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Dan Does it For Dan

By Mike McQuaid :  06/02/2009 :  Comments (0) :
Having followed the Blues since the late 1970s, I have experienced all the heartbreak and frustration before and after the glory years of the 80s.

From Lampard's winner seconds after Latchford equalised in extra time of the 1980 Cup semi-final to the late, late agony of goals by McAllister and Ashley Young in recent years, there always seemed to be a lot more agony than ecstasy.

My wife warned me to keep our oldest son, Daniel, away from the Blues as it would be a gross dereliction of parental duty to have him subjected to a lifetime of such pain. Now almost nine, he showed little interest in the beautiful game until a few weeks ago when, yes, he woke up to the Blues just as they were embarking on the most difficult set of fixtures in recent memory.

We rejoiced together at Timmy's late equaliser at Anfield, watched with pride as the depleted team hung on for a cup replay, agonised over Van Persie's last gasp leveller for the Gunners, and wondered if there would ever again be a victory to savour at Old Trafford. However, my delight in Daniel's interest in the Blues turned to trepidation as Wednesday's replay wore on.

Despite our dominance, I was convinced we were going to lose on penalties.

I've experienced Everton losing derbies in all sorts of ways, form the 5-0 humiliation to the 80s cup final defeats and the Clattenburg injustice, but here was my son at such a tender age about to experience the horror of a cup exit on penalties to our deadly rivals — an unwanted first for our club.

As Liverpool ran down the clock, taking their time with a couple of corners, I feared the worst. A boy of 8 should be munching prawn sandwiches and watching United clock up another routine victory — not suffering like his old dad has for the past three decades!

But up stepped another Dan. After what seemed an eternity, his shot had beaten Reina and gone in off the post. We were in blue heaven!

I hope my son turns out to be a lifetime blue. Who know these days with so many other attractions for youngsters? But he will be making his first visit to Goodison to see the West Brom game later this month and I hope this is the start of a beautiful relationship.

As for me, like every other long-suffering fan, I am just enjoying the moment when, for once, the agony was replaced by ecstasy. And I'm so proud of the dignity shown by our manager in the face of outrageous comments by Benitez... and proud too of those players who have given everything for the Everton cause in recent weeks, showing true sportsmanship along the way.

I've never been prouder to be a Blue.

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