I am a 48 year-old married father of three living in rural North Texas. Like most men in the USA, I have spent virtually all of my life supporting my favorite teams in sports ranging from NFL and College Football, to Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, and NASCAR racing. The one sport I never followed was Soccer. (Football to the rest of the planet)

Truth be told, I had two longstanding misconceptions about the game. First, I had always assumed that football was boring. Reading endless match scores of a 0-0 tie led me to believe that there were much better ways to spend your ticket money, or TV time, than watching two teams battle for two hours, with no one coming out the victor.

Second, I always associated football with hooliganism, which in my mind caused me to wonder why you could support a sport in which mistakenly wearing the wrong colored shirt into the wrong pub could very well get you killed.

I was stationed in England for three years during the mid 1980s, and never attended a football match because we indeed were warned that wearing the wrong color might result in our ignorant Yank butts being beaten to a pulp by angry street mobs, blocks before we would ever reach the stadium.

So, over the years, my children played youth soccer here in the USA, I attended their games like a good parent, and I otherwise avoided the sport like the plague.

Until this summer.

I had read numerous articles about how NBC Television was going to start broadcasting the English Premier League matches LIVE here in the US. Unlike previous television contracts, NBC would allow us to watch ALL the matches on TV or online. My youngest son is a bit of a football fan and he had long assured me that football was the best sport on the planet and that the EPL was the highest-quality league you would find.

I decided to give English Football a try in order to see if I could see just what all the fuss was about. I studied up a bit online before the first matches started appearing on NBC. I learned that you support a club for LIFE and that you cannot switch your loyalties, no matter what, apparently at risk of death, or worse. That is so Un-American. Here we switch loyalties from week to week, depending on who is winning, where our favorite athletes are playing, or because of who has the best-looking cheerleaders.

I learned it was not acceptable to just pick one of the top-level clubs just because they seemingly always win from year to year. I learned I had to be prepared to support my team even if they got relegated, kicked down to the next level of English Soccer. What? I have to support them even if they are not in the league next year? Apparently, the answer is Yes, I have to support them all the way down the ladder even if five seasons from now, and they end up playing the likes of The Leeds School for the Blind and the Milton Keynes Primary School Junior Dons.

I started watching the matches on NBC when the season started. In reality, I got up at 6:30AM and watched all the matches that were televised here. That meant three straight games on Saturdays, a single Sunday match, and a single Monday Match. In addition, I watched other matches during the week involving EPL teams playing in the other English and European competitions.

I tried to learn the lingo and the rules of the game. I learned a tackle in football is nothing like a tackle in our version of football. A US-Version tackle would end up in a Penalty Kick, a Red Card, an Ejection, and most likely, the offending player being beaten to a pulp outside the stadium immediately following the match.

I learned that a shoe is a boot. A shirt is part of a kit. A goal is a goal. Two goals is a brace. Three goals is a hat trick. Four goals is still a mystery to me. I learned that players are from every corner of the planet, except for my part of Texas. I learned that you cannot take a bathroom break during the commercial breaks on the TV because there are no such breaks. The match does not stop for commercials, player injuries, riots, weather, or for any other reason. I learned to go to the loo before the match starts!

I decided I would watch a full four weeks worth of games before I would make my choice as to which team I would support for the rest of my life. I wanted a chance to see each team, their fans, and their stadiums, learn of their history, all with the hopes that my choice would immediately jump out at me from the screen at some time within that first month.

Right at the start, I eliminated Manchester United. Just watching them for 5 minutes reminded me of the hated New York Yankees baseball team. They have the most money, they win the most championships, and truth be told, they could care less if lowly little me supports them or not.

Over the first few weeks, a number of teams were quickly eliminated from the competition, while a few teams quickly rose to the top. I zeroed in on the few teams that had caught my eye. I watched those teams closely. I scrutinized the players and managers. I studied up on the history of each team. I read about their fan support and the support of their communities.

Going into this past Sunday, I pretty much knew who my choice was going to be. It turned out that this team would be on TV for the last match of the day here in the US. That team was Everton.

Their match and win against Chelsea is what solidified my choice for me, but let me state that I would have chosen the Toffees even if they had lost the match. I have seen Everton on TV three times thus far this season. Each time, they stood out to me because of the way they played as a true team. Knowing virtually nothing about the players from the start, I quickly saw that these were men playing as one unit on the pitch, not as a group of players out on the pitch to just support the one or two superstars, as I saw many other teams doing.

I watched as Everton lost one of their key players in the transfer window, to the evil empire at Man U, and then watched as the management quickly made corresponding moves to improve the team. This showed a management team that truly cares about what it is putting out on the pitch to represent the club.

This past Sunday I watched as this team masterfully held off repeated attacks from a vastly superior (talent-wise) club from Chelsea. I could sense that the Everton players were getting great support from the home fans and this allowed the team to pull off a stunning victory.

I knew I had found my team. I sent word to one of my friends here in the US who is an Arsenal supporter, and he was surprised at my choice of Everton, but could totally respect it because I went about choosing my side in what I perceive to be the correct manner.

Ill now support Everton through the good times and the bad, and yes, will support them all the way down the ladder of English Football if things happen to go bad. But, Im not worried, but what I have seen and read, Everton Football will be mainstays in the EPL for decades to come, and by then, my grandchildren will be wearing Everton Blue.

Now, I just need to start on buying the pieces of my kit. People in my rural area will have no clue as to the team that the shirt represents, but I will know that Everton has a proud new supporter here in Texas.

Go Everton!

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Eric Myles
1 Posted 16/09/2013 at 06:16:57
Welcome aboard Mark, you've made a wise choice and can now consider yourself 'born'.

There's still a bit of mind altering adjustment for you to undergo though and that's next year when the World Cup is played and you realise that they allow more than one country to participate!

Peter Bourke
2 Posted 16/09/2013 at 06:28:46
Good read Mark. may I suggest though that you did not select Everton.
EVERTON CHOSE YOU.
My story is similar to yours in that growing up in Australia I was raised on rugby league, then one day I decided to watch an FA Cup final to see what my in laws were going on about and it happened to be the 1986 final against Liverpool. It was an unbelievable game and I immediate fell head over heels for Everton. You cannot explain how or why it happens but when it happens no explaination is needed..
Ben Dyke
3 Posted 16/09/2013 at 06:49:46
Great article Mark! You have sussed this whole thing out well. We are a club you can believe in on the pitch and enjoy the history of. "Evertonians are born not manufactured!"
James Morgan
4 Posted 16/09/2013 at 06:59:25
Welcome aboard buddy! It can often be a frustrating ride as an Evertonian but wins like yesterday make it worth while.
The blue gene was always in you, it's only now that it's been awakened.
Kev Johnson
5 Posted 16/09/2013 at 07:32:45
Come in and make yourself at home, Mark. To quote the centuries-old knight in the climactic scene of 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade': "You have chosen wisely".

Incidentally, apart from everything else, we do in fact have the best looking cheerleaders. You should see Barry Rathbone - he is absolutely gorgeous!

Mwila Mwenya
6 Posted 16/09/2013 at 07:50:39
My journey also started in 1986 FA Cup Final against Liverpool. For years I was the only Evertonain in Zambia but lately more have felt the calling and realised that they did not choose Everton.... but Everton chose them.

This weekend, my 2-year-old daughter pointed at the Everton shirts on my couch as I watched the game against Chelsea and shouted 'Everton'!!!! It brought a tear to my eye!!

