I enjoy most sports but being Canadian I’m a huge hockey fan. The Montreal Canadiens are my team win or lose and always will be. They have been the most successful team in the National Hockey League since it's inception and have a long and glorious history. In recent years though they haven't been a serious contender for the Stanley Cup (for those not familiar that’s the League championship trophy named after Lord Stanley of Preston) but I won't let that dampen my spirits nor change my allegiance to another club.
My father taught me at a young age a true fan always remains loyal to his club in the good times and the bad. Now back in 1999 I met a young lady from Liverpool, England. I took her to her first ice hockey game which I’m glad to say she enjoyed very much. On the way home from that game, we started talking about sports in England and the conversation of course led to football. I used to call it soccer and I hope you‘ll forgive me for that!
Now with her originally being from Manchester she said she was a Manchester United fan but since moving to Liverpool she had followed the Reds. She then mentioned that Liverpool had two local teams and that the other was called Everton. I'll be quite honest I had never heard of Everton before living here in Canada. Now while I always enjoyed watching Canada's national team, I hadn't really watched much football besides a little of the defunct Canadian Soccer League. I don't know what it was but Man Utd and Liverpool didn't attract my interest whatsoever on the ride home that night. I wanted to know more about the other club she mentioned. I wanted to know more about Everton.
Now sadly there was very little British football news to be found here in Canada back then. There would be a little now and then in the newspapers and only the odd game on television. From time to time during the early 2000s I’d catch a game of the week on TSN (our version of Sky Sports) but rarely see an Everton match on unless they were playing Man Utd, Chelsea, or Liverpool. I’d still always watch online though to see how Everton were doing. And thankfully, as the cable sports channels looked for content, we began to get more and more televised matches on TV here in Canada. I remember how excited I was one weekend when Everton’s match was on TV and Tomaz Radzinski was playing. Seeing a Canadian (born in Poland but a Canadian National team member nonetheless) playing for Everton made me very proud and piqued my interest even more.
I think the reason I was drawn to Everton is they are very much like my favourite hockey team the Montreal Canadiens. Both have a rich history and a glorious past but haven’t won a championship in a long time. I love when fellow Blues talk about the past years and tell of the team's glory days. You can get this from books and such but it’s always nice to have that personal perspective. Even more I love watching on TV and hearing the crowd cheer on their team. The atmosphere in Goodison seems electric and I pray to God I can see a match there live someday. Hopefully before we get a new stadium which by the looks of it I should have some time yet. I really wish they could renovate Goodison but if it will lead to more revenue and a stronger future for Everton then I’m all for it. If I do make it to Liverpool someday I hope you Blues will teach me some of the songs. Coleman’s is a personal favourite of mine.
I’m happy to say we get almost every Everton match on TV now and thanks to sites online like ToffeeWeb it’s very easy to follow the club’s news. I just wish it was easier to get Everton merchandise here in Canada. My wife has bought me the 2014-15 away kit (off the Everton FC site) for Christmas this year and you don’t want to know what that came to in Canadian dollars! I hate to think how much revenue Everton is missing out on here in North America. With Howard ( and to a lesser extent with Donovan when he played on loan) I am sure we could have sold tons of merchandise.
In closing I’d like to thank ToffeeWeb for running such a great site and thank those who post and comment on this site for teaching me about our club. On that fateful car ride home in 1999 a Toffee fan was born and while being so far away each weekend you make me feel like I’m right there with you cheering on our club. COYB!