I am an Irish man and long-suffering Everton fan who emigrated to America and ended up living in North Carolina. We moved into a new neighbourhood in February 2020, right as Covid was kicking in. Fairly soon after, I met a neighbour called Dave Floyd who seemed too wholesome to be true. I guess I had this (Irish) cynicism of the American stereotype of false politeness — you know the "have a nice day" that you routinely hear while checking out at the grocery store and the over-the-top friendliness that just doesn't feel real.

In Dave's case it was totally genuine, as he was as nice a guy as you ever could meet. Over a short amount of time my wife and I became good friends with Dave and his wife and we built a really strong connection.

We found out that Dave needed surgery and chemotherapy to treat colorectal cancer. In short, the treatment was not successful and in October of last year Dave was told that his diagnosis was terminal. Unfortunately, Dave had only a matter of months to live and took early retirement at 51.

We started planning on trying to do as many fun things as his body would allow. How many of you reading this piece would consider watching Everton "playing" last season as a fun thing to do? Well, that is exactly what we did!!! I have joked and apologised to Dave on numerous occasions about wasting some of his last remaining good hours watching some of the worst football that my beloved club has ever served up.

I'm sure at the start Dave was totally bemused, how could I want to want watch the dross that we were seeing? Being the friend he was, he stuck it out as he knew how important the club are to me.

Initially, I would remind Dave each week when the games were on and he would dutifully come watch them whenever his body would allow. Around Christmas I bought him the home shirt as a token of my appreciation of his friendship (and patience).

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As the time went on, I was starting to see a shift in Dave, he was getting more and more attached to the cause as Everton drifted towards the relegation zone. He would know when the games were on, the results of the other teams in the relegation picture and how each result would affect our chances of survival. I was really impressed with his dedication; this was a guy who only a few months earlier had zero interest in soccer (apologies — I know it is called football). He really got the idea of the Everton being the peoples club, he appreciated the efforts of EITC but it was the fans that really won him over.

He loved the passion of the Everton fans swarming outside of Goodison for the final home games of the season and he thought the sendoff the team received when heading to the away game at Leicester was "awesome". We laughed about the cheekiness when the fans set off fireworks outside the hotels of the visiting teams to disrupt their sleep.

Towards the end of the season Dave was getting very sick; it was very difficult for him to sit comfortably for any length of time. I know it took a lot of effort for him to watch an Everton game for two hours at time but at this point he was fully committed. The last game that I got to watch with him was the home game versus Crystal Palace which is the very definition of ending on a high note.

Me, Dave (in his home shirt) and Millie, my dog, who also loved him

When Everton went two down, Dave was telling me that he needed to go home early and honestly who could blame him. But he stayed and got to feel the full high of being an Everton fan, it was nice to see him squirming on the couch, for once it was out of excitement rather than discomfort, as we counted down those last few excruciating minutes to see out the game.

The scenes after were just crazy to witness, I had seen the close relegation battles of the 90's but nothing compared to the happiness/relief/joy of that night. I could see it in his eyes and in his big smile that Dave was now a fully-fledged Everton fan. I'm just sad that his love affair was too short.

Dave was too sick to travel to Baltimore to watch the preseason game against Arsenal. For me it was very bitter-sweet. I hadn't been to a live Everton game since 1998 so I was excited to bring my wife and son to see the team but I was sad and a bit guilty that I couldn't share it with Dave. I'm sure he would have appreciated how the Everton fans were out singing the Arsenal fans even though they outnumbered us about three to one. When we got back home, we chatted with Dave about the game and the whole experience and you could see that he was genuinely happy for us but sad that he had missed out.

A big thank you to Everton, getting to share the elation with Dave as we made another great escape is something that I will always cherish and hold deep in my heart.

RIP, Dave Floyd

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Reader Comments (33)

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Lyndon Lloyd
1 Posted 29/08/2022 at 17:00:50
Lovely story, Alan. Thank you for sharing. It's amazing the power of sport and its ability to forge bonds that might otherwise not have been so strong. RIP, Dave
Brent Stephens
2 Posted 29/08/2022 at 17:11:30
Alan, a story and a friendship that pull at the heart strings. Wonderfully written.
Lee Courtliff
3 Posted 29/08/2022 at 18:31:22
Fantastic piece, I'm happy you got to spend that awful/incredible evening with your close friend.