Tony Draper
7 Posted 16/09/2013 at 07:39:13
"I was stationed in England for three years during the mid 1980s"
How very telling Mark

As the guys above have all alluded, being an Evertonian is NOT the same as being born into a life of luxury
Born into privilege yes, but NOT luxury

Our motto "Nil Satis, Nisi Optimum" could so easily be replaced by either
"No Gain Without Pain" or
"There are 3 ways, the easy way, the hard way and the Everton way"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRD51qEJ8t4

Of course Mark we could have simply said
"What the fuck have you done ? Leave while you still can ! GO ! Go now !"

>As one of our greatest ever players, Alan Ball, so eloquently said
"Once Everton touches you nothing is ever the same"


Nice to make your acquaintance Blueblood !

Iain Love
8 Posted 16/09/2013 at 08:04:59
Made me think of how Everton chose me: 5 years old, growing up just outside Ormskirk, faced with only 2 options Red or Blue.

"Who do you support?" my classmates would ask, "Red or Blue?"

In reality, it was quite easy: Tommy Smith's & Tony Hately's sons both went to my primary school with me and got a fair bit of arse licking from star struck kids; me being marmite obviously went Blue.

ps: As a kid, Mark Hately was crap at football... although his Dad was a nice fella.

Stuart Gray
9 Posted 16/09/2013 at 08:19:04
Great read Mark. I kind of envy that you can go to sleep on a Friday night, wake up and it's Footie time already.
David Munro
10 Posted 16/09/2013 at 08:35:06
I know exactly how you feel, Mark, from my little corner of the Earth in New Zealand. Except replace 6:30am with 3am Sunday morning (what have I done!)! I felt the same when I first started watching the EPL. Now I couldn't imagine life any other way. COYB!
Derek Thomas
11 Posted 16/09/2013 at 07:54:34
You weren't born here but you got here as soon as you could, so welcome.

You've also found the best website. Forget all the 'reserved British' rubbish, we work on the basis of... when asked if he treated football like a matter of life or death, he replied...Oh no, it's much more important than that.

We fight like cats in a sack, insult each other to the utmost degree ( within set limits )... but that's OK we're family... person 'A' might be a complete arsehole, but if anybody else says it, we jump on them, after all he's our arsehole.

So if you have a point or an opinion... get it out there, it's just as valid or invalid as any one elses...you never know, you might even be right.

Have at it !

Dennis Stevens
13 Posted 16/09/2013 at 09:00:15
Enjoy the ride, Mark! There'll be plenty of ups & downs, but it'll always be a privilege to be an Evertonian.

Darren Warkcup
14 Posted 16/09/2013 at 09:13:10
Mark welcome to what will be one of your best choices in life. I was wondering on Saturday, as I sat there with the warm glow of pride at one of the best performances for a while and a sky darling scalp into the deal, whether there were many U.S. fans out there that would be swayed to the Blue side. We have been aware of the growth in the Premier screenings in the U.S. this year so it is nice we got you and probably a lot more of those who like to buck the trend and support a club not a brand.

I have met other Everton fans travelling around the U.S. but strangely the last one was wearing an Everton shirt. I stopped to have a chat and it turned out he was an Arsenal fan but that Everton were his secoond club, it was a very quick chat I might add.

Well done for working out that (Manchester) Red is evil. The wife has gone to Machester airport this morning to pick up her sister and I have warned her not to drink the water.

Enjoy the Blues.

John Keating
15 Posted 16/09/2013 at 09:13:29
Well done Mark and welcome on board.
Prepare yourself for lots of pain !! And lots of happiness !
Hope you've got a good sense of humour ??
Ken Crowther
16 Posted 16/09/2013 at 09:02:31
A good read, Mark (sniff, sniff, where's those bloody tissues) never came across anybody - including myself - who had the supreme mental capacity to be able to CHOOSE to be a Toffee.

Don't worry too much about having to "support them all the way all the way down the ladder" - in our 135 year history there have been only 4 seasons when we have not been in the top flight of English football; and the last of those ended in mid-1954 - a record without equal in our game.

You might have gathered that one of our songs contains the line "If you know your history" and, for the last twenty-odd years, at least in terms of the record books, history is pretty well all we've had; but we live in hope and expectation, and KNOW things will change (for the better of course), a process which may well have commenced.

It will be a bumpy ride.....but enjoy!

David Ellis
17 Posted 16/09/2013 at 10:01:17
Welcome Mark - with more seasons in the top flight than any other club in the world - over 100 - we will be around for some time to come.

I confess there have been times when I thought my life would have been happier if I had chosen a different team, but of course any such happiness would have been a mirage, not the real deal. Our social conditioning is such that it is impossible to change teams. Even stopping following football is impossible (I have tried that too a couple of times, lasted about 3 weeks without checking the results, but as soon as I did check them I was back into it again).

Simon George
18 Posted 16/09/2013 at 10:25:33
That's the best decision you've made in your life mate.

Welcome to the club.

Vince Ion
19 Posted 16/09/2013 at 10:52:55
Mark, great choice and for the right reasons. I've supported Everton for 55 years and never regretted it. Being a True Blue is what you will become and the good times will always help when the bad times appear.

When you do get the chance to visit the Holy ground, let us know and we will be there to welcome you and of course buy you a pint.

Derek Knox
20 Posted 16/09/2013 at 10:38:36
I can only echo my fellow TW'ers in welcoming you, to the newly re-established ' School of Science ' under the guidance of our new manager!

Also, good post, you almost had me in tears, and feeling so proud to be an Evertonian, you have arrived at The Blue Roller Coaster ( hopefully, not too many white-knuckle rides ahead). I noticed in your opening lines, that your interpretation of the game was dull and boring ' draws ' . I think you may have been watching our former managers propensity for turning possible wins into draws with annoying regularity!

We seasoned Blues, have definitely witnessed a diversity of results and emotions over the years, but nevertheless, are still here to reluctantly recount the 'gruesome', and laud the 'awesome'. You have, hopefully been initiated at a time, when it is the start of a new era, and should only experience ' good times ahead '.

Once again, good to have you join the best club in the world, with the best supporters and the best website! ( Brownie points please LL & MK ! )

Dave Lawley
21 Posted 16/09/2013 at 11:10:58
Good to have you with us Mark, I had a lump in my throat reading that post.

I casually supported Man U when I was a young kid, back when I knew nothing, the first game I watched from start to finish was the FA cup final in 1985, Everton v Man U, I was 11 yrs old, Everton were beaten by a goal to nil, I was a Man U supporter, I should have been happy, instead I was chosen by Everton that day and have supported them through thick and thicker ever since whilst Man U enjoyed the most success of any team ever in these Islands, I don't regret it for a second, I can't explain it, Alan Ball nailed it.

Eddie Tully
22 Posted 16/09/2013 at 11:35:00
Welcome aboard Mark. However be aware that some people on here do not support our new manager.

FREE THE TOFFEEWEB ONE - Kevin Tully.

Ray Robinson
23 Posted 16/09/2013 at 11:39:18
Dave, that is weird how you chose Everton. My father was a rabid Liverpudlian with a season-ticket in the Kemlyn Road stand but I chose the Blues and I can't really fathom out why. Imagine, now 60, how many trophies I would have witnessed as a follower of the Dark Side? But I don't regret a thing and have learned to appreciate the good times when they happen.

So, a hearty welcome Mark! I wasn't as scientific in my choice of clubs as you but I believe that you were the one that was chosen, you just didn't realise it.

There is no such thing as a disinterested Evertonian unlike some of the other clubs's supporters. Enjoy the experience!

