A couple of months ago I posted an article about my decision to make my first-ever visit to Goodison to see the Blues in person.

I'm happy to say that my health has remained strong and the trip has come together perfectly. I depart in 24 hours and several of our most enduring ToffeeWebbers are waiting to greet me and squire me around when I get to Liverpool. (Many thanks again Peter Mills, Keith Harrison and Rob Halligan!) Others have contributed great advice. I could not feel more welcome.

In between the two games I'm going to see (Leicester and Burnley), I'll be touring Scotland by train to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Fort William and Mallaig and the loveliness of Edinburgh. I'd enjoy meeting and sharing a pint with any TWers in those areas. (And thanks to Paul Thompson and Paul Tran for their guidance on things to see and do in Edinburgh.) If you're up that way and would like to meet up with a wandering Yank, please respond.


Reader Comments (68)

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Kev Johnson
1 Posted 05/04/2017 at 23:20:22
Mike, we're you sitting at the game?
Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 06/04/2017 at 06:29:03
For Leicester, it's the Park End, Kev: PE2, row EE.
Paul Tran
4 Posted 06/04/2017 at 08:14:21
Mike, I'm definitely working up here all next week. Ironically working longer days on calls with folk in the US! I'm three hours from Fort William and four from Edinburgh, so I won't be able to make that pint.

Make sure you get stuck into the seafood at Mallaig after the great train journey. There are countless excellent pubs in Edinburgh, feel free to ask for recommendations.

Have a great time in the Pool and Scotland. If we get six points, I'm sure we'll club together for the air fare to bring the lucky mascot back!

Kev Johnson
5 Posted 06/04/2017 at 10:34:39
Mike, as you know the game kicks off at 4:00 pm. I will be at the ground at around 2:00-ish, if you can meet me at Dixie Dean's statue for say 3:00 pm.

I'll have a Everton tracksuit on with a black Chang sweatshirt with the number 11 on the front . Don't forget your camera 🎥 – I'll take no more than 15 minutes of your time.

Rob Halligan
6 Posted 06/04/2017 at 10:58:25
Safe journey over, Mike, and I'll meet you in Lime Street at 13:00. I will put your name on a piece of paper, like they do at airports, to help us meet up. I will however, be stood the other side of the ticket barrier.

I will be able to stay with you for a couple of hours to help you get to your hotel and maybe grab a couple of lunchtime pints.

Martin Nicholls
7 Posted 06/04/2017 at 11:13:40
Enjoy your trip, Mike.

At Watford earlier in the season, we met a guy (Joe Elworthy) who'd travelled from Vancouver for a couple of games – that game was a downer for him (and us) but he also took in the Arsenal game making his trip a good one. Hope you see the Mighty Blues take all 6 points!

Should you be in the area of the Saddle pub (Fountains Road/Sessions Road) prior to either game, call in and ask around for me – would love to meet you and buy you a couple of pints! I'll be in there two hours before kick off for both games.

Martin Nicholls
8 Posted 06/04/2017 at 11:16:33
ps: No "chancers" to come in posing as Mike in the hope of getting a few free pints! I can tell a scouse accent from an American one!!!!
Brent Stephens
9 Posted 06/04/2017 at 11:21:04
Martin ask him what subjects he did at school. If he says Math, you're fine.

Mike, enjoy the experience, mate. And bring us luck.

Ray Roche
10 Posted 06/04/2017 at 11:36:02
Brent, or if he can't pronounce "aluminium" ;-)
Brent Stephens
11 Posted 06/04/2017 at 11:49:58
Ray, I don't know how reliable this is but interesting:
Martin Nicholls
12 Posted 06/04/2017 at 22:15:49
Brent and Ray - good advice! Thanks lads.
Tony Hill
13 Posted 06/04/2017 at 22:19:03
Hope you have a wonderful time, Mike. How can you not?
Dean Adams
14 Posted 06/04/2017 at 22:26:01
Won't be there, Mike, but you will enjoy meeting Rob, Keith and Davie.
Rob Halligan
15 Posted 07/04/2017 at 17:22:13
Met Mike this afternoon at Lime Street. Really nice fella. Booked him into his hotel then made a beeline for the Everton Two shop in Liverpool One!!

Dropped him back at his hotel at 3:45 as he was clearly taking the knock. Don't think he will be out of bed too long!!

