My Dad took me to my first Everton game in September 1961, against Ipswich Town. I remember that we walked across to Longview, caught a bus to Old Swan, and then on a Corporation Football bus. It was all so exciting as we entered the old Paddock. My Dad had bought a bag of Everton Mints and I found it so amusing when he carefully folded each wrapper and flicked it down at an unsuspecting head nearer the front. A love affair was born. The Blues thrashed. The future unlikely champions won 5-2!

A few weeks later and West Ham were the visitors. I saw Albert Dunlop drop to his knees with the ball stuck between his ankles in the process of stopping a John Bond daisy-cutter penalty. A couple of seasons later, we went to see West Ham again. With the score at 1-1, and only minutes to go, the ball was squared to Alex Young who somehow hit the bar of an unguarded goal to deny us another win! On the BICC coach back to Prescot, all sorts of irrational excuses were being made for why the Golden Vision has missed an absolute sitter! Things like that stay with you all your life.

I lived in Wallace Drive, Huyton; just up the road were two club houses. Their occupants were Tommy E Jones and Mick Meagan. I became very friendly with the young Jones boys and was taken to Goodison by Tommy for a reserve game against Sheffield United. We were given a guided tour of the changing rooms before the match, sitting up in the old Goodison Road stand.

I was now a devoted teenager and going regularly to games with my mates and even on my own for an evening 1966 FA Cup Replay against Manchester City.

The biggest surprise in my young life came when my Dad managed to get tickets for the FA Cup Final against Sheffield Wednesday. Our tickets came from the Chairman of Liverpool FC at the time, Sid Reakes, self-made Prescot Haulage millionaire and Prescot Cricket Club president. We made the journey down on the midnight football specials, had the Cup Final Breakfast at Lyons Cornerhouse café, and then went down the Mall etc. How close we must have been to seeing the great Muhammad Ali running around the park!

The match must have been one of the best at the old stadium. When David Ford put Wednesday 2-0 up, my worst fears were exacerbated by the fact that Ford’s brother Jim was my form and PE teacher at Prescot Grammar School. Then, of course, the game swung decisively with the unerring boots of Mike Trebilcock and Derek Temple. The next day, as a family ,we were down by the Old Rocket pub to see the team pass by on their triumphant coach tour of the city.

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As I got to 16, I had seen Howard Kendall miss two absolute sitters against Southampton and Spurs in his first two home games for the club and was questioning the wisdom of buying him from Preston! I had been to Wembley to see us losing to West Bromwich Albion in the 1968 FA Cup Final, I was now working the summer holidays at the BICC in Prescot which paid for season tickets in the Gwladys Street End.

Then came the divine revelation of what Ball, Harvey and Kendall were all about. I had a ticket for the opening game at Old Trafford against the European Cup Winners. That first half was absolutely exhilarating as the United goal lived a charmed life. The Blues tore through at will and we were suddenly 1-0 down totally against the run of play. Bally quickly equalised and the Blues went into overdrive but somehow we lost 2-1 because of Charlton and Best. I had seen the promised land of a brand-new stunning football team, culminating in the league title in 1970.

Time came to move on to St Paul’s Teacher Training College in Cheltenham. In my first-year digs were John and Bern who were equally as barmy over Blackpool and Spurs. For the next 3 years, we would travel and stay at parents’ houses watching the three teams at home and getting to grounds locally where they were playing. If not, we needed a fix and became regulars at Cheltenham Town long before they had Football League status!

I was not a noticeably confident youth with girls and was scalded several times by friends for putting off dates with my constant conversation about the Blues. After qualifying in 1973, I went to teach in Ipswich, where my Mum’s side of the family lived. I lived the year in the YMCA and hardly missed a home game at Portman Road including a 3-0 defeat for Everton. I got to some away games and was “lucky enough” to see us beat Norwich 3-1 with all four own goals!

In the Eighties, I met a fellow Blue in Worthing who was from St Helens, and we were the same school year. We immediately joined ESCLA led by John Collings(?). We were regulars on the ESCLA trains or on our own steam all over the South and Midlands. Our first trip was to Leicester to see a pivotal 2-1 win with a pair from Andy Gray. That is when we all realised what a wonderful team they were. The adage that great teams get results even when they are not playing well was stamped all over that performance!