RIP Dave Floyd.

Jeff Armstrong
4 Posted 29/08/2022 at 18:40:50
Lovely story RIP Dave
Danny O’Neill
5 Posted 29/08/2022 at 18:52:39
Powerful and beautiful stuff Alan.

Your Everton passion clearly infected Dave with the same. It may have sadly been too short lived in that time he got to feel what it means to follow Everton.

Nick White
6 Posted 29/08/2022 at 18:53:18
Lovely story Alan, thank you for sharing it, must have been difficult. Life is so cruel on occasions. RIP Dave Floyd.
Christy Ring
7 Posted 29/08/2022 at 18:58:18
A really touching story and a lovely friendship Alan, RIP Dave.
Dale Self
8 Posted 29/08/2022 at 19:11:45
Here's to you Alan, a special friend to him in the toughest of times. Dave went out in style you gotta say that.

There are some who get Everton and it doesn't take a lot of explaining The rest wonder how we get through some of this stuff.

Patrick Clark
9 Posted 29/08/2022 at 19:21:40
Beautiful, touching story. Thanks for sharing.
Peter Mills
10 Posted 29/08/2022 at 19:25:39
A great tale Alan, very well told. Thank you, and sincere condolences on the loss of your good friend.
Neil Copeland
11 Posted 29/08/2022 at 19:42:29
Alan, that is such a touching and well written story, you brought tears to my eyes!

RIP Dave

John McFarlane Snr
12 Posted 29/08/2022 at 19:55:24
Hi Alan, a really touching tale it puts football in its place, a part of our lives, but no more than that.

Condolences to you on losing a good friend and also to his family and friends.

RIP Dave.

Jack Convery
13 Posted 30/08/2022 at 00:38:21
A, really sad. though heartwarming post. RIP Dave.
Tony Byrne
14 Posted 30/08/2022 at 02:56:20
Hello Alan,

Thanks for sharing this wonderful but heartbreaking experience, so lovely that your great friend Dave could watch and support our great club at a time when his health was diminishing, his "get out" was grasping the nettle that is Everton, to take his mind off what he was going through.

RIP David Floyd, you will be welcomed with open arms by Howard. God bless you sir.

Tony Everan
15 Posted 30/08/2022 at 06:54:11
Alan, thank you for posting this, it’s uplifting and sad at the same time. Your friendship with Dave was a great gift.
RIP Dave
Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 30/08/2022 at 08:09:21
Alan, this is a very special story, and you're a very special man for sharing it with us.

Deepest condolences on the loss of your friend, but please take comfort in knowing that you brought new light into his life, to a degree that he may not have been fully able to express. Having once received a similar verdict to Dave's, and having subsequently experienced the extraordinary generosity and support of the ToffeeWeb community here, I can tell you that finding the words to express my gratitude wasn't easy. Believe me, you gave him a gift beyond imagining, and I don't mean the shirt.

And you've given me one tonight by calling up those feelings. My keyboard is damp. Thank you.

Gerry Quinn
17 Posted 30/08/2022 at 08:16:55
Lovely sad story Alan, but just think how gobsmacked Dave will be when he sees just how many ex-blue shirts and fans he has up there in heaven to join in with him now...RIP Dave, NSNO
Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 30/08/2022 at 08:34:35
Both Tony B, and Mike G, have put my thoughts into words, so much better than I could have done. They might get on our nerves, but when you love Everton, it sometimes feels like nothing else in the world matters, and that night against Crystal Palace, was definitely one of those times.

It sounds like introducing Everton into Dave's life, gave him something else to worry about Alan, and hopefully relieved a little bit of the fear and pressure, that your great friend was obviously feeling, so thanks for sharing that story mate.

I often ask myself, why does “our club” mean so much to us? It's a cradle to birth experience for many, and the amount of people I've spoken to, who told me they were praying, or just outright speaking to a dead relative, during the second half of that Palace game, asking them to make us safe, is really incredible, and probably shows me more than anything else, just what Everton FC means to so many of us. 🙏🙏

Eddie Dunn
19 Posted 30/08/2022 at 08:34:36
Thanks for sharing such a lovely, though sad tale Alan.
Alan Corbett
20 Posted 30/08/2022 at 12:59:41
Writing and posting this article is part of my grieving process as it is another reminder to me that Dave is really gone. He was truly a lovely person and what happened to him was so unfair.

