My First Match

Kieron Sloan 03/08/2016 20comments  |  Jump to last

Everton 1 - 1 Manchester City (4 November 1967)

My dad had taken me to reserve matches, at both Goodison and Anfield. He knew, however, that I wanted to go to a first team match. Perhaps the day that made up his mind was in September of that year, when, sat in the stand, at Anfield, watching Liverpool Reserves, I only had ears for the crowd, across Stanley Park, at Goodison Park. Everton raced into a 3-0 half time lead, against Wolves. The cheering, and singing, of the crowd could be heard, loud and long, at the home of the old enemy. Everton would go on to win 4-2, and I would go on to remind my dad of exactly how much I wanted to go to a first team match.

Perhaps there was another reason why he took me to my first “big” match. You see, as good as our family life was in Formby (having moved there, in 1965, from Liverpool), my mum and dad wanted more for their young brood (there were 5 kids, aged 3 to 12). Australia was underpopulated. There was a need for more people, especially with young families, to provide demand for domestically produced products, and labour for their growing manufacturing and service sectors.

We fitted the bill perfectly. Mum and dad knew that there may never be a better opportunity to secure the futures of the family. Moves were underway to turn us into £10 Poms. It looked like we were going to be emigrating to Australia. If dad was going to take me to a match, perhaps now was the time.


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So, on a cold, grey afternoon, in early November, I left, with him, on a journey back into Liverpool. We drove through the streets of Kirkdale, past the bonfires, waiting to become the focal points of many Guy Fawkes celebrations, later that evening, and on to Westminster Road Police Station. There we parked up, at my dad's place of work. It was going to be huge match. Everton vs Manchester City. A great first fixture to go to.

We made our way to the ground, through the vast crowds. The sights, sounds and smells overwhelmed my senses. Once inside, I took up my position, on a box, against the perimeter wall, under the shadow of the main stand. 'Baby Now That I’ve Found You' boomed away, on the tannoy. The Foundations were high up in the charts. The music mix was intoxicating and, as kick-off approached, the atmosphere started to build. I had heard nothing like it before, and my body was not prepared for the battering that it was about to receive.

Yet, I never missed any of the action. I watched, in a trance-like state. My ears were 'ringing', thanks to the chanting, the clapping, the singing, oh, and the swearing! Manchester City were a good team. They would go on to win the league that season. The action was end to end, with defences often stretched, as they attempted to thwart their attacking opponents.

And then it happened. Manchester City took a first half lead. Dad checked that I was okay. I was. There was plenty of time to go. Then Everton received a lifeline. Penalty! Up stepped Alan Ball. He missed the target by some distance. For the first time, I was close to tears.

Dad allowed me to go to the toilet, without him, at half time. One thing that surprised me was the number of Manchester City fans, using the same toilets. They were sharing banter with the Everton supporters, and joking about how bad the penalty kick was. I found my way back to my dad, and my box, just in time for the second half. Everton were attacking the Park End, not their favoured direction in the second half of matches.

Ernie Hunt, my neighbour, from the very next street, scored the equalising goal. Was he offside? I don’t know. However, his goal gave Everton a 1-1 draw, in the last Everton match that I would go to, in a day less than six years. A very tired, and happy, ten year old returned to Formby, for his Bonfire Night celebrations.

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Reader Comments (20)

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Graham Reed
1 Posted 04/08/2016 at 18:03:56
Kieron, you may already know this but there are a couple of minutes of this match shown at the beginning of 'The Golden Vision' film which I think you can watch on YouTube. Incidentally the No,11 seen in the footage is Aiden Maher in his only first-team appearance.
Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 04/08/2016 at 18:11:11
Mick Davies
3 Posted 04/08/2016 at 19:02:44
You beat me by a month; Sunderland 23/12/67. It was a night match and the atmosphere, the lush green turf in the floodlights and that crisp evening air all made it so special . . oh and a 3-0 win helped too. I'm sure Young played that night, although he was in the closing stages of his glorious Everton career
Patrick Murphy
4 Posted 04/08/2016 at 19:12:26
Alex Young played in both games Mick (3).
Everton v Sunderland 67
Everton v City 67
Brin Williams
5 Posted 04/08/2016 at 19:32:15
Drowning in nostalgia - the best is yet to come - nothing will be the same!!!

COYB ffs.

Steve Hogan
7 Posted 04/08/2016 at 20:27:22
Fantastic colourful report, I only wish I could recall my first game from around the same era with my older brother.

Remember Alex Scott (Chico) getting some Osman like 'stick' from the crowd though, some things never change. We used to walk back along Priory Rd, to Breck Rd to get the no 14 bus back to Croxteth.

Did your family ever make it to Australia at the time Kieron, I remember quite a few families from my childhood did get the boat, a six week journey I seem to recall?

