and wait for things to go wrong ? not unlike some of the more long suffering Man City fans even know. If you had spoken to those same Everton Fans though in the summer of 1985 would they have had the same cockiness as our red friends from Old Trafford have now?

As such is it a reasonable assumption that in general fans of most clubs are pretty much alike?

Reader Comments

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Derek Brooks
1   Posted 29/04/2011 at 13:19:13

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Evertonians ? born not manufactured ? how many Liverpool or United fans can say their fathers, grandads and great grandads supported them? Not many... Football should be about a sense of belonging. Support your local club.

Up the Toffees, the first and best club on Merseyside.

Richard Tarleton
2   Posted 29/04/2011 at 13:53:39

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Everyone in my family supported Liverpool. I became an Evertonian, because when I was seven Everton were promoted, Liverpool were relegated. 500+ games later, they are my sporting passion. One of my sons is a devoted blue, the other isn't interested, but if pushed he would say he supported United!

To me we are special, but I have no rational reasons for that statement and I think most other clubs' fans think the same way about their own club, at least, I hope they do.

Richard Dodd
3   Posted 29/04/2011 at 14:01:26

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We are different because we are blessed with a chairman who eats and breathes Everton ? as most true Evertonians do!
Derek Turnbull
4   Posted 29/04/2011 at 13:42:34

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Good article, Gareth.

People are people wherever they come from and whoever they support. Evertonians evolve. If we didn't, we'd all be taking rattles the match.

What you find is that fans will have a moment following Everton and think, "Yes, this why I love the club". That moment is photogrphed and defined as their Everton Way, and then they push and polish that image.

The moment there is an Everton Way is the moment it's contrived. Each fan should go their own way; I'd hate us to be a small-minded club with one shared type of attitude.
Liam Reilly
5   Posted 29/04/2011 at 14:12:42

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Well Everton's not my local club as I wasn't born in Liverpool. My father didn't support them and neither did his father, yet I am as blue as the next man.

To intimate that the club belongs to local supporters is very narrow minded and limits the growth of the brand.
Fran Mitchell
6   Posted 29/04/2011 at 14:16:54

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Why are Everton special?

Same reason my mum thinks I'm better looking than Brad Pitt and capable of anything in the world.

Same reason I think the Band I play in is as good as (better than) any other in the circuit.

Russ Quinlan
7   Posted 29/04/2011 at 14:57:15

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I dunno why either, my mum and dad wern't footie fans but took me to Goodison for the first time on 16th Sept 1966 to watch us beat West Brom 5 - 4, what an introduction to life in the Blue lane !

It was a week after my 13th birthday and its been 34 years of undying love for the Blues !

I still don't know why they took me on that fateful day but bloody hell, its been a habit I cant drop despite now living in Scotland and not going to Goodison as much as I'd like to get me fix.

However I will never forget that day in 1966, the noise, the passion and the goals and what a team !

It still hurts when we losse, its still brilliant when we win, how anyone can swap teams because they are not a Sky Team is beyond me.

Its been a very interesting road !
Ken Buckley
8   Posted 29/04/2011 at 14:42:12

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Gareth, I have no idea of an answer to your two questions but they are really tantalising ones.

All I know is I am off to Wigan tomorrow and we will either win, lose or draw. We will chew over it until the next game and then do it all over again. This has gone on for longer than I care to remember and I hope the future for doing it again and again is long.

Everton is our team, their success is our dream. Our fanbase is a broad church so praise and brickbats will be tossed back and forth like a long tennis rally. Results often determine moods for the week and blame for something or other is showered on all and sundry from Chairman and board through manager, players and fan factions...

But then, we do it all again, so maybe in there somewhere is your answer... but, overall, we are Evertonians and we do it our way whilst every other club in the land does it... er... their way.

See you in the tent tomorrow-

Chris Bannantyne
9   Posted 29/04/2011 at 15:31:02

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I'm Australian, and no - Tim Cahill is not the reason why I support Everton (although I am very proud to have him in the team and speak so highly of the club).

