The exact timing is a little murky but some time around October or November 1994, a software engineer from Finland named Marko Poutiainen began publishing historical information about Everton Football Club on the nascent World Wide Web.
It wasn’t the first website related to an English football club; that accolade seems to belong to Ipswich Town whose online presence can apparently be traced back to 1990, before the advent of even dial-up connections, when Phil Clarke, then an employee at BT, began posting fixture information for the Tractor Boys on what was still a very experimental platform. That content would form the basis of the TWTD site that was started in 1995 and still exists to this day.
Hob Nob Anyone, an unofficial site dedicated to Reading FC, was born in November 1994 and briefly laid claim to being the first unofficial football club site but looks to have been pre-dated by a about a year by pages of information about Sheffield Wednesday published on Nottingham University’s website in 1993.
Regardless of the exact date, however, the website that would begin to grow once Marko had enlisted the help of Michael Kenrick to translate his content from Finnish into English and one day come to be known as ToffeeWeb later in the 1990s was among the very first football sites of any kind on the Web.
Long after Marko's involvement with the site had ended, a merger with Evertonia.com followed in 2001 and, 25 years later, ToffeeWeb remains one of the biggest unofficial sites on the Web, boasting a thriving community of Blues and some of the best Everton-related discussion to be found anywhere online.
That is due in part to the standards of interaction we have tried to foster on the site over the past couple of decades, particularly after TW morphed from primarily being an information resource to being an discussion-based forum for debate among members and fan opinion.
But it is also testament to the knowledge, character and intelligence of you, the readers and contributors. I’m aware of the long-standing reputation for negativity that this site has among some supporters, I see the occasional criticism of ToffeeWeb on social media from those who deride it, and I read in bemusement posts like the one earlier today where a member very publicly flounced off the forum with a few parting shots.
But I sit back and admire just how many articles on this site begin with a stream of considered, in-depth comment replies (you know, before they inevitably descend into arguments between a handful of the usual suspects!) and I know that there are media entities out there that would kill for the level of engagement and discussion that TW enjoys.
So, as well as wanting to mark this special anniversary in the site’s history, I just wanted to express my pride in the forum that we as an Evertonian community have formed over all these years and thank you all for making ToffeeWeb what it is today. Long may it continue…
Reader Comments (51)
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1 Posted 06/11/2019 at 00:44:37
Congrats. It is a hell of a commitment to operate a website for any time much less 25 years. Lots of great articles, fascinating input and insight from you and many others. Thanks for all you do.
2 Posted 06/11/2019 at 01:15:06
This is my go-to site for EFC info, debate (I read more than I contribute) and fellow EFC fan opinion.
3 Posted 06/11/2019 at 02:53:24
This site has galvanized my “bluenessâ€ over the years, and without it the Club that has, quite inexplicably in an honest moment, grown so near and dear to my heart, may not be at the same level of importance personally that it finds itself in today.
Brilliant achievement 25 years. Pat yourselves on the back, you've earned it.
TW a negative site? Bah! Fuck right off. I've seen members laugh with one another, regale in shared history and experiences, mourn the loss of fellow Blues, organize get-togethers and meet-ups, host visitors from far-flung regions like they were royalty, etc.
Anyone saying TW is negative is a surface dweller, and they need to dive a little deeper in the TW ocean.
Congratulations Michael and Lyndon, and thank you.
4 Posted 06/11/2019 at 02:56:39
I think I discovered the site either in 98 or 99 when the only internet access I had was on one of the few computers at my uni's computer lab. I moved to the States in 02 and I'm truly thankful for this site as it provided a little bit of home when I would log on daily. I think part of the success of the site is the community that it has created along with the TW characters that have graced these pages.
5 Posted 06/11/2019 at 03:02:16
6 Posted 06/11/2019 at 03:28:29
I first discovered ToffeeWeb when I moved to Canada in 1998 and it remains my go-to source for all things Everton.