My Dad with the 1985 trophy haul

I have heard so many funny things uttered by Blues supporters at matches, but my absolute favourite was at the 1986 semi-final at Villa Park which went to extra time and caused us to miss our reserved ESCLA seats back to London. We saw the reserved carriages go past us as we were on the local train from Villa Park. We were sitting near the halfway line when Graham Sharp missed a last-minute winner in normal time. As the teams were taking on water and coaching two old guys (reminiscent of Statler and Waldorf of muppets fame) we heard their conversation:

Waldorf, exasperated, “How did Sharp miss that one?”

Statler, even more exasperated, “Years of fucking practice!!!)

Anyone within earshot fell about laughing at their cynicism and of course, Sharp then scores the winner with a majestic extra-time volley, but we did miss our train!

I eventually found myself married and teaching in both of East and West Sussex. When the website “Friends Reunited” was at its peak in the early 2000s, a former pupil from Worthing wrote about me in the teacher’s memory section as follows. “Imagine my horror and sheer terror when I opened my GCE ‘O’ level Geography paper and discovered that there were no questions on Everton FC or cricket!”

Meeting Neville Southall at his Binman Chronicles Tour in Chepstow

A few years later, when I was a primary deputy head, the school secretary came into my class and asked if I could sign a typewriter supplies order for the young salesperson who followed her inside the room. In front of my class of Year 5s, he recognised me as his Maths teacher in Worthing who never stopped talking about Everton. My class were in hysterics, as was the secretary!

I have two wonderful daughters who both went to Universities in Manchester, overlapping by one year. I had remarried and was living in West Wales and would always arrange my visits to see them on Everon Home weekends. I took them a fair few times over that 5 years when the Moyes era had just started. Anytime I have taken them, we never lost, with the best being the 2-1 win over Manchester City when the lines, “There’s only one greedy bastard” were directed at Lescott on his first return to Goodison Park after his acrimonious departure.

As I got older, I looked around for new interests and found myself rediscovering my love of steam railways. I spent some eight years as a guard on the Kent and East Sussex Railway. That led on to railway modelling and one of my layouts, Rainford Stoops, which was a fictional heritage railway in West Lancashire, featured in the prestigious Railway Modeller Magazine. My home layout for quite a time was known as ‘Gobbs Heights’, a reference to the team in red! It also features an illuminated version of the Everton Lock-up! In my railway room, the trains run round under EFC memorabilia including framed programmes, team photos and a full-sized wooden replica of the nameplate of the LNER/British Railways Class B17/4 Locomotive 61663 Everton!

Myself with the perfect union of my pastimes

I had always wanted to teach abroad and, in 2009, Lynne and I went out to Kuwait to teach at the grandiosely named Gulf British Academy. The satellite package gave us every Premier League Match live plus full re-runs. I had the idea to try and bring ex-pat supporters together under a website, the Kuwait EX-Pat Football Supporters Group. Sadly, it was only partially successful despite having permission for access to the school hall, with live TV on a big screen. What was not to like but only three turned up for match one, seventeen sent in e-mails which included several local Kuwaitis who seem only to have heard of Chelsea. It soon folded! Still, I tried!

One of my sons-in-law, is a long-time season ticket holder at Arsenal. On odd occasions, his friend cannot go, and he phones me up to ask me to accompany him. Indeed, I was at the last game of last season when we went down 5-1. My daughter stopped him from telling me that the ticket was available unless the Blues were safe as I have had recent heart problems, diabetes type 2 and chronic depression to contend with. I have to say, even at that game, the best moment – baffling at first to the Gooners around us – was when the Everton section exploded into a riot of blue and white celebrating Man City’s winner over Aston Villa.

Flying the shirt in Kuwait

A few weeks ago, I turned 70 and my daughters put together a package of EFC membership, Goodison tour for my wife and I, and a subscription for match day programmes.

My health is not good, and I have only two main ambitions now. The first is to take my Gooner son-in-law to experience Goodison before it is too late. He surprisingly does not want to watch Arsenal. He fancies Brentford as that is who his grandfather supported but would fancy Spurs as he can really get behind the Blues.

My second ambition is to see the Blues in the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, although I realise that the club cannot use that name for obvious reasons. I really look forward to Sundays when Nick Durbin’s Mister Drone footage of the stadium diary appears.

I very rarely get to see the Blues in the flesh. I have developed an attachment to my local team in Northamptonshire, AFC Rushden and Diamonds in the Southern Premier League Central Division. It takes me back to days watching Prescot Cables!

I would like to express my thanks for all the joyous moments that Everton FC have brought me and the many Evertonians I have met over the years – and of course to ToffeeWeb that keeps my connection to all things Everton.

