Everton 0 - 2 Aston Villa

Because I do. Because I love it and because I can't help myself. And I'll keep doing it for as long as I can breathe.

Well, I – like others – have had many interesting journeys following Everton. This one doesn't rate highly, but it was certainly different.

"If it can go wrong, it will go wrong" – is the moral of this story.

Before going into my tale of woe, appreciation to John and good to meet Brian again. Sorry I didn't catch up with anyone else.

There's not a lot to say on the match that hasn't been said on here already and in post-match discussions around the ground. 

We didn't play badly and, from my viewpoint, it was a very even contest. We shouldn't have lost that and we could have won it. I almost fell over at one point celebrating because I was convinced we had scored.

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There was a deliberate tactic of hitting diagonals to McNeil. Some of his delivery was really good. But our Achilles Heel of not having someone on the end of them came back to bite us.

I thought it was a penalty as soon as I saw the tackle go in and then, the writing was on the wall.

As for the referee. Very one-sided. This is not said through blue-tinted glasses, but he either supports Aston Villa or seriously dislikes Everton… or he is just incompetent –  take your pick.

Win, lose or draw, you can always gauge by the fans' reaction: when they're bad, we let them have it. They got a decent reception at the end, certainly from where I was sat. The hostility was reserved for the match officials as they left the pitch.

Despite the disappointment of defeat, the adventure didn't end there. A quick catch-up in the Winslow and into town to get home. Last train cancelled… Can this get any worse?

Found a hotel and got up at 5am to get ready to catch the first train. Lime Street Station closed and first train not until 8:10 am. This was getting worse. I must have become a bit London spoilt as that was a bit alien to me.

Several odd characters hanging around the station, who I had to have a few choice words with to get them to stop bothering me. I wasn't in the mood and had time to kill, so went for a walk.

I often forget how magnificent St George's Hall and the buildings on William Brown Street are. Beautiful city.

Nowhere apparently open, but I spotted the McDonald's opposite the old John Lewis; I noted Dicky is still standing proud. Drunken students everywhere who I done my best to avoid (it's now 7am).

Bizarrely, I got approached by a very confident and friendly seagull. I gave him/her a piece of my bacon and egg McMuffin. Not sure if you're supposed to do that, but the coffee was mine.

Anyway, enough of that. Finally on my way home. We go to the Emirates on Wednesday and Nottingham Forest on Saturday. We can get 4 points out of those two games?

We still have a lot to play for and there are likely to be many more twists and turns.

I'll be there with them — as will every single one of us.

Reader Comments (23)

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Dave Abrahams
2 Posted 26/02/2023 at 12:09:48
It wasn’t your day, or night by the sound of it, Danny,how you persevere is amazing more especially with how our team is in desperate times.

Regarding getting an hotel, in Lord Nelson Street where Lime St. station is situated there are a few boarding houses which might be cheaper, considering you were just getting your head down or The Lord Warden facing the Odeon who have rooms upstairs for lodging, or they had recently.

As for the students it seems Liverpool is a magnet for them with new student flats all around the City centre and elsewhere, and the hangers on in the station have always been there most of them nuisance’s, pests, druggies but some are homeless.

What attracts the thousands that come to Liverpool every weekend surprises me because although, as you say, Liverpool has many outstanding buildings some of the roads leading right into the city centre are very tilted and scruffy looking, London Road being a an example what a disgrace to the road I grew up in and much more foreign looking than the one I knew.

I bet it looks a lot different to the city you knew Danny and you’re a lot younger than me, sorry for going on Danny you’ve got enough on your plate this morning and you’ve still got to face your wife, at least she’ll be happy Villa won, every cloud eh Danny!!

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 26/02/2023 at 12:17:18
Dave (1)second last paragraph should have read. “ the roads leading into the city are very tired and scruffy looking” Not tilted.
Allen Rodgers
4 Posted 26/02/2023 at 13:05:21
I admire your dedication, Danny. The woman who sits in front of me also comes from London by rail but she has friends who can put her up if trains are cancelled.

Your tale of woe is much worse than mine. I was in the city centre a bit later than usual and missed the 919 buses to Goodison by seconds. Since the Lime Street roadworks, they park up by the Empire Theatre and I legged it up there just in time to see 3 buses depart at once.

So back to Queen's Square for the 19 which stops every 2 minutes and goes too near Anfield for my liking! Got to Goodison Park for 3:15 to find the streets outside being swept. A rare sight!

John Austin
5 Posted 26/02/2023 at 13:26:39
It was good to meet you yesterday, Danny. Sorry you had such a nightmare journey back.

We shouldn't have lost yesterday but we all know the reason why. The players in the main did their best but we are toothless.