I enjoy the banter and the strong opinions positive or negative, especially when they are thoughtfully and eloquently written. Brings back happy memories of my life in Liverpool in pubs before and after games (in rooms of nonsense) with fellow Blues before opportunity took me to distant lands. (Have to admit though, I hate it when it degenerates into personal attacks)
Thanks again, Michael and Lyndon, long may your facilitating discussion of all things Everton continue enabling my regular fixes. Thanks to all the contributors who make this such a vibrant place to visit.
To the next 25 years!
7 Posted 06/11/2019 at 03:48:56
Looking forward to another 25 years although I will almost certainly not be around that long.
Special mentions to Ken Buckley, Doddy, Christine Foster, Eugene Ruane, Harold etc. who for their own reasons do not post much any more but have contributed to great debates in the past.
9 Posted 06/11/2019 at 04:48:23
Well done and here's to another 25 years. I just hope in that time we win more than 1 trophy!
10 Posted 06/11/2019 at 05:08:45
Home from home.
11 Posted 06/11/2019 at 05:19:39
Years of working nights has messed with my body clock to a degree that I am almost completely nocturnal these day (except for weekends). I honestly don't know what I would have done without this place.
The expats down under and their deep knowledge and love of nostalgia. The "Seppos" and their sometimes illogical brand of positivity. Blues all over the world ensuring this place never really sleeps.
A labour of love no doubt, but it takes a lot to get a successful website up and running. To sustain and improve on it year on year for 25 years is the mark of Champions
12 Posted 06/11/2019 at 09:50:12
13 Posted 06/11/2019 at 10:03:17
Its good to be able to have a hysterical rant and then be brought back down to earth by other more reasonably posters.
Even the Mrs says to me more often than not "are you on ToffeeWeb again".
Keep up the good work everyone its appreciated more than you know.
But jesus 25yrs old god, I feel old. Also shocking to think about the trophies won in that time...â€¦...or lack of them.
14 Posted 06/11/2019 at 10:23:21
I find I spend more time on ToffeeWeb than I do actually watching the game.
15 Posted 06/11/2019 at 10:28:45
By the way Lyndon, next time you come to England for the game, don't just sneak in, announce it so we can all meet you thank you for your efforts personally. I know plenty of people would love to buy you a pint. And Michael for that matter but he's even more secretive with when he goes the game. It'd be great to have a TW get together with someone actually from TW!
16 Posted 06/11/2019 at 10:37:13
I've got to admit if I'd been on ToffeeWeb when Moyes was manager I wouldn't have lasted very long, I'd have got a permanent ban,
Congratulations, hope it lasts forever, like Jay Harris I miss a few people who don't post as often, especially Harold Mathews who is reading ToffeeWeb from above and Patrick Murphy, who was a fund of information, hope he is okay. Thanks again.
17 Posted 06/11/2019 at 10:47:15
Onwards and upwards.
Ps, what happened to our creator, 'our Lord', "Marko the Finn"?
18 Posted 06/11/2019 at 10:55:51
19 Posted 06/11/2019 at 11:00:05
20 Posted 06/11/2019 at 11:05:35
21 Posted 06/11/2019 at 12:34:29
As JC says @ 3, it's a superficial assessment to label TW as negative as some do. It's far richer and more varied than that, a microcosm of all the subjects and the wide range of opinions on each topic which will be discussed in pubs, homes and the work place wherever Blues gather.
And like Paul Kelly, I too am curious: what's the story on Marko the Finn???!!!
22 Posted 06/11/2019 at 12:47:43
How time flies! I first started reading ToffeeWeb a few years into Moyes's reign as manager. The regular posters back then are not the regular posters now. The names which stick in my memory back then are Kevin Sparke, Tony Marsh, Ken Buckley and Gavin Ramejkis (to name a few).