Mike Green
24 Posted 16/09/2013 at 11:30:39
Mark a great read and welcome to the fold, you will not regret your decision.

Funnily enough I did the same exercise as yourself with Baseball.

My brother and I decided to pick a team each to follow about 5 years ago - being a Liverpool fan he automatically chose the Red Sox (this was pre-Henry and FSG ownership), whereas for me it wasnt so straight forward so I pretty much did what you did and tried to think it through.

I bought Baseball A History of Americas Game by Benjamin G. Radar, read what I could elsewhere, took in some games and started to whittle my choice down and after a very close call between the Mets and my final pick I eventually settled on the Dodgers mainly due to their history, that they play in blue, left their original home as we had to (controversial I know) and essentially because it just felt right.

The beauty of it is with technology as it is now (despite the crippling time differentials) its so easy to follow teams from across the pond from either end. Would be interested to hear who your other US teams are my American football team has always been the Jets for my sins. :(

Enjoy your newfound pastime and team you have indeed been chosen :)

Ged Alexander
25 Posted 16/09/2013 at 11:56:57
Mark, you just made the best mistake of your life. Try hard not to read the Liverpool Echo (newspaper) Everton section, don't log in to the football BBC gossip page or trawl toffeeweb for links to other articles about Everton and all before the first hour of your day is over. Don't look for hours at photographs of the stadium going back 100 years, don't pore over statistics, look for the latest result of the youth Academy team, check-out the attendance for a corresponding fixture from 35 years ago or learn the words to 'If you know your histry' as well as teaching them to those you love. If you do all of the above you are sad waste of space...like the rest of us. A terrible beauty is born.
Spragg Johnson
26 Posted 16/09/2013 at 12:05:48
I was 'chosen' in 1982 ... Like you, from the other side of the world. Within three years we were the best side in the land, if not Europe, and the team visited my home town of Christchurch, New Zealand immediately after winning the title for a second time in three seasons and I got to meet my heroes as a teenager - the likes of Sharp, Ratcliffe, Sheedy, Reid etc. I sincerely hope the same falls into place for you. Welcome to the family ... Once Everton has touched you, you'll never be the same!
Tony J Williams
27 Posted 16/09/2013 at 12:23:01
Bloody glory hunters.......Welcome aboard fella, get ready to start losing your hair and growing old before your time.
Phil Bellis
28 Posted 16/09/2013 at 12:21:20
Welcome Mark to the roller-coaster ride of supporting Everton; leaders, innovators and first in so many areas of the game

"The history of Everton Football Club is the history of Association Football in Britain"

A few more quotes to give you a sense of the club:

"Of course I am excited to get home to my family and friends and team-mates in LA, but although I've only been here a short time I feel like this is my family too. There is something magical which captures you when you walk into Goodison and it doesn't let you go"
Landon Donovan, EFC

"I think this football club is one of the best around. It is a proper football club."
Ian Holloway

"Blues versus Reds is humility versus arrogance; loyalty versus entitlement; and art versus pornography."
Dr David France

"Everton are, in essence, the most prominent opposition to the growing short-term culture in the game."
Premier League Owl

"In the summer of 1974, I got the phone call from the manager to say a club had come in for me. As I sat in his car I asked, Is it Everton? to which he said, Yes how did you know that? and I replied, You've got the road directions for Liverpool on the seat! I just hoped it was Everton and not the other lot!"
Jim Pearson, EFC

Without doubt, he (William Ralph Dean) is the greatest centre-forward the world will ever see. He belongs in the company of the supremely great, like Beethoven, Rembrandt and Shakespeare.
Bill Shankly March 1980

Id break every bone in my body for any club I play for but Id die for Everton
Dave Hickson, EFC

I was running back to the centre circle after I scored the second goal against Liverpool and pure elation welled up inside me. I remember thinking: I just love this place I want this place forever.
Alan Ball, EFC

Ross Edwards
29 Posted 16/09/2013 at 12:41:58
Welcome to the Everton family Mark. Are you prepared for the ride?
Kevin Jones
30 Posted 16/09/2013 at 12:24:41
Welcome aboard Mark, for your own safety keep your hands in the carriage at all times, It get's very bumpy, but you'll absolutely love it, just love it.

Just a slight moan old chap, I know your a born a bred American, but it's colour not color, and please please please don't ever type math instead of maths,

By the way, my sister in law Anne Whittaker lives in Arlington Texas do you know her ? Her husband Jim and son Stuart are big Evertonians.

Tony Draper
31 Posted 16/09/2013 at 12:37:48
Phil B (470)
I have a collection too. You did good Phil, you did real good.

My Dad reminded me yesterday of an occasion when I was really young. I'd been playing in the garden and fell cutting my hand in the process, I bled plenty.

Sat on the kitchen table with Mam tending my wound I turned on my Dad,

"You told me I had BlueBlood! You pointed to these (veins in my hands and arms) and said my blood was BLUE!"
"It is son, your blood is Royal Blue "
"But I'm bleeding red Dad, RED!"
"Ha ha son, that's not your blood, that's just weakness leaving your body!"

Tony J Williams
32 Posted 16/09/2013 at 12:47:56
Classic quote Tony. I like your dad.
David Kershaw
33 Posted 16/09/2013 at 13:26:55
Welcome to the life! You have chosen light over Evil!!!
Or the the light choose you!!

Couple of points: NFL has huge problems with hooliganism or, as we call it, getting drunk and having a row!!! This season they have special police to stop opposing fans getting beaten up (I wasn't there but a bad case at Dodger stadium last year?)

Not sure where in Texas you are from but I believe Clint Dempsey is from Texas. Never mind him... keep with Tim Howard and boys!! We usually play pre-season in USA so you get to see them live!

Enjoy the life... it's a roller-coaster!

Norman Merrill
34 Posted 16/09/2013 at 13:55:04
Welcome aboard Mark. Just one warning!!! You will see some descriptive words used on this website, that are pure scouse, but I'm sure you are a quick learner?

When I've been in different US city's I've never spotted a EFC shirt, but hopefully that will change.

Michael Kenrick
35 Posted 16/09/2013 at 14:35:22
Welcome also to Mwila, popping up late at #488... perhaps our first Zambian Evertonian?
Colin McBride
36 Posted 16/09/2013 at 14:31:00
Welcome to the family Mark, truth be told you were always here, you just didn't know it (bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ!). Its been said many times here, you are born an Evertonian, you didn't choose it, it had to be that way. Sometimes you will wish it was different, but not often.
Richard Reeves
37 Posted 16/09/2013 at 14:59:31
Mwila (#488) Nice post, and welcome.
Eugene Ruane
38 Posted 16/09/2013 at 14:20:16
Choose your mates. Choose your family. Choose Walton. Choose Blue. Choose curry and chips. Choose Tommy Lawton. Choose anger and disappointment. Choose occasional moments of sponk-shooting ecstasy. Choose Dixie's 60. Choose history. Choose Alan Ball. Choose Labby. Choose Rotterdam 85. Choose tears. Choose pure bad fucking luck. Choose L4. Choose bent refs. Choose no to Kirkby. Choose last minute heartbreak. Choose to laugh at 'them'. Choose panic. Choose Baines. Choose COYB! Choose rioting if Hibbert scores. Choose big Duncan. Choose amber away. Choose going away. Choose The Golden Vision. Choose The Goodison Supper Bar. Choose night-game madness. Choose 1878. Choose Big Nev. Choose NSNO. Choose 9 titles. Choose 5 F.A Cups. Choose Everton de Via del Mar. Choose throwing beer. Choose Eddie Cavanagh 66. Choose The Dogs Of War. Choose 'The Cat'. Choose The European Cup Winners Cup. Choose The Street End. Choose Z-Cars. Choose Dave Hickson. Choose Martinez. Choose life. Choose....Everton.

