I'm not sure why I've penned this so soon, so forgive the sentiment.  

We are respected wherever we may go, as the song goes. But as the move gets closer to where we're going, I'm getting emotional, literally by the day. I suppose there will be a lot of reminiscing in the cause of the next year or so. I've gone early.  

I can't wait for the new stadium and the benefits it will bring to the club and our city. But the closer it gets, the more it is tinged with sadness and a reflection on personal experience, as I am sure it is to many. It's making me more and more emotional the more I think about it. So I started reflecting on how I used to get down to Goodison Park.

Waiting for the 81D bus opposite the Metal Box. The journey through Woolton and Childwall in envy of the nice houses. Sorry to be a bus geek, but always my favourite bus ride. Much more enjoyable than the 82C into town.

And most definitely better than the 14 into Croxteth when I lived there briefly in my Mum's Auntie's house when we were basically homeless. Thank goodness for family. I was fortunate enough to be able to live in Woolton in later life, the place of my son's first school. A fantastic part of our city. 

Back to the 81D. Past the Fiveways and onto Queen's Drive. Cross over where the M62 meets Edge Lane. Old Swan to the left, Knotty Ash to the right. Past St Edwards, the school we all wanted to go to. The Jolley Miller and now we're getting closer. We cross Utting Avenue, which I know well as my Grandad lived for years on Arkles Lane, so it's where we used to get off and wait for the 19 bus if I recall correctly.  

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Off at the stop by Walton Lane before it turns into what is effectively the East Lancs Road. Now we're here. Sometimes a stop at the ironically named Anfield Pub before the walk along City Road. And there she is. In all her glory, standing out from the terraced streets she majestically rises above. A customary call to the Goodison Supper Bar that has served me since I remember going to Goodison Park. It’s still a call I make now. 

There was an alternative, meaning a trip to Hunt's Cross station and walk from Kirkdale navigating the matrix of terraced streets to cross County Road and walk up the street that led to Gwladys Street. It still included the Goodison Supper Bar as it does today.

Sometimes we'd stop off in town and visit the arcade that used to be next to the Crown by Lime Street. They had an excellent football game that you controlled by a roller ball. I actually got mugged there once. The bloke told me he was going to knife me if I didn't give him my money. I gave him my 50-pence. That's all I told him I had. I think he was disappointed but he accepted the terms and we went our ways. 

Then there was the occasional lift from Ralph, my mate's dad. We'd be in the back of his van. No seats, being thrown around in the dark before he found somewhere in Kirkdale to park and daylight surfaced as the back door opened.

Those days were great as we'd always go back to his Italian Restaurant in town. For those who know, Buca di Bacos, not far from Matthew Street. It kind of turned into a nightclub late on, but not a rave type place; good music.  

Queuing early doors outside the Gwladys Street stand to get your speck. Tying my brother to the barrier on the ledge and checking on him at half-time to make sure he was alright and giving him one of those orange drinks with a straw poked through the top, and half of my sausage roll.  

Walking across Stanley Park to my Grandad's flat at 14 Arkles Lane with my mates to be fed and watered by his wife and Red-supporting Auntie Doris. Those debates got heated but always friendly! 

Goodison Park has given me some of my most memorable life experiences. I've called for us to move for decades and it's the right thing to do and we have to do it. But I feel like I'm cheating on my wife, which I'd never do. I know we still have time, so let's bring one trophy home to bless her. Let's make sure we give her an appropriate send-off.

She deserves it.

And can we move the Goodison Supper Bar to Bramley-Moore Dock?

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 08/10/2022 at 16:39:55
Danny, there will be many of us having similar thoughts.

For me, it's going in the early 1960s with my grandad and dad, now going in the early 2020s with my son and grandsons.

Andy Crooks
3 Posted 08/10/2022 at 19:17:03
Brilliant, Danny. No matter how great our new ground will be, and it will be great, the grass will never be as green as Goodison Park.
Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 08/10/2022 at 20:14:06
Peter (1), definitely.

Thinking of how it all started going to Goodison Park, first reserve games then a magical first-team game versus Arsenal. Through the turnstiles and up the steps into the Boys Pen, aged seven, looking at a really wonderful stadium and just engrossed looking round and waiting for the players to come out.

Started as they began Everton for me, we lost 2-0, but nothing could take away that wonderful feeling of just being there watching my team. magic, couldn't wait for the next game... 2 weeks later, we lost again to Stoke City 1-0.

