You don't know you're born...

by   |   04/09/2019  92 Comments  [Jump to last]

Football today is like a teddy bears picnic for the younger generation, all those new stadiums, pre-match entertainment behind the Park End, foot-long hot dogs, various energy drinks and a football pitch immaculate.

Updated scores and near misses reshown on the screen in the stadium, a friendly chat with opposing supporters and an option of countless takeaways and fast-food stores for the journey home.

You lucky, lucky people... you don’t know you're born, (famous quote from our parents).

Well it was not always like that, I can only reflect from the seventies so pretty sure this could turn into the Monty Python Yorkshire sketch from even older generations than myself.

Back then, there was no mingling with rival fans, the goal mouth resembled a ploughed field, Baseball ground was a ploughed field for every inch.

You would find a lovely viewpoint in the ground until 10 mins from kick-off Richard, Osman's Dad, would stand in front of you on arrival and suddenly you're looking at someone’s back; however, a near-miss could give you that advantage of darting through the sway and getting in front of the guy.

For the younger ones, you either took your chance in the Boys Pen, not a good idea, or it was an upside-down milk crate, at the front.

You may recall those foot-long hot dogs I mentioned earlier, well back then, it was a Freddy Boswell cart with hotdogs the size of those small tin ones you get now with stewed onions.

Inside the ground was no better, tea, Bouvril, wagon wheels and some dodgy crisps, nearly always ready salted, that was your choice.

Latest scores came from Mr transistor radio guy in the crowd, with the ht courtesy of an a-z board along Bullens road, with a guy putting numbers next to them, with the back of your programe showing the matches for the A-Z letters, every game was a Saturday 3pm kick -ff back then.

Then you had the toilets, you took your chance trying to get in, others chose a rolled-up Liverpool echo as an easy option.

Now you have stewards, happy to show you the direction of your seat; back then it was Sgt Harris and his cane with a steel tip, police dogs coming within feet of taking a bite.

After the match, back to the coach in time to hear the full-time scores, no toilets on coaches back then either.

Then home in time to enjoy your tea that had been kept warm in the oven, complete with hard baked-on gravy.

Well, that is was how it was like back then.

I did mention the Yorkshire Monty python sketch, at this moment in time, can hear even the older generation saying, coach, we had to walk, oven we dreamed of having an oven to keep our tea warm, Wagon wheels and crisps, we had to take beef dripping sandwiches, with a made-up bottle of cordial.

We did see silverweare though and met some great characters at the game.

So, for the younger generation of today, enjoy the match and be thankful for the luxuries you have today.

Here’s hoping you get to see Everton lift some silverware.

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Reader Comments (92)

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 05/09/2019 at 09:32:16
My main memories of Goodison are from the 60s and 70s. We usually stood in Goodison Road or the Paddock near the half-way line, and occasionally in Gladwys St on the big step. Usually had a decent view.

Never partook of the food and drink, because we lived about half a mile away, but I recall meat pies and beer in cardboard cups advertising Mackeson (looks good, tastes good, and by golly it does you good). Another strong memory is the smell of smoke from cigarettes, pipes and cigars, at least it seemed a mix of the three.

Goodison's pitch was relatively good compared with many others. It was never really a mud bath as such. However, after only a few games it became grassless in front of the goals and around the centre spot. If it had been wet weather, there would be half a dozen blokes with forks, forking the pitch in the centre circle.

When the players came on, they just warmed up naturally, with none of the regimented stuff they do these days. I remember one game where some lads ran on to the pitch during the warm up, and Alan Ball had a bit of a kick about with them. Then the law gently shifted them back into the crowd.

I remember the floodlights on pylons, but these were replaced after the 69-70 title season when the new stand was built in Goodison Rd, and floodlights were put along the tops of the stands, a first I believe.

I think another first was under-pitch heating, and an electronic scoreboard, both after 1970. When we beat Southampton 8-0, I can still remember who scored and when from the sequence 7, 9, 7, 9, 8, 9, 9, 7 on the scoreboard (Johnson was 7, Royle 9, and Ball 8).

Another strong memory was, it was often a good laugh, especially when the stadium was packed with 60,000 and the atmosphere was electric. Some of the wits in the crowd were tremendous.

It may well be luxurious these days, but to me it seemed fairly luxurious back then.

Stan Schofield
2 Posted 05/09/2019 at 09:47:43
Brian, by the way, the situation is arguably the reverse of the Monte Python sketch. We had it good, because Everton were great back then.
Derek Thomas
3 Posted 05/09/2019 at 09:52:32
One thing I remember in the early 70s was the difference between the 'announced attendance' and the evidence of our own eyes. We'd stay for a few minutes to let the rush die down and hear the full time results - but the highlight, the laugh of the week was always the attendance. Some days...dark on the field performance days, it was the only light spot.

By Mk1 eyeball a Low 40Ks out of a 55K total, somehow became...34,379.

Brian Harrison
4 Posted 05/09/2019 at 10:18:00
I started watching the Blues back in the 50s and things have certainly changed from then. The pitches now are all immaculate all season but back when I started watching the pitches lasted in good condition till Sept/Oct were the centre circle and goal areas were very muddy. As someone mentioned Derbys Baseball ground was probably the worst it was a mud heap for most of the season. Also we have season tickets that allow us entry into the ground, but when I started watching you paid cash to get in and got change if you didnt have the right money. Also thats when we had occassions of crowds over 75,000. and night games always kicked off at 7.30.

The other major change over the years are the screens at grounds, which update scores from other games all over the country. But back in the day, there were no transistor radios to let you know how other teams were getting on. But at half time on the wall in front of the main stand there used to be letters a,b,c and so on. Each letter had a game assigned to it and this was also printed in the match programme. Usually it was done in alphabetic order. So at half time a steward used to come out with the scores. So he would start at letter A which could have been Arsenal v Liverpool, so he might put a 1 first then you waited with bated breath to see what score the away team was then the steward would put up the away score. They did this so after about 5 minutes you knew all the half time scores.