You did.

Welcome!

Chris Regan
39 Posted 16/09/2013 at 15:25:58
Welcome to the fold, did anyone tell you what a Koppite is? If not we will enlighten you.
Scott Goin
40 Posted 16/09/2013 at 15:24:21
Mark, I live in Virginia and had a similar road to Everton following the 2010 World Cup. I fell in love with the game while watching USA's great run. I couldn't imagine waiting another 4 years to relive that kind of excitement so I started looking around at the various domestic leagues. After watching the English Premier League for several weeks, I felt drawn to Everton. They weren't the biggest or richest club but they had a certain fight and spirit that I admired.

Since then, I've felt joy and exaltation when Everton would win a big match and the vast sense of despair when we've lost. It's certainly not an easy road but none of us have a choice. I've tried to support other English clubs in the Champions League but it just doesn't have the same resonance in my heart. Everton has entered my soul and it's truly been a glorious ride.

Mark Pakulak
41 Posted 16/09/2013 at 15:52:40
Thank you all for the warm welcome to the Everton family. I have long dreamed of bringing my family back to England to show them where I worked and lived (in Bedfordshire), but now, when that vacation does happen, our first priority will be to head for Merseyside so that I can walk through the gates of Goodison Park to see a match in person. And yes, seeing as how I have not had a proper pint of English Bitter since the 1980's, I will probably hit every pub within blocks as I walk to the stadium. Go Everton!
Phil Bellis
42 Posted 16/09/2013 at 16:42:36
Lovely story, Mwila

And Mark, as Ray Robinson (548) alludes to, our trophy winning has been cyclic, interspersed with only occasional heros and bouts of decent football, marred by plain bad luck and the tragedies of 2 World Wars and Heysel

But, as has been proved and, perhaps, because of the long periods of gloom, when success does come, as it will again, no one, absolutely no one, celebrates like Evertonians

Peter Mills
43 Posted 16/09/2013 at 18:26:18
Mark and Mwila, welcome aboard. As my dear old Dad once said, "We are cut from a different cloth".
Peter Thistle
44 Posted 16/09/2013 at 18:41:33
That's a good read mate, welcome aboard :)
Michael Winstanley
45 Posted 16/09/2013 at 18:56:50
Welcome Mark, great read.

Phil.

"Blues versus Reds is humility versus arrogance; loyalty versus entitlement; and art versus pornography."
Dr David France

What a quote.

Tony Draper
46 Posted 16/09/2013 at 19:18:31
Mwila (488)
"my 2-year-old daughter pointed at the Everton shirts on my couch as I watched the game against Chelsea and shouted 'Everton'!!!! It brought a tear to my eye!!"

And that's just brought some tears to mine !

Welcome BlueBlood

An Evertonian is never alone

Tony Draper
47 Posted 16/09/2013 at 19:24:31
Michael (694) re Phil @ (570)

I keep re-reading that quotation
The fact that it is the work of Dr Everton is provenance enough

It also recalls me of the Chelsea Final
Upon disembarking our coach a number of us decided we'd keep an eye out for the best motto on a banner that day

Almost immediately we spied a simple Royal Blue banner with Everton crest and the words
"Everton, style and dignity since 1878"

It was on our own coach, from The Melbourne on Green Lane

Tony I'Anson
48 Posted 16/09/2013 at 19:44:15
Welcome. Add a Goodison Derby in the lower Gwladys to your bucket list.
Dave Lynch
50 Posted 16/09/2013 at 19:49:09
Welcome to out 2 new sons Mark and Mzwila.

Wherever you now go in this world you will always have a friend if there is an Evertonian about.

When anyone asks who you support.

Puff out your chest, hold your head up high and state with pride.

" I'm an Evertonian"

David Chait
51 Posted 16/09/2013 at 20:32:27
Such an awesome story and filled me with pride! Amazing... I have never considered picking a side and doing that much research... Honestly that was impressive commitment! Then ultimately... Like us, you were chosen. For me and many others... The 1985 FA cup final was our invitation.

Phil B.. Read all those quotes before.. But all together like that gave me goosebumps..... Beautiful!

Paul Thompson
52 Posted 16/09/2013 at 20:33:10
Welcome both and a good thread. I was at a meeting the other day and someone asked, after making the Liverpool connection, whether I was a blue or a red. Before I could answer he said, Bet youre a blue. When asked why, he said you just seem like one. It was meant as a compliment and reinforced something Ive found on my travels we tend to be respected by other fans as a proper club with knowledgeable, passionate supporters. So, youve definitely made the right choice.
Julian Wait
53 Posted 16/09/2013 at 20:40:40
Mark
As a transplant from Merseyside to Texas (Austin to be precise), welcome to the family. Just as Everton chose you, Texas chose me; and wouldn't let me go.

You can find lot's of knowledgeable fans here, in the pubs and at the youth games. It's a wonderful mix of expat Brits, a few Europeans (Britain's not IN Europe you know?), Latin Americans who all support Real (Mexico or anyone who fancies Ronaldo) and/or Barca (the rest of them), and knowledgeable "yanks" (sic) like you. Yes, yes, I know you're not a yankee ... :-P

So, just keep offside in the singular and don't call all free kicks a "penalty kick" (that's rugby btw ...).

Welcome aboard the Goodison ship Everton; it's a great voyage to be on, one of continual surprise, excitement, disappointment and elation. Sometimes all in the space of one minute.

COYB NSNO TMMMM NNNNNNNN

Colin Glassar
54 Posted 16/09/2013 at 20:54:52
Great post mark. I was like a cylon, I heard the music in my head when I was about 5 and something switched on in my brain. I've never, ever regretted my 'resurrection'.
David Hallwood
55 Posted 16/09/2013 at 21:16:21
To echo everyone else welcome to God's chosen people; TWebbers can be a bit dour, and negative-glass half empty? What glass! But there not a football site to touch it, which other football site can touch on the intelligence of David Icke and global warming without taking its collective eye off the (foot)ball .

I know its a long, long way and Im fortunate enough to live 10 miles as the crow flies from the ground, but every Evertonian should watch a game at GP at least once before they die. Take it from me, when the old gals rockin theres no better experience.

David Cornmell
56 Posted 16/09/2013 at 21:54:36
My Dad is a blue, and his Dad was a blue and his Dad was a blue, and I'm a blue, all born and raised in Liverpool.
And you know what, I'm no more or less a bluenose than the Marks, Mwilas, David Munros or Kunar Desais. We didn't choose Everton; we were chosen.
The school of science; the 66 FA Cup Final; the Dome; the Cardamateri Derby {pronounced Darby my American brethren}. It raises the hairs on the back of your neck. It was always thus; it will always be thus.
So a special welcome and hello to all the bluenoses from every corner of the world. As others have said, it's not always easy. But it wasn't meant to be. And we love it.
"One Evertonian is worth twenty Liverpudlians" Brian Labone.
And to be honest Labby was probably being conservative with the exchange rate. COYB!
John Keating
57 Posted 16/09/2013 at 22:16:19
True David
I think its easier for us born in Liverpool as we just are what we are.
I was born and brought up in Everton and can walk to the ground. All the family are Blue.
I think its brilliant that guys - and girls - from the most far away places can feel as much, if not more, about the Club than me !
They really are special supporters.
Blue is Blue no matter where in the world !
Jamie Sweet
58 Posted 16/09/2013 at 22:08:46
Welcome aboard Mark. Great story. You are clearly a very intelligent man.
Tony Draper
59 Posted 16/09/2013 at 22:26:39
Original Poster Mark P