In between those two games, I saw Liverpool beat Huddersfield Town 4-0 and Blackpool 2-0, I think Stanley Matthews missed a penalty in that game, late on a Saturday, so I think it was a Grand National day.

Liverpool never got into my imagination like The Blues did, loved them before I ever saw them and still do. Had some sad days at The Old Lady but some glorious and wonderful days and nights there topped by a Wednesday night at the end of last season against Crystal Palace.

I can't think of any other game that brought me so much joy as that delirious exciting feeling at the end of that game when I danced with joy and went from a silly old man to a young very happy teenager again. We just might squeeze another day or night like that before we leave The Old Lady but take our memories with us.

Tony Dunn
5 Posted 08/10/2022 at 22:09:39
First match, amazed like everyone how green the grass was, especially under the lights, on my dad's shoulders, everyone was mate, lar, pal, so friendly.

Man Utd red, Everton Blue, Kendall 1-0, I was 7 or 8. We won, deal sealed, never looked back.

Heartache, hope, glory, pain, anger, frustration, joy, more pain, fear, love, despair — all of life's emotions revolving around what eleven men choose to do or not to do.

6 Posted 08/10/2022 at 22:13:46
6 years old in '78. Remember vividly 8-0 Wimbledon top balcony, 6-0 Chelsea, lower Gwladys, Andy King derby, Upper Gwladys... heart won.

2012, 4-year-old son, first game, August evening, Fellaini header v Man Utd. Heart won.

There'll never be a place in this world that matches it. Time moves on and all that, but it'll never be the same. Not looking forward to leaving. I love that place.

Paul Birmingham
7 Posted 08/10/2022 at 23:53:01
Memories good and bad are eternal for Everton and Goodison Park.

Nothing will capture the atmosphere and the tension of the crowds, pubs, around and being inside the ground.

Queuing up to be first in, great games, memories to be proud of, and life-changing in developing that Evertonian spirit, and the spirit to get through life's challenges.

Memories of Family, past and present, never to be forgotten.

Goodison Park will never leave us, as we will leave Goodison Park in a couple of years, and I'm sure there will be rivers of happy and sad tears, but also the hope of a new place to go and fresh hope for a Royal Blue future at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Hope eternal, for Everton.

Brian Murray
8 Posted 09/10/2022 at 01:19:00
The title season of 1969-70 has only one or two flashbacks for me and the heartache of the year after. I was allowed to go on my own from about 1974 onwards. 45 pence to get in the Gwladys Street. Sellers shouting 30p a scarf 50p a banner.

First time I appreciated a winning goal and going berserk was Latchford's last-minute winner v QPR who had a hell of a team then. Screaming and crying with joy when that went in.

I was on the ledge of the Street end and on my own but still unforgettable. Like thousands of kids the Street End and Everton shaped you as you grew up.

Those who understand need no explanation, those who don't…

Kieran Kinsella
9 Posted 09/10/2022 at 01:59:08

My first game at Goodison, Koeman was there — playing for the opposition. 0-0 v Feyenoord. Funnily enough, he was my favorite non-Everton player.

I'd seen Everton before in London, first game being 1-1 last day of the season under HKII when Pat Nevin scored at QPR after which Jim Rosenthal gave Roy Wegerle the golden boot.

But Goodison was markedly different. The high stands, endless hordes of people wearing the same blue shirt as me. Plus it was “under the lights” and I got the full Gwladys Street experience.

Funnily enough, after the game, I rode back on the bus where I got chatting with John Aldridge's dad — he wasn't at the game, just happened to be on the bus. Nice old fellow even if his son was a bit of a RS knob.

Thereafter, most games I saw were “under the lights” as they were winter when it's dark early when I was at Uni in Manchester and used to get the train over to Liverpool.

Outside the ground, I will miss at Bramley-Moore Dock that feeling that people are pouring out of houses literally on the doorstep of the ground. That community feel you don't get at most clubs.

Don Alexander
10 Posted 09/10/2022 at 03:35:57
Goodison Park is now decades beyond its pomp, its pomp being when it was next to Wembley as the very best stadium in the country, namely 1966.

That legacy has dragged us down, decade after decade, under our piss-poor boardroom and owners (after whom we name stands!).

