The one good thing about the Uefa Cup / Europa League is that you get to visit so many different countries compared to the usual same old boring ones in the Champions League, not that we wouldn't mind a few trips to the Bernabeu, Nou Camp, San Siro, The Allianz in Munich etc, every now and then!!
Some of you may remember our last season in Europe, 2017-18, when I did threads about the games at Hajduk Split, Atalanta, Lyon and Apollon Limassol. The only one I didn't do a thread on was the trip to Ruzemberok in Slovakia.
I went to Slovakia for that game, but only started doing feedback following the game in Croatia against Hajduk Split, due to the potential trouble we may have faced, particularly following the scenes at Goodison Park a week earlier when their fans wanted to have a go at everyone!!
Anyway, listed below are all the European away games I've attended down the years. You will see that I've listed Feyenoord three times, one of which was that never-to-be-forgotten Cup-Winners Cup Final in 1985. This game, however, is not one of my top three, as I would like to talk about the overall trips I've been on, those that include two- or three-night stays, the adventure, the socialising with locals, the "getting there and back", etc, and not necessarily the match itself. I only did a day trip to Rotterdam in 1985, and I'm sure there will be any one of 25k who could tell of a better trip than me!!
Belarus (Bate Borisov, played in Minsk)
Belgium (Standard Liege)
Croatia (Hadjuk Split)
Cyprus (Apollon Limassol)
Czechia (Sigma Olomouc)
France (Lille, Lyon)
Germany (Nuremberg, Wolfsburg)
Greece (AEK Athens)
Holland (Feyenoord x 3, AZ Alkmaar)
Ireland (Finn Harps)
Italy (Fiorentina, Atalanta)
Norway (Brann Bergen)
Portugal (Benfica, Sporting Lisbon)
Romania (Dynamo Bucharest)
Switzerland (Young Boys Berne)
Ukraine (Metallist Kharkiv, Dynamo Kyiv).
I've also done a few away pre-season friendlies to Belgium (Bruges), Spain (Malaga) and Germany (Wolfsburg). I got as far as Amsterdam airport for the game at Werder Bremen the other year but, due to flight cancellations to Bremen from Amsterdam, I had to return back to Liverpool!!
Out of all the games listed above, many are day trips organised by the club. The ones that involved stays were organised by me and me mates, Dave, Steve and Jon. These games were Feyenoord (1995-96 season), Hajduk Split, Apollon Limassol, Sigma Olomouc, Nuremberg, Wolfsburg, Dynamo Bucharest, Dynamo Kyiv, Metalist kharkiv, Villarreal, Young Boys Berne and Ruzomberok.
So, where do I start? To pick three from the above is very difficult, as all were very different trips. It also has to be said that myself, Dave, Steve and Jon go to all the away games in this country together, but all four of us have never travelled to Europe together, although we have met up wherever we went. There is also another ToffeeWeb contributor, John Raftery, who we have met on many trips. I'm sure many can relate to all of the games above, and have some great stories to tell about their own adventures.
So my favourite top three, in no particular order, are Young Boys Berne, Metalist Kharkiv and Dynamo Kyiv. Two trips to Ukraine. I will give my number three write up in a couple of days...
Reader Comments (45)
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1 Posted 30/03/2021 at 10:59:10
Here's what you submitted, and thanks for that. I'm just not sure it's complete.
Where you going to tell us anything about favourite games One and Two???
Or did you do that already previously? In which case, I should add links...
2 Posted 30/03/2021 at 12:57:01
3 Posted 30/03/2021 at 13:32:29
That is a really impressive list of away European matches you have been too. Which did you find most intimidating, for both fans and policing.
I see that UEFA have just published that the new format for the Champions League which will apply in 2024. Seems they are increasing the number of teams from 32 to 36 with space for 2 wild cards. The wild cards will be based on how good a record teams have in previous European Tournaments. So if it was applicable for this season then Liverpool would get a wild card place because they don't automatically qualify then, because of their European record, they would get the wild card nomination.