Thank You
Thank You deeply

As a response to your affirmation of Evertonianisn I have read all the statements above and my eyes have filled and my chest has swelled and I've looked at the veins in my arms and I've shaken my head in utter wonder

It does the soul a powerful good every now and then to recall and review just what a gift it is to be "Born A Blue"

Mark n Mwila, thanks lads. Deepest and sincerest thanks, thanks to you I have taken a long & loving look at my dearest love and have once again enjoyed the gift of Blu Blood

I offer this song written by a proper Evertonian with Blue Rhesus Positive blood
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV_LFUnjC0g

Paul Holden
60 Posted 16/09/2013 at 22:49:21
go to Youtube and tap in Everton v Manchester United semi final We're Forever Everton - it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Crank up the volume!
Carl Reid
61 Posted 16/09/2013 at 23:01:23
I have a friend in Oklahoma City who wears her Everton top with pride!
Si Cooper
62 Posted 16/09/2013 at 23:22:35
One of the joys of being a supporter of Everton is that sense of belonging to a prestigious and discerning group.

Becoming aware of the global 'family' that congregates on TW raises that feeling to a new level.

Vic Flange
63 Posted 16/09/2013 at 23:21:31
You were chosen, Mark. Just make sure you stock up on Just For Men, as Everton will send you grey before you know it.
Jamie Sweet
64 Posted 16/09/2013 at 23:33:42
A few posts on this thread have given me goosebumps. Si #771 just did it again.

It truely is a grand old team to support.

Phil Friedman
65 Posted 16/09/2013 at 23:40:39
Mark, sorry to arrive on this thread so late, but my experience is similar to yours (although in New York, not Texas). Two seasons ago, when my cable company started giving me the Premier League, I was hooked by the fantastic level of play (which I had heard of but never seen). Naturally I started looking for a team to follow. I tried the RS (not knowing any better, but they were showing a lot of their games), but it soon became apparent they had NO HEART whatsoever. But as they were defeating Everton in the Cup match, I felt myself being born an Evertonian...there is something about this team that just grows on you. I've become a loyal Blue, even making the pilgrimage to Goodison for the last match of last season, and to LA for the match against Real. What a tremendous Team--in the true sense of the word. (PS, I hate the Yankees, too.)
John Boyd
66 Posted 17/09/2013 at 00:54:16
Wow! What a splendidly written letter. So articulate, informative via your own sporting culture, and a pleasure to read. Most Evertonians--doesn't the very word when uttered ring loudly with class?--are born into following the club, so you are a special fan and especially welcome.
Will Floyd-Evans
67 Posted 17/09/2013 at 01:44:54
My Blue Epiphany came in January 2012 the night Tim Howard scored the goal. The thing popped up on Yahoo! and I spent about an hour or two, mesmerised, just running it over and over.

Watched some match hightlights the next day, and was instantly hooked. I just had this strange feeling that Everton had always been my favourite. If I was given to such thought, Id wonder if in a former life Id spent my Saturdays at Goodison, chanting and screaming with the lot.

That being said, BPL is becoming more popular in The Colonies than many realize. Here in Columbia, South Carolina, USA my oldest son nearly got into it with a mate wearing a LFC kit..

Danny McFlosum
68 Posted 17/09/2013 at 02:31:06
Great Post! I love hearing stories of how people found their EPL team, being that I'm a fellow American and had to go through the process of choosing a team. I was inundated 2 years ago, a week before the season and only had a look at an article over 6 years old explaining who to choose and why... I went with Arsenal.

I soon found that, after falling in love with the sport much like you, I watched any and all games on TV. I took a while to figure out that Arsenal just wasn't the team for me and that those boys in Blue who would fight you til the bitter end (ie they played like men while that Arsenal whined like little boys).

I was taken and had a very tough time making the decision to change (being that I grew up and still am a loyal cubs fan, I know all too much about loyalty) but I am so glad I did and I don't think you'll regret your decision like I did in choosing the wrong side.

On a side note, I had read many posts on TW and coincidentally saw what a scouser was today, I figured I would be offended but to my surprise I didn't need to be! Also I had my first chance to rub our most recent victory in a Chelsea fan's face today, boy, that felt great...

Chris Stubbs
69 Posted 17/09/2013 at 02:17:01
Welcome aboard. Following this great club is a privilege. I am so glad that on 1st April 1970 I was chosen to follow the team. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. My first match an evening kick-off with a huge result. That day started with my mum taking me to a department store in Birkenhead. She told that there was a lady working there whose "husband had something to do with Everton". She did not know what that was. My mum told me that her friend's name was Mrs Dean. She asked Mrs Dean if her husband was going to the match that night. She told Mrs Dean that I was going. "Bill goes to every match" Mrs Dean said.

It took me a little while to figure out who Mrs Dean was and who her husband was. On the way home I asked my mum is that lady Dixie Dean's wife. She said no. Mrs Dean's husband was called Bill. But I suspected differently. A few days later, I saw Mrs Dean again and I asked her. She nodded, but I don't think my mum ever knew who Mrs Dean was.

I fell in love with Everton on that day. A championship winning day. I just wish the club had more of a global reach. I now live in Singapore, working for a UK based bank which has "something to do with sponsoring the Premier League". Our office is opposite a big Standard Chartered Bank office. It saddens me to see how many Singaporeans blindly follow that other lot and also advertise one of my employer's competitors at the same time.

Jorge Rodrigues
70 Posted 17/09/2013 at 02:51:57
I will admit I am the same way as you when it came to choosing a team to support in the BPL. It was very tough for me since I narrowed my choices down to three teams: Everton, Southampton, and Tottenham (all the other ones I quickly eliminated based on my beliefs and values) since last season. So I decided to watch an entire league campaign for all three teams and in the end I decided that Everton was right for me. This revelation came around the time when Everton were starting pre-season this year and they were coming into the United States.

I am glad I made this decision because the fans are great when I finally made public my support of the Toffees, I felt good about it knowing that it was a tough decision, and I definitely wanted to show my loyalty so I decided to buy the home kit from last seasons campaign with Mirallas lettering. I am definitely excited and souped that I made the right decision because in the end it felt right (that gut feeling you have knowing that this is the right team to support through their ups and downs).

So Mark, welcome to the best supporters in the world knowing that I am also on the same boat as you in terms of being a new supporter of Everton.

Mark Pakulak
71 Posted 17/09/2013 at 03:09:07
Thanks again for the warm welcome to the Blues Family. I am truly inspired by many of the great comments and your thoughts on the team, and I truly understand that I was led to choose the ONLY team worth supporting! As many of you stated, I was born Blue...........but it just took me nearly 50 years to realize it. Cheers!
Jamie Crowley
72 Posted 17/09/2013 at 03:27:19
Mark-

I just read this...

Absolutely a fantastic read! Your story is so incredibly parallel to mine. I live in Florida and always wanted to see what that "football" was all about. 7 years ago I experienced my calling...

Your article had me in stitches. I actually called the wife into the room so I could read it aloud to her. I sympathize and understand everything you said - it's my story with a Texas twist.

One of the reasons Everton appealed to me was the loyalty / fealty of the fans. I was born in Boston and take my sports way too seriously. I detest - detest - bandwagon jumpers. American sports fans easily disgust me with their wishy-washy approach to a commitment that should be stronger than a marriage vow. You'll never find a group of better, more knowledgable, loyal fans (supporters).