See you Sunday morning, Mike, if you manage to see this.

Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 07/04/2017 at 19:56:52
Thanks, all. Happy to be here and already being shown around by Rob.

Kevin, will try to meet you if the tour guides can make it happen.

Martin, I'll be at the Windsor on Sunday but if I can make it over to the Saddle next weekend I will.


Martin Nicholls
17 Posted 08/04/2017 at 07:21:22
OK Mike - enjoy!
Peter Warren
18 Posted 08/04/2017 at 07:29:19
Enjoy, Mike – great weather this weekend too. Go see the Liver Birds what our owner just bought and mooch around, what a city. There's Sefton Park's Food and Beer Festival I think next weekend too. Great choice to go to Edinburgh – my favourite city. Enjoy
Darren Hind
19 Posted 08/04/2017 at 08:49:33
Welcome, Mike.

Looking at your seat, you'll be quite close to the Leicester fans. As you know, they are going great guns in the Champions League. Their fans are in dreamland and will be making a lot of noise.

Good Atmosphere guaranteed, weather unseasonably good, lets hope you get the treble with a win.

Rob H, If EFC ever decide they want "official" ambassadors, you will be getting my vote.

Nice one – again

Rob Halligan
20 Posted 08/04/2017 at 09:04:02
Cheers, Darren. Just need to arrange a get together with you now for a pint or two!!
Colin Glassar
21 Posted 08/04/2017 at 09:10:50
You going to watch the gee gees Mike? Tons of fit looking birds there. Enjoy.
Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 08/04/2017 at 09:12:29
Was just going to say something similar to Rob, after reading that Darren. You are in safe hands, Mike, hope you have a great time.

The best way to see Liverpool is to go down the pier head and get on the river cruise, mate, especially when the sun is shining like today..

John Daley
23 Posted 08/04/2017 at 14:27:54
Enjoy the trip over Mike and hopefully you get to take in a couple of victories. Good to see you've got your own chaperone/minder to give you the guided tour of the city and keep you out of (too much) trouble.

By the way, I've been told Rob's stellar tan is his pride and joy so, if he suddenly whips off his top and asks you to massage lotion into his neck and back, don't be rattled... or reach into your pocket for your personal safety alarm. Nothing untoward going on there

Paul Columb
24 Posted 08/04/2017 at 15:56:45
Jesus, Mike.

Now that the time is here, I'm fuming that I somehow didn't pull it off to join you. Mexico was grand but not a patch on Merseyside.

If you get a chance, drop into the Bramley-Moore and the Baltic Fleet for an ale... and the Philharmonic, of course.

A late tipple at the Winslow before kick-off is always my favorite with the main stand overshadowing your final sup and much anticipated steps into the Old Lady. There's just no feeling like it... nothing. Stuff of dreams.

Have a jolly, my friend. I'll be thinking of you watching the game from here.

Keith Harrison
25 Posted 09/04/2017 at 00:14:31
See you in the morning, Mike. A new day mate, and another view of Everton hospitality to a fellow blue.
Keith Harrison
26 Posted 09/04/2017 at 07:28:57
Darren, he's in PE2, which is nearer the Main Stand mate, roughly 10 rows behind me. Be nice to see you in The Winslow, fella.

John, Rob's is a Stella tan. A sort of pale yellow brought on by imbibing copious amounts of the aforesaid.

Darren Hind
27 Posted 09/04/2017 at 07:54:32
I'll try and get in there, Keith.

Arranged to see my lads on County Road. I'll see if I can prize them away from their usual haunt. If not, enjoy the day and we'll sort something out for another game.

Last time I drank on Goodison Road, Asa Hartford scored against Liverpool. Do you get in there before every game?

Keith Harrison
28 Posted 09/04/2017 at 09:02:04
Usually meet up with a few of the lads in there mate, left hand side as you look at the pub, and in the right hand corner of the bar. I'm normally surrounded by stunners, Rob has a pale yellow Stella tan, with matching carer, and Kev has an intravenous G & T drip inserted. You can't miss us pal.
John G Davies
29 Posted 09/04/2017 at 09:37:19
Enjoy your day, Mike.

I still get a shiver and a tear in the eye after all these years when Z-Cars starts. For you to hear it for the first time will be special.

