Thanks to ToffeeWeb, I have met the best of people and the finest of Evertonians on this site. Due to the kindness and generosity of two of them, Derek Knox and Tony Abrahams, I got the chance to visit Goodison Park for the only time this season.

For the first time ever, the low point of a visit to Liverpool to see Everton play was, well, the seeing Everton play bit. However, that only goes to show how wonderful the rest of the weekend was, because being at a game at Goodison Park is always a memory to cherish.

Derek picked me up at the airport on Friday and we had a walk round Chester and a few beers. Saturday morning and the arrival of the irrepressible Pete Moore from Worcester. Pete arrived with a few bottles of Yorkshire Stingos, a smooth and deceptively innocent 8.5% bottle of rocket fuel. They were necked before Neil Copeland picked us up (thanks, Neil!) and whizzed us into Liverpool.

We parked at Jim Lloyd's house and Jim joined us on the stroll to The Harlech Castle on County Road. Brian Murray and the much travelled and inspirational Danny O'Neill were already there. I met Brian Wilkinson for the first time and caught up with Bill once more.

The bar was jam packed and we moved outside. I assumed that I was the longest traveller but Dave Williams arrived all the way from Devon – further than me!  Stephen Vincent introduced us to Pete Day who had driven on his motorbike from Southampton to attend his first-ever game.

John McFarlane, Dave Abrahams and Pete Mills arrived. John Rafferty and his daughter, then Tony Abrahams and Sonny. What a time it was, what a time.

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Here is where I hold my hands up. Tony Abrahams has a few pre-match rituals and superstitions. Why, oh why did I announce that Fulham's record at Goodison Park was awful and (it's the truth) that  I had never seen Everton lose?

Then, the walk to the ground and the game. There is nothing on earth like seeing the green pitch, hearing Z-Cars and the inexplicable buzz of emotion. It is special beyond words.

The match has been reported and discussed. For me, it was about small margins. We looked shapeless and wide open but, had we taken one of the good chances before half-time, we would have snatched an undeserved win.

The second half was the worst performance from an Everton side I have ever seen. No lack of effort, just a disturbing acceptance and a resignation that we were done. I would suggest that not a single person, on or off the pitch, thought that we would come back from 2-down. The 6 minutes added time was a punishment. Only one team was going to score, we were taken apart.

Doomed, miserable and doomed. Anyway, Neil dropped us in two runs to The Bramley Moore. The stadium look well underway, it was flat last time I was there. A few drinks and I could feel my spirits rising. Maybe we need a multi multi-billionaire to compete again, but who knows? No-one ever called a stadium, "The Stadium of Realism".

I believe that we will not be relegated. Why? Because we will never play as badly again and we still could have won. We will have players back, we will win when we shouldn't and the players will deliver. I am optimistic about our future. 

F Scott Fitzgerald wrote:

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past."

We have our history and we learn, move on, and keep faith. 

I would like thank everyone for days to remember. If I have forgotten anyone, it is the fault of Peter Moore's Stingos! I spoke to Pete Mills about the unbreakable bond between Evertonians. He said that his dad said, "Evertonians are cut from a different cloth".

I choose to believe that.

Up the Toffees!!!

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Reader Comments (19)

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Danny O’Neill
1 Posted 20/04/2023 at 09:19:14
Beautiful Andy.

We are cut from the same cloth. That is why so many of us, all from different backgrounds, can meet and get on like we've know each other for years.

We have a common bond.

I may travel a lot, but the effort you make is admirable. I've done the journey from Lisburn, got to Aldergrove and realised I had forgotten my Passport. It was tight, but I still made it. Just.

Great to see you and we'll catch up the next time you're over.

For those fortunate enough to be there on Saturday, make 2,000 sound like 20,000 and silence that irritating drum.

Jim Lloyd
2 Posted 20/04/2023 at 09:54:29
Andy, you've got a poet's soul! Well said, mate. It was great to see you make it over and all the rest of the lads come together and enjoy each others company.

It was great to see John McFarlane too.

Coming from all over. Northern Ireland, Devon, Pete driving his motor bike all the way from Southampton! Worcester, Chester, Earlestown (well, Wargrave) and Delamore st! Will look forward to meeting you when you're over to visit our new home!

Mark Murphy
3 Posted 20/04/2023 at 09:58:38
Same cloth indeed but it’s probably that stuff the monks used to wear for penance - hair shirts wasnt it?
Anyway, shame your one visit to Goodison was spoiled by the performance Andy. I suffered the same fate at the Villa game. I’ve been to several away games tho this season and have the pleasure to say I’ve seen the only win on the road - at Southampton - when we played well and we all thought we’d turned a corner. My companion that day was Martin Mason who is also coming to the Palace game with me so hopefully that’s an omen!
I often say that watching Everton away is a great day out interrupted by a football match. Is it too much to ask for a great day out all round? Any way - Up the F@cking beautiful mercurial and bloody frustrating Toffees.
Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 20/04/2023 at 10:19:20
I’m glad you had a great weekend Andy, you deserved it, another great Evertonian from afar along with the rest of those Evertonians who came to Goodison on Saturday from long distances and finished up disappointed.

