Side by Side

So here we are, another season is upon us and our weekends are blue again. We’ve all missed it, the sounds, the smells, the noise, the passion, the love, the fume. All for one, one for all, Everton is the team that plays beautiful football.

Back to Goodison, back in the groove, how we’ve missed this place, and how we’ll miss it forever when the Dock is finally ours. But change is good. Change is needed.

Enjoy Goodison whilst we have it, it’s heritage, originality and history, enjoy those relationships you’ve formed, that nod to the steward, that staff member you’ve gotten to know, those fellow supporters, all with their own habits and traits, enjoy your routine, it’s your routine so do as you please. Relatives, friends, familiar faces, regardless, say hello, do what you do.

Also enjoy those annoyances; the crazy second minute shouts and screams and mass panic at a misplaced pass, the mispronunciations, the tackles and the fume. The countless bald heads, the madness of the bogs, the size of the hot dogs, the environment, the smell of football as Mick Rathbone once wrote.

The fumes of away coach exhausts pumping out as you walk past, the rowdiness of away fans by Stanley Park, the general rivalry and shared enthusiasm of travelling to see your team, your Club, your colours. We are like that when we enter their cities and areas too, don’t forget.

Chips and curry by the hundreds, people scalding their tongues coz they’re so hungry. Bottles, cans, hats, scarves and badges. The horse shite, Police standing round knowing they’ll never have any trouble, the Hot Wok, the fan zone freebies and chaotic parking of L4.

County Road, the earthiness of it, shops, pubs, cafes bustling. Home and Bargain booming. A sea of blue and a tide of Toffees. Side by side as they sing along together.

The more recent introduction of new banners, flags, singing, organisation of the good of our Club, and that swinging fire exit sign on the concourse. That siren too. The chills. A new era, Blues starting a movement and motion, embrace it.

Coaches, buses, taxis, supporters Clubs, the synonymous pubs – The Brick, The Oak, The Spellow’s sign which has never been fixed. The Winslow. The Harlech. ‘Orries’. The Black Horse after the match. The Thomas Frost, a Wethers like no other.

The corner bookies, the standard bets which always fail. Five hundred people queuing up trying to spell Richarlison. Accumulators – one team let me down. You know the script.

That corner, formally known as WSAG island, new fanzines, The Black Watch, fan cams and podcasts, that newsagents, a stream of match day goodies, a few Polish lagers to ‘settle the nerves’. St Luke’s Church, butties and brews. Badges.

Grand children, grandparents, generations, relatives helping those less mobile to get into the ground, just stand against the railings and you will see it all. Take it all in, realise what you are a part of, you’ve never felt more at home have you. Embrace it, live it, breathe it, take photos. Talk to people. Sing, smile, hug people when we score. You don’t need me to tell you to do this, you do it anyway. But returning makes it all real again.

Imagine when we create new history, imagine our new location, a new future, creating traditions, a transfer of foundations and a transfer of routine. Walk, see, look around you. Take it all in. Kids of all ages, new shirts new names new faces.

New players, they’ll be taking it all in just the same. Nil Satis. The Royal Blue Jersey.

The good times and bad times we’ve had here, the goals, the night games, floodlights, ‘limbs’ and ‘scenes’ the memories we’ve all shared together. The joy and elation and the tears and regret. The tightness of the stands, the terraces, the turnstiles.

The match day shouts, the opposition taking a corner. The comical element of ‘that fella’ who always comes out with ‘those’ memorable shouts. It’s relentless at Goodison, there is no room to be shy, there is no hiding place. There’s no place you’d rather be.

That ‘walk up the stairs feeling’ when the noise hits you, the passion and character of the place that embodies the people who support this Club. The unity, the want to win, the want for success, those who have been there, seen it and experienced it, sat with those who will at some point see it, be there and experience it.

A unique experience of football, English football, historical location, historical Club, a working class area, real people, no iPads, no maps, no bullshit, people just supporting, coming together, from all backgrounds, people from Our City, from around our country and beyond, people from abroad, those who aren’t from Liverpool but are one of us, an Evertonian.

Born not manufactured. A supporter base which isn’t divisive, a support base like no other. A gritty determination to succeed. No judgement. No hierarchy.

It’s a new dawn, Marco, Marcel and Farhad have a combined vision, the players we have are exciting, our fans are excited, optimism seems to be the general feeling, so get back into your stride again, step up, step out, get that feeling of love again, and get back on down, to Goodison Park.

Up the Toffees.

Lower Gwladys Lad
Lower Gwladys Lad

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