My mother was born in Liverpool, and her immediate family were blues supporters, although several uncles/aunts/cousins etc. support the shite. I can't definitively say why I love Everton so much - I could try, but it would be a book in itself.

All I know is that I certainly feel like supporting Everton, through thick and thin, was bestowed upon me somehow. Like they say, born not manufactured. I am sure they exist, but I am yet to meet a Liverpool/ManU/Chelsea supporter as passionate as I am for Everton.

The funny thing is I grew up playing Rugby League and to a lesser extent Rugby Union. I have tried playing football (or soccer as it is generally referred to here) and I am woeful. However my knowledge of soccer, I feel, is right up there. My knowledge of Everton is completely unrivaled (at least in my parts).

I can never see myself supporting another team, or becoming dispassionate about Everton. I am not unrealistic enough to believe there aren't people out there as passionate about other clubs as I am for Everton, but I love all Everton supporters (even Richard Dodd whom I have never agreed with). Everton is like an extended family to me. I am moving to Liverpool next year, a city in a country that I have never visited, but I already feel like it is my second home.

I hope I am not proven wrong.
Ray Robinson
10   Posted 29/04/2011 at 16:54:39

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Have you ever met an Evertonian who doesn't know what's going at the club, the scores, the players names etc? Then try the same test on a so-called Man Utd, Liverpool or Chelsea fan. Chances are that half of them don't even know who they're playing next match.

Before anyone counters that it's a generalisation, I'm well aware that there are devoted fans of these teams - but EVERY Evertonian that I've met has been truly passionate and that for me is the difference.

I must say that I also admire Sunderland fans for what they've had to go through.
Ray Robinson
11   Posted 29/04/2011 at 16:54:39

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Have you ever met an Evertonian who doesn't know what's going at the club, the scores, the players names etc? Then try the same test on a so-called Man Utd, Liverpool or Chelsea fan. Chances are that half of them don't even know who they're playing next match.

Before anyone counters that it's a generalisation, I'm well aware that there are devoted fans of these teams - but EVERY Evertonian that I've met has been truly passionate and that for me is the difference.

I must say that I also admire Sunderland fans for what they've had to go through.
Dave Wilson
12   Posted 29/04/2011 at 16:41:58

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How can there be an Everton way ?

I too will be in the tent tomorrow and I know I will hear Evertonians arguing on practically every table, even when we are having a good time we cant agree on anything, how could we ever have a "way" ? . . Who would decide what is was ?

Are we unique ? Yes we are, although many of us have Liverpool supporting friends and relatives who we love dearly. we are still only ever united in the belief that Kopites are indeed gobshites
Karl Masters
13   Posted 29/04/2011 at 17:39:47

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My only view on this is a bit like Ray Robinson's.

I have met very few ignorant Evertonians in a football sense. Some have been bigots even racist in the deep and distant past, but they all knew their stuff about the Club.

This is definitely not what I see from other Clubs' fans - they all have their core of knowledgeable fan, but also a significant number of people who will tell you they support a team and then not know that they even played, never mind the result, last week!

I would say we are Thinkers, that manifests itself brilliantly on here a lot of the time, but perhaps we also need a few more Do-ers as well.
Michael Lynch
14   Posted 29/04/2011 at 19:16:06

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Liverpool, United, Arsenal and Chelsea fans (gloryhunters) go the match for a day out and to be entertained. They are like tourists. Evertonians are simply going to church, this is our religion, it's inbuilt deep inside our souls. We have been chosen, they have chosen.
Tim Welsh
15   Posted 29/04/2011 at 21:19:18

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In response to Ray Robinson's briliant observation...there is an old quote that goes 'when two English men meet their first topic of conversation is the weather'....with Evertonians the topic is Everton...I NEVER witness this with supporters of other teams...furthermore, Everton is what most people speak to me about when they see me.