It took a few years of reading ToffeeWeb before I actually decided to take the plunge and start posting. I initially enjoyed the novelty factor of debating with other posters... but eventually found it taking up too much of my time. I prefer just to read the various different articles and debates nowadays.
Posters come and go and we've had some brilliant characters down the years... My personal favourite was John Daley.
23 Posted 06/11/2019 at 12:48:36
24 Posted 06/11/2019 at 12:57:18
25 Posted 06/11/2019 at 13:20:01
It is the quality and variety of content and the (mostly) grown up level of informed debate from knowledgeable contributors that makes it so engaging for me. Until it's on TW it hasn't happened.
The live forum is a study of stress and real time reaction. How balanced match reports are crafted so soon after the final whistle is an astonishing level of journalism requiring huge amounts of skill and personal commitment no doubt (how many births, deaths and marriages have the owners missed over 25 years?).
Congratulations Michael, Lyndon and article writers for creating and sustaining a royal blue home with a global sense of belonging.
Long may it continue.
26 Posted 06/11/2019 at 13:24:28
Like others I need my daily TW fix and it is pretty much my only source of all things Everton.
Having lived down south for 25 years it feels like I am still part of it all and thank everyone for their contributions
27 Posted 06/11/2019 at 13:38:07
28 Posted 06/11/2019 at 16:22:16
29 Posted 06/11/2019 at 16:26:50
A 10x a day read without doubt.
Thanks very much. Keep up the good work.
30 Posted 06/11/2019 at 16:38:27
Massive thanks to Michael, Lyndon and all the contributors down the years. Not living in the city, it is an invaluable resource for keeping up with what is going on at Everton and getting a sense of the current mood amongst the fanbase. There's not a day goes by where I don't look at TW. There are some amazing contributors on this site. There are a few regular contributors whose views I disagree with but I always admire their depth of knowledge, their passion for our club and the way they put their points across.
As for the negativity, the creation of this site has happened to coincide with the longest trophy-free period in the club's history. I look forward to the day that we finally win a trophy because the mood on here will be euphoric. Even a derby victory would do for now.
Keep up the good work!
31 Posted 06/11/2019 at 20:44:21
Like many on here, I am no longer a resident of Liverpool and do not get to matches as much as I would like so getting match reports and gossip/news via TW is a godsend.
I am a former season ticket holder of many years standing and being in my mid-fifties I am lucky enough to have seen the glory times first hand as well as many years of woeful crap. How I wish some of our younger fans can hopefully enjoy some of this in the not too distant future.
Once again, congratulations, Lyndon and Micheal and keep up the good work. We all appreciate it.
32 Posted 06/11/2019 at 21:02:30
It's the only place to get Everton news and views. There is nothing else like it out there.
There have been lots of great posters over the years, some of whom I disagreed with more often than not, but their passion for Everton could only be admired.
One day (soon) we will get back to where we belong, we've got to keep the faith. It'll happen.
Anyway, bring back the offside forum, even if it's only short term!
33 Posted 06/11/2019 at 21:05:18
Around the same time I had a little Everton website of my own. I e-mailed Michael and asked him for some advice (as my teenage website development skills were limited) and he shocked me by asking if I'd like to merge. Although it never happened it shows that Michael and Lyndon have always valued collaboration over everything else.
A great website, if not quite perfect, and one I hope will still be around in some form in 2044!
34 Posted 06/11/2019 at 21:27:31
Great stuff as ever and thanks. and (always prone to quote Bob Dylan) “Keep On Keeping Inâ€ Cheers and thanks
35 Posted 06/11/2019 at 21:37:21
Happy Birthday, and to Lyndon and Michael, thanks for creating something that sometimes carries just as much emotion as the game itself, especially today on the thread about Son. So let's hope the arguments continue, but better times are around the corner for “our teamâ€, so thanks very much gentlemen!
36 Posted 06/11/2019 at 21:54:54
This is my preferred fans forum site. You get varying styles and tones of opinions. More importantly like another site (mention no name) your opinion isn't shot down by the mods because you're not towing the party line.