Stay on TW! The amount I've learned about this game from this site is simply enormous.

Welcome aboard from a Yank in FL who hopes to see you on this site frequently! There's very few of us. Great to have you, and congratulations!

You did not choose. You were chosen.

A gift from above. Be thankful. Be proud.

I fucking love Everton Football Club.

Jackie Barry
73 Posted 17/09/2013 at 04:24:03
This is an awesome read and makes me feel so much better about the way I pushed Everton onto my nephews. Coming from the UK and now living in the US has been an experience for me too, I had an image of American sports and to be fair most of that image has been completely changed. I have been to a few baseball games, watched some football (although I still call it fake football due to most of the game not being played with your feet), Ice Hockey (which I love) but my favourite is basketball. One thing about you Americans is that you are so darn friendly and I am blown away by the hospitality I have been shown. I love my homeland but I will not be moving back, not for long time any way. Welcome aboard and get the message around to your friends about Everton FC, we could be huge in the US!
Jackie Barry
74 Posted 17/09/2013 at 04:35:13
The other thing I forgot to mention is the things you guys do over here during half time, we seriously could learn a few things from you in that department. You make it a real family event.
Paul Ferry
75 Posted 17/09/2013 at 05:24:27
Eugene - 621 - pure poetry mate pure poetry

621 should be a banner on this site

Poetry

Alan Williams
76 Posted 17/09/2013 at 09:30:52
Great and humbling read and sometimes we forget just how lucky we are to be a blue so articles like this just make you feel good about yourself and, Football Politics aside, we are all together on things like this.

EFC American fans should always pick Everton, we have some strong connections with American Baseball, my Dad played for EFC in the 60s and Goodison was their home ground until they moved to Bellefield. The Great Dixie Dean was a great ball player and if you get the chance to visit Bootle Stadium you can see pictures and a bat from the era. Today, this team still remains and were National Champions in the second tier of Baseball 2011-12; visit www.liverpooltrojans.co.uk and click on the history you may even see pictures of me with hair in the archives!

Mike #553, I played baseball for 25 years, even got to the GB side at youth and adult level, but I never had a US team and I too had a short list of LAD and NYM. I chose the METS after Mr Gibson hit that famous HR to win the WS in the eighties I think it was.

Paul #723. I live in the South these days and I get asked that question all the time most times they guess EFC! EFC and its fans have a great amount of respect from other fans. On Saturday, I will be at WHU with loads of locals and blues too but they all love EFC and most of them have us as their second team which is strange as we always beat them these days but they see us as a real club with real fans.

You will also find the opposite for the Red Shite, hated by many fans due to the arrogance and their total lack of respect to all things other than themselves and most people take great pride when they lose.

Mike Doyle
77 Posted 17/09/2013 at 17:14:22
Mark -

Your bravery in admitting that you are a Texan supporting Everton gave me the courage to join Toffee Web this morning. I live in Arlington and have been supporting the real Blues since January 2012 when I discovered Fox Soccer Channel.

I was drawn to the team immediately, due to the fact that they featured two Americans (Howard and Donovan).

I performed my due diligence and ruled out a number of clubs based upon geographic location, kit color, likelihood of relegation, and recent success (I didn't want to be labeled a bandwagoner!). In the end, Everton were victorious and they are now stuck with me.

Ian Burns
78 Posted 17/09/2013 at 17:36:06
Hi Mark, as always I am a little late coming to the post. I can never find me gin and I get held up.

What a terrific article and it certainly brought a lump to my throat. I would also like to welcome you to the EFC family - it is a special family and prepare yourself for a roller coaster of a ride.

I saw my first game in the late 1950's, so I've been around for a long time and I know what you have let yourself in for but I could never imagine life without it.

As somebody said earlier, there are arseholes on this site but they are our EFC arseholes and if anybody outside of EFC calls them arseholes, they have the family to answer to.

Welcome Mark, you are now one of a very special family.

Roberto Granelli
79 Posted 17/09/2013 at 18:31:09
What a wonderful thread, guys. One of the best ever. Mark you probably heard the roar when Naismith scored even where you are! I think you now know, that's it for you. There is no turning back, and you will never want to.

Nil Satis, Nisi Optimum" is always going to the motto and we all know it.

God bless you Mark and all the rest of you guys
Roberto

Colin Glassar
80 Posted 17/09/2013 at 19:05:02
Nice to see so many yanks supporting the boys in blue. IMO its not enough just supporting the team you have to become a missionary as well. You need to spread the word and convert at least three (3) pagans to the cause. The US of A is ripe for conversion so go out there and paint your country/state blue. Oh, and warn any potential rs fans about the danger of Mordor and the dark side.
Mike Green
81 Posted 17/09/2013 at 19:38:21
Alan #828 - I raise a glass to you on all counts! We must think alike.

I'll be there on Saturday too but as a guest so will have to mind my p's and q's. Have a great afternoon, we've certainly been their bogie team in recent years at Upton Park so I go full of 'optimism' :)

Cheers.

Conor Skelly
82 Posted 17/09/2013 at 19:40:38
I love how you describe Utd as an evil empire because that is exactly what they are. Welcome to the family, friend. Not the franchise. Where one Evertonian is worth ten gobshites and a thousand mancs.
Darren Hind
83 Posted 17/09/2013 at 19:59:33
Welcome Mark


Phil Bellis -a few I hadnt heard there, any more?

Ian Maher
84 Posted 17/09/2013 at 20:23:54
Mark, can you drop me an email to igmaher@msn.com.

Cheers.

Andrew James
85 Posted 17/09/2013 at 22:18:45
Interesting what has been said about our fans always being interested and knowledgeable. But it is true. I know 3 fans down here in the South, all separately, and get them onto the Toffees and that's it...the conversation will go on and on and on.

RS "fans" meet and apart from the fact they're wearing that horrible shirt, they have no other connection because they know nothing about their squad, their history, their traditions.

I know some of these jokers and when I asked them who Bob Paisley was they didn't have a clue...truly poor form. That's like us not knowing who Catterick or Kendal are.

We are a truly great club, not a corporate brand, a global piece of tat, we are a proper club. Yes, we're not winning trophies at this point in time but we are mature enough to get past that because it was the same in the 1950's or the 1970's after Catterick went. We will again. It might be another decade but our long and great history is just that. It's a story that keeps being added to. When it does, it'll be that more enjoyed and that more special.

Jamie Crowley
86 Posted 17/09/2013 at 23:07:30
Colin at 914 -

I agree wholeheartedly that Americans need to be missionaries for Everton.

Everyone I know knows of Everton because they know I watch them religiously.

At 40 years of age I decided to actually try to play footie - never had touched a ball before. I drafted 12 guys up and "managed" a team, all friends, who are much better than I. Name of my merry little team in the Over 40 8 v 8 A flight?

Grand Ol Team. Yes, replete with jerseys bearing the crest.

You can never pimp Everton too much IMO.

Also, my entire family is from Boston, and rabid Red Sox fans. I've told all of them - 18 cousins, 12 Aunts and Uncles, second cousins, you name it... Under no circumstances can they root for Liverpool despite New England Sports Ventures owning them. I told them I'd never speak to them again. It's worked - a few were going to start watching the Shite. Now they only ask about and occasionally watch Everton. They were warned of the dark path and chose light. Not rabid fans mind you, but at least they're not idiots...

Boston Blues have to shout very, very loud...