Yes, I've delighted in visiting in it, the electric night matches, the wit and smell of those in the old lady, but we haven't had a hope in hell of improvement as a club whilst we're still there.

It's like Brands Hatch compared to Silverstone, modern-day Old Trafford compared to yester-year (both football and cricket), and other places that've long before realised major change is absolutely essential to positive progression.

We're miles behind the pace. the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, if it ever resembles what was originally projected, might just be the catalyst to returning to trophy-winning contenders.

Providing we get a competent owner and boardroom.


Michael Lynch
11 Posted 09/10/2022 at 08:42:07
It's hard to believe that the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will be the beginning for some kids, that all their memories will be made by the docks, a biting wind off the Mersey, a different Supper Bar, the long walk back into town.

It's definitely time to go – we've tried to drag the place into the 21st Century but it's giving up the ghost around us – but I'll miss the weight of its history, of my history, the memories of my dad, and of mates when I was a teenager, the journey from down south since I left our city, and the green green grass of Goodison throughout it all.

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 09/10/2022 at 09:19:25
Hopefully that's just Part One, Danny, because you had me reminiscing about my own childhood more than Everton whilst I was reading that, mate!

It wasn't the 19 bus, it was the 17 that took you up towards Arkles Lane, from Utting Avenue, and I used to love the 14 bus, because I used to get on it every single day of my young life, and it took me everywhere.

It was tragic really because it was known as the “smack bus” (heroin) and even on those hot summer nights, you often couldn't open the windows upstairs because there would usually be a little firm of addicts telling you to shut the window, because they were trying to have a toot.

Thatcher's Britain, thank god we had football, because we had very little else.

Danny O’Neill
14 Posted 09/10/2022 at 14:17:45
I'll give part 2 a go at some point Tony. You know I can't contain myself and that I am an emotional idiot when it comes to Everton. Thanks for the correction on the bus route. I'm out of practice as it's now trains, taxis and your good self that get me to Goodison!!

Yes, bad times and I'll be honest, a bad place to live in at the time when I reflect. But I love the City and as much as I left, I always went back and go back. As I said to many a friend, there was little opportunity for young people in Liverpool then, which is why I took a trip to the career office on Derby Square.

But they were also times that gave you lessons in life. Be thankful for what you achieve, want to achieve and be grateful when you do achieve. But most importantly, never forget your roots and always give back. I did with the kids here in West London when I coached them. Some came from terrible backgrounds and there are some really deprived areas here despite the perceptions of London. I might have given them tough love but it's always rewarding when I meet some of them on the street, or these days, in a pub and they come and shake my hand or give me a hug. Sadly some went down the wrong side of the law, but all you can do is try to help them.

Sorry to get overly emotional but I guess that was the theme of the thread.

Me and my brother have said that for a long time Don. How much has our beloved Goodison actually dragged us back? I think we all know the obvious answer to that question. Those clubs you mention smelled the coffee and woke up long ago. And we are no Derby, Leicester, Sunderland or Southampton (St Mary's seems to be made of tin by the way). Our competitors at the time were streets ahead of us in having a vision.

The King's Dock was the big missed opportunity that set us back decades. But it's what we do and will do moving forward now. For the next generation that I love watching and standing alongside when I am fortunate enough to go and watch the blue boys. Those young supporters are carrying the torch.

Sorry for the ramble.

Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 09/10/2022 at 15:05:14
Growing up in our city, during the Thatcher era, gave us many life lessons, Danny, and made us the people we became.

I lived in New Zealand, and couldn't get my head around the Kiwis, who told me they thought Liverpool was a strange place. I used to look at them like they were nuts, because if I used 100 adjectives to describe our city, I genuinely couldn't come up with “strange”, so it was something that bemused me for many years.

Their description hit me a bit later in life, when fortunes started to change, and Liverpool was finally not that downtrodden place anymore. It wasn't strange, it was tense, very tense actually, because there was high unemployment, and I'm certain without our wits and a thriving black economy, we simply wouldn't have survived.

I started getting that same very tense feeling, that I'd forgotten about, whenever I visited London, not longer after the millennium, Danny. So it's only natural (to me) when you say a few of your kids have gone down the other road.

We are going to have to start using new roads ourselves soon, so let's make the most of the old ones, the roads that lead us to Goodison Park, and hopefully have a great 18 months, before, “we are finally moved!”

