Despite the result, another great and eventful day out following Everton.
It started with an even earlier wake-up call than usual to get the boy dog out for his exercise. Pitch black and with a 52-kg Rhodesian Ridgeback out there somewhere, I just caught occasional glimpses of a silhouette as he presumably switched targets from squirrel to squirrel. I walked, he followed. Eventually.
Dog walked and fed, I took a walk into Uxbridge not long after 6 am to catch the Metropolitan line tube. I bumped into an urban fox who gave me a curious look before parting ways.
No Metropolitan line. So 2 stops on the Piccadilly to a nearby station, a short walk and the Central line to Oxford Circus as a contingency plan. Train got terminated early at North Acton, so had to wait for the next one. This wasn't going well. Eventually got to Oxford Circus to connect with the Victoria Line to Euston with about 15 minutes to spare for the train I wanted to be on.
Pit stop at M&S and then, as I said yesterday, the train seemed to be rammed with the entire soon-to-be occupants of the 3 tiers of the away section in the Bullens Road. Despite my initial concerns of this being a long 2+ hours, it actually made for an entertaining trip, and I ended up talking to a few West Ham fans. To the point we went for a drink together in the Northwestern Wetherspoon's on arrival.
They were unsure where to go for a pre-match drink before the game. Being London fans, they're used to away supporters being excluded from pubs near the ground and told me they use the Arkles when at Goodison. Now that was my grandfather's local and I went there a few weeks ago after the Burnley match. But No, I said; that's a Red pub. How dare you. Come with me to the Saddle Inn, where I was meeting Martin & John to pick up my ticket. I'll admit, I was in friendly mode by now!
So, we jumped a taxi and had a good chat with the Evertonian driver. They were a bit nervous as we approached the Saddle, but I gave re-assurances. And I wasn't disappointed. They mingled and chatted with the ToffeeWeb crew and Evertonians present. Great stuff.
I left them to it and headed off early as I had to do my Goodison Supper Bar, Chips, Peas & Onion Gravy ritual. It's the small things in life you miss when you don't have them!
After the match, I failed to follow instructions and meet at the Holy Trinity Statue and went straight to The Crown, where I eventually met up with more of the ToffeeWeb gang.
More noisy West Ham fans. They're actually a decent bunch, but I must have one of those faces. Or maybe it was my Schalke hooded top as they started directing one of their songs at me! To their credit, when I went to get a round in, they offered to buy it (I refused). But the best part of it was they initially started talking to me in one of those embarrassing slow-paced, over-emphasising of words that British tourists sometimes do when talking to foreigners when abroad. They thought I was actually German!!
Anyway, eventually time to head for the train and get home, so, with my now new West Ham friends, we headed to Lime Street. And the Northwestern Wetherspoon's. One for the road and all that. As we chatted, the irony was not lost that the Evertonian was travelling back to London, whilst they were heading "home" to Huddersfield!! They christened me Danny the Schalke Scouser!
A quieter train back to Euston and I got some much-needed sleep. I managed a night cap in the Sports Bar at Marylebone before getting a late train home.
A more civilised 6:30 am walk with the boy this morning. At least I could just about see him. In the distance.
Huge thanks and appreciation to Martin for linking me up with John for the ticket. Grateful is an understatement. See you all next time!
Reader Comments (38)
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1 Posted 18/10/2021 at 11:50:24
2 Posted 18/10/2021 at 12:09:31
I can only echo John's comments! Sorry I didn't get the chance to speak to you at any great length in the pub yesterday but I did have a long chat with your (and my!) new cockney mates! Apart from our own gang, there were quite a number of other mates in the pub yesterday (including Brian Williams, who spends his time outside with my grandson, Teddy!) so I had to spread myself a bit thinly!
Hope to see you before Watford game – when I WILL buy you that oft-promised pint!
3 Posted 18/10/2021 at 12:46:15
4 Posted 18/10/2021 at 15:39:39
Good read and your support is fantastic.
I will be flying home for Xmas to see family and trying to get 2 tickets for myself and wife for the Newcastle game on Dec 28. Do you know if Sportsbreak.com is a legit way of getting tickets? Thanks.
5 Posted 18/10/2021 at 15:46:27
6 Posted 18/10/2021 at 17:52:59
7 Posted 18/10/2021 at 17:54:34
No apologies needed Martin & the drink is on me.
