Taking the Mrs to the Match

by   |   18/06/2020  10 Comments  [Jump to last]

My first game as a young boy, taken by my Dad, was to see Everton beat Ipswich Town at Goodison Park early in the season of 1961-62. Ipswich had just reached the First Division for the first time and my Mum was an Ipswich lass now living in Huyton. Everton with Young and Vernon cruised through to a 5-2 win, lost 2-4 in the return as Alf Ramsey's debutants won the league! She came several times to games but I can remember her being more interested in knitting in the Upper Bullens stands than the activity on the pitch!

In 1975, I was teaching on the south coast near Brighton. I took my soon-to-be wife, Carole, to her first game at Goodison Park. To be fair to her, I think she only went to the game through young love and loyalty. It was the opening game of the season at home to Coventry City and I assured her that this game was a walkover in the making and then the Sky Blues won 4-1!

As the years rolled by, she was happy for me to go off to games in the south. In 1978, we went back home for Christmas and my hometown mate got four tickets for Man Utd at home on Boxing Day. Colin and I were on the Gwadlys Street terrace, and Carole and Colin's fiancee were high up in the Goodison Road stand. Man Utd were in the doldrums and the Blues were in a title chase with Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest. Yet another home banker until we found ourselves 0-5 down at half-time, stunned and disbelieving like the Brazil fans against Germany! The second half was marginally better after Man Utd went 6-0 up, but two late goals were sarcastically cheered by the reds in the Stanley Park end.

Now, she had seen two home games with a total aggregate score of 10-3 against. We arrived at my family's Boxing Day evening party. My dad and two uncles had got home from the game earlier having been on the Prescot BICC Social Club coach! As she walked in, My Uncle Harry lifted a Dickensian index finger forbidding me to ever take her again. Needless to say, Carole took it all in her stride and gratefully never came again!

Forward into the eighties, and I was a member of ESCLA and went to many games with another Blue, Richard! Ahead of the 1986 FA Cup Final, I realised that I had never seen the Blues lose when I wore an old woollen jumper. My younger brother was working in Finchley and I went up to stay with him on the Friday. On the match day, we strolled out for a cooked breakfast, then came back to get ready for Wembley. Imagine my shock and horror on seeing that I forgot to pack my jumper. I phoned Carole at home in the vain hope that the sweater could be got to me in time. Off we went, and having bossed the first 60 minutes, managed to lose to Liverpool.

Distraught when I got back to the south coast, it was compounded exponentially when "Mrs 10-3" revealed that she thought if she wore the sweater during the game…? All of its power evaporated. It was her that done it, not the skill of Liverpool!

In the 'Noughties', Carole and I decided to go our separate ways and divorced. I met up with an old college friend and it was a terrific omen that I married Lynne in Pembrokeshire in the afternoon, after watching the Blues destroy Liverpool 3-0 at Goodison on 9 September 2006! When we walked into the hotel for our reception, a group of workman from the LPG pipeline construction congratulated us! Even more so as they were all true-blue scousers revelling in the antics of Andy Johnson, Tim Cahill and of course Pepe Reina!

My two daughters attended both the main Mancunian Universities at different times, so I often went up to visit one of them and tied it into home games at Goodison Park. Unlike their mother, they were really keen and loved the noise and atmosphere. More importantly, at a time when results could have been indifferent, neither of them has yet to see the Blues lose over more than 20 games.

In September 2003, Lynne came to her first game at Goodison Park. She had never seen a professional football match and was taken aback by the noise as Z-Cars rang out over the ground! Everton had a young Wayne Rooney in the line-up who had yet to score, but goals from Gary Naismith and others put the Blues 3-0 up in the first 20 minutes against Fulham. We were sitting in the Upper Bullens/Park End in seats reserved for away supporters!

Suddenly, there was a clash of heads in the penalty area in front of us, trainers and paramedics were straight on and the game was stopped for at least 5 minutes. At this point, Lynne decided to make her first comment. Shouting as loud as she could so that I would hear, the crowd quietened, for the epic observation: "Fulham have got nicer shirts than Everton because of the Yin and Yang logo on their shirts!" Consternation at the inane comment was confirmed when heads swung around with looks of "Keep her quiet, mate!"