Brian Murray
16 Posted 09/10/2022 at 16:05:38
Might sound strange or funny but my dad was a real throwback to the old Scottie Road Blues who had no time for anyone unless a north area blue.

He would go way too far and actually ripped our new front door off its hinges as the council in their wisdom painted it maroon. We had no door for 3 days but it shaped my (probably unhealthy) look on the world. He made sure as the youngest I was also a Blue but was there any other choice?

Strange people indeed, Tony Abraham's. Well we definitely are different.

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 09/10/2022 at 16:09:44
Unique Brian. Not strange.


Paul Kernot
18 Posted 10/10/2022 at 07:37:43
What a great thread.

My dad was a chippie. I never appreciated that he'd lug this contraption he made for me into every home game (first one when I was 6 in 1968), lean it against the concrete wall down the front, diagonally opposite the old clock, and stand me up on its top step.

Even then I could only just see over the top of the wall. White socks running past my face were all I remembered of games for a while!

Andrew McLawrence
19 Posted 11/10/2022 at 08:37:59
As someone from Belfast, I was always struck about how similar my city was to Liverpool whenever I popped over for matches. Red brick terrace houses abound, the sense of something rooted in the community.

My fear is that, with the new stadium, this sense of community will be lost. I understand the need for evolution and progress but not if the soul of the club is extinguished.

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 11/10/2022 at 08:59:15
Andrew, my grandfather was born and spent his early years on the Antrim Road, not far from where the Crumlin Road Jail was. His family moved to Portrush where he grew up before moving to Garston, then Speke and finally settling in Anfield. Portrush is a beautiful place as is the surrounding Antrim Coast. Those who like Cornwall, Antrim takes some beating.

I spent a bit of time in that area myself out of Girdwood Park and later lived for 2 years in Lisburn, just south of Belfast.

Belfast is a place I love and I agree, has many similarities to Liverpool. I do however think we are more linked to Dublin. Belfast has always seemed more closely aligned to Glasgow in my opinion.

But the cultural similarities are very similar. Liverpool is unique. A Celtic enclave in northern England. Not as sectarian as Belfast or Glasgow, but the positive is that Belfast seems to be breaking down those divides, from what I can see?

My grandfather hated it. He was a proud Ulsterman. He was a proud Irishman. He served in the British Army and I still have his Burma Star.

I love Belfast.

Les Callan
21 Posted 11/10/2022 at 09:51:49
My first memories of Goodison (aside from the football):

Football buses in Cherry Lane.
Buying a programme in the street.
Sousa marches on the tannoy.
Smell of pipe tobacco in the Paddock.
Brian Wilkinson
22 Posted 12/10/2022 at 01:02:01
Early days, used to travel the games by Eavesway coaches, down the east lancs and clocking the old floodlights in the distance, before pulling up in Priory road.

This part may be clouding my judgement but pretty sure there were toilets by the Cementry, by the gates and the charge over the road, to relive yourselves, pre toilets on a coach, then hear a roar go up as visiting supporters were greated by get into them.

Early Days, going into the Park end before it was bricked off, the massive main stand, and like others have mentioned, how much greener the grass looked, and also the unique half moon behind both goals and the a-z going along Bullens road, for the ht scores, back then the football programmes were so much better, easy to fit into your pocket, apart from the Swindon Town programme (fa cup Jan 77 away) that was still the biggest programe I’ve come across.

The toffee lady pre match kick off, seeing players arrive outside the park end and signing autographs, the Freddy Boswell hot dog sellers corner of Priory Road, the very limited selection at the snack bar, packet of plain Bensons crisps, bovril, cup of tea, the odd chocolate snack.

The one voice that rises above everything with a witty comment, the constant teasing of the police parading the pitch side, the track suited ball boys, st Johns ambulance men and stretchers, the hairs on your neck standing up as the drum roll to Zcars kicks in.

Getting a great spec in the ground, where you could meet your mates, not so good when someone tall shows up ten minutes before kick off, and stands in front of you, first attack and crowd moving forward, where you carefully nudge your way in a better spot.

Leaving Goodison and rushing back to the coach, just in time to hear full time results on the radio, before passing Goodison one last time on match Day, on your journey home.

Oh yes the old lady has served us all well, will be a sad Day on our final match there.

Bramley Moore has got a lot to live up to, sure it will serve us well in time.

Great article Danny.

Brian Wilkinson
23 Posted 12/10/2022 at 01:23:14
Two things changed football for me, the premier league and the all seater stadiums.