@22 Mark Frere - I'm still in regular contact with Gavin Ramijkis. He's actively engaged on Everton groups within facebook.
37 Posted 07/11/2019 at 21:43:36
There will always be the odd prima Donna who flounces off after throwing abuse at all and sundry and that reflects on them and not on the site
Keep it going chaps!!
38 Posted 08/11/2019 at 13:40:14
Gavin was a TW legend. He's missed, at least by one dopey American.
39 Posted 08/11/2019 at 13:58:04
I'm on the road a lot and spend lots of time on trains, planes or waiting for them, lots of time in hotels. Most of that time I come straight here.
For an exile like me, it's so valuable. As well as the information, it feels like you're sitting in a pub, arguing with people who quickly feel like friends. Plus there are people on here who get me thinking differently, which I really appreciate, even when they're wrong! And when you're travelling, there's nothing like 'watching' the match on the Live Forum!
So thank you Michael & Lyndon. Would be great to meet you both one day, and many others on here who I've sparred with.
41 Posted 09/11/2019 at 21:16:14
43 Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:07:58
44 Posted 10/11/2019 at 12:32:25
45 Posted 10/11/2019 at 12:53:06
We have had some super contributors including Harold, and Ken and Eugene and Daly. The current crop of Hind, Ferns, Knox, Crowley, Abrahams (both), Bennings, and Gaynes and many more, continue the blend of knowledge, opinion, fantasy and fact as we navigate our way through troubled waters.
Keep it up and thank you for making it all possible.
46 Posted 10/11/2019 at 23:15:15
Been in Los Angeles for 6 years and look at ToffeeWeb everyday to keep up with what's going on at our club.
Enjoy the banter from the varied contributors, especially the older ones like myself - still vividly remember Roy Vernons hat tick in 1963, when I was in the old Park End stand for the championship winning game against Fulham.
Hopefully better times ahead soon.
47 Posted 10/11/2019 at 23:53:50
48 Posted 11/11/2019 at 00:08:31
49 Posted 11/11/2019 at 00:26:05
50 Posted 11/11/2019 at 03:08:44
Without this site I wouldn't be one-tenth the Everton fan I am today, but more important, without it I would not fully be the person I am today. The daily interaction with other Blues across the world has been a gift of incalculable value. The people here have educated me on more subjects than I can count, entertained me to the point of helpless laughter, irritated me, provided emotional support when I desperately needed it, hosted me in England beyond belief, become friendships that will last the rest of my life, and on a couple of memorable occasions made my dreams come true.
And it would never have happened without Michael Kenrick, Lyndon Lloyd and -- now I learn again -- a Finn I never heard of before reading his name here, a decade before I knew the site even existed. It really is extraordinary.
Thank you, gentlemen, for enhancing and enriching my life in a way I never would have thought possible... and can't quite believe as I look back on it now.
And apologies for overlooking this opportunity for five days!
51 Posted 12/11/2019 at 18:54:50
He died before completing his book but Michael and Lyndon, if you had known the man you would take it as the highest compliment possible. I agree with him. Thank for truly top work. Every contributor, yes every one, make it great.
52 Posted 12/11/2019 at 19:44:32
53 Posted 13/11/2019 at 00:53:21
As eventful as it was getting down, being very hungover, wrong directions etc, we conspired to miss the first 45 mins, we heard Rideout's... what turned out to be consolation goal on the wireless, and then got charged full chop to get in for the 2nd half. Despite all that, Marco had a great time and it was his enduring Evertonian enthusiasm and those long Nordic nights that TW has evolved to this today.
I still wonder if we were counted in the attendance of 9,506.
54 Posted 15/11/2019 at 15:03:02
Keep up the good work gents and here's to the next twenty five years eh?...maybe we'll have a trophy or two to show for it!.
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