To be continued? Where I am now re: Everton FC

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Reader Comments (19)

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Ray Robinson
1 Posted 22/08/2022 at 19:37:07
Trevor, you had a similar Everton upbringing to me.

My dad, a Red, took me to my first match at Goodison in November 1961. We won 1-0 against Blackburn. I too remember Albert Dunlop saving that penalty v West Ham by literally sitting on the ball.

And I also remember one of the Howard Kendall sitters that you described, blasting the ball over the bar at the Gwladys St End from virtually on the goal line. We lost 0-1.

I've never lost my passion for the Blues and still look optimistically to a brighter future.

Christy Ring
2 Posted 22/08/2022 at 19:50:39
Trevor plenty of lovely memories and moments, down through the years, plenty of good times, but all up hill since our last piece of silverware.

John Raftery
3 Posted 22/08/2022 at 21:13:04
A wonderful article Trevor. I am from the same era, reaching 70 in a couple of weeks.

My dad took me to my first match versus Aston Villa in October 1962. We drew 1-1, Roy Vernon scoring with a first-half penalty. I think we were all very fortunate to grow up in such exciting times. Winning trophies was a part of it of course but we were blessed to see some fantastic football played by genuine stars.

I hope you are able to make it back to Goodison with your son-in-law and then to the new stadium.

Jerome Shields
4 Posted 22/08/2022 at 23:21:48
Enjoyed reading your article Trevor. Following Everton through thick and thin, but having a Heathly interest in football generally, whilst getting on with life as best you could.

Hope you can cope and see some improvement with your health issues.Have friends trying to keep going normally with similar issues.One of the joys of that age, but still young at heart.Best Wishes.

Alan McGuffog
5 Posted 23/08/2022 at 10:19:45
Great stuff Trevor...made my debut in the Boys Pen on a glorious late summer Saturday in 1961 as an 8-year-old. Roundly battered 4-0 by Wednesday. I was hooked.

Was not the Dunlop save a wee bit later? I seem to recall Dunlop being recalled for an injured Gordon West. And, like you, I had serious doubts about young Howard at the time.

Halcyon days indeed.

Rick Tarleton
6 Posted 23/08/2022 at 10:56:25
Similar tale here, first match against Birmingham City in our promotion year, we won 8-4, I too had a red father and family and my first football game was Liverpool v Blackpool, so I could say I'd seen Stanley Matthews. I'd listened to the Matthews' final on the radio the previous Spring and my relatives thought he'd retire soon, I, in fact, saw him at least three times playing for Blackpool and Stoke.

But it was the Birmingham game which changed my life. Twelve goals, I've never again seen that many in a single game since and Dave Hickson all blonde hair and action became my second football hero after Matthews and I became a blue.

I remember that Ipswich game, because my new hero was Derek Temple and he scored a hat trick in that game.

We oldies saw three great Everton teams, the 62-3 team, Young and Vernon et alia ( still my favourite Everton team), the 69-70 team with Ball, Kendall and Harvey and the mid eighties team.

Basically you have to be over fifty to remember a time when Everton were truly successful. Our younger fans have lived on crumbs and the tales of us old chaps.

I hope before I pass on to see some kind of Everton revival, but it is a hope rather than an expectation and I fear this will be a very difficult season.

John McFarlane Snr
7 Posted 23/08/2022 at 16:21:47
Hi Rick [6] I think you will find that the 8-4 win was against Plymouth Argyle in September 1953, the Everton scorers were, John Willie Parker [4], Dave Hickson [2], Cyril Lello, and Jock Lindsay [pen], and I'm sure that a lad named Neil Langman scored a hat-trick for Plymouth on his debut.

The passing of time clouds my memory but I think I've got this one right, I am afraid that although I still attend the games as a Park End season ticket holder, I can hardly recall some recent events, but that may be a psychological reaction – a blessing in disguise?

Rick Tarleton
8 Posted 23/08/2022 at 17:49:51
Hi, John, it was the game against the Argyle, you were right, but according to the Everton Encyclopaedia, it was in February 1954 which fits my memory. I know Hickson scored two of the goals and Parker four, but it was the number nine I remembered, rather than the vastly under-rated Parker.I remember the Plymouth keeper was rather fat, I think he was Bill Short a Welsh international.
Ray Robinson
9 Posted 23/08/2022 at 18:00:30
Well Rick and John, you old timers beating me by several seasons, the 8-4 win over Plymouth was on Feb 27, 1954. John, you are correct about the scorers. Source: Everton, a Complete Record.