Mick Davies
9 Posted 05/08/2016 at 00:20:25
Patrick @ 4, thanks mate, I was sure I'd seen the Golden Vision. Steve @ 7, my eldest brother took me, and, another coincidence, he emigrated to Australia for £10 not long after, and as my arl fella was a kopite, I had to wait a few years before some older friends took me in the boys pen (didn't see BK in there) and I watched us win the league in there
Rick Tarleton
10 Posted 05/08/2016 at 19:57:05
My first game was Everton v Plymouth Argyle in our promotion year (53-4). We won 8-4 and Dave Hickson became my hero. I came from a family of reds, but I converted on the spot. hundreds of games later I haven't seen another twelve goal thriller , I once saw an eleven goal game against Cardiff in the very early sixties.
Stephen Ashton
11 Posted 06/08/2016 at 10:43:23
I actually can't remember my first game - I'm told it was Everton v Sheff Weds in December 1960 we won 4-2 and Roy Vernon scored a hat trick. I know these things because I have the programme and my Dad has written in it.

Funnily enough I can remember my next two games away at Burnley on Boxing Day 1960 and perhaps someone can confirm but I think we played them at Goodison the next day. Those two games were my Christmas present. I have the programme from the away game but not the home. My Dad said that there were 75,000 at the home game and they ran out of programmes. I do remember standing on a milk crate in the old Goodison Road to watch us go down 3-0.

Martin Nicholls
12 Posted 06/08/2016 at 11:00:33
Stephen - confirmed! We won 3-1 at Turf Moor on Boxing Day and lost 3-0 at home following day. As your Dad noted, there were just under 75,000 at Goodison on 27th - 44,000 at Turf Moor where Bingham, Collins (pen) andHarris scored.
Stephen Ashton
13 Posted 06/08/2016 at 12:47:49
Thanks Martin.

How times have changed. Imagine the outcry if the current lot were asked to play two days in a row.

Damian Wilde
14 Posted 07/08/2016 at 14:45:01
Nice article :)

Playing two days on the bounce, love it!

Paul Hughes
18 Posted 07/08/2016 at 18:09:39
September 2nd 1972 for me. 1-0 v West Brom. I can remember Joe Royle scrambling the ball over the line at the Street End.

My memory doesn't deceive me, it was on MotD that night, so a YouTube record remains.

Paul Tran
19 Posted 07/08/2016 at 22:13:57
Derby County at Goodison 1971. Me Dad walked me up and down Goodison Road to soak up the atmosphere. I'll never forget my first sight of that pitch and the stadium rocking when Whittle scored. Pity they equalised. No matter how bad we play, I'm envious of you folks lucky enough to go each game.
Ray Robinson
20 Posted 07/08/2016 at 22:26:01
November 18, 1961. Won 1-0 against Blackburn Rovers and Roy Vernon scored the winner. My dad was a Red. How did that happen? Never allowed any straying with my two kids - both committed Blues!
Chris Williams
21 Posted 07/08/2016 at 22:42:52
My first match was February 1954 in our promotion season against Blackburn for a 6th birthday present, although my dad lifted me over the turnstile so I got in free.

1-1 Dave Hickson. I remember nothing except the goal and the noise and smell and the smoking and some swearing but not by my dad.

I remember better the party in our house in Walton at the end of the season when we got promoted and the shite were relegated. I think I had a weak shandy but in my mind it was finest champagne.

Still going to Goodison and living in hope for a Renaissance. Maybe this time.

Tamhas Woods
22 Posted 08/08/2016 at 11:24:49
Everton 3-2 Leicester on the 20th December 2003.

Most recent match? Everton 2-3 Leicester on the 19th December 2015.

Ian Burns
23 Posted 08/08/2016 at 20:16:21
Stephen - 11 - I was at that game. Roy Vernon was absolutely fantastic, scored a penalty if I recall. The next day The People gave him a 10 out of 10 - first time I had ever seen a 10 out of 10 and it has remained with me ever since.

My first game - for the record - was in the late 1950's - Everton vs Charlton Athletic in a FA Cup Replay which we won 4-1. It was thick with fog and the Daily Express the next day's headline was "The Greatest Game Never Seen".

I was in the Boy's Pen but I don't remember seeing you know who!

Brian Denton
24 Posted 11/08/2016 at 09:54:56
Paul (18) it doesn't necessarily follow that just because a match from the sixties/early seventies was on MotD, it will turn up on YouTube. Alas the BBC and ITV destroyed an incredible amount of their television recording from that era. Survival is a matter of pure luck.

Most of my childhood television has been wiped. You can find in-depth info at if anyone is interested.

I've been most annoyed by the fact that a close-up of 9-year-old me and my friend on the pitch at Blackpool in 1967 (won 1-0) was on ITV but erased.

Dave Abrahams
25 Posted 15/08/2016 at 09:18:42
My first Everton game was against Arsenal on 13 March 1948, that should have told me what the future was for me watching Everton. Beware the Ides of March. I was too young to realise...

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