A big thank you to everyone for all your wonderful and thoughtful comments, they have really warmed my heart.

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 30/08/2022 at 14:25:54
Lovely, wonderful but ultimately a sad story that brought a few tears to my eyes. You, Dave and your families shared a solid strong and loving friendship, so glad you shared that friendship with ToffeeWeb.

RIP Dave Floyd.

Jerome Shields
22 Posted 30/08/2022 at 14:48:03
Great story of friendship, Alan. Glad Dave got to see the Palace game and the escape which he like all Everton Fans deserved

RIP Dave.

Jay Harris
23 Posted 30/08/2022 at 14:49:16

Thank you for sharing a very sad but poignant story of those who touch our lives and have them touched by others.

Cherish the time you managed to spend with him and remember those special moments.

Condolences to friends and family and RIP Dave.

"Once Everton has touched you."

Dermot O'Brien
24 Posted 30/08/2022 at 14:50:25
Hi Alan, that was brilliant. Thank you.
Kevin Molloy
25 Posted 30/08/2022 at 15:04:40
That's a wonderful tribute to your friend.
JP Ashcroft
26 Posted 30/08/2022 at 18:23:49
Beautiful tribute to Dave. Thank you 💙💙
Paul Ferry
27 Posted 31/08/2022 at 07:43:23
RIP David Floyd.

I love that picture of the two (three) of you. It speaks volumes in all the words that matter. We see what you meant to each other.

Like Mike, I got teary eyed for someone gone spectacularly too soon, for your loss Dave, and for the final weeks of last season.

I used to live in and loved Chapel Hill Dave, where are you?

Thanks for a beautiful tribute.

James O'Connell
28 Posted 31/08/2022 at 08:47:49
The most sincere and moving article I have read in a long time.
Thank you Alan, RIP Dave.
Peter Fearon
29 Posted 31/08/2022 at 19:47:45
Inspiring and moving story. A lifelong Evertonian who grew up within the sound of roars from Goodison, I moved to New York some years ago. I have raised two sons, one of whom is, miraculously, also a committed fan-from-afar. There is a huge Everton diaspora out there. I'm so sorry your friend is no longer part of it.
Alan Corbett
30 Posted 01/09/2022 at 12:29:02
Paul, we live in Holly Springs which, if you are not familiar, is a booming town about 40 minutes from Chapel Hill.
David Ellis
31 Posted 16/09/2022 at 15:31:04
Thanks for sharing such an uplifting story.

Don't let any English person moan to you about the use of the word “soccer”. It's public school (ie, private schools like Eton and Charterhouse that first codified the rules of soccer and established the Football Association) slang for ‘Association Football' – being the form of football played by the rules set out by the FA. It's a shortening of the word “association'.

This is to distinguish it from the various other forms of football played by other public schools – originally they all had their own games. The other most notable form of football was of course the football played by the rules of Rugby School – now typically referred to as simply rugby, or its two versions, rugby union and rugby league.

American Football I believe has its roots in rugby football, but the Ivy League started altering the rules without the blessing of the Rugby Football Union so the games went different ways.

However all 3 (or 4) sports are all legitimately called 'football' – association football, rugby football (league or union) or grid iron/American football.

At Rugby School rugby is still referred to as “ Football” and football is referred to as ‘soccer”.

Apologies for being wildly off point.

Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 16/09/2022 at 15:51:10
No need for apologies, David. No need for apologies from anyone.

I work with a predominantly US workforce and insist on football being called football rather than 'Soccer'.

It's football because it's played with an actual ball and predominantly controlled and played with the foot. Foot and ball. Football.

Not an egg-shaped construction that isn't a ball and is predominantly carried with or thrown by the hand by failed footballers. Kicked occasionally to score easy, free and unchallenged points or to gain territory.

Tongue-in-cheek, by the way!!

David Ellis
33 Posted 23/09/2022 at 10:35:04
Danny - your logic is impeccable

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