Also there were no substitutes back then so if a player had to go off then you played the rest of the game with 10 men. This was at a time when defenders could tackle from behind and back then there were some very lets say unscrupulous defenders. I well remember Banks, Barret and Hartle that played for Bolton they were feared throughout the league. Jimmy Greaves tells the story when he was playing his second or third game for Chelsea they played Bolton away and Banks and Hartle kept saying to one another send him over to me so I can kick him.

The pay for players back then although maybe 3 times what the average working man was earning was nothing like the difference there is today in players wages against the average working man. Players used to use public transport imagine seeing any of todays players on a bus. They were more approachable back then, no driving out of training grounds with blacked out windows.

Ray Roche
5 Posted 05/09/2019 at 10:59:05
Stan, undersoil heating was installed in 1958, a world first, not the 1970’s. It enabled us to play our home fixtures in 1962-63 which helped us win the League. I don’t think that the RS had there’s until the eighties.
Stan Schofield
6 Posted 05/09/2019 at 11:04:32
Brian@4: It probably started changing when Johnny Haynes was paid £100/week. I remember in the 60s onwards players had nice cars whereas not many people I knew had a car. I remember a 19 year old Joe Royle driving an MGB GT.

A lot of footballers lived in the likes of Formby, which was comparatively posh. After I got married and left Liverpool, we lived in a place called Croft in Warrington, where Liverpool's Roger Hunt still lives. We had a house built in 1969, decent sized house but ordinary, the original owner being Alec Lindsay (again of Liverpool). It's difficult to imagine a top footballer nowadays living in an ordinary place like that. It's all gone a bit weird money-wise.

Stan Schofield
7 Posted 05/09/2019 at 11:06:44
Ray@5: Cheers, didn't know that. Even more pioneering than I'd thought.
Brent Stephens
8 Posted 05/09/2019 at 11:34:08
Stan, re the houses footballers had in those days. Alex Young had a semi-detached Wimpey near the Blue Anchor in the Old Roan, where Bullbridge Lane meets Aintree Lane. Really smart house in the eyes of us working class, council estate lads in the Old Roan. Our U23s would probably turn their noses up at a house like that these days.

And remember how you could take booze into the ground easily those days. I remember Glaswegians during what I think was a pre-season friendly and their whisky bottles being thrown around the ground - no fan segregation in those days.

Stan Schofield
9 Posted 05/09/2019 at 11:46:00
Brent, we lived in Norris Green, in a 'Corpy' house that I thought was paradise because we had a garden, and there was a field across the road to play footie. When I was 13 we moved to near both grounds, on the day that Man Utd won the European Cup. We had an indoor aerial, and I remember holding this aerial trying to watch the game whilst stuff was being moved in.

That place was a flat over a fruit and veg shop, and there was a permanent smell of seemingly rotting veg around the entrance staircase. I hated it at first compared to Norris Green, until the convenience of being near Goodison kicked in, plus Stanley Park was just down the road to play footie. It was just great being able to walk down to the game.

Plus, there were three good chippies nearby.

Alan McGuffog
10 Posted 05/09/2019 at 12:14:54
Ray...didn't we make a bollix of the installation? I've a feeling it all had to be dug up again and possibly abandoned?
Brent Stephens
11 Posted 05/09/2019 at 12:19:04
Stan "Plus, there were three good chippies nearby".

There's a man who knows the important factors in choosing where to live!

Michael Coffey
12 Posted 05/09/2019 at 12:58:42
And virtually every man in the ground wore a jacket and tie. If you don't believe me, look at any photo up to the late seventies at least. None of this nonsense of grown men squeezing into replica shirts.

And with cushions at 5p rental, we didn't need fan forums or polls to gauge popular opinion either.

Stan Schofield
13 Posted 05/09/2019 at 13:02:52
Michael, must disagree with that tie bit. In the Paddock, we wore cravats.

Brent, the chippies were Stan's (English), Charlie's (Greek), and Yee's (Chinese), so it was international cuisine.

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 05/09/2019 at 13:20:10
The Goodison International Quarter, Stan! I remember it well.
Ray Roche
15 Posted 05/09/2019 at 13:26:58
Alan @10,

Not quite, the system was a bit too good and the drainage couldn't cope with the melting snow and ice, so it WAS efficient but, as you say it was lifted, the drainage sorted, and the heating system was replaced. As I said earlier, thanks to undersoil heating we were able to play all our home games in the Big Freeze of 62-63, thus avoiding a fixture pile-up and also keeping the team match fit in the process. As winters go, that was a cracker!!

I don't know whether it was Everton or another club but I recall that one club had laid its electric cable a bit too shallow and it was damaged when the pitch was ''forked'' to allow water to drain away. Might have been Arsenal, they had a system installed after we did.

Michael #12

And look at the number of men wearing hats in the fifties and even the sixties. Oh to have been a milliner in those days. They must have been minted.

Brent Stephens
16 Posted 05/09/2019 at 13:33:19
Ray, yes Arsenal it was. This is interesting:


Ray Roche
17 Posted 05/09/2019 at 13:39:23
Brent, yes it's interesting, especially the bit about Premier League rules. A bit vague? Fair play to Bournemouth for getting their pitch sorted though.

And my memory is still just about holding up! But I can't remember if I had any breakfast.

John McFarlane Snr
18 Posted 05/09/2019 at 13:43:44
Hi all, things were pretty much as described by many poster's, but nobody has mentioned the fact that we were allowed to walk from behind one goal, to take our position behind the other goal at half time. My experiences stretch back to 1948. I guess we've all got tales to tell.
Kieran Kinsella
19 Posted 05/09/2019 at 13:57:44

Sounded hellish until you mentioned wagon wheels. That little school snack favourite changes everything. Lucky man you never had it so good.