Tony, I think having spent so many years not being able to go, I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to do so more often. I'm probably getting guilty of focussing more on the occasion than the football, which is unlike me and more Danny the 10 year old, not Danny the 50 year old!
Rob - no more dedicated than anyone who travels locally but spends their hard earned money on a season ticket or gets to the match when they can. I prefer to call it blind faith.
It will be worse next season when we're touring Europe!
@David; not sure about that site for tickets. I tend to rely on general sale, family not attending or the goodwill of people here. I doubt the Newcastle match will open up the Upper Bullens Tier usually reserved for away supporters, but let me know. If my nephew isn't going, I'd gladly offer you his season ticket for the day.
Michael, I hadn't seen that. Monday nights are troublesome as realistically, that's a hotel stay or my sister's. Just booked a hotel for my son and his mate for for Saturday as they're travelling up for Watford. Said it before but Liverpool has gone incredibly expensive for Hotels. Always worth it though right?
8 Posted 18/10/2021 at 18:23:33
Wednesday 1 December: Everton v Liverpool, 8.15pm, Amazon Prime Video.
Monday 6 December: Everton v Arsenal, 8pm, Sky Sports.
Sunday 12 December: Crystal Palace v Everton, 4.30pm, Sky Sports.
Wednesday 15 December: Chelsea v Everton, 7.45pm, BT Sport (subject to Chelsea's participation in Club World Cup).
Monday 20 December: Everton v Leicester City, 8pm, Sky Sports (the match will take place at 12pm on Sunday 19 December if Leicester reach Carabao Cup round five).
Sunday 26 December: Burnley v Everton, 3pm.
Thursday 30 December: Everton v Newcastle United, 7.30pm, Amazon Prime Video.
Sunday 2 January: Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion, 2pm.
Had a feeling the Brighton fixture would be put back. Sound for all concerned!!
9 Posted 18/10/2021 at 18:39:44
10 Posted 18/10/2021 at 18:59:57
11 Posted 18/10/2021 at 19:08:09
12 Posted 18/10/2021 at 19:47:33
My own fault for booking ahead I know (though that's the cheapest way) but I now have to set about changing four train bookings, two hotel bookings and four dog-minder sessions.
And to cap it all, one of the games changed would have been on my 75th birthday!
I might well be seeing a lot more of 'our kid' before the year's out. Good job he's a Blue too (we can clock up nearly 120 Evertonian years between us... sadly, the middle brother is a red but every family has its black sheep doesn't it?).
Why do we do it? Well, those that do know well enough as Danny tells us in his entertaining posts. If only Sky, BT and Amazon knew and appreciated the half of it.
13 Posted 18/10/2021 at 20:16:13
My woolly back text must have got lost in translation of meeting by the statue after the game :-)
Great night had by all joking aside.
14 Posted 18/10/2021 at 20:43:02
It was. A good day, result aside.
15 Posted 18/10/2021 at 20:44:36
16 Posted 18/10/2021 at 20:59:17
17 Posted 18/10/2021 at 21:42:44
Anyway, after what happened on the pitch on Saturday, probably healthiest for us all to concentrate on the off-pitch details instead.
I'm out with my hound before school where she is an assistance dog, so good to read of your exploits as we wander around.
18 Posted 18/10/2021 at 21:48:12
Nice account of your day. Hammers fans are funny. They have a bad rep and no doubt it's been earned but most of the ones I've known have actually pretty decent blokes. Sounds like you met some of the gooduns.
19 Posted 18/10/2021 at 22:31:35
Glad you had fun with the Hammers fans. Having played decades ago with a Hammers legend (Jim Standen) and then more recently with former West Ham youth signee, I've always had a soft spot for them, and I'm not sorry to see Moyesie doing well again.
Congratulations on at least getting a glance from that urban fox. Even when I was single, I was generally ignored by urban foxes. Now as an old married guy I don't even try.
20 Posted 19/10/2021 at 09:55:27
How do you turn a fox into an elephant?
21 Posted 19/10/2021 at 10:28:20
Or have you been sharing too many of your pies with the big fella?
Good read. I live down South (about as far south as you can get in Kent) so respect to your for your persistent allegiance to the Blues. It's just not viable for me.