So that looks to me that unless UEFA bring in a rule in how often you can qualify for a wild card, then Real Madrid and Liverpool will be guaranteed Champions League football for the foreseeable future. Because those 2 clubs will get wild cards over any other clubs they will be guaranteed 10 Champions league matches every year which will make them both very financially secure.
4 Posted 30/03/2021 at 13:48:47
The one game I remember, but not where, was a recent one, when you were in the middle of nowhere and in danger of missing your coach back to the airport, with loads of the home supporters showing a lot of menace, you managed to get out and away, just in time. Can you refresh that game?
5 Posted 30/03/2021 at 14:45:00
When we hit that period under Moyes, I was in the Army. I've watched Everton from a tent in Helmand Province but that doesn't count! I did actually play on the training pitches outside Hadjuk Split's stadium in a NATO Forces versus Hajuk veterans in 1996 when deployed there. I realised the difference between thinking you're good and real pros. I was mid-twenties, playing a decent standard myself and very fit. Some of those boys were 50+ yet found space effortlessly. They just let us headless chickens do our running and beat us 2 - 0!! That doesn't count either, but I'm scraping the barrel for European experiences!!!
My Everton European experiences are limited to my very, very first match, which I've mentioned before. A pre-season against Braunschweig in Germany around 76 or 77 if I recall. Battered 6 - 0, and the locals chanting "Everton, Everton ha-ha-ha" (repeat). My father got lots of "why do we support Everton" type questions from a very inquisitive 5 or 6 year old that day!
My son went to Lille; he enjoyed the trip although the day was marred by the Police behaviour.
Come on Carlo and come on Everton. Now I'm grown up and available, I want a taste of what Rob has had.
6 Posted 30/03/2021 at 15:38:14
Something like about fifteen years ago we were on holiday with some friends near the Belgium-Holland border & discovered that PSV Eindhoven were due to play Red Star Belgrade. So we got tickets & took the older kids along for the evening – lots of red smoke from the flares the away fans set off.
At the time we were due to play Sporting Lisbon when Moyes was in charge, my best mate was living in Lisbon so I crashed with him for a few days. This also meant we could take in Benfica's match the night before, if I remember correctly. The most memorable part was seeing the eagle!
I just recall being very frustrated by Moyes's tactics on the night & then further frustrated by the seemingly unnecessary holding back of away fans at the end of the match.
7 Posted 30/03/2021 at 15:40:18
Villarreal – forget being robbed by some baldy get holding a whistle; just seeing Everton banners around all four sides of the ground made it unforgettable.
Nuremberg - memorable in so many ways, from the perfect way the game was policed, to the Bier Keller near the team's hotel being 'persuaded' to do a U-turn on closing time as the celebrations went on long into the night.
Young Boys Berne – one of the more surreal evenings spent in a foreign town, with the town's annual festival coinciding with match day. And a great performance from the Blues.
Just missing out on my top 3 would be Benfica -- despite the 5-0 hammering.
A common thread in all these matches? The impeccable behaviour of the thousands who travelled over to each of them. Great shame that the French police at Lille decided they'd do their best to start open warfare. Despite the inevitable bout of response to the provocation, the overwhelming majority of supporters acted with calm and with great discipline.
The least enjoyable? Fiorentina, by some distance. Non-stop rain all day and night; virtually all bars closed (with the Italian authorities having tarred us all in advance with us being from the same city as the shite across the park), and to cap it all an awful performance and result (which should have been far worse than just a 2-goal deficit).
8 Posted 30/03/2021 at 19:34:15
The most intimidating in terms of policing was definitely Fiorentina. We had to go through about two or three search barriers before entering the stadium. Then after the game, outside the stadium was a strong police line, I'd say at least a hundred yards long, and along with some police vehicles with water cannons, it really was ridiculous.
