Like many ToffeeWebbers, I have been supporting Everton since I was a youngster. When I was 7 years old, my family moved to Liverpool, though I was already a confirmed Blue by then thanks to my Dad, who had previously lived in Liverpool from 1958 to 1966.
My Dad likes to tell the story of how he came to Liverpool as a young man (from Belfast) and went to watch Liverpool one week and then went to watch Everton the next and sensibly chose the latter. He said Liverpool just didn’t feel right, plus they were in the Second Division and shite, which made the decision even easier.
I went to my first match in 1978. I do remember it was versus Tottenham and we drew 1-1, so evertonresults.com tells me that’s 30 December and Mick Lyons got the goal. I was 10 at the time and in the Top Balcony and I remember being blown away by the stadium, the noise, just everything about the experience.
I was a 100% confirmed Evertonian then, but wasn’t allowed to go to the match by myself until the age of 16 in 1984, which was perfect timing to enjoy the golden period of the mid-80s. I was always in the Street End, as directly behind the goal as I could get. There were some truly brilliant games then, most notably the Bayern Munich semi-final which I had the fortune to be at.
Anyone who was there for that period knows what it felt like to have Everton back at the top. It didn’t feel strange or temporary, it felt like we were where we belonged, and I had total faith in the team that Howard Kendall had assembled. I foolishly thought it would go on forever. Whilst 1985-86 was ultimately a season that ended in unbearable fashion, we were still an excellent team and proved it the following season.
I left Liverpool in 1988 and haven’t lived nearby since – my parents went back to Belfast and I moved south. I still followed the team and tried to get to a game when I could, plus I made 100% certain that my three sons are Blue through and through - though they don’t thank me for it.
There’s my personal mini-history as a Blue. I’ve been a keen Evertonian and am well known for it in my workplace and the small town where I live. I’ve argued with and irritated a lot of other teams' fans over the years. I was passionate and proud to be an Evertonian.
I’m sorry to say that I’m certain now that things have changed. I’ve come to realise over a period of time that I just don’t enjoy it anymore. I don’t feel that pride or affinity I once had; I just feel increasing alienation, disappointment and disillusionment.
There have been glimmers of hope and false dawns over the years, but this summer has made it clear to me it’s time to move on. When the news was released that Benitez was to be our next manager, it hit me that I simply didn’t want to be part of this anymore. The decision-makers at Everton clearly don’t give a shit about the fans, so why should we keep giving support and paying money and encouraging more of the same?
It’s sad, because I have really enjoyed the Euros, they’ve been great entertainment and have reminded me why I spent so much time over the years following the game. It’s also sad because I have loved Everton and had some great times and met fantastic people. However, club football is fucked; it’s just completely driven by money and media bullshit and I know I’m better off without it in my life. There’s no other team I would support, of course, but club football is no longer for me.
No doubt I will be criticized and ridiculed – fair enough, go ahead. Of course, I’ll miss aspects of it but, like when I quit smoking a few years back, it’s only a sense of relief I now feel. I know my life will be better without this. Maybe one day I’ll feel differently again, but I will certainly not be following any club football this season.
I won’t miss the biased bullshit on TV, the tiresome Sky coverage, the pile of crap that MotD has become, the inane and incessant wittering by intellectually and grammatically challenged pundits, the ridiculous over-inflated self-importance and entitlement that so many involved in the game display – it’s just all so boring, destructive and depressing. The absolute disgrace of the attempted Super League breakaway just shows how bad it’s gotten, and they got away with it. As for the World Cup in Qatar, words fail me…
Maybe one day when we get some pride and identity back into Everton, that will change, but I’m afraid I don’t see that happening. Maybe the financial bubble really will burst and football will return to a game of the people, but there are too many vested interests.
The final straw, thanks to Moshiri and Co, was the Benitez appointment – that was it for me. I couldn’t actually believe it was true until I saw that jarring picture of him with the scarf. I just might have clung on for another season if it had been Dunc or Potter or Galtier, or someone that felt right. But Benitez… no fucking way – and it’s nothing to do with the ‘small club’ remark, which never bothered me (in fact, I always thought it was quite funny).
I wish you Toffeewebbers the best of luck. Sorry if this article pisses you off – you probably think I’m a dickhead or full of shit. No problem. I think the passion and intelligence on this site can be inspiring, though there’s plenty of imbecility on display in the comments too. This website is superb and probably the best thing about Everton in the modern era.
So, all the best; thanks for the good times and the laughs, it’s time for me to move on.
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