Paul Ferry
87 Posted 17/09/2013 at 23:28:08
Keep up the good work Brother Crowley
Tony Draper
88 Posted 17/09/2013 at 23:30:17
Darren (925)
Some 2-3 years back I began collecting such with a project in mind
To my shame I got sidelined and they are stuck on a hard-drive of a disfunctional laptop........but possibly are on some back-up disks

Some great stuff too
And not by any means all by Evertonians
Including Graeme Sounness who I believe was the originator of "Everton the Peoples Club on Merseyside"
Ex leader of the Labour Party Michael Foot

And very tellingly some from Bill Shankly

I'll dig out the disks and attempt to get the old laptop to fire up once more

Failing that, I'll start from scratch

Personally, nothing comes even close to Alan Balls "Once Everton has touched you nothing will be the same"
I cried buckets when we sold him, and so did he

Brendan Connolly
89 Posted 18/09/2013 at 00:14:41
Mark .... and Jamie Crowley. Your tales are virtually identical to two American guys I spoke to separately on the pre-season in the US. They had both gone through similarly thorough 'due dilligence' in selecting their "Soccer team for life".

It makes me feel really proud that our club fits the bill. Welcome on board.

Harold Matthews
90 Posted 18/09/2013 at 01:50:41
Thanks Mark, Mwila, Jorge, Scott ,Mike, Phil, Tony, Jamie, Danny, Peter, Chris, Will, Julian, Brendan and all the TW regulars. Your beautifully written posts are a credit to yourselves and this great club.
Tonight I feel the warmth of a very special family. God bless you all.
Julian Wait
91 Posted 18/09/2013 at 03:25:22
Eugene #621. I second Paul Ferry, very beautiful words well suited to the OP. However also worthy of it's own post. (Perhaps one small not-so-wafer-thin small addition for my youth : Latchford's 30. After all, 30 was the new 60 in the 70's ... :-/ )
Eugene Ruane
92 Posted 18/09/2013 at 08:55:25
Julian (969) - You're absolutely 100% right. Definitely remiss of me not to have selected 'Choose Latchford's 30' Don't know how I missed it - the man was a god to me (in fact he even looked like a rather portly Jesus).
Chris Stubbs
93 Posted 18/09/2013 at 11:47:37
Alan @ 828
My mum knew nothing about Everton but she did say she went to Goodison Park once during the war and watched Babe Ruth score a home run in an exhibition baseball match played there.

Can you (or anyone) confirm that Goodison Park actually hosted exhibition baseball games at that time? My mum died last year, but was always a bit hazy about this event.

If true, we can actually say that Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and others followed a tradition of great Americans playing at Goodison.

Jeremy Denton
94 Posted 18/09/2013 at 12:52:23
Mark....welcome from an Evertonian from Indiana! My family and I made roughly the same journey about three years ago, and have never regretted our choosing, and supporting the Blues.

Have we found our "calling" frustrating at times? Yes.... even so we have truly enjoyed the ups and downs, the early Saturday morning games, listening to total football on the BBC iPlayer,and talking football, in front of other people who tilt their heads in wonderment like they are watching zoo animals.

Thank you for your words of discovery... Everton is going to be well worth the wait!

Julian Wait
95 Posted 18/09/2013 at 14:09:23
Here is a great link to a story about "Babe and Dixie" (that has a certain je ne sais quoi to it, no?), unfortunately set at WHL:

http://www.dixies60.com/2011/05/05/happy-anniversary-dixie/

Alan Williams
96 Posted 18/09/2013 at 17:31:11
Chris, 028. Go on the Liverpool Trojans website www.liverpooltrojans.co.uk and email the club putting the question to a Mr Norman Wells who will know if its true. My Dad played against some of the American Air Bases and they always sent over ringers in the big games and its very possible. John Moores used to pay for all this and he tried to get Baseball as a UK summer sport so he could have betting pools on them, similar to the football side. Good Luck
Mike Gaynes
97 Posted 18/09/2013 at 19:27:58
Loved your article, Mark. I became an American Everton fan the same way you did, only it was 25 years ago. I dismissed all the frontrunners for the same reason you did. And in addition to spirit and unity of the club, I was attracted to the blue... the same blue worn by my beloved Chicago Cubs, another legendary team that doesn't hoist much silverware.

Welcome to our little corner of insanity.

Darren Hind
98 Posted 18/09/2013 at 20:23:49
Tony Draper, You too?

I started a few weeks back, I printed the "Evertonians are born, not manufactured" quote, laminated it and stuck it on the wall behind my desk in work. I thought my Swedish boss wouldnt get it and would ask me to take it down, but he loved it. Next up was Bally's "once Everton has touched you" quote. My boss loved that too.
The sales reps (all RS) pretended not to notice, but I could tell they hated it. Labbys " One Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians" soon followed and me little collection was starting to grow.

I was running out until I saw Phil's post. the Dr France quote went up today, so did the Premier League Owl one he quoted.

I love it when one of the sales reps has to come and see me, my walls a fucking plastered and the silly bastards are still pretending not to notice

Tony Draper
99 Posted 18/09/2013 at 20:48:10
My Evertonianism is different, but certainly not more important

Dad & Grandad are/were Blues

We'd go to my Grandparents place in Grandison Avenue, Walton and eat dinner as a family and I'd get spoiled as my Dad, their only son's eldest

Then at some time they'd put on their overcoats and Grandad would put on his hat, and they'd make their way off

I'd follow them out and they'd close the front gate and tousle my hair before heading off up towards Queens Drive and the Cherry Lane gate to the cemetery. Back then my eyes were so sharp that I could pick them out all the way to "the gates", and if it was sunny and the crowds were right, I'd maybe see them a long way after

Well, that's how I remember it, who I actually spotted is anyones guess

Back then in the late 50's n early 60's kids didn't get to choose radio stations (plus Mum & Gran were too busy talking) so I have no idea if there was any match coverage at all

So I'd stand on the lower cross-brace of the gate and listen
Listen
To the Goodison Roar

From about a mile away I'd try to interpret the "Ooooohs !" and "Aaaaahs !", always with optimistic interpretation

Then when the crowd made no further noise I'd "gate hang" again, awaiting Dad n Grandad and their "match reports and evaluations"

Eventually the longing had grown from just missing Dad n Grandad to the ache that only eases when I enter "God's Acre"

Not by any means my first game, but by God the most memorable recollection was my first night match......

Walking up those steps into the floodlight paradise of Goodison Park
FFS !
I'd swap every single day from then to now just to do that again for the very first time !
A Viking entering Valhalla !

The smell of beer on their breath
"Woodies" smoke wafting in the damp air
Damp overcoats wrapped over the bar in the Paddock "for the little feller to sit on"
And the same damp overcoats emanating the inimitable odour of damp wool
They made their impression
BUT
The smell of the hallowed turf
The Blueish White Floodlights
Z-Cars

Jesus Christ Almighty

Baptism

Nothing
Nothing could ever grip me so deeply

My name is Tony Draper
I'm an Evertonian

Tony Draper
100 Posted 18/09/2013 at 21:16:58
Darren (113)
I will dig these out mate, please don't hold yer breath (I am a notoriously unreliable bugger......well intended....but unreliable)

Last I recall I had about 3 pages of a word doc full of quotations
I'd tried not to repeat stuff and some I'd kept simply because of who had said them and others like Bally & Labby & William Ralph for their sheer adoration

My personal favourite Everton related quote is a handwritten one in my copy of "Dixie", the quote written by Joe Mercer on the train from Euston on the evening of the '84 FA Cup Final victory (I carried Gentleman Joe & his delightful wife Lily's cases)

That evening, on the train, I spent about an hour in Joe's company, at his wife's behest, don't think I've EVER been happier in my whole life, or ever felt more welcome

Please never ask me just what it means to be an Evertonian
Because in all honesty, if I lived another hundred lifetimes I'm sure that I could not even begin to scratch the surface

Though there are 4 instances which may help
Andy Kings Derby goal 1978 (58mins)
The "Water Walking" Bobby Latchfords 30th
Kevin Sheedy scoring the same free kick TWICE TWICE in seperate top corners
And THAT Trevor Steven goal against Bayern

THAT ! WAS ! FOOTBALL !