No-one can support Everton lightly.

As an Evertonian sometimes I feel cursed, sometimes I feel blessed, but I always feel special.

I love Everton.
Dermot Ryan
16   Posted 29/04/2011 at 22:13:56

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As a sad bastard who spends far too much time reading the fans responses to match reports on the Guardian, I have noticed how many OTHER teams' fans (apart from Kopites obviously) acknowledge that Evertonians are knowledgeable readers of the game and reasonable evaluators of their team's and other teams' merits. They don't troll mindlessly. They don't gloat. They have a great sense of humor (personally, I thought the online version of WSAG was absolute genius and a number of non-Evertonians posted on the site to tell them that). And Evertonians don't get into pissing wars (like Man. U, Man City, Arsenal, and Chelsea fans). They can be generous and show some class: A number of Reading fans gratefully acknowledged that the Goodison crowd clapped their team off the pitch (which, as we all know, must have been hard to do as we were all bitterly disappointed to get knocked out of the cup). I'm sure our blowing on about ancient history and the School of Science must get tedious, but like a number of other teams fallen on fallow times, Evertonians seem to have a sense of proportion. I'd imagine there are a number of other teams with great supporters out there, and I'm sure every team has great fans but generally the following fans strike me as complete twats who often know next to nothing about football and think football is all about rubbing other people's noses in it: Man City, Man. U, Newcastle, Liverpool. As a sidenote: I find the sanctimoniousness of Barca fans really irritating as well.
David Moorcroft
17   Posted 29/04/2011 at 22:23:52

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Make no mistake,Evertonians are a very special breed.I became a toffee because all my family before me were mad toffs,But what i think makes us so special is we support a club not because we win trophys,But because of the people who go the game.I have met football supporters from around the world and they have nothing but admiration for Evertonians,Mainly because they dont understand that because we come from Liverpool,Why we dont support them.I think they are baffled by our fanatisism for our club as i think the redshite supporters are.Because they and manure are the worst examples of glory hunters the world will ever see.So always put your chest out and be proud to be a TOFFEE.
Mike Allison
18   Posted 30/04/2011 at 01:28:35

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Embarrassing. If you don't know that there is an Everton way, and that we are special, then you're not an Evertonian. Its 1.30am and I've a big day tomorrow so I won't go into the whole thing (which, frankly, could probably fill a book or two) but if I throw words like class, dignity, honesty and community you might begin to get the gist of it.

Comparisons to Liverpool, Arsenal and Brazil are ridiculous. Our history as a football club dates back to 1878, with significant periods occurring throughout the entire time since. Liverpool are a 1960s Match of the Day myth creation, they did nothing for the first 80 or so years of our history and managed to maintain a good team for 30 years or so, but not for 20 years since. Brazil produced magical footballers for around a 25 year period between 1958 and 1982 and the rest of it is again the media desperate to create a story to get people interested come World Cup time. And as for Arsenal, they are the symbol of defensive, negative pragmatic football for anyone brought up in the 80s, so to even ask the questions you have means you need to have a serious word with yourself as you don't seem to know much about football pre-Sky era.
Carlos Camacho
19   Posted 30/04/2011 at 01:46:57

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I was born in Brasil. Grew up in America and played most of my soccer/football in Japan. My Aussie friend was a Chelsea fan and so I decided to select a team to support. I picked Everton. I can't recall why. It was way before McBride or Howard. The team just felt different. I'm glad of my choice! Ups and down but I wouldn't support any other team. Might even get a tattoo someday. So Everton fans can be made around the world!!!
Rob Keys
20   Posted 30/04/2011 at 03:03:24

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Mike Allison, while i admire your commitment to Everton, your comments on Brazil, Arsenal and Liverpool reeks of the kind of partisan support that all fans have i.e.partiality.