Bill Gall
20 Posted 05/09/2019 at 14:46:59
Started watching Everton in the 50s, used to play footie in Walton Hall Park and used to hear the cheering from both grounds, decided one day to go over and fortunately it was Goodison at that time, they may still do it, they opened the gates 20 min from the end and we sneaked in.

Dad started to give me money after that for the Boys Pen, and people who complain about restricted views should have tried the Boys Pen in 1954. After I started work I paid for myself and stood in the Gwladys Street end for a number of seasons before getting a season ticket in the Paddock lower stand.

Living in Canada now but get back often, but I think that being in the crowd standing in the Gwladys Street End the game seemed more exciting than being up in the stands.

Alan J Thompson
21 Posted 05/09/2019 at 15:11:57
Started going in the early '60s ('62 I think) and always behind the goal on the Gladdie terraces. Such was the closeness of bodies that you never felt the cold and in one game, as always, you were picked up by the crowd swaying and a mate said as he passed me that he'd lost a shoe. When the crowd swayed back he said that we've just stopped exactly where we started. I asked how he knew and he said I've just put my foot on my shoe, but he was afraid to pick it up in case it moved again until I said, you pick it up and I'll hold them back. And he believed me!

Hot pork pies that the juice used to run down your sleeve, cushions for stands seats that were used to vent your anger and toilets where you had to get your boots wet.

Yet since then we've barely had it so good!

What's our name?

John Raftery
22 Posted 05/09/2019 at 15:12:38
I am sure we didn’t have the undersoil heating in operation in 62/63. We had a lot of postponements at Goodison which arguably hampered our title challenge although most clubs were in the same situation. In fact we went ten weeks without a home fixture. After the 15th December 1962 our next home game wasn’t until the 23rd February 1963 when we drew 0-0 with Wolves.

All of this is fresh in my mind because I have just finished reading Gavin Buckland’s excellent book ‘Money Can’t Buy Us Love’ which is essential reading for any Everton fan, or indeed any football fan, interested in the sixties.

John McFarlane Snr
23 Posted 05/09/2019 at 15:36:09
Hi John [22], I believe that the undersoil heating was unable to function because of the severity of the extreme winter of 62-63. I also believe we were scheduled to play Arsenal on Boxing Day, and as you say, we didn't play at home until the 0-0 draw with Wolves in February 63, we did, however, play away FA Cup games, against Barnsley and Swindon Town during that period.
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:06:41
Brent (8), was the game against Glasgow Rangers a night game, for the second leg of ‘The unofficial champions of Great Britain‘.

Everton had won the first leg 3-1 in Glasgow and the game at Goodison ended 1-1, if a sober Glaswegian attended the game I never saw him, they were all tanked out of their skulls having drank all day in the centre of the city.

Mike Gwyer
25 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:08:15

Brings a smile when reading about the "good" old days.

Yeah, attending games at Goodison is now far more enjoyable than it was back in the 70's. But for me, going to away games back then was a true show of courage. Games were not all ticket, just get the special, stick together and strictly limit the amount booze, because as sure as night follows day, there would be trouble. After getting the special to Euston, I remember getting the tube from Euston to Fulham Broadway, I'm sure it was 1978 for an early season game at Chelsea, fucking nightmare. We won but it was a very, very long day and we got home battered & bruised but victorious.

Now, everyone just goes to the game wearing their teams colours with little to no trouble what so ever. That for me is the biggest change when watching Everton, at either Goodison or when going to away games (obviously except when we play Millwall).

Alan J Thompson
26 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:10:59
John (#22); I think we had it earlier than that but there was a problem with the underground heating affecting the drainage and it was dug up a couple of times after initially going in when Everton and Spurs ran away with the League, 60-61 (?), as the only teams playing regularly that season.

Ray Roche
27 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:18:29
John #22,

As John Snr says, we DID have undersoil heating in place but, I don't know if you remember that Winter, it was so severe that a fledgling system like we had could not counter the extreme temperatures. Postponements were also due to safety concerns due to the frozen roads and pavements around Goodison and other grounds..

This (below) from the article '

''Season 1962-63, When Winter Came To Britain''

'All went on as per normal until just before Christmas, but the weather turned and football, which, at the time, had very little of the technology that keeps matches going through the winter. Goodison Park had become the first English ground to fit under-soil heating in 1958 (although Arsenal had experimented, unsuccessfully, with it beforehands), but the overwhelming majority of clubs were completely unprepared for the cold snap.

A cold snap, in fact, would probably be understating things somewhat. Most of Britain stayed under a thick blanket of snow, and average temperatures stayed at around –6° C. It was the coldest winter in Britain since 1740. The biggest single casualty was the Third Round of the FA Cup, which took sixty-six days to complete and involved a total of two hundred and sixty-one postponements. The FA Cup final between Manchester United and Leicester City was eventually played on the 25th of May, with the two-legged final of the League Cup between Birmingham City and Aston Villa being played either side of it.'

Actually John, if you want a trip down memory lane, have a look at this ToffeeWeb thread about that season, 62-63. Did you go the game then? You don't look old enough! I know you showed me your copy of the book you mention,‘Money Can't Buy Us Love', in the Excelsior. I'll have to get a copy.

Ray Roche
28 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:21:01
The thread is:

What a dickhead! I forgot to add the link..

Micky Norman
29 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:29:07
What about minding cars? We lived off Sleepers Hill so we could mind cars for both Everton and Liverpool games. When Everton were at home we would pick up cars till about 2:30 then run across the park to get in just before KO.