John Ford
101 Posted 18/09/2013 at 21:25:26
Nice one Tony.

Welcome Mwila, and you Mark, a great read. Part of me even wishes you'd chosen someone else, just a small part of me because it would be the comfortable option and I know there will be pain somewhere around the corner. Like being a David Bowie fan in the 1980s or a socialist in the new millennium.

Enjoy being a blue. There is substance to it.

Julian Wait
102 Posted 19/09/2013 at 02:27:51
Tony, I had the pleasure of witnessing in person all four of those moments. I think my favourite was actually Sheedy, he is my favourite player of all time (we're both members of the USLFF - Union of Slowish Left Footed Footballers) :-)
Harold Matthews
103 Posted 19/09/2013 at 01:34:19
I was 10 when I saw my first games straight after the war and can't remember much about them, but I do recall seeing Frank Swift, Billy Wright and Raich Carter. I had to go across the park to see my hero Stanley Matthews but he was carried off after being kicked. Needless to say, I never went near the place again. I never saw Billy Dean play but I once sat behind him on the number 10 bus.

The greatest memories from those days were the huge crowds. Massive queues for the ferryboats which were definitely overloaded and the thousands upon thousands jamming into the trams just up from the landing stage. Not sure, but we must have had round the 70,000 mark in those days.

Funny thing was. I never knew a Red. All my family, my friends, the neighbours in Rock Ferry, the whole school, the people in church, the nuns, the local bobby.....Everyone was Blue. We also supported Tranmere of course and I was there when 19,000 packed Prenton Park in 1953 and we held the mighty Spurs to a 1-1 draw. I wangled an under 16 ticket from the office manager who was surrounded by newspaper hacks and a large caricature of yours truly featured on the back page of the Daily Express. Think it was drawn by a guy called Roy Ullyett. Wonder how I can get a copy of it. At the time, I was 6' tall, nearly 18 and needing a shave but the cartoonist depicted me as an old man wearing a blazer and school cap asking for an under 16 ticket. What a laugh.

Anyway. I'm beginning to ramble. Good night folks. It's great to be Blue.

Paul Maguire
104 Posted 19/09/2013 at 08:21:03
1971 F A Cup Semi-Final - that was when the Toffees chose me. Great read, Mark.
By the way four goals is a haul, five goals is a glut. Unofficially.
Kev Johnson
105 Posted 19/09/2013 at 08:24:19
Hello Harold. I had a bit of a look around for you and I found that the Daily Express have an online archive...

http://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/?sf=express

Here's the paper for the day of the match, 10 Jan 1953:

http://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/open/simpleSearch.jsp?is=1

Here's the paper for the day after, which is probably the one you want:

http://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/open/simpleSearch.jsp?is=1

As you can see, it's necessary to register on the site to see enlarged, readable versions of the pages. If you do that, you'll be able to have a look at the illustration you're talking about. It might be possible to order a copy of that issue, I'm not sure. If you potter around the site (or ring them) you'll find out. If you do track down the illustration, maybe you could post it on TW? I'd love to see it! Cheers, KJ

Peter Mills
106 Posted 19/09/2013 at 09:13:47
Mark, Mwila and others. If you go to the top of this article, click on "Fan Articles" for the 2012-2013 season and scroll down to 24 August 2012, you will find a piece entitled "The Last Game: Life, Death, Family and Football". I am biased as it was written by my nephew about my father, but it will give you some insight into what following Everton is about for many families.

The author, James Corbett, makes reference to the fact that many people now select their team by picking up a remote control and watching TV. It's clear from your posts that doing that very thing has been part of the process you have followed. But importantly you have carried out a much wider due-diligence into our club, and you are in for the long haul. Embrace it, you are are all very welcome.

Harold Matthews
107 Posted 19/09/2013 at 12:06:06
Cheers Kev. I was thinking of ringing them up as it is a good story, especially as I am now the dead spit of the old codger in the cartoon.
Robert Workman
108 Posted 19/09/2013 at 19:44:16
I read this article a few days ago. Was very impressed, but would have been interested to see some of the criteria for rejecting other Prem teams.

I sent it to a massive Prem fan - a relative of mine currently living in Canada and benefitting from increased NBC coverage.

He has "followed" a few teams over recent years, without being a fan. He dislikes the redshite and is not fond of Man Utd.
However I have yet to receive a response from him, so doubt that he will sign up as an Evertonian. Still waiting.....still hoping...

Harold Matthews
109 Posted 20/09/2013 at 00:20:30
Kev.

Found it: Daily Mirror 8 January 1953. Headlines:

"Cup fever is making grandad a boy again but he won't get further than the gate". The cartoon is there but too blurred to make out. I also do not have a printer etc. Will have to buy the paper. Been at it all day and spent 12.
Harold Matthews
110 Posted 20/09/2013 at 00:33:23
Robert. Sounds like your friend was born to be blue.
Robert Workman
111 Posted 20/09/2013 at 09:06:24
I sent my relative the above link to my comment, to which he replied that he has already added Everton as one of the teams that he will follow - "I like the current coach and team as a whole"
Phil Bellis
112 Posted 20/09/2013 at 09:40:27
Darren Hind (925)

Like Tony, I've collected quotes over the years; when I come home for the West Ham game, I'll post them.

One I can recall but can't find was from George Best, along the lines of "If you don't want to play for Everton, then you don't want to play football."

Barry Rathbone
113 Posted 20/09/2013 at 10:37:21
Welcome aboard, mate. If you ever make it across, enjoy the experience but if any merchant seamen ask if you want to see the "golden rivet" down the docks, just say no.
Phil Bellis
114 Posted 21/09/2013 at 01:30:24
The view every Saturday that we have of a more perfect world, a world that has got a pattern and is finite. And thats Alex The Golden Vision.
Danny Blanchflower

Goodison was raucous in 2005. On Monday it was booming. A wall of noise greeted the final whistle. At the same time a few Everton players collapsed in exhaustion. The ones that stayed on their feet joined in the singing. They were there.
v Man Utd Aug 2013

The Great Man
I cringe when I think of what anyone would have to pay for a player like him at todays prices. I knew him and I am a better man for knowing him. We will never see his like again.
Bob Paisley, 1980


My job was to get the ball into the net as quickly as I possibly could and as many times as I possibly could
W R Dean

Someone might get more than 60. But Id like to pass on my old spirit. Just the spirit. If I could do that then I think someone could creep up there somehow and score those goals.
Who could ever have seen him play and not seen greatness? He hit the ball with his head as hard and as accurate as most players could kick it. Defences were close to panic when corners came over. There cannot be another. If there could be, the new Dixie would still score a great pile of goals. He would out-jump, out-time any defender or any number they could pack into the area. He was a thorough sportsman. To play against him was a delight and a nightmare.

When Dixie went up for the ball, he was almost unstoppable. Defenders were absolutely terrified of him.'

Matt Busby


"This is England, this is Everton , this is Dean...oh dear"
Matt Busby (on arrival from Scotland, aged 17)


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