I'm an Everton fan, but also a football fan as well. Arsenal was one of the 1st few clubs to complete 3 in a row titles in the 1930s, in the same period that we had Dixie Dean. Even before Wenger, by the time George Graham left, they had about 7 titles, two short of ours, and similar to Man Utd. They were the 2nd team to do the double (70-71) after Spurs (61-62). While we have the longest top flight status, Arsenal has the longest un-interrupted top flight status.

Yes Liverpool rose to prominence in the 1960s, but they already had titles and cups to their names throughout the early 20th century. The simple fact that they overtook us in the title count in the 1970s mean they have been chalking up successes along the way.

Well, after the so-called golden period you've mentioned, Brazil won the World Cup for another two times, reached a final, produced the original Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho, Kaka SINCE 1982.
Show me a national team that has the same kind of prominence.
Germany? Maybe.
France? Only from 1982 to 1986, and 1998 to 2000.
Netherlands? The classic nearly men.
England? Yes, best of them all. One world cup in 1966, still dogged by controversy.

Derek Thomas
21   Posted 30/04/2011 at 03:10:00

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Short answer- Yes, of course we question; because if we were not, where would that leave us.

The Long answer is to the next question, Why, What makes you so special, is all inside our heads.

I for one haven't got the Skills to even scratch the surface on such a deep metaphysical conumdrum.

And that is even without discussing the fact that, is it even possible for 100s of 1000's of individuals, all over the world to be unique about the same thing, or even in the same way.

So if asked, I will just have to resort to the poor reply to why.

BECAUSE I SAY SO....that all ya got??


ps maybe thats what all this religion stuff is about and faith is just another way of saying; believing and knowing without being able to prove it and if you don't like it, tough.
John Clarke
22   Posted 30/04/2011 at 05:43:56

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God did not rest on the 7th day. He created Everton.
Gareth Humphreys
23   Posted 30/04/2011 at 09:36:09

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Mike Allison (19) ? Quick note about embarrassing ? you need to get your facts right before you start throwing stones. I like to throw in the ?Liverpool fc born in the 60?s? argument to some of the less intelligent reds but the simple irrefutable fact is that we and them shared the same amount of titles until their dominance in the 70?s. Hard to swallow ? especially if you are blinkered enough not to know it, but true all the same.
Also I haven?t made any comparisons between Everton and Arsenal/Brazil. I am pointing out the hypocrisy in the modern myths around these two teams which, as your point suggests, I think you agree with.
Finally in the period that you claim Brazil have done nothing, they have won the world cup twice and provided us with one of the greatest centre forwards of all time and the World Cup?s leading ever goal scorer. I wish Everton?s nothing in the same period was on the same scale.
Anyway you still haven?t answered either of the questions in the original post but thrown in a couple of great words which anyone from Barcelona to the Royal Engineers could probably use.
Where you on the sauce when you wrote that load of shite?
Mike Allison
24   Posted 30/04/2011 at 10:54:43

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I didn't say they'd done nothing, just that they haven't been the flamboyant Brazil of the myth makers, but a pragmatic, tactical team like any other.

Of course I'm partisan, why shouldn't I be? You seem to want people to justify or explain Everton's greatness to you. Look around, go to Goodison, read yer 'istory. If its not self-evident to you as it is, then no-one can explain it.
Gareth Humphreys
25   Posted 30/04/2011 at 11:42:10

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Mike - I'm just asking two genuine questions.
You think there is an Everton Way - great tell me what it is because I don't know.
Likewise, you feel we are better/different to the rest - great - tell me why.
If your answer is because there just is and we just are then fine, I can live with that because I struggle to put into words anyway - hence the article.
The closest to the truth I think is the Way Fran Mitchell put it in no 6.
Alan McGuffog
26   Posted 30/04/2011 at 16:37:59

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Russ Quinlan
Your debut was the classic Everton way. 4 - 1 up and cruising against Albion and we let it slide to 4 -4. Elation to despair in about half an hour.
Then curly steps up to score a penalty with about 5 minutes left. Elation again.
It was never boring !
Trevor Lynes
27   Posted 30/04/2011 at 19:42:51