At the final whistle we'd be straight out the gate and running like the clappers to meet the drivers coming back and get paid. They always paid more when we'd won even though they knew we'd probably been the match ourselves. All the stories about us slashing tyres and stuff was bollocks. It would have lost us all our regulars.

Brent Stephens
30 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:36:34
Dave #24 that could well have been the game.

PS hope your week in New Brighton went well! Did you have a paddle?

Alan McGuffog
32 Posted 05/09/2019 at 16:58:09
Micky... so from 2:30 pm until approximately 4:45 pm the vehicles you were paid to "mind" were, in fact, left unattended.

In return for one of those 1960s scarves, where the blue and white ran along the length rather than across, I shall desist from informing the Trading Standards people.

Really! Some people!!!

Duncan McDine
33 Posted 05/09/2019 at 17:10:00
Back in the day when I first started going to Goodison – can you believe there were wooden seats and great big pillars blocking your view? How times have changed...
John McFarlane Snr
34 Posted 05/09/2019 at 17:11:41
Hi Dave [24], welcome back I trust that you had a nice holiday, you missed what I consider was one of the most enjoyable games for quite a while, despite some of the inevitable criticism.

Regarding the Rangers game I worked for Pelling, Stanley, & Green [John West Salmon] and on my home on the 26 bus prior to going to the match, there was a gang of Rangers fans who had obviously been drinking in 'town' all day, shouting as the bus travelled along Scotland Road "Where do the Beatles live"?

My 'spec' in those days was behind the Park End goal, and there was a disturbance in the stand above us and I'm surprised that no-one was pushed over the edge. I think that Denis Stevens scored for Everton and Ralph Brand for Rangers, but I wouldn't put money on it.

Phil Greenough
35 Posted 05/09/2019 at 17:29:38
My first Everton game was at Leeds in 1974; I got legged and got a few kicks but nothing serious. My first "real" game was the Altringham 3rd round cup tie in 1975.

Because I was 16 and only 5'5", I either had to sit on the barrier or stand at the front by the wall. Most of the time I got there for 1.30 and sat on the rail reading the programme. Bit scary when we scored though, more often then not I was pushed off.

I was so made up when I got my first season ticket in the July. Although, having just left school, my mum had to pay for it and I gave her 50p a week back.

Tony Pemberton
36 Posted 05/09/2019 at 17:31:53
Was there an Everton song then to the Irish national anthem, 'we will chant a Soldier song'
Ray Roche
37 Posted 05/09/2019 at 18:07:57
My first Season Ticket was for the 1964-65 season, although I'd been going for years I could never afford one so my Dad and Mam got me one for that season. It was a little booklet and you tore the page, or ticket, out for each game. Thing was, I had to work quite often on a Saturday so my old Fella somehow used it. I don't think it was for a Junior, I'm not sure if we had a Junior's ticket then. Maybe one for kids but I was 16-17 then.
Steve Carse
38 Posted 05/09/2019 at 18:20:52
Everyone piling onto random open backed trucks on the East Lancs Rd on the way to Goodison; attendances being significantly influenced by the weather; cash at the turnstiles; FA Cup replays being played within 5 days of the original tie; and then played again if no outright result; 'banter' between the St End and the visiting 'keeper. And best of all, no VAR.
Brent Stephens
39 Posted 05/09/2019 at 18:24:41
Ray, light blue, stiff-backed booklet, about the size of a credit card, with yellow (?) tear-out numbered pages? I kept that for many years after (then near-empty apart from a few additional, numbered pages just in case?).
Ray Atherton
40 Posted 05/09/2019 at 18:40:42
All the pitches in that Winter 1962-63, a lot of clubs had braziers to melt the snow and ice. They had staff and volunteers (coc key - watchmen) to try get the pitch playable.

We played an FA Cup tie at Sunderland in 1964, the pitch had loads of straw on the top, all the straw was taken to the sides around the pitch.

Sunderland was at the top of the second division, a very good team going to win promotion. Charley Hurley Captain.

We were 3-0 down at half-time, eventually we scored one, think Brian Harris scored. 3-1.

Ray Roche
41 Posted 05/09/2019 at 18:44:21
That's about it Brent!

And ''Joe'' who, with his mate, carried a board on their shoulders around the pitch before the match, advertising forthcoming fights at the Stadium. As kids we'd shout ''Alright Joe'' as if we knew him. Fair play, he'd always wave and shout back.

Brian Wilkinson
42 Posted 05/09/2019 at 18:44:26
Those paying on the gate, getting a voucher for either the Goodison Derby, or an fa cup semi, the semi final was tougher, your serial number had to end in a certain number.

The very small dug outs and the sub always wearing a sleeping bag to keep his legs warm.

The tango coloured tracksuits that the ball boys wore and the greeting of a goal or players coming onto the pitch with a toilet roll thrown from the Street end.

I did hear one tale about a minibus turning up and when greeted with mind your vehicle mate, the fans were utd and said piss off, or words to that effect, on returning back most of the windows were put through and the tyres either slashed or let down.

The chicken wire in the Park end and a thin wall of police keeping rival fans apart.

Could be wrong but certain below the Park end there was no divide for the toilets and refreshments at half time.

But at least back then, we did get toffee mints thrown into the crowd and not chocolate eclairs, think we are back to Everton mints again.

At least back then you could take a proper banner into the ground with sticks on, outlawed now expect for one ground not too far away.

Finally for the good old Gwladys street regulars, the famous guy outside the ground with his Jesus saves placard, with a sermon thrown in for good measure.

John Raftery
43 Posted 05/09/2019 at 18:55:33
Ray (27) Many thanks for the link. I’m a pensioner! My first match was a month after my 10th birthday in October 1962, a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa. My dad took me and my brother. I was very much a part time attender until I was allowed to go by myself in 1966.