I hope Maupay doesn't put an Everton shirt on again, to be honest. I also hope that he shows me how little I know about football by scoring a bagful in the next two games!

Chris Thornton
6 Posted 26/02/2023 at 14:06:22
Danny, a word of advice: use the Trainline App.

I travel up from London by train for every home match. Since Avanti started cancelling trains at random, I've learned to check the App to make sure mine is still running.

I was booked on the 19:43 too, but got back to Lime Street in time for the 18:43 when I saw it was cancelled.

Clive Rogers
7 Posted 26/02/2023 at 14:13:00
Danny, don’t go to Nottingham on Saturday. It’s on Sunday, 1400 KO. It’s on Sky.
Danny O’Neill
8 Posted 26/02/2023 at 14:17:30
Thank you John and likewise, a pleasure to meet you. See you at the next one.

Finally home. I forgot there was a cup final on and my only two direct routes are the mainline or Metropolitan are via Wembley. so considerable congestion.

Dave, the city has changed considerably and for the better. Compared to when I was a kid, when you look at the Albert Dock, Queen's Square and Liverpool One, the centre is transformed.

Speke, with the expansion of the Airport and the Retail Park is transformed.

Hopefully BMD will benefit and regenerate the northern docks.

You are right though about the infrastructure. I talk about it all the time with taxi drivers as it is generally a bumpy ride on the Liverpool roads compared to what Ive got used to in London.

My mother's cousin used to live in the Bullring off London Road and we used to visit regularly. When my son was in Uni not so long ago, he was in student accommodation just off London Road. I know it fairly well. TJ Hughes; being forced to spend what felt like hours in there as a child against my will!!

Anyway, let's get to the Emirates on Wednesday and steal one or three. I'm regrouping and getting ready.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 26/02/2023 at 14:20:19
Words of wisdom Clive. I've had a long 36 hours!

Thank you Chris.

Mark Murphy
10 Posted 26/02/2023 at 16:33:54
I drove up on Friday (horrendous journey) and stayed at our mam's so I could get the train in and enjoy the day. Full English at Maggie May's with my youngest, who is a student and loves Liverpool, and then on to the Denbigh Castle for Guinness o clock.

Unfortunately, Big Nev cancelled his appearance but it didn't spoil the drinks with my son who is growing into a fine young man. On to Shenanigans for more Guinness (apparently it's won awards for best Guinness outside Ireland) then hugged my son goodbye to head to Moorfields to get the train to the match.

A quick bitter in the Tommy Frost then on to the match, where once again a good day out was spoiled! Never a penalty but I've seen worse given.

Afterwards, a quick couple in the Black Horse (I don't like the redecoration job – Greene King do like to take the soul out of pubs, don't they?) and then picked up outside for takeaway Chinky curry at our mam's.

Regarding the game, we need a better option than Maupay, and soon! Everton played well enough but no sign of a goal anywhere. Midfield are getting a pass in that subject also – they should be chipping in at least but none of them look like they know what the goals look like, especially Doucoure – I mean, what the fuck??

I've got my Arsenal ticket and perversely I'm looking forward to it but we need a moment of magic or we'll sink without trace.

Tony Everan
11 Posted 26/02/2023 at 21:21:10

Did your wife fall for this cock and bull story? Come on, come clean, by chance you met a fair scouse maiden and had a wonderful night of passion in a Titanic suite overlooking a starlit Mersey. Room service, strawberries, croissants and coffee 7am then showered and off for the 8-10am train to Euston.

Please tell me I'm right and the greedy McSeagull etc is fiction.

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 26/02/2023 at 21:36:08
You got me thinking about the things I've done to watch Everton down the years, Danny, but I've gone very boring lately, so think it might be time to let a bit of madness out of myself, if I've got any left!

Your dedication is brilliant, and it's this dedication that is shown on a regular basis by thousands of Evertonians that is the only thing special about our club right now.

I did drive past Bramley-Moore Dock today though, and it's going to be special once the jinx departs, and when Everton become the first team to win the league in three different centuries. It will mean that all your dedication will have definitely been worthwhile, Danny!

Andy Crooks
13 Posted 26/02/2023 at 21:46:04
Danny, these are the storys I love to hear. Obviously not your misfortune, but the authentic match experience, the little details that make it real.

Must have been a nightmare, mate. I can still remember you tearing out of the Bramley Moore Pub and sprinting to Lime Street after the Norwich game. You, and many others deserve better than what you have seen this season.

I remember the last time I flew over and Derek Knox picked me up. The flight was nightmare, I was right in the middle of a hen party, all reds. One of them tried to hook me up with her granny who was about the same age as my oldest daughter!!

Anyway, Danny keep up your optimism and I hope to catch up with you before the season ends.