However, again she has never seen the Blues lose as well! Three out of four is pretty good, though!

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Reader Comments (10)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 20/06/2020 at 13:22:33
Trevor, I can guarantee there are a lot more females going to the game today than when you first went nearly 60 years ago, and most of them are very knowledgeable about the game: “ Why wouldn't we be?“ I can hear Christine shouting from New Zealand, and rightly so.

Although your first love turned out to be a jinx, the other three have turned out the opposite. I hope they are all watching the game tomorrow.

Reminds me of the time, the only time, I took my wife to the game. We hadn't lost for 26 games when we were invited to see the Nottingham Forest vs Everton game in the title-winning season. We lost 1-0, all I could hear out of her was “I'm freezing” – right through the game. "Never again" I thought.

She did go to a reserve game at Goodison Park, Everton were playing Forest again. Everton won but we wanted Forest to win, so she was still a jinx!!

Your case is different; you've got three winners now, get them to see the Blues as often as you can.

Brent Stephens
2 Posted 20/06/2020 at 13:41:45
"In the 'Noughties', Carole and I decided to go our separate ways and divorced".

I'm not surprised given her track record with Everton!

I took my wife to one game only. It never felt right for me, and I'm sure it didn't feel right for her.

Charles Brewer
3 Posted 20/06/2020 at 14:21:57
The first match I took my wife (then girlfriend) to was a Derby match. We were in the Paddock (I thought Gwladys Street might have been a bit much for a nicely brought up young lady from Kent). We were chatting before the match and it was pretty obvious that she a) wasn't a local and b) didn't have much idea about football, but she was very pretty and so was the object of some attention.

During the warm-up, a couple of young lads were hanging on the barrier. They shouted something at Jimmy Case who hammered the ball at them trying to crush their fingers on the barrier. A Liverpool supporter standing near us was as disgusted as the Blues and shouted out that Case was just a fucking cunt and a disgrace to the jersey, and then noticed my wife. He apologised and said he shouldn't have said that in front of her.

She looked at him and said, in her best Received Pronunciation accent, "Why not, he clearly is a fucking cunt", it brought the house down, and I think she was pretty much elected an honorary scouser.

Ron Marr
4 Posted 20/06/2020 at 23:14:35
I have taken my American wife to Goodison once. It was 3-2 loss to Palace in Sep 2014. Everton had played Wolfsburg on the Thursday and played Palace on the Sunday.

She has commented several times since how quiet the crowd was. The Palace fans made a lot of noise. 'Is there a fire drill?' 'Are we in a library?' etc.

IIRC, Everton rested several players. We'd have been better going to the Wolfsburg game which was 4-1 for the Blues.

Brian Murray
5 Posted 21/06/2020 at 13:15:59
Took my then-girlfriend to Plymouth. FA Cup 1975. Lyons's finest hour in a blue shirt. She was amazed at the amount of fans in Blue at Lime Street Station considering the shite played same day at Ipswich in the cup. Apparently we had twice as many as them on special trains etc.

Thought it was our year and she a lucky mascot until Clive Thomas disallowed a perfect goal. We lost to Fulham at Goodison. I never took her again!

Peter Mills
6 Posted 21/06/2020 at 14:19:26
I took my girlfriend, who became my wife, to a match in the mid 70s. Afterwards, I told her if she didn't behave I would take her again.

She's been as good as gold ever since.

John Daley
7 Posted 21/06/2020 at 18:01:40
My ex-wife never went to the game. I won’t take my current partner, due to her being half my age, and the ensuing worries that copping a load of all the arl arses crammed into the pubs around Goodison might be too revelatory a glimpse of a future she’s got her fingers crossed is nothing but a grim, alternate reality.

There was one ‘your interests are instantly my interests’ Ex-a-Sketch (cheap, dull, zero colour, zero curves and, presumably, shook herself down after every relationship to return to being a blank slate ready for someone else to doodle a new personality) who became an Evertonian, temporarily, and tagged along to a few games with me. Her first match was the Man United game following Alan Ball passing away where she proceeded to snivel and blow her nose loudly throughout the minutes silence despite not having a clue who the great man was. Second game, I can’t remember who it was against, but I remember hoods were up due to heavy rain and I definitely remember the steward we had a brief crack with on the way to our seats saying “Enjoy the game, lads”. By the second-half, the rain had subsided and she’d shook her ‘on trend’ hair free, spent an inordinate amount of time running her fingers through it and shit, only for a straggler returning late from his half-time pint to stop dead at her seat and say “can I just squeeze past there, boys?”. There wasn’t a third game.

