Giving something back

By Paul Traill 08/12/2017 21comments  |  Jump to last
Apollon Limasol 0 - 3 Everton

9:30am and off we set, the three of us, Dan, Gaz and me, on route to Manchester Airport for the 12:30pm flight to Paphos. We kind of expected to find a plethora of Evertonians at the airport but as we got a burger down us we couldn’t see any. We needn’t have worried. Come the gate plenty of Evertonians were around, plenty of recognisable faces. Everybody having fun. Everybody Blue.

When we booked our flights we didn’t realise it was a five hour journey to Cyprus. Lesser clubs supporters would question our wisdom but this is Everton. We support something special. On the way home, as I write this, I couldn’t be more proud of our team and how our supporters behaved. Impeccable on both counts.

The plane journey out was boozy, very much so in fact. You can’t do much more than drink the plane dry! The stewardess was dumbfounded by our support for our beloved club. Once grounded in Paphos we got in our pre-arranged taxi direct to Nicosia. Google Maps suggested it would take us 1 ½ hours. Fortunately for us, our driver journeyed as if his life depended on it and we arrived in Nicosia in about an hour. Most, if not all, other blues onboard dispersed to closer destinations of Paphos or Limassol.

When all was said and done, we were glad to get that journey out of the way early. Following advice from the apartment owner we arrived in Ledras Street, settling on D’Avilla, next to a posse of blues who partook in the sing-songs of sing-songs. “Big Sam, Little Sam, Cardboard Box” being my particular favourite. John, who we befriended somewhat on ToffeeWeb before the game also joined us having jetted in direct from his home in Bucharest, and kept us entertained with his tales from the 1980s.”I haven’t seen Everton play away in Europe since Rotterdam” he declared. It’s amazing to meet such a network of Evertonians when you go on these trips. Our support is just incredible. There can’t be much more supporter groups around whom are so loyal, yet so success starved. It really is incredible.

The next day we were out and about in the afternoon and though we tried to head elsewhere, so many Evertonians were congregated in D’Avilla that we returned and enjoyed many an afternoon beer before getting a taxi to the stadium. We left pretty early, pre-empting a bit of a rush, though needn’t have bothered as we arrived in oceans of time and mingled with a few other blues over a few cans. Here we found the team news and we were all agreed that the team was nowhere near as makeshift as we perhaps expected. Harry Charsley debuted at left back, as did Fraser Hornby in attack, while Morgan Feeney made his first professional start for Everton in the heart of defence.

We also afforded useful game time to Joel Robles, Mohammed Besic, Beni Baningime, Morgan Schneiderlin, Davy Klaassen, Ademola Lookman, Nikola Vlasic and Kevin Mirallas. Seemingly at least, the aforementioned professionals gone on with the job in hand and, like the younger players, were a huge credit to our club. They took the game seriously when it would have been easier to wilt. They showed willing, they showed desire, and showed that they do care about our club, that they are proud to represent Everton. Conversely they were applauded for their effort by the supporters. It goes to show, give us something, and we’ll give you something back. It’s reciprocal I’m proud of our club following yesterday. After a tormented Europa League campaign it felt like they were giving something back.

While downstairs buying a coffee – it had been a long day of drinking – I missed an apparent great save from Tasos Kissas from a Davey Klaassen effort. I was back up in time however to see Ademola Lookman score with a measured header from a Nikola Vlasic cross from the byline. It was great to see Ademola double his money also when his fizzing effort from probably 25 yards beat the goalkeeper, who should have saved it, and into the net in front of the 1,300 adoring blues, Well done Ademola. Nice pass from Kein Mirallas also.

Finally, after five horror shows in Europe, our supporters could now enjoy themselves and the team expressed themselves a bit more, They all did well. Joel Robles kept out what he had to in goal, Morgan Feeney marshalled his defence superbly and Fraser Hornby selflessly lead the line in attack. Nikola Vlasic finished well to add some gloss to the scoreline but it was hardly underserved. It was a wonderful effort from Everton and they certainly did the loyal supporters proud. Credit Joel Robles in particular for waving his colleagues over at full time to applaud the supporters and provide a few souvenirs for deserving Blues.