22 Posted 19/10/2021 at 10:53:42
That's understandable Kim. I'm just fortunate to be able to travel to the match again. It's all down to circumstances and there have been many years when I couldn't for various reasons. I think a lot of people often associate Kent as being "London", but the reality is it adds a whole different dimension and literally hours to the journey. It's like East Anglia. I've been away to Norwich twice in my Everton life. Even from where I am now in west London, it was an epic getting there and back. Not as big an epic as the coach ride back to Liverpool in May 1987. But we had just won the league, so I never wanted the journey to end!!
They're not aggressive dogs by the way, but a bit protective. I always like to say, you might get in, but I don't fancy your chances of getting out!!
Mike - keep trying. One of them will give you a glance!
23 Posted 19/10/2021 at 11:03:33
I wish you well getting everything sorted out so you can carry on following the Blues the way you do.
Not being nosy but it would be interesting, to me, to know how you and your brother started supporting the Blues, Im presuming you are both from Liverpool same as your renegade brother!! If you have the time.
Anyway best of luck supporting the Blues the way you do, especially at your age,
24 Posted 19/10/2021 at 14:57:08
Okay, unlike you, personal oversight on type of ticket, but there's no way you're turning back is there?!!
25 Posted 19/10/2021 at 20:17:10
We both started supporting the Blues back in the 1960s. Me on 7 October 1961 with a school mate and a 6-0 win against Nottingham Forest – which I think was the day you got married? I seem to remember that from a thread on here, maybe last year, about fans' first games and you saying that was the only game you'd missed in years?
Pat joined the gang 3 years later when he came home from a few years working in Mauritius with the Admiralty. All three of us had gone to West Park Catholic Grammar (now De la Salle) in St Helens so had to break out of the rugby league environment there before returning to our football roots (whatever the colour!).
Pat (83 years young) and Bill (80) were born in Kensington (our dad was actually from Everton but wasn't that interested in football if you can believe it). I was born and raised in Huyton after the family were moved out there after the war.
I barely missed a game for the first 10 years but then moved south after uni and, like Danny, just took in odd games now and then (bit like the team itself in the '70s, I suppose).
The '80s seemed to be one Wembley game after another, with Rotterdam in the mix as well, but the only worthwhile memory of the '90s was Wembley again in '95. Then it was back to pick and mix for the 2000s, but mainly down here.
Fast forward to 8 years ago though and it was a return to the fold in the 'posh' seats of the Park End and hospitality in The Captain's Table lounge, courtesy of my wife Beryl and the sale of her company. Sadly I lost her at the beginning of last year (and thanks again for all the supportive messages I got on ToffeeWeb when I mentioned it in some posts last year) so Pat now has her seat or any other friends and family (apart from Bill the red of course!).
Sorry for the lengthy post but you did ask, Dave. Mind you, I think Danny and I may have contributed to one of the shortest threads on here lately. It was the one about the charity team that had been set up to support the likes of Blesma (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association), a cause I know is close to both of us... me through our dad and Danny through his years of service.
Hope you get your dogs accepted for assistance training, by the way Danny. No chance of that for me and my 10-year old Westie!
26 Posted 20/10/2021 at 00:34:16
The person I am looking after now has a son who lives in Margate, both Reds, three Hail Marys for mentioning it.
What part of Kent are you from Mike.
27 Posted 20/10/2021 at 09:57:37
Your dad was born in Everton, same as me, Everton Brow, and Kensington wasnt that far away where your family moved to before going to ‘ Two Dogs Fighten Huyton, bit rough there Michael, glad you emigrated to St. Helens and got a good education in De La Salle, I went to the one in Liverpool.
You and your brother have kept the faith with The Blues through the good times and unfortunately mostly bad and like a lot of us will continue to support them until the end.
Thanks for your reply, I hope you find a good spot for your birthday and thoroughly enjoy your special day, very best wishes Michael, by the way if your birthday falls while you are in Liverpool let us know please.
28 Posted 20/10/2021 at 10:08:36
West Ham fans are a good bunch generally. A bit like us, they havent had much to sing about for many years, but Moyes seems to have got them going. That was the best West Ham team I ever recall seeing.
Goodison at 3pm on a Saturday is a cracking day out for any of us who live down south. The 10.07 from Euston gets you to Lime Street for 12.19. Plenty of time for a chippy dinner and a few pints before the game, and then good time to get home in the evening also. Its scandalous that we wont have another one after Watford until the New Year.