Rob Halligan , well done mate. People like you show why we as a city and we as Blues are what we are. 👍

Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 09/04/2017 at 09:58:39
Two-nil up against them, Darren, and we still couldn't beat them! Was this game before or after the "Imre Varadi" cup tie?
Keith Harrison
31 Posted 09/04/2017 at 10:25:32
Can people stop campaigning for a Sainthood for Rob Halligan. He once nearly ran a dog over you know.
Keith Harrison
32 Posted 09/04/2017 at 10:27:56
And was late handing a library book back.
Sue Brown
33 Posted 09/04/2017 at 18:28:07
Well, Mike, I hope you enjoyed the match, a brilliant game and great result! If that's the luck you bring us, I'm more than happy to chip in when TWers have a whip round to bring you over for next season's derby!

Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Kev Johnson
34 Posted 09/04/2017 at 23:05:18
Mike, it was a pleasure to meet you, my friend, hope you enjoyed your first game. Keep that ball safe and watch those signatures.

ps: You put that spot kick away like an old pro. Enjoy the rest of your stay. Be safe, Mike.

Keith Harrison
35 Posted 10/04/2017 at 22:17:30

Above and beyond mate, what a family Everton are. I only let Mike's pen in so I didn't get crap all over my good gear by the way. 😎😎😎

Kev Johnson
36 Posted 11/04/2017 at 13:04:09
Keith, I love meeting Evertonians whenever I have been fortunate to travel. Back in 1985 while at Rotterdam, I lost my money and from out of nowhere a fellow blue from Ireland gave me 㿀 to get me by. No other club comes near to Everton and its fans.
Jamie Yates
37 Posted 11/04/2017 at 14:41:49
Maybe a bit of a late shout, but is Oban on your itinerary, Mike? It's an hour from Fort William, I live a few miles down the coast. Enjoy your trip!
Keith Harrison
38 Posted 11/04/2017 at 15:55:13
Check your emails, Jamie, please.
Paul Kelly
39 Posted 11/04/2017 at 16:11:26
Glad your enjoying it, Gaynesy. All you lads getting involved, top fucking notch, you're all the nuts.

Kev Johnson – take a bow, getting Mike on the pitch, brilliant mate, a foresight you seem like a Jedi, I sadly wouldn't've.

Quality, you lot deserve legendary status – all brought together by these pages; may it long continue. Top club, better fans!

Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 11/04/2017 at 16:18:03
Tony (#30); yes 2-0 up, Asa Hartford and the little outside left from Scotland, Joe (can't get his second name, his dad played for Celtic) got the other goal. Everton then froze; it was 2-1 at half-time but the only happy supporters in the ground were Red ones.

They got the equaliser and then we hung on, it was a 2-2 massacre by Liverpool. They wiped the floor with us, 2-0 up and we still didn't have the belief that we were as good as them.

Paul Tran
41 Posted 11/04/2017 at 16:22:56
It was Joe McBride, Dave. After we got the second, Sammy Lee scored within a couple of minutes.
Tony Abrahams
42 Posted 11/04/2017 at 16:37:03
I knew the score, Dave, I was asking what year it was!
Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 11/04/2017 at 17:22:55
Paul Tran (41) thanks for that, couldn't think of the name and it wouldn't come to me.
Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 11/04/2017 at 17:29:46
Tony (42) It was 1979, we were in the Upper Gladwys Street Stand, another Derby game you jinxed us,
Keith Harrison
45 Posted 11/04/2017 at 18:10:30
Are you guys brothers, as you remind me so much of the next brother to me. Hammer and tongs at every opportunity!! 😃😃😃😃

Kev Johnson was singing one of your praises as a footballer on Sunday too, but I can't remember which one. (Lights blue touchpaper and retires...)

Darren Hind
46 Posted 11/04/2017 at 19:12:53

I've got a feeling the cup game was the year after. What an occasion that was. A night to remember for Evertonians.

I was sitting in the first row, right against the wall in the Main Stand – Park End, Eastoe went through and I was convinced he had scored, the place exploded.

I was doubly made up because I'd pulled his name out of the sweep in the corner house at the top of Athol Street (fiver a go, hundred to the winner) After the game I saw the guy who did the sweep in the Jester and he paid me out. It wasn't until the next day I found out Avi Cohen had scored an own goal.