We got stung in trying to be proactive by pre-booking a taxi back into Nicosia after the game, and ended up probably being the last blues out of there as we waited with a few cans by the burger vans. It mattered not as we enjoyed ourselves, though it didn’t stop the taxi driver trying to rip us off despite being about 45 minutes late. We were having none of it! We ended up back in D’Aviulla before being tipped off that there were plenty of Evertonians in a cracking little pub called Brewfellas. If nothing else Evertonians are resourceful.

Prior to arriving I had no idea but Nicosia actually has a hard border with Turkey and you can get through to the Turkish region easily upon production of your passport. Many Evertonians had, cleverly, headed over the border to enjoy beers for about a Euro a pop, rather than the three to four Euro’s we were paying. Our passports were back in the apartment so we couldn’t head over there, though I did take a little stroll down there this morning and enjoyed an hour or so in “Turkey”. Brewfellas closed and they pointed us in the direction of a Biker bar (which took some finding!) where we enjoyed the rest of the evening amongst fabulous hospitality from our Cypriot hosts. Today we have enjoyed a few beers in, you guessed it, D’Avilla, before embarking on the long, long journey home.

What a tremendous trip. I enjoyed every minute. Great company with Gaz and Dan, and it was superb to meet so many other Blues who had travelled from afar, most notably John and Stretch. ‘Til next time, Gents.

Onward Evertonians. Farewell Europa League. Something tells me we might be back next year once Big Sam has a hold of that FA Cup. Yes, we can take them on in January.

Man of the match: Morgan Feeney

Reader Comments (21)

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Dan Taylor
1 Posted 08/12/2017 at 18:27:26
Great review and a great few days in Cyprus. I'm gonna miss D'Avilla – I feel like I've spent every waking hour there!
Gerry Morrison
2 Posted 08/12/2017 at 20:32:37
Great read, Paul, as usual, thanks. It reminded me of my first trip away for a pre-season tour back in the seventies. Nothing to play for, but still, hundreds of Evertonians following the team and enjoying themselves in the process.
Andy Crooks
3 Posted 08/12/2017 at 20:49:38
Thanks, Paul, another great read. Sounds like a brilliant trip. This is the sort of report that makes me want Europa League football.

I accept that in some ways it backfired this season, but, it has given great blues great nights and memories to cherish. This was a game I had planned to attend but, for a variety of reasons, it didn't work out. I enjoy your stuff very much; keep it coming.

Frank Wade
4 Posted 08/12/2017 at 22:12:53
Thanks Paul, firstly for the very enjoyable report on your travels and the game but secondly for being such a wonderful ambassador and supporter for Everton. You and your mates should be in the Hall of Fame at this stage.
Tony Hill
5 Posted 08/12/2017 at 22:30:11
I think this is the best report you've ever done. Most of the time I think you write in a sloppy, vague way but this is accurate, heartfelt and uplifting.

Thank you and can we have more of the same please.

Michael Penley
6 Posted 09/12/2017 at 09:13:24
Doesn't sound like you had enough to drink.
Jack Convery
7 Posted 09/12/2017 at 10:57:44
Good times are back in fashion, along with clean sheets and goals.
James Lauwervine
8 Posted 09/12/2017 at 12:09:39
'Sloppy and vague' is a bit harsh I think, Tony. We're very lucky to have up to four match reports a game to read. All are a pleasure to read and having done this for years for a local kid's team in the past, I know it's not easy and often a real pain in the arse. I take my hat off to all of the authors.

To me, Ken's are always witty and evocative, Lyndon's usually eloquent and insightful, Michael's more a piece-by-piece summary of the action. I see Paul's as trying to give us the fan's day out experience. All have their own merits. However, I do agree with you that this is perhaps Paul's best.

For us blues who live a distance away and get to very few matches, they are all invaluable to get a sense of that special feeling of going to the game.

Can I add that I was extremely proud (though not surprised) to see the number of blues at the game on Thursday.

