My Dilemma

by   |   05/03/2018  33 Comments  [Jump to last]

I was brought up in Dublin and, back in the late 70s, the time came to nail my colours to the mask and to choose a team. To this day, I don't know why exactly I was drawn towards Everton as opposed to the usual suspects of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and, at the time, Leeds United, but drawn I was and Everton I chose.

Back then, we had some quality players like: Mick Lyons, Davie Thomas, Andy King, Duncan McKenzie and Bob Latchford. One of my earliest memories is the League Cup Final in 1977 against Aston Villa. It wasn't shown live in Dublin but my father let me stay up late to watch the highlights and how I wept when we went down 3-2 in extra time.

My dad liked football but wasn't passionate about it so didn't support any team particularly; but I recall him comforting me that night by explaining how the players would be feeling a lot worse than me at the time. Maybe that was the case; it was a different game then.

Since then (apart from a brief interlude in the 80s and one day out in 1995), I've shed a mountain of tears and often rage over this club but that has now turned to a sense of apathy because, now matter how much things change with this club, things stay the same. This brings me to my point.

My own boys will shortly be of the age to choose their team and I as their father obviously will have an influence on that by which team I choose to take them to see across the water.

A friend of mine had a similar decision to make a couple of years back and brought his son to Goodison Park; the lad is now an avid supporter but he's often left in tears by what he sees on the field – the ritual Arsenal spanking at Goodison earlier in the season as an example. The lad then has to face his friends and foes in school on the Monday.

This is seriously hard on the dad and I'll be brutally honest here, I don't want to see my kids in tears watching the perpetual decline of this club and so I find myself at a crossroads as to which club to take them to see in England.

It'll not be Liverpool (if I've any say in the matter)... but, if I'm honest, I'm not sure it'll be Everton either.

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Tim James
1 Posted 05/03/2018 at 16:21:27
It has to be Everton – its not easy at times, but in my view there is no other club. I was at the League Cup final when we lost to Villa it was a real sickener but it didn't make me want to stop supporting Everton.

I have spent years politely defending our club mainly against the RS. I was a teacher for over 30 years and every child I taught has been indoctrinated with the blue message. I

was a copper for a few years and had the pleasure of policing the Clock End at Highbury when Everton visited. We nearly scored and I instinctively reacted like the rest of the Evertonians. This was the early 80s when policing football wasn't easy, and it was a real icebreaker, the fans were brilliant when they discovered I was a Blue.

Take them to Goodison – they'll love it!

Jay Harris
2 Posted 05/03/2018 at 16:33:43
Liam, Everything goes in cycles – it's just that this one has been particularly long and painful – but success is just around the corner.

I was brought to the Everton family by my grandfather, Dad and Uncle in the mid 1950s when we were a pretty poor side but Despite the RS overtaking us I would never regret that I was brought up a blue and my son and grandson did not get any choice in the matter either.

Get him decked out in the Royal Blue, get him to Goodison, and as they say, the rest is history.

Keith Harrison
3 Posted 07/03/2018 at 23:37:01
Take him to watch Ireland at Rugby, Liam. He can watch very moderately paid players absolutely put their bodies on the line. Maybe one of the provincial sides too, although of the Irish sides I lean towards Ulster.

I also hope we thrash you at Twickenham next week where I'll be, to make up for last year.

Football? It does have to be Everton though mate.

Jamie Crowley
4 Posted 08/03/2018 at 03:33:50
Liam -

Tell him that following the horde, choosing to be a supporter of a "Top 4" team is mindless.

Anyone, any dipshit loser, can decide to follow the "winner"; the successful club.

People of character choose a team based on something personal, or their locale and pride thereof, and marry them. Bandwagon hoppers are from the Evil One. Make your choice and never look back - a blood bond never broken.

And tell him this - WHEN Everton win it will mean so, so much to him. It will mean the world.

You're Irish. I'm Irish-American plastic paddy. Many of you and yours came to America to "better" themselves and a HELL of a lot of Irish settled in Boston, MA, USA. It's as Irish a town as you'll find in America. I was born in Boston and all the Crowley's hail from Boston. It took 86 fucking years for the Boston Red Sox to win a World Series in baseball over here. My Grandpa Crowley lived and died and never saw them win it. Loyal to the core he was though...

My Dad finally saw them win it - three years before God rang the bell for him - and he was OVER THE MOON!.

My point???

The wait, and the loyalty exhibited therein, is worth it. Tell your boy that. And tell him that piece of advice came from a guy who's team had 86 years between championships.

Posted with an addendum to all Blues: NESV bought the shite after I was "born" Blue, and the Red Sox are in my DNA and I make no apologies for that whatsoever.