As regards the undersoil heating I have a recollection that the club made three attempts to install it (sounds like our ground moves!) before they got it right. As you and John Snr mention there was the 1958 version which was ripped up because the wires and the inability to put a fork into the turf caused drainage problems. The second attempt in the early to mid sixties failed for similar reasons.

I can remember the pitch being covered in sand to soak up the excess water around 66/67. When the second version was ripped up, I think they had no undersoil heating for a number of years until the seventies. I remember a game in December 1968 against Southampton when John Hurst scored the winner with a shot from outside the box. The pitch was bone hard because of the frost.

There was also a postponement later that month owing to frost. That was a game against Wolves scheduled for 28th December 1968. It was rearranged for Tuesday 28th January 1969 when we won 4-0 with an outstanding performance. There were other postponements later that season including the fifth round cup tie against Bristol Rovers which was postponed from Saturday 8th February to the following Wednesday evening when we won 1-0 with a goal from Joe Royle on a rock hard surface.

Happy days.

Ray Robinson
44 Posted 05/09/2019 at 19:21:23
Remember the bus strike in 1968 which lasted 11 weeks? I'd moved to Ellesmere Port then, so it was a bus to Woodside, the ferry and then a footy special from the Pier Head. Except for 11 weeks, there were none, so it was a long hike to the ground and a bit of a sprint back after the game to catch the last Crosville bus from Woodside. The other thing I remember about that strike, which hardly affected the attendances at all, was the number of open backed trucks disgorging hundreds of fans outside the ground.

When the specials were actually running, lots of memories of literally fighting to get on the bus, the buses being packed like sardines and people hanging precariously onto the pole on the open platform at the back. Must admit, I've done that myself a few times. No health and safety considerations back then!

Brian Murray
45 Posted 05/09/2019 at 19:58:44
Takes a lot for Everton to hurt me but a last-minute defeat or draw always gives me a heavy heart. I suppose it probably stems from the 76 Anfield derby that ginger kopite coming on and scoring in last minute.
Eugene Ruane
46 Posted 05/09/2019 at 20:09:56
I saw my first game in 1966.

That's 54 years ago.

In all those years I've only used the bogs once for a shite.

(Park End, 2008)

Can any TWers beat that?

Dave Abrahams
47 Posted 05/09/2019 at 20:21:37
Ray. (41), The fella you are talking about was Joey Barrett, he came from Gerard Gardens, Joey was a real character, he worked for the Council (Corpy, as it was then), sold ‘The Echo' in the evening, put the half-time scores up at Goodison, carried the board round at half time advertising the boxing and wrestling at the stadium, carried the blanket around at Anfield when the St Edwards Orphanage played there.

There used to be a joke about Joey in the sixties: A fella went into the dole and asked was there any vacancies? The clerk said "You are just too late; there was six vacancies five minutes ago but Joey Barrett came in and took the six of them."

Don Alexander
48 Posted 05/09/2019 at 20:30:38
You went to the bog for a shite?! Get you!
Mark Murphy
49 Posted 05/09/2019 at 20:35:03
Brian @ 42 - re the Man United minibus you are spot on - we were parked next to it when they piled out and give the young lads an earful. The lads just shrugged and stared at them.

When we got back to our car, the Man Utd fans were literally crying their eyes out!

We gave them dogs abuse! The van was fucking wrecked!

Brent Stephens
50 Posted 05/09/2019 at 20:38:13
Eugene "In all those years I've only used the bogs once for a shite".

Syrup of figs or senokot should shift it.

Ray Roche
51 Posted 05/09/2019 at 22:00:50
Dave, Thanks for that, I will always remember that guy, just another character in a legion of characters that made life in Liverpool so colourful.

Like the ''tramp'' who went round town wearing a scarlet Army dress jacket. Always used to see him near the Adelphi, when the Adelphi was the Hotel to be seen in! (Not like now, apparently).

And the disabled ex-servicemen's 'band' who used to play behind the Empire for small change. Poor sods, fought for their country, and then their country abandoned them.

The Rolls-Royce/Bentley car showrooms in Renshaw St. How mad is that?

Getting a bit off topic now, blame the Rioja. (But that's what makes ToffeeWeb the great site that it is, going off at a tangent!)

Steve Ferns
52 Posted 05/09/2019 at 22:16:47
Superb thread. Really enjoyed it. Got nothing to add as I feel like a youngster reading all the stories.
John McFarlane Snr
53 Posted 05/09/2019 at 22:22:58
Hi Dave [46], I may be getting my wires crossed, but wasn't Joey involved in an accident on County Road or Walton Road, which caused him to miss his first game in years?
Thomas Lennon
54 Posted 05/09/2019 at 22:31:13
I started going to the match in early '70s. Gwladys Street mostly but also the Park End. As others have said, the swell of cigarette smoke is the thing I remember, but also the constant stream of jokes and quick remarks that always had you smiling.

Brian Wilkinson
55 Posted 06/09/2019 at 00:24:05
The one-liners from the crowd are priceless! God, we're going to miss the Old Lady when we move, but at least we have lasting memories that will live on.
Dave Harvey
56 Posted 06/09/2019 at 11:42:38
A real good insight to the days gone by. I hope the younger fans are reading it. My first game was the game against Leeds when Big Nev sat at the post at half-time. I bought a ticket from a fella outside, loved it. I'll always remember one chant that went on all game… but it would not go down well nowadays.
Dave Abrahams
57 Posted 06/09/2019 at 19:29:59
John. (53), not sure, but only an accident would have kept Joey away from Goodison. I'm not sure Joey was a great Evertonian, but only an accident would have kept him from earning his few pounds wages.

Joey was also a member of ‘The former boxers association' – not sure what sort of record he had in the ring.

Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 06/09/2019 at 19:48:50
I must be getting old to utter the words that these young kids just don't know what they're missing, being constantly attached to their phones, computers, and Play Stations!

Peter Mills
61 Posted 07/09/2019 at 10:49:19
Slightly off-topic, but related to frozen pitches.

A pal of mine was the groundsman for a local non-league team, and was called in one frosty Saturday morning by the club chairman to assist the ref with a pitch inspection. The chairman said he thought the pitch was fine, although it would be great if the game were to be postponed as they only had 8 fit players.

The groundsman took the ref to the centre circle and each penalty area, his garden fork went into the ground like a hot knife through butter. The ref declared his satisfaction, the groundsman said he was pleased, but then told the ref he had a concern, a 10m strip by the stand which never received sunlight. They wandered over to two spots where the fork nearly bent as it hit the ground. Unsafe, match postponed.

The ref left, the chairman thanked the groundsman and told him to go home. “Will do” said the groundsman “but I’ll just go and take out those two pieces of slate I buried, before I go”.

Bill Watson
62 Posted 08/09/2019 at 10:46:26
Ray; the undersoil heating was taken up in the summer of 1962 because of drainage problems so wasn't in operation during the big freeze winter of 1962-63. We suffered the same as other clubs. I remember the Pools Panel which decided the 'results' so the Pools companies could keep going.

My first season was 1958-59 and first game was v West Ham. I think it ended 2-2. I lived in West Derby and usually went on my bike which was stored in a backyard off Bullens Road. You'd see signs down the back entries: Bikes; 6d men, 3d boys (girls and women were quite thin on the ground in those days) and women would stand in Walton Lane shouting "Bikes stored".

Matches started at 3:15 pm and ended at 4:55. It was 3 pm for the London clubs to allow them to catch an earlier train home. 3 pm games ended at 4:40; none of this added time nonsense. Then it was on my bike to race home to do my paper round (which included three Liverpool players).

Most of the crowd wore hats or caps and the majority seemed to smoke. You'd get clouds of cigarette smoke drifting across the pitch and pin-points of lighters and matches all around the ground as people lit their fags.

A programme was 3d and, in the days before multi-media coverage, was the main source of club information. Does anyone remember the small classified ad which was always on the back inside sports page of the Echo on a Friday evening? It simply listed the match, KO time and prices of admission. Liverpool did one, too.

John McFarlane Snr
63 Posted 08/09/2019 at 14:10:52
Hi Bill [59] games kicked off at at the beginning of the season, and as the daylight hours shortened they were gradually brought forward. If my memory is correct the earliest kick-off was 2:00 pm. a programme collector may be able to confirm this.

Two evening games at Goodison that I can recall are: Bury 6:00 pm, when Everton won 3-0, Derek Mayers scoring twice on his debut, Dave Hickson also netting. The other was West Ham United, a 2-1 defeat (on Grand National Day), Eddie Wainwright scoring for Everton and Harry Hooper grabbing the winner, again I'm relying on my fading memory, but both fixtures were Second Division games. I know nothing of kick off times at London games, but the daylight hours must have governed their games also.

Brent Stephens
64 Posted 08/09/2019 at 14:47:12
Peter #61 that's a cracking story. The drinks are on me - put on the slate.
Ray Roche
65 Posted 08/09/2019 at 15:31:32
Bill, I know that the original 1958 system was dug up in 1960 and relayed with the improved drainage and the new system, as described in the article below. I don't recall them digging the second system up after only two years. It was definitely in place in 1965 but was this the third system in 8 years? I know we're of a similar age, Bill, but maybe my memory's getting worse than yours!
This froma ToffeeWeb article,

"First Undersoil Heating: The first undersoil heating installed at a British league ground was installed at Goodison Park in May 1958. The initial system of electric heating wires proved to be a bit of a problem, as the drains could not cope with the excess water. It was torn up and replaced by a new system in 1960. As technology advanced, this was later replaced by the current system of hot water pipes, which works like a charm."

This is from Four Four Two magazine, referring to the 1962-63 season.

''Much of England was under a blanket of snow, the price of fresh food soared by 30 per cent, and in many areas the mains water supply froze. The English game wasn’t really ready for such a drastic, sudden crisis.''
''Some football clubs still didn’t have floodlights, so the FA urged clubs to play in the afternoon to avoid power cuts. Only a few grounds (Goodison Park among them) had undersoil heating. And the science of groundsmanship was still in its infancy.''

John McFarlane Snr
66 Posted 08/09/2019 at 16:17:37
Hi Ray [65] my memory is similar to yours, there wasn't a blade of grass on the pitch at that time, and the reserves had to fulfil some fixtures at Bootle Stadium. There is however a photo in the book 'Goodison Glory,' of a new system being put in place with the following words, " June 1980 and a brand new underground heating system with miles of piping is laid. It remains highly effective" This book was first published in 1998.

An uncle of mine told me that Everton wanted to explore the possibility of undersoil heating before the Second World War, but were deterred by the Football League authorities. That may or may not be true, but he was an avid Evertonian and was quite knowledgeable, he was in fact the main reason that I am an Evertonian.

Hi Bill [62] I got your number wrong, [59 & 60] have been deleted.

Ray Roche
67 Posted 08/09/2019 at 16:50:51
Hi John @66

I also recall reading years ago that Everton wanted to try undersoil heating years before we did but can’t remember the reason why we didn’t.
I know pitches nowadays are so much better. I often think “ How good would Alex Young be on that pitch” If only

Bill Watson
68 Posted 08/09/2019 at 16:55:16
Good to see you both, again, at The Excelsior

John. I think the phased earlier kick offs were in pre floodlight days.
When I started going in 1958 the lights were in place and all starts were either 3 pm or 3.15pm.