Jay Wood
9 Posted 09/12/2017 at 12:30:41
Ignore the 'sloppy and vague' jibe from Tony Hill, Paul. Totally unwarranted and unnecessary. I for one always enjoy your unique match reports, capturing as they do your pre-match ritual and in-game report.

For someone like myself no longer able to attend games, they add flavour to a match report, reporting as they do the kind of matchday experience repeated by thousands.

Keep 'em coming!

Oh! And Paul, if you didn't see it, during the Beeb's live text commentary of the game, you and your fellow 1400 travelling Blues were spoken of in awe:

"There are around 1,400 Everton fans who have made the trip tonight which is pretty extraordinary isn't it? Considering the context of the game."

Good on yer, all those who made the trip.

Tim James
10 Posted 09/12/2017 at 13:11:23
Always enjoy your reports, Paul – thank you.

I look forward to reading a report from Tony Hill.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 09/12/2017 at 13:39:03
Glad you enjoyed your trip and so pleased for you and the rest of the fantastic Blues who went to this game and finally were rewarded with a very good display from a makeshift team. Very early days but just maybe we might be rolling into some better times for the club and some brilliant Everton supporters. Anyway, you have had a few nice days of fun to whet your appetite for the future.
Andrew Presly
12 Posted 09/12/2017 at 14:00:18
Nice report, Paul, and happy you got to enjoy a performance at last!

European aways are one of the best things about being an Evertonian.

Tony Hill
13 Posted 09/12/2017 at 18:20:16
I trust that brighter sparks have spotted that you can't praise a vast improvement in something without pointing out why it's an improvement. Or if you try to do so then you are fudging the issue. If you don't see/care that there has been an improvement at all, then you are not paying attention or you patronisingly imagine that quality doesn't matter.

Nicholas Ryan
14 Posted 10/12/2017 at 12:53:20
[13] . Ouch!
Jay Wood
15 Posted 10/12/2017 at 13:02:20
Tony @ 13.

Can't make sense of your post.

It reads, well...a tad sloppy and vague to me.

Funny ole world, innit?

John Guy
16 Posted 10/12/2017 at 16:54:29
Paul, just a word to say thanks to you, Gaz & Dan for letting me hook up with you in Nicosia. I shouldn't have expected anything less, always a warm welcome from travelling blues. What a fantastic trip, especially considering the context of the game, but happy to have seen goals. A very entertaining singsong, too, on the first night in D'Avila.

Just a quick mention for Lookman. As you know, I like the lad, and hopefully he's got a lot more to show, given enough opportunity.

Great report, sums up the trip very well, thanks again, and see you at Goodison one of these days.

Arthur Westhead
17 Posted 12/12/2017 at 07:31:22
Great report, Paul, as always. I really enjoy reading about your experiences – we can get typical reports on just the match anywhere. But yours are always that bit more interesting about the whole match experience. Your player ratings are always a good read as well.

This site has enough criticism of players, manager, board etc, but now we have Tony Hill with his rude comment about your reports. He should hang his head in shame and apologise to you.

Paul, we are fortunate to have your reports in your own style. Thanks, and keep them coming!!

Martin Nicholls
18 Posted 12/12/2017 at 09:04:05
Arthur (#17) – well said!
Tony Hill
19 Posted 12/12/2017 at 14:58:27
Arthur (#17) and, indeed, Jay Wood. I accept that my words above (including my attempted justification) were harsh and disproportionate in the context of this forum and of Paul Traill's reporting.

I was intending to salute his latest effort but could have done so much more elegantly and without running the risk of causing hurt. I am also bound to say that having, re-read a number of Paul's reports before making this post, that there is precious little to support my criticism anyway.

I trust Paul is not remotely discouraged (I am sure he won't be) and I do apologise to him.

I said in a comment after Paul's report on the Watford game at the end of last season that it takes generosity and courage to write columns on here. That remains true and I look forwarding to reading more of his.

Jay Wood
20 Posted 12/12/2017 at 15:14:36
Respect, Tony @ 19.

Well said.

Arthur Westhead
21 Posted 12/12/2017 at 15:58:22
Tony @19. Nice one, we can all type things a bit hasty at times, and I've done my share! Cheers.

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