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I'm coming home

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The last time I was at Goodison Park, I was 9 years old. I can't remember what the place actually looks like or what way the game went, but I remember the atmosphere, to descibe it in one word it was mindboggling.

I live in Ireland and all my friends support Man Utd or Liverpool. To get over to Goodison has been nearly impossible for me; problems... money, no-one to go over with, girlfriend etc etc. I do have Sky Sports, ESPN, Football First ? and of course ToffeeWeb ? to keep me as close to the action as possible, but it's just not the same.

Now I've finally been freed from my exile!! I've persuaded two on my Man Utd mates to come to Goodison with me, we fly out on the 11 September 2010 (good omen!) and fly back two days later. The whole package was £235 each, we are staying in the Premier Inn, we have tickets for the Main Stand and our flights over... to sum it up ? I can't fucking wait!!!!

Can't wait to stand outside the stadium... can't wait to get in it... can't wait for the Toffee Girl... can't wait for Z-Cars... can't wait to feel the roar of the Goodison faithful on the back of my neck, and hopefully I can give my mates some serious banter if we win!

I'm really going over a bit blind; I don't know where the bars are were Evertonians gather for pre-drinks, what time do the players arrive before kick-off (which is 13:30 Sunday). Any help from youse lucky season ticket holders would be great! Cheers lads, and see you soon.

Sean McKenna, Ireland     Posted 19/08/2010 at 18:22:42

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Jon Cox
1   Posted 19/08/2010 at 20:58:15

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I cant tell you anything, but you are my mate.
Brendan O'Doherty
2   Posted 19/08/2010 at 20:56:12

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Get in about half an hour before kick-off and watch the squad warm up with the manager and coaches standing by. Keep an eye out for the little exercise they do in front of the Gwladys St touchline, by the Family Enclosure. That way you can avoid the rush and take in the whole atmosphere as it builds up.

Be warned that if you want a pint of Chang in the ground it can be, well, not particulaly cold, to be nice about it.

And tell your mates to completely forget who they really support while they are there. Otherwise....
Nick Entwistle
3   Posted 19/08/2010 at 21:01:53

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That Toffee Girl will need some arm on her to reach you up in the main stand...
Jon Cox
4   Posted 19/08/2010 at 21:05:14

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Even if we lose, you are still a golden human being, go for it.

I don't give a shit who you are ? Everton is the be-all and end-all, the only club that we need to understand.

Sean, welome to the family!
Tony J Williams
5   Posted 19/08/2010 at 21:17:56

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There are a few pubs around the ground, Players (formerly Orrys - my usual Bar) The Chepstow, Dive but full of Blues, The Royal Fight, I mean Oak and a couple right next to the Ground.

You could have a few in Town then get a taxi to the ground, O'Neills serve the best Guinness in Liverpool and it will be like a home from home for you.

Enjoy and let's hope it's the same result as last season.
Brendan O'Doherty
6   Posted 19/08/2010 at 21:35:28

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"O'Neills serve the best Guinness in Liverpool "

Sorry Tony, but I can't agree with that!

Sean if you like Guinness at home stay away from it for your weekend and go on something else. Erm, it can take a bit of getting used to....(but better than it used to be I have to admit) :)
Tony J Williams
7   Posted 19/08/2010 at 21:57:59

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Brendan, I have never had a bad pint in there ever, unfortunately I cannot say that for about 99% of the other pubs I have visited.

Granted nowhere as nice as in Ireland but apart from The Volley in Crosby, I don't know another pub that comes near.
Andrew Flanagan
8   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:06:21

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Get upstairs in the Wimslow before and after the game. I think they charge a quid for non-members. Good atmosphere and right next to the ground.
Jay Harris
9   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:08:45

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I'm not having that.