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One post said that Liverpool fans are not die hards like evertonians...Rubbish Im afraid...they are mainly the same as we are and plenty have supported them as long as I have...1948 !!
God knows where the Derek #1 got his facts from.
I reckon he is comparatively young so perhaps he doesn't know better !!
Man Utd have fans from everywhere but most of the newer fans have only been since the premier league came into being.
They tend to follow success rather than history...I wish we had a bit more success to cheer about.
The city of Liverpool however has the two most succesful city clubs in England when it comes to winning silverware.
Before the premier we had a combined 27 titles....Manchester has only been succesful in the premier since the influx of foreign players.
If foreign players had been available when we had J.Moores I am sure our success would have continued. are wrong about Liverpool fans..they are as many in the city as we are without the foreignors.
Mike Allison
28   Posted 01/05/2011 at 20:28:22

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Gareth, it's partly that there just is and we just are, but there are many great things from our history that other clubs simply don't have. Having trophy-winning teams spanning 125 years, more top flight seasons than anybody else and so on.

On the pitch we have consistently been one of England's most successful clubs (depending on your definition of success of course). Even Liverpool, Arsenal and Man United can't manage that and they're the only three teams to have won more major trophies than us.

We have also innovated off the pitch throughout history and always been at the forefront of the game in this country. We've hosted World Cup semi-finals, and absolutely uniquely, our ground is still recognisable from that day in 1966.

A simple answer is that our uniqueness stems from everything that's ever happened in our history, but there is also else something about Everton. This could be characterised as our failure (or refusal) to be truly successful like Liverpool or Man United. We've managed to have things 'tragically' go wrong just when things looked good, quite literally in 1985. The way our club and fans responded to the Hillsborough disaster and our unique relationship with our neighbours is another thing that marks us out as different and special and unique.

Self-identified Evertonians are also far more into their club and the game than any of the other big teams. You see people walking around wearing Man United and Liverpool shirts while their team are playing. This is not something that happens with Evertonians as we are a genuine football club pure and simple without having had our identity diluted by becoming a global brand in the way that other major clubs have.

Like I said before, there are books worth of stuff I'm not even mentioning, but there's more to it than Fran's answer. I only wish it was as self-evident to you as it is to me and you'd be a happier, prouder blue.

And yes, massively on the sauce when I wrote my first answer, but all I'd have changed sober is the confrontational tone I set out on, not actual arguments.

Adam Cunliffe
29   Posted 01/05/2011 at 23:44:56

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Right lads I'm on my phone here so please excuse coz dodgy errors or predictive text mistakes!

Had to comment on this article as it really did get me thinking, and I suppose, if there is an Everton Way, the one word I would have to use about Evertonians is 'intelligence'. As a collective, we all seem to know our stuff! And I would go as far as to say that we are a better class of people; my girlfriend's brother went to Liverpool Uni and I remember him saying that when he went out if some scouser was giving you shit, chances are he's a red but, if one bought you a pint, he'd more than likely be blue.

And the first time I met her dad, we all went out for a meal and inevitably the topic of football came up. When i told him I was a big Everton fan, he said 'You might be a scouser but at least you'll actually know your stuff.' We went on to talk about how Leitch designed both Villa Park (all her family support Villa) and Goodison Park. He's followed Villa all over the country and seen them win a European Cup so to know a fan of another 'proper' club sees Evertonians as a clever lot did make me smile.

I was born into a family of Blues... ancestors moved from Italy to Liverpool and followed Everton and, three generations down the line, me, my two brothers and sister all follow the Blues. To put it simply, i fuckin love Everton Football Club. Don't know what it is that keeps us all going sometimes but it's something, and for as long as that something keeps its stranglehold on us all, I've no doubt we'll all laugh, smile and cry watchin our beloved blues.


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