Fingers crossed for Watford anyway. A must win game for me with the fixtures we have after that. But with Demarai Gray now looking doubtful as well as Doucoure, we could do with getting Richarlison back at least. Theres no goals in the team without him, DCL, Gray and Doucoure.
29 Posted 20/10/2021 at 10:48:09
BLESMA is a fine charity Michael. I have a former colleague who, himself, lost a hand and eye who is very active with it. He takes a lot of the boys and girls unfortunate enough to suffer life-changing injuries out ski-ing every year.
30 Posted 20/10/2021 at 16:02:47
Thanks for confirming my memory is still holding up over what happened on 7 October 60 years ago. It might be getting a bit shaky over more recent times but that comes with all the other 'age-related' issues we all face sooner or, hopefully, later.
One thing I do remember though is that we never emigrated to St Helens. We used to get the 320 Ribble bus from Page Moss every morning to school there but Huyton (Hillside Avenue near Longview) was home until I left for uni in Manchester before moving south in 1972. With no-one left at home, mum was moved into the flats opposite the Bluebell where she stayed until she passed away in 1985... now there was a bit rough!
Dad was born in Downing Street (not No 10 unfortunately) just off Breckfield Road, so why he never followed football is a mystery, perhaps partially explained by him being a triple amputee from the war with enough on his plate to worry about already.
I'll be at my brother's on my birthday but will be in Liverpool on whichever day the Leicester game is switched to. I haven't managed to get to any of the ToffeeWeb meet-ups so far so maybe then could be a good start.
31 Posted 20/10/2021 at 16:22:50
Yes, I think your dad had more than enough on his plate with those terrible injuries he suffered during the war. I can's say I know Downing Street but strangely enough, me and my wife were in Breckfield Road North this morning at the chiropodist and De La Salle was in Breckfield Road South when I first went there before it moved up to Carr Lane East in Croxteth.
Yes, Michael, the Bluebell used to have more fights than the Stadium, all unofficial and the Queensbury rules had nothing to do with the fights, same as the ‘Bird and Bastard' (The Eagle and Child) which wasn't far away.
I might be up and running by the Leicester game so will make an effort to try and see you then.
32 Posted 20/10/2021 at 16:47:19
The Eagle and Child was my dad's local. He used to come back from there Sunday lunchtimes with bottles of Guinness in his gabardine mac pockets. I used to help him out of his artificial arms in return for a taster... never lost the taste!
And it was on his way home from there in 1967 that he had his second and fatal heart attack aged 52… way to go, eh?
By the way, I was 17 when I left for Manchester so missed out on the delights of The Eagle and The Bluebell, which is probably why I've got to the age I am!
33 Posted 20/10/2021 at 17:35:33
I think you have good and easy attitude to life Michael, not taking it or yourself too seriously. Maybe that's why you've reached the age you have, although missing out on the delights of The Bluebell and The Eagle had its drawbacks.
You also missed out on the wonderful tales you could have told about the many colourful characters who frequented those pubs, often finishing up there after a day's drinking in town.
I knew a few of them, original ‘Townies' but moved to Huyton with marriage and easy to get a house up there. They often went back to their roots, creating havoc and a lot of fun in both places.
34 Posted 20/10/2021 at 18:39:15
35 Posted 20/10/2021 at 18:58:11
Mention of the Bluebell made me smile. I don't know Huyton very well and only ventured there when I stopped over at the Territorial Army (now called Army Reserve) centre once.
Not so much me, but you could see the look in the eyes of some of my colleagues!!
36 Posted 20/10/2021 at 19:34:37
If you mean your next-door neighbour in Huyton, I hope it wasn't the lad I grew up with, an absolute gent when he was sober but a divil when he was bevvied.
He's cause a fight in a empty house! He had about 30 fights over the years, 29 knockouts, and oh, he won the other one – he was great at starting fights but couldn't finish them!!
37 Posted 20/10/2021 at 19:41:24
Yes, I hope we meet in the near future, it will be a pleasure to meet you and Michael, two Blues who really love watching the Blues and travel many miles just to see the ‘home' games, brilliant.
38 Posted 20/10/2021 at 21:48:00
Just goes to show we're not alone in our madness! I even met a fellow dog-walker wearing a Tranmere Rovers top a while ago, and he said he went everywhere with them. And we think we're dedicated!
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