The best pint around is in the Taxi drivers club!!
Jay Harris
10   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:14:46

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Sean, you didn't say how long ago you were 9 years old but I wish you and your pal's a great day out... and if you're out on the town, try the Irish bar in Matthew Street.
David Thomas
11   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:06:49

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The players arrive normally between 2 to 1.5 hours before kick off. They all park behind the Park End Stand on the corner near the Bullens Road stand. I brought a mate with me last season who had his kids with him and all the players signed autographs and had photos with the kids.

I would agree with the posts above that you should try and get in the ground about half-an-hour before kick-off because a lot of people leave it late to get up to the ground and there is normally queues outside right before kick-off and you may end up missing Z-Cars and the players coming out on to the pitch. This is especially the case against the Shite and Man U.

Try the Winslow pub right opposite the main stand or, if not, there is loads of pubs on Walton Road and County Road (a few minutes walk from the ground) that will be full of blues.
Eugene Ruane
12   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:18:41

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Curry and chips from the Supper Bar - a must!
Brian Foley
13   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:18:21

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Sean, welcome to you and the lads ? even if their support of a certain club is misguided. Good advice already from fellow toffees and what is football ? or pubs ? without opinion.

It's funny we all seem to have our favourites BEFORE the game and go with the flow after it. I used to start in the Tramway ? sadly closed ? The Carisbrooke is brilliant bedlam, The Chepstow and Harlech crammed and similar. The last few years I have been starting at the Mons on Breeze Hill. A good place for a chat and to watch the 12:45 game and a 10-minute walk to Goodison.

The Glebe on the way back and The Black Horse. Then Bootle/Orrell Park/Aintree whichever way the wind blows 'till midnight (on average). The ale always tastes sweeter with a bag of... 3 points. You just need to get into town and get to more games, enjoy!!

Shaun Brennan
14   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:32:26

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Brendan O'Doherty (6).

When I come home, I always swear that The Metropolitan on Berry Street did serve the best Guiness... but now that's shut. Now I reckon it's Pogue Mahone's. But to make sure I'll sample O'Neills (it's a chain right) Guiness.
Sean McKenna
15   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:31:13

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Thanks very much, guys.

Jay, I'm 29 now so 20 years since my last visit. Really super buzzing, knowing us Irish lads we will probly be in every pub in Liverpool.

Just one more question ? what's the main stand like? Good viewing? Close to Mmoyes an Co? It would be great to get the stadium tour but they don't do it on Sunday or at the weekend of the match, so bit gutted there.

Colin Noon
16   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:38:31

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Eugene - (12)

Took the words out of my mouth pal :)

Excuse me whilst I salivate!!
Colin Ryan
17   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:36:58

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Enjoy the trip, Sean. Can't wait to get back over myself this season. Haven't been since the 3-0 win over the red shite in 06. Won't ever get better than that, will it?

Is it 235 euro or punts your paying? Seems decent value. Is that match tickets/flights and hotel all in? If so can I ask what company that's with?
Colin Noon
18   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:38:31

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Eugene - (12)

Took the words out of my mouth pal :)

Excuse me whilst I salavate!!
Brendan O'Doherty
19   Posted 19/08/2010 at 22:52:42

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Shaun (#14)

Yep, it's a themed Irish Bar in Hanover Street. They show GAA etc, and Ireland games. I watched a few World Cup matches there in 2002 - great craic. But I've always stayed on the lager there, not trusting the Guinness. Tony says different, so everyone to their own. Perhaps I'm spoilt because I'm used to Irish Guinness, which, without a hint of bias, I can confirm is better.

Colin (#16) - The punt was abolished in 2002. I think Sean means pounds sterling.
Sean McKenna
20   Posted 19/08/2010 at 23:03:17

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Colin, it was £235, mate, it's all-inclusive: flights, hotel, and ticket. I was trying to book through then saw on their site that Thomas Cook do Everton deals. I'll try the curry chips, lads! :-0
Ped Pearl
21   Posted 20/08/2010 at 05:38:51

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I first started going when I was 5 with my dad in the mid 70s ? we went in the Upper Bullens and every single time from the very first I'd go up the steps, and I would get a head rush that started from the pit of my stomach as I reached the top and looked over at the Main Stand. Oh and the night games were always the best for me.

