This was my first ever visit to Goodison Park and with good fortune fell on the opening day of the season with a mouth watering encounter v title aspiring Chelsea FC. Little surprise I hardly slept all night in anticipation to experience an unknown. With no real allegiances to any football club, (though living in Blackburn) I’d decided to accept the offer from my dear friends, ardent staunch lifelong Evertonians Tommy Rodgers and Gary Crumblin. Out of respect I wore blue socks.

Nazir in Goodison Road

I arrived rather prematurely around noon for the 5.30pm kick-off and took the few hours to savour the complete build-up start to finish. My first glance and impression of Goodison Park was no different to any other stadium but, immediately, I was appreciative of the care, kindness and co-operation of literally all those I met during the day. Stewards couldn’t be more helpful and staff especially in the main office. True Blue fans welcomed me with song and a welcome that remains memorable and as the hours passed the gathering of the faithful brought an atmosphere quite unique.

Hundreds gathered to welcome the team coach at 4pm armed with flares, drink and a large dose of passion that echoed, reverberated around the surrounding streets, over Stanley Park on to the distant horizon. I’d never seen anything like this before. I felt an almost belonging and was soon drawn in to embrace the chorus “Everton, you never shone so brightly; Everton Spirit of the Blues.”

As the sun shone brightly over Goodison the capacity crowd (supplied with blue flags on each seat) generated an unbelievable, electric atmosphere. From my vantage point opposite the Howard Kendall stand the surrounding view of up to 28,000 fans would make yours truly (accustomed to Championship crowds) think that this was a Cup Final.

One thing blatantly clear immediately — Everton FC is much more than a football club. It’s a religion. The faithful Evertonians live and breath the club. Blue blood comes to mind and I can’t imagine the pressure the players donning the shirts must feel, let alone manager Frank Lampard.

As the game wore on, these pressures were met by the Everton players commitment that matched the multi million Chelsea stars narrowly losing 1-0. Blood, sweat, chants and song in unison from all 4 corners of the stadium became the order of the day and the players tried to do their bit also.

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I left at 90 minutes back to Blackburn, buzzing and enlightened from my encounter with the bright blue, vocal, passionate supporters that instilled memories to savour for a long time. At age 60 this year, my attendance was well worth the wait.

I can only hope and pray that I can equally welcome all Evertonians to my home town club next season at Ewood Park in the Premier League. Come on, you Blues!

Nazir and friends

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Reader Comments (9)

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Larry O'Hara
1 Posted 13/08/2022 at 03:21:44
Lovely account and good luck to Blackburn too.
Jay Harris
2 Posted 13/08/2022 at 03:36:16
Very nice Nazir,
And good wishes to you and Blackburn too.
Steve Shave
3 Posted 13/08/2022 at 07:24:04
Thanks for sharing this, Nazir, sounds like we might be able to recruit you to join our amazing fans full-time. Best wishes to you.
Andy Meighan
4 Posted 13/08/2022 at 07:54:49
Great story. I know the lad in one of the pics, "Crummo" – great Blue. Been going for years.
Gary Jones
5 Posted 13/08/2022 at 08:14:11
I was literally standing behind that camera on the left hand side photo, wondering what was going on. Wish i'd asked and said welcome, so, belatedly, "Welcome to the family!"
Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 13/08/2022 at 08:35:40
Well you got introduced to Everton by two fanatics in Tommy and Gary, glad you had a great day, apart from the result.
Neil Copeland
7 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:13:01
That's a lovely post Nazir, very well written and you captured our love of EFC very well.

Good luck, Rovers, and hope to see you next season.

Paul Birmingham
8 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:18:54
Glad you had a brilliant day Nazir, once Everton touches you, life changes...

It's never the same, but for the best reasons.

“What's Our Name?”

Derek Knox
9 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:04:29
Great article Nazir, and so glad you enjoyed the experience, but a pity we never won. Call me biased but although I didn't attend (watched recording many times) I thought Chelsea played with 12 men, the twelfth being the man in black. Certainly put the death knell on our chances of getting something out of the game.

It is always nice to hear visiting fans, or neutrals in your case, extolling the 'blue atmosphere, and passion for the Club/Team' again call me biased, but I think it surpasses most other Fanbases/Teams/Clubs.

Hope you get a chance to revisit Nazir, and see us destroy a top side !

Nurse, Nurse, these happy pills are making me too deliriously high ! :-)

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