I refuse to reveal any names (puts on his best poker face) but I do remember a young man, in the distant past, whose girlfriend of the time decided a good pick for her first game would be the final match of the 93/94 season. He spoke honestly when he said he thought this was a horrendous idea, but the real reason wasn’t the potential for 40,000 Evertonians, with faces painted by Edvard Munch, slowly transforming into a rage-fuelled mob if possible relegation became reality. That was just the expressionist image he planted in her head to ensure she made her excuses. The more mundane truth was simply that he was shitting bricks bigger than that bright orange fucker out of the Fantastic Four, over both the fact Everton might be dropping out of the league and the thought of having to sit there and watch it happen.

He had set his mind to holing up for the afternoon, avoiding any and all news, possibly with tin foil wrapped around his head to protect against any psychic red shite transmitting invites to a street party for a relegation they supposedly “couldn’t give a toss” about.

Somewhere along the line though that simplistic plan changed. His parents being at the match without him all afternoon presented an all too perfect opportunity to get better acquainted with his new girlfriend while the place was empty. It would also provide convenient (curvy) distraction from the crucial win-or-bust drama unfolding elsewhere, leaving him with merely another 88 & a half minutes to kill until he could safely check the score.

When she turned up at his house, full of guilt at him missing the game “for her” and promising to make it up to him, he didn’t envisage her insisting he put the radio on and listen to the commentary so he wouldn’t miss out completely.

With the sultry tones of Alan Green giving it his best gobshite in the background, both games got off to a similar shocking start, with the aptly named Limpar's kamikaze lunge of the left hand proving about as conducive to a cock staying up as it could have been to Everton's chances of doing the same. Distant chants of "Going down! Going down! Going down!" had the demoralising effect of rubbing salt into a double edged wound.

Soon, a cry of "Get in!!!!" led to one of "Get out" when he was told "It's only a bloody game" and given the ultimatum "it's me or them".

You can guess which way the decision went.

A clear case of Horne trumping the horn.

Trevor Powell
8 Posted 24/06/2020 at 13:39:50
Dave #1,

"I can guarantee there are a lot more females going to the game today than when you first went nearly 60 years ago, and most of them are very knowledgeable about the game... "

I heartily agree with you especially as more girls and women get more involved, especially as it has an important civilising influence on crowd behaviour.

Brian Wilkinson
9 Posted 25/06/2020 at 00:38:35
Bloody hell, Trevor – Carole didn't shack up with Boys Pen Bill, by any chance, did she? She probably bought a season ticket out of spite.

You stick with Lynne.

Pete Lloyd
10 Posted 27/06/2020 at 23:59:28
Christmas night, 1972, our first date in the local pub with friends. By the end of the evening, she'd sat on my knee and we had our first kiss!!

“Let's not waste this moment,” I thought, now how to take it to the next level? Tentatively I broached the subject that had been on my mind all night... nervously, I asked her “Would you like to go and watch Everton away at Wolves tomorrow?”

The kiss must have been good! “Yes,” she said.

The special from Lime Street the following morning and, in the cool light of day, it was obvious that this lovely young girl had no interest or knowledge of football at all! Everything was totally alien to her but she seemed to be enjoying herself.

Crap game, 2-0 defeat, then the walk back to the station. War zone! Phew! Safety of the station and then the train. Never relax! Just left the station and a brick came through the window, luckily missing everyone, and we returned to the safety of Merseyside unscathed.

A week or two later a home game, “Do you want to go?” “Yes please”. This could be the girl for me I thought! Can't remember who we played or what the score was but that was the last game she watched.

We have now been married 44 years and her football knowledge has not improved at all! Occasionally she will say things like “Why do Liverpool play in red? I thought Man Utd played in that colour!”

All I know is that, when it happens, which it will one day, and I'm leaping up and down like a madman, she'll understand!

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