Having moved to Canada three years ago, I can say I am hugely jealous. Against Utd so it will be a great game and atmosphere. Hopefully the boys will be in full flow by then.

I don't know about the Guiness... but Sly Stallone will agree just to stay away from the 'tea'.

Thor Sørensen
22   Posted 20/08/2010 at 07:04:51

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My first trip to Goodison Park was in 2003. I was 21 years old and had supported Everton passionately since 1995, so in many ways I know how you feel.

My first meeting with Goodison Park was for an October game v Aston Villa, the season we finished fourth, the game ended 1-1. It was a fantastic experience and I've made sure to come back for a "fix" of the Old Lady once or twice a season ever since, plus the occasional away game. Frequency is a matter of money of course, and I'm very jelous of those lucky enough to have a season ticket.

I've sat in every stand, bar the Park End. Most of Main stand offers a good view, Upper Bullens pherhaps even better and Top Balcony is just spectacular. Gwladys' for the best atmosphere. I was in the Gwladys when The Yak scored a hat-trick v Fulham in December 2007. 0-0 at half time, three goals in the street end second half and the "Feed the Yak"-song was born, the atmosphere was sheer MAGIC!

I always go to the Royal Oak and the Winslow. Can't wait until next time, which will be sometime next spring!

Alan Clarke
23   Posted 20/08/2010 at 08:16:15

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I just hope you get a good game otherwise you'll get some stick off your Man U supporting mates. Goodison can go quiet if things aren't going our way. I'd built up the whole Goodison atmosphere to a mate in Australia. He came over one Christmas and sat through a boring 0-0 against Middlesborough when the only atmosphere was the fella with tourettes sat in front of us, who just shouted obscenities at Moyes for the 90 minutes.

First home game of the season should be special though. An early goal from Mikky will set us up nicely or a bad refereeing decision will get the crowd going.
Mark Sadler
24   Posted 20/08/2010 at 08:32:23

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Enjoy yourself, Sean McKenna. I have been a fan since I was 10, and that was 1966... but the only time I got into Goodison Park was against Telford in the FA Cup years ago! Now I'm stuck in America but I will be watching at 7am on Fox... drinking coffee not beer!
Michael Brien
25   Posted 20/08/2010 at 09:15:15

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Sean ? I hope that you have a really great time and that you manage some more trips to Goodison this season.

I am also an exile ? I know that it's daft but when you watch a game on TV or listen to it on the radio you feel as if you have no influence on events. But when you are there, you feel you have an impact upon proceedings!! Probably a daft romantic notion we footy fans have.

I hope that you manage to find a good "watering hole" ? I have had some Guiness over in Ireland and the stuff we have over here is not as good. Over there it's was like heaven had come down and touched earth ? the equivalent in football terms it was like comparing Shandy Andy to Kevin Sheedy.

Duncan McDine
26   Posted 20/08/2010 at 09:38:35

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I took one of my best mates (who's a lifelong Utd fan) to the last Man Utd game at Goodison. We were in the Lower Gwladys - I could feel him next to me shaking with excitement when they took the lead... that didn't last long!!! That was one of the best matches I've witnessed, and so pleasing to sit next to my Manc Scum mate!!! The look on his face when Rodwell scored right infront of us, as we roared the roof off the place! Not sure if his hearing ever returned to 100% after that.
Gavin Ramejkis
27   Posted 20/08/2010 at 09:42:28

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The one thing I would mention about the Main Stand is that if you are sat close to the stuffy free loading buggers in suits near the middle (BK and his hangers on) then expect to get grief from a Steward if you decide to use industrial language to remonstrate the ref for a shite decision. Apart from that enjoy the atmosphere and the game, hopefully the place will be rocking.
Duncan McDine
28   Posted 20/08/2010 at 09:45:55