The most intimidating in terms of fans was Hajduk Split, followed closely by Dynamo Kiev.
Dave #4, I don't recall that particular incident, the nearest one possibly Hajduk Split, but we weren't flying home until the next day.
9 Posted 30/03/2021 at 19:41:28
It was a very interesting story, maybe I'm getting you mixed up with another Everton supporter who posted that story.
10 Posted 30/03/2021 at 19:45:55
The Southern European nations in particular are notorious for their "police state" mentality. The police have much more power than we are used to. They often act first and question later in a manner we would be outraged with. So faced with English fans, they will (rightly or wrongly) perceive drunken boisterousness as thuggish and wade in. It doesn't help that branches of their military police have civil powers, something the Northern Europeans and the UK are not accustomed to. France is similar even though geographically it is split between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean nations.
11 Posted 30/03/2021 at 20:00:18
I loved Lisbon, even though Everton got annihilated, Nuremberg was brilliant because of the support, but my favourite was Bangkok, and a two week holiday in Thailand, which left me with the most memories out of the lot.
I remember the match just finishing in Nuremberg, I had my two young kids with me, and this huge German starts coming towards us beating his chest. Not now Im thinking, not whilst Im with the kids, until he got a bit closer and he was actually saying, Everton - Wonderbar, and pointing at all our supporters.
How many do you think weve got here, I asked about 5 or 6000? He started smiling and said seven- eight- nine thousand, and carried on beating his chest at his admiration for the travelling blue army!
12 Posted 30/03/2021 at 20:00:20
I found Split to be an amazing city, particularly down by the promenade, where there are plenty of bars and restaurants.
What you say about the police regarding drunkenness is spot on. We were advised not to be showing signs of "heavy drinking" upon entering the stadium. Hard not to do, particularly when we had already been there for two nights, and had been on the ale since early afternoon on the day of the match.
There were plenty of Blues refused entry to the stadium because of drunkenness, although I think the police were randomly selecting, as nobody that I saw was really over the top in terms of drink. All those refused entry were taken to some custody centre and unbelievably fined €200 before being released.
13 Posted 30/03/2021 at 20:04:40
14 Posted 30/03/2021 at 20:11:32
But I wonder if they're all single? My missus and the 100-yard death stare would surface at the merest hint of spending several hundreds of pounds on a 2-day jolly watching Everton.
15 Posted 30/03/2021 at 20:23:49
1) Metalist Kharkiv
2) Young Boys Berne
3) Dynamo Kiev.
All three were brilliant trips, and a never to be forgotten experience involved with all three, and hopefully we will soon be able to enjoy some more memorable trips abroad.
16 Posted 30/03/2021 at 20:33:38
17 Posted 30/03/2021 at 22:34:28
18 Posted 31/03/2021 at 03:42:23
19 Posted 31/03/2021 at 07:43:44
I love both Everton and my wife but I'm not scared of Everton, whereas...
20 Posted 31/03/2021 at 10:27:51
Thanks for the feedback... really interesting, seems talking to fans of other clubs' trips to Italian sides are always tinged by often over-zealous policing. I would love to read about your experiences at your top 3 away European trips.
Sadly I have only been to a couple of European trips: obviously Rotterdam was very special for many reasons, not least winning our first European trophy. But the impeccable behaviour of our fans on that trip, the only downside was how quickly we were bussed to a hangar at the airport and no alcohol in sight for a celebratory drink.
21 Posted 31/03/2021 at 11:16:40
She stopped asking.
22 Posted 31/03/2021 at 11:43:17
It amazes me when they are aggressive, as they were in Lille and Florence, and sometimes have been in Yorkshire and London. Its so counter-productive, and just winds everybody up. On the other hand, on days such as the one in Rotterdam, if any fan had stepped out of line they would have immediately been dealt with by fellow supporters, such was the good rapport with the police.