I remember an 8-3 v Cardiff, last home game of season 61-62

Neil Halliwell
10 Posted 23/08/2022 at 18:05:22
I arrived on merseyside in 1966 as a first year university student and stayed for 9 years. To be a red or a blue ? I attended several matches at Goodison and Anfield. The decision was easy !! Does anyone remember when we beat Southampton 9-0. Please correct me if my memory is wrong. 1969-70 season was wonderful. I remain a true blue and the new stadium apart am worried about what has become of us. COYB
Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 23/08/2022 at 18:23:46
Wonderful story and wonderful memories Trevor.

I still can't remember if my first match was a pre-season against Braunsweig (Brunswick) in Germany or a pre-season against Home Farm at Goodison. 1977 / 1978. It was one of them and I was hooked from the start. Then again, I had been educated by my Dad and Grandfather way before then so I just knew I supported Everton. It was a given.

I was at the 1986 semi-final at Villa Park. A memorable day, but I can't remember how I got home now you've mentioned it. I made it in time for a youth club disco in Hale Village near Speke to meet a girl I had an eye for at the time and was full of confidence!!!!

Keep the stories coming.

Les Callan
12 Posted 23/08/2022 at 18:53:27
Trevor. I went to PGS in the early sixties. Had a mate called Geoff Higham who lived in Wallace Drive. We had season tickets in The Paddock.
Les Callan
13 Posted 23/08/2022 at 19:01:31
Trevor, correction. I think Geoff may have lived in Wallace Avenue.

What about Graham Downs, do you remember him? And Graham Roberts (Aussie), another blue.

Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 23/08/2022 at 19:02:00
John (7) and Rick (8),

There was a poem about that game v Plymouth that described the game and the end of that season.

You should hear the crowd all roar
Everton eight and Plymouth four
One from Lindsay one from Lello
Two from Hickson a dashing fellow
You may think this rhyme is silly
The other four came from big John Willie
Now you'll hear the crowd all shout
Passing Liverpool going out
But Everton have kept marching on
And we're in Division One
Liverpool is in a hell of a state
Spent £50,000 years too late
But alas they weren't meant to roam
Cause they'll get Jackie Balmer out of the Kirkdale Home.

That's all, Folks!!

Andy Meighan
15 Posted 23/08/2022 at 20:58:54
Neil @10,

It was 8 0 against Southampton. Ball 4, Royle 3, and I think Johnson.

If my memory is correct, it absolutely danced down that day. Was it season 71-72? hope someone can bail me out on that.

Great story, Trevor, and I live only 5 minutes from Wallace Drive now.

Brian Murray
16 Posted 23/08/2022 at 21:12:07
Danny o. Wasn't Home Farm who we got the heralded new George Best from? Martin Murray?

I remember he drank in The Hermitage on Queen's Drive. Me and mate was on the guy, as it was called, as in penny for.
John Raftery
18 Posted 24/08/2022 at 16:15:32
Andy (15), I can bail you out without checking the record books. The game was played on 20 November 1971. The scorers were Royle (4), Johnson (3) and Ball. It was Ball's last goal for the club. The weather was atrocious with rain, sleet and snow. Jimmy Gabriel was in the Southampton team and commented later that Everton were unplayable.

Peter Scott played in midfield in that game. I think it was the only time he played in that position. Mostly he was used at right back. The electric scoreboard had just been installed at the front of the old Park End Stand. They almost ran out of space to record the numbers of the scorers.

We had beaten Liverpool 1-0 the week before with David Johnson scoring. Everything looked very promising but we failed to score in the month after the Southampton match before the sale of Ball left a void which was impossible to fill.

Brian Murray
19 Posted 24/08/2022 at 16:29:33
John @18...

That derby was the first time I remember us winning a derby. I was apparently in the Spion Kop Boys Pen in 1970 when we won 2-0 but that is even more hazy to me except for my older bro jabbing a few kopites when the second goal went in as it got nasty.

Anyway, history says the David Johnson derby was on a Saturday but I remember the floodlights and four bookings which was unusual in them days. Never liked David Johnson who went on to look a world beater for them shower, winning titles.

Although he did score v the Greeks as we went out in away goals in the European Cup. A week-defining decade losing the FA Cup semi-final. Mentally scarred to this day.

Alan McGuffog
20 Posted 24/08/2022 at 21:46:14
Andy... wasn't it a snow blizzard? I was away at University and didn't go but a lad I knew and disliked there was a Saints fan. He got a bit of stick afterwards but although I never could stand him, I had a deal of respect for him after that game.

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