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Sorry... got sidetracked with the momories! Have a great day Sean. There are plenty of pubs on the Main Stand side of the ground... all will be crammed (Spellow is my fave ? Gwladys end), and have a great atmosphere before a big game. The Goodison Supper Bar (opposite church) is the best Fish & Chips in the world ? get the curry sauce on top, it is the dogs bollocks. That could well be an ingredient if you know the lovely people that run the place! [Joke.]
Andy Amey
29   Posted 20/08/2010 at 09:44:29

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Just enjoy your day, mate. As for Sheedy and VDM, more like comparing Harvey and Horne!
Gary Creaney
30   Posted 20/08/2010 at 10:02:04

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Good on ya for getting back over after all this time. I?m from Ireland myself (up North ? not sure what part you?re from) and there is a very well run supporters club called ESCNI. It's almost certain that if I was to get a plane over to the Wolves match tomorrow I?d easily be able to fall in with another member whether I know them or not and share taxis etc.

I?m lucky in that my dad, 3 brothers and a cousin all support the blues, plus my wife has a reasonably keen interest so I?m never stuck with anyone to travel with but on the odd occasion I?ve been on my own, I?ve not been short of company. My advice for you would be to get yourself into an Everton Supporters Club whether north or south.

If money is tight then there are a few ways around a cheaper trip to Goodison. For example, when we played St Petersburg a few seasons back in Europe, I managed to get a trip for £55. Ryanair had £10 return flights, the hotel was £60 for the room (Premier Inn) between 2 people and the match tickets were only £15. Only snag was I needed to book 2 days off work but that?s not a problem for me. European games, hopefully next season, make for a much cheaper trip.

There?s a hotel called the Dolby Hotel which can sleep 3 people in one room for a mere £40 or £50 per night depending on the night you stay. Absolutely fine for 3 fellas (maybe not for a romantic night with the wife).

A single day trip cuts out the cost of accommodation completely. Admittedly it can be a long day, especially when you?ve just been on the receiving end of a 6-1 battering at the hands of Arsenal, but you could get flights for you and your girlfriend for £80-£100 plus match tickets for £60-£70. £170 basic price isn?t bad for 2 people.

I?m sure you?d like to get over more often, Sean, so hopefully this helps.

Christopher Stubbs
31   Posted 20/08/2010 at 10:52:41

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How I envy you! I have been away from UK for many years and I only seem to get back there in the summer months. So, whilst you are enjoying the match and all that goes with it, think of us exiles. On matchdays, I can be found at the Brass Monkey in Taipei, with my Everton supporting friend (she supports them because her surname is Chang). Everyone else there will be wearing the shirts of other teams I don't want to mention. I will be the only one there who has actually been to the ground of the team I support.

When I read all of the responses to this string, it makes me think of the times I went to Goodison Park, usually on the bus. On the way home, having had a few pints after the game, talking to fellow passengers about how well Martin Dobson had played, and what a great goal Latch had scored, and how Andy King was a great buy from Luton, and how badly we wished Clive Thomas (ref) would quickly retire.

I really hope you have a great time and that you are able to go to Goodison more often than once every nine years and definitely more often then me. Maybe one day, my dream of actually experiencing again what you are going to will come true. When it does, I will look out for you.

Thor Sørensen
32   Posted 20/08/2010 at 11:23:48

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Christopher Stubbs # 31. Why on earth would you want to go back to the UK in the summer!?

Whenever I've scraped together enough money to get on a plane heading for England, I most certainly make sure there's a game on (at least one!) :-p

No, just joking, I understand it's probably got to do with family and work commitments, but I hope you'll get to see Everton playing again soon!
Michael Brien
33   Posted 20/08/2010 at 12:50:13

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Andy ? best for place for a Guiness near Goodison? You have to admit VDM is like a Guiness over here in England ? it looks like the right stuff. Just like VDM had a great reputation but never proved it. Whilst a Guiness over in Ireland is like a Kevein Sheedy free kick ? a thing of beauty!!!
Kevy Quinn
34   Posted 20/08/2010 at 13:57:29

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Happy days, Sean. I fly over for that game too.