Amit Vithlani
5 Posted 08/03/2018 at 04:09:34
I had a similar challenge. But bringing my lad all the way over to the UK for his first ever game at Goodison against Stoke was an unbelievable experience. We were lucky that we won and Rooney scored on his debut. My lad was bitten by the bug.

Since then, he has shrugged off all the defeats and dreadful performances, putting them down to bad luck. He did shed a tear against the RS when Van Dijk got his winner, but all was forgotten when we put on FIFA 18 and the Reds got a tonking.

He is 7, and at that age there is little cynicism. He holds on to the good things – footage from yesteryear, revelling in Rooney's hatrick against WHU and memories of his first ever game at Goodison. For all his misplaced passes and dreadful performances, Rooney has produced all of the big moments my son cherishes this season – debut goal, hattrick, away goal at City, howitzer against Arsenal, away goal at RS. He is a total legend in my boy's eyes.

Certainly, as he gets older, understands the game better (realising that Rooney has had some dreadful performances too) and disappointment becomes a feature, the current unwavering loyalty will be tested.

But, as he grows up he will have his father alongside him to share the pain and curse the Reds.

Unlike you and I did.

Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 08/03/2018 at 05:10:34
Jamie #4, same story, different town. I'm originally from the North Side of Chicago. Which means both my grandfather and my dad lived and died without seeing the Cubs win it all. (Actually, I almost missed it too...)

Liam, a boy has to decide for himself (I was a callow stripling of 29 when I chose Everton), but there's always a wondrous upside to cheering on an underdog – it's the difference between being forever hopeful and endlessly jaded, as the top-4 fans always are. Think about what it must have been like to be a Leicester supporter. Every one of them will relive that season over and over again for the rest of their lives, while the Man Utd fans stare glumly up from second at their rampaging neighbors, and Spurs and Arsenal do their endless North London dance of not-quite-good-enough. When it happens for us – and it will – the joy will be transformative.

Take it from a guy who's still wiping away tears 16 months after the Cubs won the World Series. My wife still finds me watching the replay of the final out and sniffling.

Jamie Crowley
7 Posted 08/03/2018 at 05:42:11
Amen Mike.

And any Sox fan not pulling for the Cubs didn't have a soul.

And... Theo is God. ;-)

Dermot Byrne
8 Posted 08/03/2018 at 07:00:42
I was introduced to the Blues aged 1 day! It was just presumed as granddad had two brill season tickets.

There was no choice in the matter. Same as Catholicism.

Now both have caused no end of hassle for 58 years but funnily enough I never have become a "Lapsed Evertonian"!

So all powerful creator of the universe -v- The Blues. That is quite a pulling power!

Alex Mullan
9 Posted 08/03/2018 at 07:32:41
I grew up in Northern Ireland watching Everton in the 90s with my dad, whilst all my school friends supported Man Utd and Liverpool.

No matter what the score, I had the quiet dignity of being able to say I was not a glory hunter and a bandwagon jumper – something they couldn't say.

Plus, in a strange way, I think it taught me some life lessons about dealing with the trauma and hardship of life from an early age!

Jay Woods

10 Posted 08/03/2018 at 08:11:54
I'm from Northern Ireland too (and desperately wish to return asap), but I have already decided not to encourage my boy to be a football fan of any kind. It's just too annoying, you have no control over your team's fortunes, yet it is addictive.

I want my son to get into hiking, hill-walking, cycling, and other things I like too that don't mangle your emotions.

Tony Abrahams
11 Posted 08/03/2018 at 08:31:42
I hope this thread stays on the side of humour, because it's alls we've got sometimes.

Things change; they say it usually gets worse, before it gets better, so we are nearly there now. Kenwright's departure will hopefully lead to a "United Everton" and it won't be long before we are singing "We Shall Not Be Moved" and our kids finally see the joy, after all these years of despair! Even god knows, they deserve it.

David Midgley
12 Posted 08/03/2018 at 08:37:17
Liam, the Everton arrow of fate will strike him eventually as it has struck us all. It's bad enough being 'Grim up North' without the added factor of supporting the Blues.

I can't imagine what it must be like to support a club that was in the Premier League or the old First Division and to have gradually slipped down the leagues knowing that there is no way back.

I'm ever the optimist and believe that we will get the right manager (you have to kiss a lot of frogs) and a management team that will shake the club up and he'll know the good times just as many of us have.

Don't worry – he'll be a Blue.

What's bred in the bull comes out in the calf.

Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 08/03/2018 at 08:38:10
I went and posted then read what everyone had to say. Jamie and Mike, god bless the both of you, lovely stories about loyalty, and I can just imagine you trying to fight back the tears, Mike, but you can't, simply because of how much it means to you!

That's what Everton means to me, friends, family and loyalty. The Lunacy of life, and just waiting for that song once again!

Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 08/03/2018 at 09:10:53
Liam, I don't know what choice your boys will make. I hope it is the Blues. I've watched them for a long time and had much more misery than joy out of following Everton, but as a few have said, when the good times came the absolute joy of winning a trophy stays with me forever.

I have had my moments (plenty this season) when I have cursed my team but overall, when look back, I wouldn't swap Everton for any other team in the world. It was always Everton then Everton reserves for me.

Liam whatever team your boys choose I hope they have long happy healthy lives. Everton will certainly teach them to cope better with the hard times they have growing up. Good luck boys, pick your team and stick with them. I hope you are sensible enough to choose Everton.

Mike Doyle
15 Posted 08/03/2018 at 09:17:29
Liam, your dad was right about the players in the 1977 League Cup Final feeling worse than (or at least as bad as the fans). I attended the final and both replays – and still recall the feeling.

However at the time I was playing for a Sunday league team managed by Mick Lyons – and can assure you that as both a player and Everton fan, Mick was devastated also. As things transpired, it was the closest he ever came to winning a trophy as an Everton player. Great bloke too I should add.

Ray Roche
16 Posted 08/03/2018 at 09:24:41
Liam, so you have two choices.

He can become a Blue and spend half of his time screaming at the TV, ignoring the daily papers because he can't face reading yet another report on our crap performances. He can dread derby games and any match against the Sky favourites.


You can let him follow Man Utd, the RS, Man City, Chelsea etc and he'll have a football life with far more highs than lows, and then, when he has some real problems in life... and I mean life, not just a football match, the fact that he's been mollycoddled into thinking that nothing really bad will happen because, well, we always win don't we, he'll have no backbone. For confirmation, see how the other lot fall to pieces and blame every bugger when something goes against them!

At least, as a Blue, he'll have faced adversity, stood on his on two feet and faced up to hardships and will not crumple when things go wrong.

Hey, but it's only football isn't it? But being a Blue is character forming. And there might well be a slight glimmer of light at the end of our long, dark tunnel now that Mr Moshiri is here.

Jay Woods

17 Posted 08/03/2018 at 09:31:53
Ray Roche, that's a novel concept: leveraging one's support of Everton to stouten the constitution. Therapeutic Toffeehood.
Ray Roche
18 Posted 08/03/2018 at 09:45:06
Jay, maybe we could take that idea further make it part of a school curriculum to help "dewimp" today's "snowflake" generation!
So that they're not "Offended by everything, ashamed of nothing".

(Incidentally, just for a laugh, put that in Google!)

Michael Lynch
19 Posted 08/03/2018 at 10:10:44
Keep your kids away from football if you really don't want to see them suffer. In fact, don't let them support any team in a competitive sport. While you're at it, don't let them take part in races they might not win, or audition for parts in plays that might go to someone else in their class.

Every team lets their fans down in one way or another. You take the joy where you can, and learn to deal with the pain. It's a bit like life isn't it?

Rob Young
20 Posted 08/03/2018 at 10:23:48
We're all hurt many, many times. So what. Despite all my frustration down the years, I never, ever wished I supported another team. Not even in my younger years when it hurt a lot more.

It's all worth it. Somehow. I reckon being an Evertonian will teach your kids some valuable lessons in life.

My two girls will have no choice in the matter: if they like football, they will support The Toffees.

Every day of my life, I am a proud Evertonian.

Ernie Baywood
21 Posted 08/03/2018 at 11:07:26
I was raised an Evertonian in the eighties. For some reason, I don't remember a league or cup win. I vividly remember the cup losses. I vividly remember losing to that lot on other occasions and the shit I took from my mates.

At 16, I got my reward at Wembley.

Bring them up supporting whichever team you want. But you won't take devastating losses out of their lives. It might just be Champions League losses instead of a dismal second-half showing at Burnley. But they'll lose at some point. And they'll cop plenty of flak – maybe even more so if they follow one of those plastic sides they have no link to.

My kids are being raised on the other side of the world. They know that we might lose, but we won overall. We were chosen.

Rick Tarleton
22 Posted 08/03/2018 at 11:11:24
I tried not to pressure my two sons, I'd moved out of Liverpool when I was 18, and left it to them. One who is not very interested in football became, after a flirtation with Clough's Nottm Forest a plastic Man Utd fan. The other became a devoted blue and has pushed his own son that way.

My family were all reds, but my dad went to both grounds when he was home (a merchant seaman) and I fell for Dave Hickson and became a blue. I was seven in 53-54, Everton got promoted, Liverpool got relegated. Once you've made the choice, that's it for real fans.

Jon Withey
23 Posted 08/03/2018 at 11:39:53
Difficult one, I'm expecting a son and he'd be a 4th or 5th generation Evertonian. I was a schoolkid during the 80s and even then it was occasional heartbreak.