Its not exactly deep psychology, but the law could do with learning it - treat people well and they will generally reciprocate.
23 Posted 31/03/2021 at 12:26:27
24 Posted 31/03/2021 at 13:02:30
Come on Everton, make my European trips more than my routine trips to watch Schalke and Bundesliga football. Especially as that is sadly all but confirmed to be Bundesliga 2 next season.
25 Posted 31/03/2021 at 13:12:20
My top three would be Kharkiv, Nuremberg and Krasnodar with honourable mentions for Minsk, Berne and Wolfsburg. The friendliest welcome was in Krasnodar where the locals insisted on buying us our drinks and even paying for our bus fares. The most hostile home fans were at the game in Split; in the city itself people were generally welcoming. As for the policing the most hostile environment was in Florence. Along with the couldnt care less stewarding, medieval facilities, torrential rain and terrible result the whole evening was a disaster.
As each year passes without European football I become ever more grateful for the trips we were able to enjoy while hoping we have a few more in the not too distant future.
26 Posted 31/03/2021 at 13:33:13
27 Posted 31/03/2021 at 18:22:52
I remember a pre-season game against Anderlecht, when it went proper crazy for a good ten minutes, when Evertonians just started attacking those ridiculous Belgium police. We were trying to leave the game early, they wouldnt have it, some people were explaining they had a ferry to catch, but still they wouldnt budge.
One Evertonian said to these police, do you know the reason that in the recent joint European Championships, held between the Dutch and the Belgiums, why there was no trouble in Holland, but absolute chaos in Belgium?
Still they wouldnt budge, and the next thing all the Evertonians, coming out the ground saw the Mexican stand-off, the police aggressively starting to pick up the crash barriers, and just went mental, and this is something that would have definitely been avoided, if theyd shown just half the common-sense, of the Germans.
28 Posted 31/03/2021 at 18:34:58
Great history and the fans of all ages celebrate that history.
The after match pint in the Reeperbahn is not to shabby as well.
30 Posted 31/03/2021 at 18:42:13
31 Posted 31/03/2021 at 18:45:23
I was at the Anderlecht game, we got water cannoned coming out of the ground, I think they were looking for payback due to the trouble caused by the English at the euros, in the bars after the match the locals made it plain that we werent welcome.
32 Posted 31/03/2021 at 19:39:15
I remember another pre-season friendly in Holland, and again Everton took over 3000 fans, but the best one for me was Aberdeen, more chaos, and an absolutely hilarious weekend!
33 Posted 31/03/2021 at 20:48:46
34 Posted 31/03/2021 at 21:07:33
I'll look out for that one Thomas. St Pauli are a passionate club with a passionate following. I tend to go to Schalke home games in Gelsenkirchen.
I suppose both clubs have similarities to Everton. The take the name of a district from the working class city they come from. Overshadowed in recent decades by more prominent neighbours but blessed with passionate support regardless.
35 Posted 31/03/2021 at 21:19:39
36 Posted 31/03/2021 at 21:22:55
We had a ball though, but I suppose its the reason why we go, because even if the game is awful, we always have a proper laugh, and thats something we could all definitely do with right now.
What side is Antwerp then Danny? What a night we had there the night before that Anderlect game. Took a mate from London to that game, so we had a night there, then one in Brussels, onto Antwerp, back to Brussels for the game, and then onto Amsterdam for a couple of nights to finish off. No wonder we love football so much!
37 Posted 31/03/2021 at 21:37:28
Antwerp very much in the Flemmish (Dutch) part of Belgium Tony, so their culture is Dutch / Germanic rather than French as in the southern part of Belgium and the capital city.
38 Posted 31/03/2021 at 21:52:48
39 Posted 31/03/2021 at 21:56:23
A lot of the black stuff was drank on the trip to Ballybofey so memory could be hazy.
I"m certain I remember the cinema next door lent Finn Harps the chairs for the game.