Turning up and paying at the turnstiles for both home and away games, and being able to stand with all your mates, now mates sit in all four parts of the stadium and not much chance of getting two seats together, unless it is a cup game, some prefer to sit and understandable, but I do not half miss that option of paying on the gate, and picking where you stand.

Madrid had a white hanky if the performance was poor, at Everton it was cushions being launched, from the main stand.

At least at the new stadium, safe standing has been implemented , so that should add some atmosphere for big games.

Don Alexander
24 Posted 12/10/2022 at 01:52:33
Brian, it'd be a doddle to utilise the nostalgic/hilarious Fast Show skit of "sweaters for goalposts, squeezed lemons at half-time" football eulogy to denigrate what you say but you hit the nail on the head to those of my generation.

Well said indeed!

David Currie
25 Posted 12/10/2022 at 05:46:54
Great article, Thanks to my late Father for taking me to Goodison for the first time when I was 6. From that moment I was hooked even though I was born and brought up in Burnley. My Dad took me to so many games and Goodison was my second home, have so many memories of the games there. The Andy King derby winner, the Bayern Munich game was the best ever. The Wimbledon 3-2 that kept us up but every visit to Goodison was and is always very special. For the last 27 years living abroad is tough as I can't get to Goodison as much but every time I go back I walk around the Ground at least twice taking it all in. The last game I was there was Carlo's first game in charge and along with my wife and son we were in the ground 2 hours before kick off. With or without a ticket I will be there this season or next. Love Goodison Park.
Danny O’Neill
26 Posted 12/10/2022 at 07:38:30
The safe standing works well. Apologies to bang my Schalke drum but from experience, it has the Nordkurve bouncing through most of the match. It also increases the capacity compared to what they have available when they host international matches.

Don. Squeezed lemons? I remember half time oranges, but lemons? Surely not squeezed in the eye to wake players up? Brutal.

Brian Wilkinson
27 Posted 12/10/2022 at 16:51:31
Don, I missed 4 things out, the guy with the Jesus saves outside the ground, football rattles, golden goal sellers, and Mr transistor radio guy inside the ground, who to this Day never heard them say the team we wanted to lose was winning, think he liked his big roar going up from fellow fans too much, to deliver bad news.

With Danny on the squeezed Lemons, did you mean oranges.

Don Alexander
28 Posted 12/10/2022 at 18:09:24
Re "squeezed lemons" I suspect the Fast Show and others were way back then aware of rumours in the game that later revealed the horrible activities of Barry Bennell and his ilk.

Either that or they're Led Zep fans!

Bernie Quinn
29 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:24:00
Thanks Danny for your wonderful article - had my memories come flooding back. Its terrible I know, but I can't feel anything for the new stadium; I will never be able to visit it and I don't feel envious of you lucky one who will be regular patrons in the near future.
It is just that The Grand Old Lady will always be my real love of football. Never has my flabber been so gasted as when my Dad took me to the Ground in 1946, straight after the war. We sat in the middle of Goodison Road Stand, and I was overcome at the splendour of everything; (She was still a Grand Middleaged Lady in those days). As others have said the colours of the grass and the stands were so bright and vivid - as were blue shirts of the players as they ran out on to the field. When Dad told me when he had played here and started pointing out players he had trained annd played with, I admit I started crying with pride. Well I was only 7 years old - I thought Dad was the next best thing to God and my Parish Priest - and that was my intro. to being a life-long Evertonian.
So thanks again Danny for stirring my memories. Sorry about my comment re the new stadium, but what I'll never see, I'll never miss. But I will always have The Old Lady - (Girl of my Dreams).
Brian Wilkinson
30 Posted 13/10/2022 at 00:12:57
We need to hit the next level when we move to Bramley-Moore Dock; we will no longer have obstructed views to hide behind for any poor performances.

I think the new stadium will be great, I think we will miss the surrounding area of Everton, Stanley Park, Priory Road, the Cementry, the houses and the pubs, the chippies, but at least we will not have that patched up stadium over the park to have in our line of sight, walking to the new stadium.

Have a good feeling about the new ground, but we will always look back fondly, at the grand old lady.

We replaced the 63 team with the 69-70 team, we replaced the 70 team with the 84-85 team, then replaced the 85 team with the 87 team, it's now overdue to replace the 87 team, along with Goodison.

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