Maybe the big thing is learning some detachment from the game, it's not the be all and end all.

Paul Tran
24 Posted 08/03/2018 at 11:48:45
There is and will never be a dilemma. Follow The Blues through thin and thin!
Lawrence Green
25 Posted 08/03/2018 at 12:09:57
I don't remember having a choice as to which team I supported. I was an Evertonian long before I had seen them play or set foot in Goodison.

None of my father's side of the family were remotely interested in football, so I wasn't influenced by them. The other side of the family were mostly rabid Blues and I suppose that must have been passed on through the DNA.

Sometimes I wish I hadn't have been interested in the game and Everton in particular, but more often than not, I appreciate the great players that I have seen wear the royal blue, the magnificence of Goodison Park in its heyday and more importantly all of the good friends that I have made from near and far who I have met over the decades.

There's little doubt that Everton is a drug to which there is no antidote and, no matter how you might try, the craving for news, views and all things related to the Toffees never goes away and probably never will.

Go for it, is my advice to all of those who may be hesitating to support the Blues, there are other clubs of course there are, but not many have such a range of fanatic supporters, not many can put you on the highest high or the lowest low sometimes in the same match. Success is usually fleeting but when it occurs for Everton FC there are very few things in life that will make you feel better.

Shane Corcoran
26 Posted 08/03/2018 at 12:44:47
Liam, quit your moaning. You're a Dub and your local team plays possibly the greatest brand of football ever seen.

So bring your kids to Croke Park and guarantee them success for all of their young lives watching unpaid men playing for their county of birth. Nothing can or ever will compare to that.

Tony J Williams
27 Posted 08/03/2018 at 12:46:37
Make him a Blue, it's character building.

Choosing the "Top" teams is easy and boring, choose the underdogs and as said above, when the sun shines on your particular dogs arse, the joy is so much sweeter.

I didn't have a choice, Dad was season ticket holder and his sister lived in Gwladys Street (used to be above the car dealership, now the chippy corner) So I was dropped off there whilst he went the game.

My mum tried to make me support the Shite, even went as far as buying me a Liverpool shirt... Dad walked in, asked "What's that?" then put it straight into the bin. As I said, I didn't have a choice.

I imagine myself with a full head of hair and not needing blood pressure medication if I had gone the easy route and supported the Shite, but this baldie, heart attack waiting to happen wouldn't have it any other way.

My wife screwed up my plans and dropped a girl instead of a boy, but let's see if I can turn her away from ballet to footie and try and get my season ticket back again with her beside me.

Ian Hollingworth
28 Posted 08/03/2018 at 12:54:34
Liam, you have to force them to be Blues as it is character building for them... lol.

In fact, instead of bringing back National Service, everyone should have to be an Evertonian for 2 years.

My grandson is not really interested in football but, if asked, he proudly states he is a staunch Evertonian and will not be moved by any amount of ribbing from friends or foes. He knows he 'belongs'.

My sons have not seen us win a trophy since being kids. They know they 'belong' and when our day comes again the joy we will share will be unrivaled by anything else.

They have to be Blues, Liam, they just have to.

John Charles
31 Posted 08/03/2018 at 13:09:55
It has to be Everton. The lows are low and often. The highs, though not often, are high!

I can still remember standing next to my dad at Wembley 84 and him crying because he thought we might not win anything again after the 70s. 14 years was an age for him. We will come again and, when we do, you will wish your boy was with you.

Liam Reilly
32 Posted 08/03/2018 at 14:04:57
Some great comments - thanks all.

And very true, that the High's (because they have been so few and far between) are lifetime memories.

I recall being at the FA Cup Final in '95 and had a few drinks in a local before heading into Wembley and I left my wallet in the bloody pub. Can remember jumping up elated when Rideout scored only for my Man Utd mate to remind me about my wallet!

Looks like I'll be taking them to Goodison then.


Dave Richman
33 Posted 08/03/2018 at 14:06:57
I didn't really push my kids, but they're both fervent Blues. I apologise to them on a regular basis.
Dickie Langley
34 Posted 08/03/2018 at 20:11:04
Over 6 hours round trip to watch Everton at Goodison, and probably £75, if I can even get tickets. Or less than 2.5 hours, and less than £40, with tickets always available, to see the local team (Bradford City).

My eldest keeps wanting to go to Goodison. But I hope my youngest supports Bradford!

Ian Bennett
35 Posted 08/03/2018 at 20:30:21
At the moment, I am hardly on speaking terms with Everton, but come Saturday, I'll still get that buzz walking up the steps to my seat and seeing that bright green turf. Z-Cars bangs out, and I am back in love.

Damn you, Everton.

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