Ray. The undersoil heating had been removed before the 1962-3 season prior to a new system being installed. Trials were being held at Bellfield as far as I can remember.

During the freeze the club had coke burning braziers all over the pitch in a failed attempt to thaw it out. I think some had been borrowed from St Helens RLFC.

I've just cheated and looked up the '62-'63 results. It shows a gap of over 2 months in home games. 15th Dec v Burnley followed by 23rd Feb v Wolves.

I'll see if I can dig some old programmes out.

Ray Roche
69 Posted 08/09/2019 at 17:15:25
Bill, Maybe the confusion (in my head) is in articles which state that the 1958 system was ripped up in 1960 and the drainage problem rectified before a new heating system was installed.

FourFourTwo magazine also say that we had a system in situ in 62-63. I have always thought that it was there in that season. (But I forgot the year I got married so you can no longer take my word for anything!)

Games were called off due to freezing condition outside the ground and also the fact that all the pipes inside Goodison were frozen so there were no working toilets etc., something similar happened Boxing Day 2013, I think that's the right year!!

I was going to visit my sister in Bowring Park when it came on the radio that the game was cancelled due to frozen pipes. Oh! How we larfed!

Whatever, it was a bloody cold year, especially in a house with one coal fire in the sitting room.Nowt upstairs. Ice on the inside of the windows and an overcoat on top of the bed to try to keep warm. Those were the days, eh?

Ray Roche
70 Posted 08/09/2019 at 17:16:53
Bill, the lights went in in 1957 and were used for the first time in a friendly (I think) against our lovable neighbours.
John McFarlane Snr
71 Posted 08/09/2019 at 17:37:34
Hi Ray [67] There is another photo in "Goodison Glory" with the words " A 1966 view of Everton's original undersoil heating system of wires. It caused drainage problems and had to be lifted". So that suggests that there have been only two systems in place. I'm sure that Alex Young would have been terrific on today's playing surface.

Hi Bill [68] I was serving in the army in Cyprus when the floodlights were first used at Goodison [October 9th 1957] the games staged on Saturdays may well have been 3:00 pm or 3:15 pm kick-offs, but there were a number of mid-week games that would have been evening kick off's, and I think in those early floodlit matches Everton favoured a 7:30 kick-off. I'm sorry I seem to have added a few years to your age [unintentionally].

Bill Watson
72 Posted 08/09/2019 at 17:51:09
Ray; I've looked through all my Everton books (yes I know lol) and none of them say very much about the pitch and neither do the programmes which, as you know, were pretty basic in those days.

From memory the 'big freeze' started with a blizzard on Boxing Day 1962. There was no more snow but the temperatures stayed at, or below, freezing for a couple of months.

The snow was cleared but life went on. I can recall a few instances of frozen water pipes at Goodison but nothing which would have lasted 8 or 9 weeks. The terraces and surrounding streets would have been well cleared of ice in the early days/weeks.

I was in my last year at school and getting there and back wasn't a problem but our football pitches were frozen rock hard! It was a lot warmer in school than at home. We, too, had just the one fire, downstairs. The upstairs fires were only lit if you were ill and at death's door.

In front of the gas oven in the kitchen was the place to get dressed for school. The edge had already been taken off the cold by my elder sister who had already been up and out for work at Littlewoods Pools.

Even Ron Yeats, who lived over the road, didn't have central heating but he was from Aberdeen so was used to it.

The floodlights were installed one year before my debut!!

Ray Roche
73 Posted 08/09/2019 at 19:47:31

“The surrounding streets would have been well cleared of ice in the early days/weeks.”

Christ, Bill, where did you live? Knightsbridge? Snow and ice was left to households to clear, the Council did fuck-all. As lads, we had “slides” on every pavement we could find. 😁

Parents went mad because walking for the bus was... er, eventful, shall we say.

Dave Abrahams
74 Posted 08/09/2019 at 20:16:11
Ray (70), the first floodlit game was really a friendly but came under the heading of ‘The Floodlight Cup' and it was two-legged with the return game at Anfield being Liverpool's initial game under floodlights there.

Everton won the first game 2-0 and lost the second 3-2 so won the cup 4-3 on aggregate.

In the second game, Everton fielded a 15-year-old boy at outside-right who became a great player back in his native Scotland, Andy Penman. He became homesick at Everton and was allowed to go home.

Ray Roche
75 Posted 08/09/2019 at 20:43:32
Thanks Dave, I didn’t know it was a two legged affair. So Anfield had lights the same time as us? Never knew that either.
Bill Watson
76 Posted 08/09/2019 at 20:45:12
Ray; errm, West Derby but we were the token poor family!
Phil Bellis
77 Posted 08/09/2019 at 21:01:52
West Derby! We used to go there for our holidays.
Ray Roche
79 Posted 08/09/2019 at 22:11:07
Dave, thanks again! When I was 15 I couldn't be trusted to wipe my own backside properly – never mind play for Everton! 🤦🏻‍♂️
Dick Fearon
80 Posted 09/09/2019 at 01:24:30
To all those whose match going experience began in the 60s. You were Lucky!

Does anyone else remember wood fires in 44 gal drums in rows across pitch to keep it frost free? Volunteers kept them stoked throughout the night and all they got was free entry to the game.

I was deemed too young and not allowed to volunteer.

David Pearl
81 Posted 09/09/2019 at 03:06:27
Loads of great posts on here, thanks to everyone, enjoyed the read. I'm sat in an airport lounge

Today's pitches look better than they are. Coupled with today's boots, they are a bit too soft and spongy for my liking. And not the best for my ankles and knees.

The balls however are amazing. I used to think l was special being able to bend the ball for my famous free kicks... now anyone can do it (with a bit of technique of course). When l was a kid, l used to dread playing with a wet ball.