The velvet ones with the little ashtray attached.
40 Posted 31/03/2021 at 22:16:48
Yes, no wonder we love football!!
Come on Everton, give me / us these European tours!
41 Posted 01/04/2021 at 02:16:36
Benfica is a Champions League quality stadium, so regardless of the result, just being there (in our 2009, pre-mosh, free transfer-tastic mindset) would have felt like a privilege.
Villarreal, simply because it felt like Everton took over the place that night – again, never mind the result.
As for Nuremberg, that was truly special. Hard-fought, but utterly dominant away against a team from a top-five Euro league.
(Okay, they weren't Bayern, Schalke or Dortmund, but still, they were the group's top seeds I think!)
It was the same month we tonked Sunderland 7-1 – I was also in my first year of uni, blissfully far from the "real world" and saw myself as god's gift!
Such great days. I really felt that something truly special was in the pipeline.
Oh and the atmos. Even on Channel 5 it sounded great!
Alkmaar just misses out, as it was about –18 C that night.
42 Posted 01/04/2021 at 18:31:21
Our original ferry to Dublin was cancelled due to strikes so we coached it up to Stranraer and got the ferry to Larne. We arrived early hours and then got coached across the Province to the border via Derry.
The troubles were in full swing and passing through checkpoints in the darkness with RS squaddies giving us the finger stick in my mind - along with some giving the thumbs up. I also recall being instructed not to hang any banners and flags from the windows of the coach.
I seem to recall arriving at Ballyboffey early on the morning of the match (evening kick-off) and being served sandwiches/drinks etc through the windows of the houses on the streets, as well sinking gallons of black stuff.
The locals were absolutely brilliant and we were joined by many Irish blues travelling up from the South and Belfast.
My memory may be playing tricks on me too Thomas @39 - but I seem to remember wandering over to the ground during the day - flanked on one side by a large grassy bank, and seeing the locals marking the pitch out with one of those lime dispenser thingies.
On the other hand, I may have been slumped somewhere sleeping off the effects and dreaming.
Overall - and alongside Nuremberg accompanied by my 15 year old son for the first time - probably the most enjoyable and stress free Euro fixture I've been at. despite the journey over.
Thanks again Rob - a great appetite wetter for the coming season - fingers crossed.
43 Posted 01/04/2021 at 19:06:53
I can also remember me, me dad and brother putting up those advertising boards around the ground, walking across the pitch carrying boards about ten yards or so, long. Though how we need up doing that god knows??
44 Posted 01/04/2021 at 19:27:53
Still got the programme from that day, Tuesday 12 September 1978, cost 20p. Their team sheet was sponsored by – and I quote: "Frank's – by the square, Letterkenny ( where the buses stop). Value, service, sweets, cigs etc'; the ref and linesmen are described as 'from France' – no names or details; match sponsors were "Sam Spuds and Mrs McGready's – the ultimate in Potatoe Crisps" and a home season ticket cost £15 (stands) and £10 (ground).
45 Posted 01/04/2021 at 21:24:48
Big Nevilles testimonial in Dogheda was epic, and as a special guest of Paddy, myself and a few mates watched that game via their guest lounge and were well oiled before the game was over, and the Irish hospitality was superb.
Tournament games, Munich semi, home and away, - the home game possibly the loudest noise Ive heard at Goodison.
Anderlecht away was a crazy 24 hours, as was Feyenord, 1995, and Bergen was on par in terms of a very clean, friendly City. A few of us were on the big mountain, and some Everton FC photographers took our photos and we were in the home match programme a few weeks later, no one told us theyd end up there.
Overall the preseason friendlies were superb in that it was an adventure every day, and in Howies days, he was always buying a few beers as well, for the fans.
Scary were the years have gone, and the older you get the more special the memories are.
One day soon to make more memories away in Europe, lets hope so.
46 Posted 02/04/2021 at 00:04:53
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