I went with four Man Utd fans last season, they all left ten minutes early and avoided me the rest of the day. Best day I've had in a long while; hope for more of the same this time.
Craig Bellew
35   Posted 20/08/2010 at 13:45:42

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Arrive at the park end for between 1 - 1:30pm to catch the players arriving and you can get a few pics and autographs.

For a bevvie, there are numerous watering holes. I find for pre-match build-up and banter etc, the Red Brick on County Road or just next door the Royal Oak as a great boozer to start your day.

There is only one boozer to settle in after ther game and that is the Wimslow opposite the Main Stand. Around 30 mins after the game, the Wimslow proper gets going with the Everton tunes played on CD, and if the result is one that will please you more than your Utd friends (I would call them acquaintances rather than friends, but that's just me) then you will really enjoy the tunes, banter and after-game drink(s).

Either way, I hope your day goes well, and we get the result we want.

Just to advise, I'm over tomorrow for what feels like my first opening game for quite some time (I've had to sell the majority of my games to various friends at HOME). I've just had to give up my season ticket for the first time in 12 years, this is due to various reasons... mainly living on this horrible Island I unfortunately call home at present The Isle of Man. Anyway, enough of my ranting; I'm on the 7:30am boat tomorrow and can't wait either, for the walk up to the ground and that feeling you get EVERY time you make that short walk from County Road to the game.

Johnny Darkhouse
36   Posted 20/08/2010 at 13:49:35

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Sean the best pub in the whole damn world (and i'm letting you in to a big secret) is "The Barlow Arms" in Westminster Road opposite the shell garage. But don't ask for the Barlow arms as it is more affectionately know as "The Dark House" It is full of real down to earth blue noses from every walk of life, including a brilliant contignent of your countryman. Best after the game. Free banter, scouse and butties to soak up the beer. Have a great day :-)
Dermot Reilly
37   Posted 20/08/2010 at 14:43:13

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I'm Irish too but coming over from Boston for the United game. First game I'll be attending since the supporters club I set up here was recognized. I'll be coming in on Ryanair that morning from Dublin and looking forward to checking out the Spellow and a few other spots before the game.

You can't beat that pre-match athmosphere around the ground. My first game was '88 opener v Norwich when we beat them 1-0. My last game was an away at Xmas at Old Trafford when Pienaar gave away that penno.

Alex Robinson
38   Posted 20/08/2010 at 16:48:53

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Welcome back Sean! Even though I'm not a local (Grimsby born and bread me!) I thought the "done thing" was to go to the Spellow for a few before the game. I was there the tail end of last season for the Fulham game with the Aberdeen branch of the Toffees supporters club and it was was great craic (yup, I spent some time in Dublin too!). Surprised only two people have previously mentioned the place. Anyway, would definitley recommend it for a pre-match shandy...or five! ;-)
Denis Byrne
39   Posted 21/08/2010 at 11:30:19

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Hello brother ... don't forget the now mandatory homage at the Dixie Dean statue. My kids insist on photos with the great man every time we go to Goodison. Never fails to get the heart pumping and tears flowing. And then a cup of tea at the church with the old ones, a walk around the ground and then the slow walk up the stairs (or escalator for you) filled with anticipation, to meet the crest of the entrance and then the take in the most beautiful view of the most beautiful lady, in the universe.
Liam Reilly
40   Posted 21/08/2010 at 12:23:58

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You'll love it mate. I'm Irish, but live in London and always make a few home games each season. I've been in the main stand, there's obstructed views and unobstructed views (depends on the ticket price), obstructed means the goal area is hidden by a pillar and you need a long neck when the actions there, but it'll not spoill your enjoyment. Enjoy.

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