Anyway, on the Sunday avy, I got a tap on the shoulder from one of the organisers saying that after a stewards inquiry, it was decided that the fella who pulled Avi Cohen out of the hat was to get the money. I had to pay it back... worse still, The fella who had Cohen was a card carrying kopite who lived at the end of our street.

The smirk soon went off his face when I told him I'd spent the fucking lot celebrating his man's goal.

We became very good mates up until he past away about six years ago and I must have paid the tight fucker back a thousandfold down the years.

Paul Tran
47 Posted 11/04/2017 at 19:35:22
A great day indeed, Darren. I remember all the players waiting on the pitch and that bastard Thomas strode out, bold as brass, milking the hatred and applause from either side.

When the own goal went in I remember Bailey hugging Thomas, almost pleading him to allow it; we all thought he find a reason to disallow it, but he didn't. Everyone in the Street End was singing 'Avi's got no foreskin'

And then Varadi scored, ran in a daze towards the RS in the Enclosure and copped a pie in the face.

A wonderful day. One of my favourite cup runs, even though we got kicked out in the quarters by City. Every round had a good story.

Paul Tran
48 Posted 11/04/2017 at 19:43:10
Oh yeah, the cup game was 1981.
Tony Abrahams
49 Posted 11/04/2017 at 19:44:37
I was only a kid Darren, a very stupid one that day because I ran out the paddock at the final whistle to avoid the crush and was in the bullens rd with just one of my mates and the street was empty. Goes back in and Goodison, was going berserk!

Great memories, especially since I was old enough to go the match with-out "me dar" Keith! AND DIDNT HAVE TO LISTEN TO HIM TELLING ME HE WAS CAPTAIN OF THE FRIARY, ANYMORE!!

Keith Harrison
50 Posted 11/04/2017 at 19:53:28
Lads, this thread of Mike's is about to go viral on Merseyside media. Seriously.
Keith Harrison
51 Posted 11/04/2017 at 19:54:51
And are you on about Dave or Kev, Tony?
Jamie Yates
52 Posted 11/04/2017 at 21:02:12
Thanks Keith, have texted Mike and (crap Highland phone signal permitting!) maybe we can sort something out before he heads back to Liverpool. This thread and countless others like it speaks volumes for the depth and warmth that abounds throughout the Everton family. It's a beautiful thing to be part of.

I wrote an article for the latest issue of WSAG after attending the Hall of Fame do at the Hilton last month and expand on these sentiments from my own personal experience. Up the Toffees!

Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 11/04/2017 at 21:26:10
Tony (#49), that was a great day for me as well, jibbed one of your mates in with me. He was a red, should have seen the kipper on him all the way home, and then he saw you dancing your way home with your mates and his face was a picture; stayed the weekend with us though.

And by the way I was glad you could go the match on your own, it was lovely finally getting the monkey off my back.

John Keating
54 Posted 11/04/2017 at 21:46:08

Your dad went the Friary, where did he live?

I was born and brought up in Upper Beau Street. Went the Friary then up to Netherfield Road.

Dean Adams
55 Posted 11/04/2017 at 22:11:11
Mike, hopefully we can give Burnley a proper roasting for you so that you keep your 100% record.
Paul Baxter
56 Posted 11/04/2017 at 22:16:24
The Man City quarter-final in '81 was my first ever away match. We were stood in one of the corners of Maine Road that had no roof and got soaked and then ended up after the match split up from the people we'd got a lift with.

I remember thinking, two of us stuck just up the road from Moss Side and we're gonna die tonight. Luckily bumped into some blues who gave us a lift home, 10 of us in a Vauxhall Viva!!!

Dave Abrahams
57 Posted 11/04/2017 at 22:26:36
John (#54), l lived in Everton Brow, I went to The Friary in 1945 so I might be a bit older than you.
John Keating
58 Posted 12/04/2017 at 06:17:13
Hi Dave,

Yes I was there late 50s. Fond memories but that's all you have when you're that age, eh.

My mams family were all Upper Beau Street and my dads all Rokerby Street. Crossing the Brow to see my mates who lived in the 4 squares or to Morrises and other shops was like a day out.

When they started wrecking Everton in the early 60s and throwing everyone out to Kirkby, Skem etc we just moved over the Brow to Salisbury St and so into SFX parish. You'd think we'd changed religions – no way could we be seen to go to SFX, down the Brow to the Friary.