Andy Crooks
14 Posted 26/02/2023 at 21:53:26
Oh, to answer why you do it. It's a genetic defect that makes your brain trade 100 hours of misery for a minute's pleasure. A marriage with divorce forbidden, hard labour without parole and then... a ray of light through the cell window, music in the distance... an ice cream van.
Ian Pilkington
15 Posted 26/02/2023 at 23:27:53

I assume you intended to travel on the 19:43 to Euston. I have checked it and the reason for the cancellation was “due to an issue with train crew”. In fact there was no train available, as the incoming service – 15:43 from Euston due Lime Street 18:36 – was cancelled. Avanti therefore knew that the last train would be not be running several hours in advance.

Did you know that if you have a valid ticket (which you obviously did) and the last train is cancelled, the train operator is required to either provide road transport to your destination (ie, taxi) or to reimburse the full cost of overnight accommodation?

David Currie
16 Posted 27/02/2023 at 03:21:10

Fantastic support, you and the match-going fans are the Best!
Good luck on Wednesday in what for you will seem like a home game in terms of travel.

Very frustrating yesterday we just can't put a little run together. With scoring goals a huge problem bring Mina in for Coady as he is a better defender and also more of a threat at attacking set pieces. Would also bring Godfrey back at left-back.

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 27/02/2023 at 07:47:24
A few responses and thanks for the kind words. We are all cut from the same cloth.

Tony Everan, it's a true story. Even the Seagull. You couldn't have made it up!

Andy, let me know when you are next over. If you don't have my details, Derek has them. Get in touch and stay in touch.

Ian, thank you on the tip with Avanti. I'll be in touch today.

Mark Murphy and anyone else, depending on travel arrangements, if you want to meet up let me know. I''' probably settle around Euston or Kings Cross before heading to the ground. Otherwise, it will be in the stadium as it's difficult to find somewhere in and around the Emirates in my experience. Like at a lot of London clubs.

Tony Abrahams, our 10th league title, 6th FA Cup, 1st League Cup and 2nd European Trophy. Now you've got me off again!!

Rob Halligan
18 Posted 27/02/2023 at 08:02:07
Danny, my missus has been up since 3am this morning as she has flown to Dublin with some mates for a day. Absolutely bonkers if you ask me, after all, who gets up at that ungodly hour to go out for a day?? Probably the same kind of person who went to Bournemouth twice in four days, or Newcastle in midweek, or will be travelling down to Arsenal in midweek, getting home at some ungodly hour in the morning, and getting the missus to pick me up at The Rocket. The list goes on and on and on. Like you, like me, John Raftery, and everybody else, we do it because we love it, it’s like a drug, it’s an addiction, it’s something we can’t break, no matter how hard we try, or want too!

By the way, the missus is due back at Liverpool airport at midnight tonight, but fucked if I’m picking her up!!

Mark Murphy
19 Posted 27/02/2023 at 08:07:09
Danny I missed last years game there but the season before the blues took over the pub that’s right outside the away end? I even met Pat Van Den Hauwe in there. Is that not an option anymore?
Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 27/02/2023 at 08:33:46
Rob, that's an Uber job! Catch you on Wednesday.

Mark, if you're going there, see you there. I'll look it up now.

Royal Oak? I don't even know which end is the away end as it's round and I just follow the crowd.

Mark Murphy
21 Posted 27/02/2023 at 08:55:02
No, not the Royal Oak - that’s actually in the ground. The away end is at the south east of the ground. I’ve just done a street view and found it. It WAS called the Drayton Park BUT its derelict now so good job I checked. It’s next door to the Highbury Library which is definitely a home “pub”. Let me know if you find a good alternative please as I have to arrange to pass on a ticket. You can text me on 07708 615684. Any others with ideas for pre match pub meets please let me know? UTFT!
Rob Hooton
22 Posted 28/02/2023 at 17:39:09
Always love your posts Danny, you are a proper trooper and blue to the core! I hope to be able to get to more matches once the kids have flown the nest and the Mrs is sick of the sight of me.

If anyone can’t get to the game tomorrow or has a spare ticket then please get in touch: 07769188274. I’m London based so can make it at fairly short notice.

Danny O’Neill
23 Posted 28/02/2023 at 18:28:53
And we do it again tomorrow Rob.

I totally understand. I spent many years not being able to go in person. Out of the country and like you, parental responsibilities compounded by living away from Liverpool.

Hopefully soon and you get a few trips to Goodison and then see us move to Bramley Moore.

John Raftery
24 Posted 02/03/2023 at 10:31:57
Just catching up after a few busy days. You could fill a book with stories like these Danny. Every game is an away game for you which adds many, many hours of travelling and unforeseeable issues. True dedication. See you at Forest.

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