No, for me it was not a 'road to Damascus' moment.  There was no sudden realisation that I should support Everton rather than any other local football team.  Nothing shone about me like a light from heaven.  There were no encouraging ethereal Blue voices.  The fulfilment came about through a succession of rather small items like little acorns that, on their own, would not have persuaded me one way or another.  The culmination of these added up to being a Blue.

My father, who was born in 1880, played against Everton in the late 1890s, although he would never talk about his time in football.  This by itself is a marginal point against but it is emphasised by his being a tolerant Liverpool supporter.  On a couple of odd occasions, I accompanied him to watch Liverpool Reserves matches.  However, I had no parental influence or preference.  This is countered partially by the fact that all my older brothers were Evertonians.  The eldest took me to my first full match at Goodison Park in 1943.  So, on balance, it should now be fifty-fifty in my allegiance to either the Blues or the Reds.

Why were my brothers Evertonians?  Well, at St George’s Church of England School, which they attended before World War II, there was a teacher named Mr Green.  His brother was a director of Everton FC and he was a shareholder.  He was mad about football and he lived and breathed his beloved Everton.  He was Blue to the core.  It was hardly likely that his pupils could be anything but Blue given his one mindedness and unswerving loyalty.  He did not influence me as he had retired before my education dawned but I knew all about him.

At about the same time, as I have written elsewhere, I went to both Goodison Park and Anfield Road in the 1940s for ‘three-quarter time’ after school.  This led me to visiting Saturday matches at both grounds.  Of course, as with all my pals, I stood around the players’ exit to get autographs.  This was an eye-opener indeed.  George Kay, the Liverpool manager, was more than willing to sign my grubby little book.  The same can be said of the ever smiling and obliging Willie Fagin.  As for the other Liverpool players, perhaps excluding Billy Liddell, they were either off-hand or refused to sign.

Turning to Everton, the situation was quite different.  Classy players such as Tommy Lawton, Ted Sagar and Joe Mercer and most of the other players, such as Wally Fielding, Eddie Wainwright and (the much underrated) Cyril Lello, were enthusiastic in giving me their autographs.  The stand-out exception was T J Jones.  Unfortunately, collecting autographs fell by the wayside when the Liverpool Echo included those of both teams in its pages.  However, I was definitely now favouring Goodison.

The next turning point was the boys pens.  The enclave at Anfield was to one side and at the back of the Kop.  It always seemed dark and miserable stuck right up there.  I was so far removed from the pitch as not to be able to see much of the game.  At the same time, I was learning words from the Kop clientele that I would never have dared to use at home.  By contrast, the Boys Pen at Goodison Park was at the end of the Bullens Road stand.  It was light, open and far closer to events on the pitch.  I was not so close to (what was then referred to as) the dockers' end as to be able to hear words that I was not supposed to know.  This was a definite point won for the Blues.

A couple of years after the war, I was walking past Goodison on the way to my uncle’s house in Leta Street.  For some reason, I had my autograph book with me.  Coming the other way were two young men, one of whom was carrying a football in a net bag.  I did not know them and I asked if they played for Everton.  One of them replied that he hoped to do so and said that he hoped that I supported Everton to which I replied, ‘Yes’.  He signed my book willingly.  I was committed!  I think that I was the first lad to get the autograph of Dave Hickson.

By the age of 11, I was finally and completely converted to the Blue cause.  The fact that Liverpool were First Division Champions and FA Cup Semi-Finalists in 1947 did not deter me from my steadfast choice.  My loyalty has never wavered both in good times and in bad.

This leads me to query how other ToffeeWeb members lighted their Blue touch paper?