Horrendous day when they closed the church but I believe the Philarmonic are putting it to great use so some good has come of it.

Dave Abrahams
59 Posted 12/04/2017 at 08:48:49
John (#58),

I can relate to everything you say about the old days all the streets you mention, especially The Four Squares, five if you include Birkett Street, the rivalry between SFX and the Friary. I had a great mate in Upper Beau Street, Billy Thompson, sadly he died last year. Billy and his family were in that exodus to Kirkby. We stayed in town, Chaucer Street, back of Juvenall Street, finally emigrated to Norris Green in the seventies, but have always drank in town.

As you say, fond memories of school days. I loved The Friary and the headmaster. I was never a creep in school but JC Aindow, the headmaster was a great teacher and a good genuine man. He lived in Crosby, and I bet he went home each night chuckling at the antics of the characters who went to 'Our School' and I bet John there was a load of characters in the classes you were in. Nice memories and nice chatting to you.

Rob Halligan
60 Posted 14/04/2017 at 11:06:52
Hi Mike. Enjoy your day being shown around the Lake District with Keith, and will see you tomorrow.
Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 15/04/2017 at 22:17:34
Went to the Winslow today, honest.. but it was packed and I didn't even know where to begin in looking for Mike and his newly formed gang.

I asked the barmaids, and one said that she had heard an American accent, but she thought the people had gone over to one of the lounges?

Ended up having a couple of drinks with some people I know, and it might turn out better for Mike, because I had for him a present, which I will somehow get to him, honestly! I'm sure he will like his present, but he's probably lucky I never got it to him, because it was just a plain jersey, but when I send it to him it will have on it the signature of an Everton legend who played in this very, very, very, special game!

Mike, I hope you have enjoyed your stay in England, and to see ten goals scored, with most of them being done by the boys in the royal blue jersey's, then I hope to still bump into you one day mate! As our lucky mascot, Maybe I can get you a ticket for a derby match at Anfield? But only if you are prepared to go there that is though!

Dave Abrahams
62 Posted 15/04/2017 at 22:46:32
Tony (#61) that's very very kind of you, giving a present to a man from the other side of the world.

When was the last time you bought me a present, I'm in tears typing this, but never mind – I'll get by.

Peter Mills
63 Posted 15/04/2017 at 23:06:14
Tony (#61), that's a lovely thought, but it's probably just as well you didn't find Mike – his baggage full of souvenirs is going to cost him a fortune on the flight home.

It was good to meet Mike again for a photo on the pitch after the match. The arrangements for doing so didn't quite go to plan, so top marks to Duncan McKenzie and Leighton Baines for their time and courtesy, and also to Tom Davies and Mason Holgate who came across as very grounded young men.

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 16/04/2017 at 08:48:22
Dave, I would get you a one-way ticket to the other side of the world anytime, but knowing you, you would probably get lost on the way to the airport!
Ray Roche
65 Posted 16/04/2017 at 09:22:07
Peter, any chance of posting the photos on ToffeeWeb?
Dave Abrahams
66 Posted 16/04/2017 at 11:33:06
Tony (#64), but not to the travel agents, where I would cash the ticket in.

Seriously, as Peter (#63) says, it was a nice gesture to get Mike a souvenir of his time with the Blue Brotherhood, a time which we all enjoyed reading about and I think we will hear a lot more from Mike about his time here.

Wishing you a safe journey home, Mike, and continued good health in the future.

Very best wishes.

Tony Hill
67 Posted 16/04/2017 at 11:50:16
Yes, safe home, Mike.
Keith Harrison
68 Posted 17/04/2017 at 20:37:23
Tony, Kev Johnson was in there with us mate. Speaks very highly of you as a footballer. If Mike had taken any more gear, he would gave had to but another suitcase home.

It would still be good to meet you mate, before the Chelsea game. Kev has my contact details if needed. Bring Dave too if you want, I'm sure Rob's carer could look after both of them for a while.

Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 17/04/2017 at 20:49:38
Okay Keith, I have a busy life because I've got 3 year old twins, and that's why I never made any arrangements for Saturday, but if I can get this shirt signed for Mike in time, then hopefully I might just get to the Winslow, mate.

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