Everything was going fine, a lovely sunny day, swopping football stories, a nice leisurely stroll up to the ground, the players coming out to a great reception and then the referee spoiled the day when he brought the ball onto the pitch and started the match, or mis match!!

Paul Hughes
5 Posted 20/04/2023 at 11:48:34
I was is my usual spec at the Harlech Castle. I think I saw the ToffeeWeb gang come in at about 1.00 pm and fruitlessly look for a table.

Schoolboy error! You need to be in the Harlech about an hour earlier to guarantee a seat.

Anyway, despite the dreadful football, I hope you all had a cracking day.

Peter Mills
6 Posted 20/04/2023 at 14:55:48
Nice article Andy.

It was good to see everyone. My dear old dad would have enjoyed such a gathering, he always enjoyed motley company !

Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 20/04/2023 at 18:06:52
What a great account, Andy. DK was kind enough to send me a photo of the bunch of you, faces I haven't seen in more than 4 years. You, DK and Dave look great. Tony's hair is a lot grayer than it was in 2018 (have you been stressing about something, mate?). And I didn't know the eminent Mr Mills and the Pater Familias John McFarlane had dropped in as well... what a grand gathering.

Sorry about the game, but I'm glad the crappy performance didn't ruin the day for yas. Hope you're doing well and your back is healthy. See you in the fall, I hope.

John Raftery
8 Posted 20/04/2023 at 20:36:01
Great to see you again, Andy, and pleased you enjoyed the weekend despite the performance on the pitch.

Whatever happens over the next 6 weeks, Evertonians will get through these dark times together. Our day will come.

Neil Copeland
9 Posted 20/04/2023 at 22:24:32
Andy, good account that mate. It was great meeting you again and the same for all the other lads at the Harlech.

Thanks for the keyring, hope it brings us some luck! You are right about the Stingoes, very aptly named I would say!

Danny #1, you are right that drum is fucking (sorry John Mc) annoying.

Jim #2, Nantwich and London too!

Andy Crooks
10 Posted 20/04/2023 at 22:31:35
Unfortunately, Neil, I'm not confident in just how much luck a Titanic keyring can deliver!!
Brian Williams
11 Posted 20/04/2023 at 23:03:45
Andy, really sorry I missed you. I was sure Derek had said to meet in the Thomas Frost (Wetherspoons) on County road. There used to be a McD's almost opposite that I think.
There I was buying cheap (very) Desperados and walking round the place looking for familier faces.
I messaged Derek and rung him twice to no avail so I had a couple more Desperado's, as you do, before going to the game. That's when things went even more downhill.
If there should be another County Road meet I'd recommend the Thomas Frost over the Harlech castle as there's much more room and the beer is embarrasingly cheap. The Castle's always chocca.
Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 21/04/2023 at 07:25:06
Brian @11, Derek is ex Royal Navy. Their navigation is questionable. They get away with it as when they steer off course in the middle of the Ocean, they can claim a ships roll and turn it around!!

See you at the next one Brian.

Mike Gaynes. I'm sure you'll be in contact before your next trip.

It's Autumn!! Fall is for New England.

Mark Murphy
13 Posted 21/04/2023 at 08:30:52
There’s a reason why Wetherspoons ale is cheap…
It’s shite!
Mark Murphy
14 Posted 21/04/2023 at 08:35:45
Speaking of irritating bastard drums I was quite happy for Arsenal to win the league until I suffered 90 minutes of that one at The Emirates. That and them stupid big flags the stewards stand up and wave when a goal goes in. Bloody cockney kopites is all they are! UTFT
Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 21/04/2023 at 08:45:33
Those Emirates flags. How staged and choreographed is that? False even.
Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 21/04/2023 at 08:45:33
Those Emirates flags. How staged and choreographed is that? False even.
Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 21/04/2023 at 10:37:38
It was great to see Andy, and Derek, and bump into quite a few other faces outside the Harlech last week. I didn’t know you never had a ticket Jim L, I would have given you mine if I’d known that, especially when someone told me the team, and then Andy mentioned Fulham’s record at Goodison!

The grey hair Mike, is hopefully just Father Time, but we never stop worrying in this life, especially us Evertonians, who have had a self serving piss taker, telling us we have had some good times, whilst our barren spell continues to get longer, and our future in the big league, is on a knife edge once again!

Jim Lloyd
18 Posted 22/04/2023 at 09:07:29
It was a great meeting up alright, even if it was a getting a bit on the chocker side! Thanks for that Tony but I'd give my ticket to Pete,or Andy...or Derek.
Anyway, to one of them as Pete and Andy knew each other and it was a chance for them to meet up again and a great weekend for Andy into the bargain. I've been a bit of a sicknote through the last couple of months, so I could watch it on the telly anyway. What a gesture, Tony, thanks mate. I think it's like Andy says "We're cut from a different cloth" alright!
I'm just going on to the Kenwright thread to air my views, regarding his humble homily to honest Evertonians who give their support our great club! The pontificating prat!

Mark, what are you on about ? Abbot is one of the best pints in the Country!

Paul Tran
19 Posted 23/04/2023 at 09:30:15
That's a great read, Andy. Agreed on the Stingo, a lovely beer that really ought to come with a guide dog...

Hope your record resumes next time you're over here!

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