Steve Bird
82 Posted 09/09/2019 at 07:35:00
Great thread!

I first started going in mid sixties, some amazing memories raked up here.

Forgive me if it's already been raised but I remember for years during the first half some one would walk around the pitch with a huge satchel of cash full of turnstile takings from the Bullens Road side of the ground.

Us young lads without a penny to our name would plan how we were going to take him out at the next home game and make off with the takings!! I'm sure this went on till the 80s.

Dave Abrahams
83 Posted 09/09/2019 at 09:06:12
Ray (75), sorry to go on about Liverpool and their floodlights but the man who helped to pay for them with an interest free loan was the famous Evertonian, John Moores.
Ray Roche
84 Posted 09/09/2019 at 09:10:25
Dave, no need to apologise, it’s good to expand ones knowledge of football in our city. I think John Moores owned more shares in Liverpool FC than anyone, maybe not in his name but they were his. My Dad always said that anyway.
Brian Harrison
85 Posted 09/09/2019 at 09:28:36
I am not sure if John Moores brother Cecil had shares in Liverpool, and I think David was Cecils son who later became Chairman. Funny when you think that John a Manchester lad ended up being Evertons Chairman, as everyone knows he started selling football coupons in Liverpool. You would have thought he would have wanted to be chairman of City or Utd. I think Louis Edwards was the Utd chairman when John Moores took over at Everton, and Edwards didnt have anything like the wealth that John Moores had. I think Louis Edwards had a string of butchers shops. How times have changed hardly any clubs in the Premier league owned by people from these shores.

Mind back then chairmen were not well known as they are today, there was Bob Lord at Burnley he owned a carpet company. TV Williams was chairmen at Liverpool when they signed Shankly.

Clive Rogers
86 Posted 09/09/2019 at 10:42:26
John Moores was born and raised in Barton-upon-Irwell, Salford and was a Man Utd supporter in his younger days. I would guess that he may have tried to buy Utd at one time but found Martin Edwards immovable.
Brent Stephens
87 Posted 09/09/2019 at 15:13:23
Brian #85 I thought Bob Lord was a butcher?? Or was he telling porkies?
Bill Gall
88 Posted 09/09/2019 at 15:27:55
Ray wasn't one of the first games under the new floodlights a friendly against a team from Africa.Remember going but cant remember if it was true some of the African players played without boots?
Ray Roche
89 Posted 09/09/2019 at 15:39:02
You've got me there Bill, I have no idea. I'm sure Dave will remember.
John McFarlane Snr
90 Posted 09/09/2019 at 16:01:00
Hi Bill [88] I have just checked, and Everton beat a South African XI 7-4 on October 8th 1958 with the goals coming from Dave Hickson 3, Bobby Collins, Jimmy Harris, Tommy Jones, and Eddie O'Hara. Three days later they lost 10-4 to Tottenham Hotspur, I was serving with the Army in Cyprus at the time, so missed all the stick that was dished out.
Ray Roche
91 Posted 09/09/2019 at 16:15:47
John, I can remember the 10-4 score coming through on the radio and me Dad sat with his head in his hands. And all the “10-4” jokes because an American TV show, Highway Patrol? Used 10-4 on the Police radios. A bit like “Over and out”.
Brian Harrison
92 Posted 09/09/2019 at 16:40:36

Sorry yes Bob Lord was a butcher as was Louis Edwards at Man Utd, must have had a brain freeze saying Bob Lord owned a Carpet company. I vaguely remember the South African team coming over and as was stated some of them played with no boots. When I think of the side that played in that 10-4 defeat it beggars belief that such a talented side could lose so heavily.

See even for the younger supporters we still managed to cock up big style even then, so don't think it just started 25 years ago.

Ray Roche
93 Posted 09/09/2019 at 16:49:13
Brian, you’re thinking of Cyril Lord the carpet man.
Stephen Davies
94 Posted 09/09/2019 at 17:22:15
Phil #35,

I was at that game. I was in my middle teens and went with my Uncle and his mates who were a lot older.

We drove there and went to a pub in Leeds and I remember local youths continually popping their heads in trying to see if they can find any Scousers. They were the times we lived then.

Rob Dolby
95 Posted 09/09/2019 at 21:12:21
Ah Nostalgia, It's not what it used to be.

I started going in the late 70s

Things that were better back then with my rose coloured spectacles on.

Bob Latchford banging in the goals, Martin Dobson like a rolls royce, Dave Thomas crossing the ball with his socks rolled down,Mick Lyons warming up by heading the ball away 40 yards. John Bailey doing around the world in the warm ups, Andy Kings Derby goal.

The cheap admission price. Programmes and cushions included with your season ticket.

Being able to move around the terraces to get a better spec.

The atmosphere especially night games. No Diving.

Jimmy hill over Neville or Spit the dog all day.

A proper cup of tea from a massive pot, Bovril and pork pie oozing with gelatine.

The things better now:

The speed and technical standard of football is better though I do miss a good tackle.

The pitches are immaculate all season.

It's a family inclusive day out albeit an expensive one.
No smoking although the bogs in the park end are always rammed with smokers in the cubicals.

Sitting down, don't think I could be bothered standing up for 2hrs anymore.

To answer Eugene's question 41 years season ticket holder and a couple of years attending before that and no number 2s at the ground although I have stood in a few walking over the park beforehand.

Bill Gall
96 Posted 09/09/2019 at 21:54:48
Another thing I seem to remember in the late '50s early '60s was playing in cup ties on a Saturday walking out the ground and start standing in a lineup for tickets on sale on the next day, usually a Sunday.

Can't believe i was that much of a fanatic, standing or sitting on the ground and I didn't even have a cell phone or tablet or any other electronic device to keep me amused, just the usual chatter and joking with fellow Evertonians.

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