Firstly, I was born in Liverpool in 1940. My first experience with Everton was, I believe, at the end of the 1951-52 season when I played on the Goodison Park pitch for the school and we changed in the home dressing room.

After that, I remember during the next season I used to get in when they opened the large exit doors about 20 minutes from the end of the game to let people out early.

Later, I went from getting money to go to the game to becoming a season ticket holder in the Gwladys Street End. I was a regular attendant and went to a number of away games and Cup Finals.

In 1976, we emigrated to Canada, the idea was for a couple of years but the family are still here, nearly 50 years later! We have over the years returned for visits – the last time was in 2009.

Last year, after 62 years of marriage, unfortunately my wife passed away. After getting over Christmas, the New Year, and other memories, I decided to come back to Liverpool to visit family and friends, also to see a game at Goodison Park. 

At first, I booked in February but, after my brother and my son persuaded me that was a bad time to go, I cancelled it. I then looked at alternative dates and noticed that from 21 April to 27 April, I could get to see 2 home games. The derby game had not been arranged then, and that became an added bonus. Also, I did not realize the potential significance of the Forest game.

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I have to thank my nephew and his wife for making sure I got tickets for the games – even giving up their season ticket at one time. I don't want to go over the games as they have been gone over before, but the highlight of my visit had to be the derby game: when that first goal went in, it seemed to release years of pent-up emotions and I was over the moon to see it.

I did do the tourist bit and visited 3 museums, and highly recommend them to any citizen of The Great City of Liverpool. I walked down the Dock Road to see the new stadium, bu the best view we got was when my son wanted to go on the ferry across the Mersey.

One observation that described Liverpool perfectly to me: We went in The Grapes on Matthew Street and, in the back, there was a guitarist playing and, in the middle of the Beatles music domain, they were singing Liverpool sea shanty songs and other oldies. The people singing had come down by coach from Blackpool but were on Holiday from Cardiff in Wales.

That to me was the Liverpool I love. 

Reader Comments (17)

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Danny O’Neill
1 Posted 09/05/2024 at 19:28:19
Beautiful Bill.

Like you, I've lived and served in many places around the globe, but the city is always home.

My sister and cousin fuss on me when I travel up and insist on picking me up!

The new stadium looks magnificent. She will be special.

Neil Tyrrell
2 Posted 09/05/2024 at 22:06:19
Condolences on the loss of your wife Bill.

I'm also a Liverpool born expat living in Canada since 1979, and get home every few years. Usually get to a game at Goodison when I do, although this season it was West Ham away since I was in London for 3 days and fortunately for me the Blues were visiting at the time. Doesn't hold a candle to your getting to attend the fantastic derby win, but I did get to meet TW standouts Danny & Mark, and we won! Being amongst our amazing traveling support was a real treat.

Do you, like me, wonder if you'll ever set foot inside Goodison again? With next season being the last, i imagine tickets will be hard to come by even if I do make it over.

Glad you and your son enjoyed the visit and witnessed some wins, one cracking one in particular.

Andy Crooks
3 Posted 09/05/2024 at 22:18:53
Great stuff, Bill. There's something quite special about going home after a long time away. It's a sweet alienation that is quite physical.

So pleased for you.

Andy McNabb
5 Posted 10/05/2024 at 05:49:29
Thanks for that, Bill. Talk about good timing!

Your article really set me thinking. We have been in Aus for a relatively short time - 23 years and I still love the trips back but we tend to travel in British Summertime and so rarely get to games.

Our last match was the home win vs Burnley in April 2019. Will I ever be at the Old Lady again?

Bill Gall
6 Posted 10/05/2024 at 13:11:21
Hi Andy,

Understand were you are getting at, very little window left to get back for a game at the Old Lady as I believe the 2024-25 season may be the last one there.

I guess I got really lucky when I changed my dates, but I did change because of the 2 games at home.

And talking about luck, the gentleman next to me after the derby game said I was a lucky mascot, and when we defeated Brentford, he said they were going to hide my passport or stop me flying back. All in good Liverpool humour which is something I miss.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 10/05/2024 at 13:36:23
Glad you got back home to see Everton win those games especially the derby game which was very emotional for everyone either at the game or watching on TV.

You also had the pleasure of looking around your old City again as well meeting family and friends.

Best wishes and good health in the future.

Christine Foster
8 Posted 10/05/2024 at 14:14:54
Bill, sounds like it was a great visit, highlight being the derby win, I'm still smiling when I think of that!

The museum of Liverpool was marvelous and well worth going to, just to stand and gaze up at the huge picture of my Nan at the wash house... it's a brilliant insight to the people of Liverpool and the life we knew.

I am sure your memories of the trip will make sure you plan another for Bramley-Moore Dock!

Bill Gall
9 Posted 10/05/2024 at 15:52:42
Thank you, Christine, I am already thinking about next September. Guess we have some thing in common, as my Wife came from not far from your youth, she went to the Friary and lived in the Four Squares.

It's true what they say: you can take a person out of Liverpool, but you can't take Liverpool out of a person.

Bill Gall
10 Posted 11/05/2024 at 00:39:53
Have to apologize, just going through some pictures and it was the White Star pub we were in on Matthew Street, been to The Grapes the day before.
Andrew James
11 Posted 11/05/2024 at 00:44:07

I am sorry for your loss and pleased you made this trip with the exceptional derby timing.

As a Southerner, I rarely get to see much of the place, but for Goodison or family, but I went to the galleries and the docks about a decade ago and had a really good time. Let's hope the new Everton Stadium can only enhance a city that has a lot already going for it.

But if only they could do something about that wind blowing in when you walk from Lime Street to Goodison! For another year at least...

John Gall
12 Posted 11/05/2024 at 11:25:22
The 'other' Bill Gall, also born in 1940, with whom you played table tennis in Clubmoor in the 1950s says hello. Like you he still loves the Blues but can't get to the match anymore. These days he just goes mad from the sofa instead of sitting in Upper Bullens.
Bill Gall
13 Posted 11/05/2024 at 14:02:53
Thank you John, wish your dad all the best, just glad the last 4 games may have made him feel a little better. Would have liked to have met him, but the 10 days I was back just flew over.
Christine Foster
14 Posted 11/05/2024 at 14:24:07
Bill, I remember the family being chucked all over the place in the 50,60 and 70s, from Wilbraham house to Norris Green, back to Virgil street, then Netherton.. the over the water.. but the main body of the family was and still is in and around the area.. had 3 aunties in the 4 squares, it was great at Chritmas and funny, all of them were blue.. can you still smell the Sunday dinners? Sprouts or cabbage...
Bill Gall
15 Posted 11/05/2024 at 14:57:35

You are starting to make my mouth water just thinking about Sunday dinners. actually we usually preferred sprouts.

Lived in Scarisbrick Road most of my life halfway between the Lancs and Broadway, same as yourself, lots of relatives in the area.

Eric Myles
16 Posted 11/05/2024 at 16:23:12
Sprouts definitely.
Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 12/05/2024 at 21:25:42
Well, as we have a few days to wait until the final game and we are on the subjects of roasts.

Never a fan. My mother (god bless) put me off. Chicken and 3 types of potatoes every week for years.

Asparagus, or Spargel as they call it in Germany, alongside a Schnitzel covered in peppercorn sauce!!

Paul Ferry
18 Posted 13/05/2024 at 07:40:45
Lovely, Bill, I'm so glad that you got to see not one, not two, but three games! I was also deeply moved by and so sorry for your loss of your wife after 62 years.

I can't imagine how you feel a year or so later, but I think I know that this trip home meant so much on many levels. Take care mate.

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