How long have you supported Everton?
Since 8 September 1979.
Who or what was responsible for being an Evertonian – or were you ‘chosen’?
It was all I knew, my father, but possibly more so his brother, my uncle Dave, and their uncle Hughie really encouraged me that I was an Evertonian from as far back as I recall. I was told that when my great great grandparents left Kirkdale around 1900 to move the family to Govan, they chose Rangers because they played in blue. My great grandfather, aged 10, remained with his maternal grandparents in Kirkdale, and married his childhood sweetheart, which is why I’m not Glaswegian by birth. His brother was on Everton’s books briefly before the First World War.
First Everton game attended:
Everton 3 Luton Town 1 – 9 May 1987. I thought we got a big shiny trophy after every game, being an Evertonian was easy.
Most memorable match attended:
Arguably that first one. We moved from Flemington Avenue, by the Asda off Queen’s Drive, to Hertfordshire when I was about 18 months old. Until I moved back to Walton in August 2018, I’d not lived any nearer than 100 miles from Goodison in almost 38 years. My first game with a season ticket, Marco Silva’s first home game in charge, a 2-1 win versus Wolves meant a lot but I remember little of it, sorry Marco. The first time I saw Duncan Ferguson in the flesh, a 3-1 win versus Crystal Palace in January 1995 and his first game as caretaker manager, versus Chelsea, are both great hairs on the back of yer neck Goodison memories for me.
Where do you generally sit at Goodison?
My season ticket is in the church corner of the Lower Gwladys. Travelling from afar I always preferred being in that part of the ground, but I’ve sat all over. I think Top Balcony is the only place I’ve never sat. I’m not mad on heights, so it’s quite funny that the first time I ever went up there was to jump off it for charity at the Goodison Zip Slide!
What aspect of being an Evertonian do you like most?
It’s just in me, an essential aspect of my make-up. I love the fact that I’m very possibly sixth generation Evertonian, which would make my daughter seventh generation dating right back to 1878. I love that I was born in Everton (even though Everton FC have never once played there!), in 1979, 100 years after St Domingos FC changed their name to adopt that of the Everton area. I love our colours. I love L4, the history around the place, our wonderful old stadium. And I love living back here, where I belong. Home.
In what year did you join EFCHS?
I walked up to Brendan Connolly at St Luke’s one pre-match at the start of the 2018/19 season and asked, how would I go about earning a place on the society. He asked me what my specific area of interest or authority was in terms of Everton Football Club. “All of it”, I replied! He laughed, but very kindly invited me along to a meeting to see if there was anything I could get involved with. I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to research and have a very happy knack of stumbling upon clues and managing to piece a jigsaw together. Like Dave Hickson, I think I’d die for Everton, although it’d probably be by suffocating under a pile of old ledgers, books and programmes, rather than being smashed to pieces diving through a brick wall to head a winning goal! I was voted on as a full member in early 2019. I can honestly say it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
What is your particular area of interest or expertise in Everton’s history/heritage?
Ha, all of it! I have a particular fascination with the locality of Goodison Park, finding addresses where players lived in the days they were in club houses or with approved landladies close by to the stadium, and from that grew an interest in the fact that a great many former players, managers and staff were laid to rest at Anfield Cemetery, which lies adjacent to Stanley Park, between our current home at Goodison and one of our old ones, at Anfield. I have collated details and photographs of dozens of EFC-related graves at the major cemeteries across Merseyside, with the help of fellow members and via my own research and endless hours pottering about onsite.
What is your main activity/involvement with the Society?
I am a very active member of the somewhat macabre sounding, but brilliant, Graves Sub Committee and also a member of the Publications Sub Committee. I have long been a huge fan of the work of the likes of Rob Sawyer, Mike Royden, Peter Lupson and Ken Rogers, I can’t quite believe I’m a colleague of theirs these days – I would love to add something substantial to the great Everton FC library myself one of these days!
In your opinion, what is the best thing about the Society?
As a member, the sheer variety and scope of the work we can get involved in, as well as the chance to delve in and out of personal projects and push them forward with the help of colleagues. I have contributed historical pieces to the matchday programme, helped with an on-pitch presentation to the family of Toffees legend Ted Sagar, served refreshments at a function to the family of Harry Catterick and a table of other Everton icons and presented Peter Reid with a framed ‘My First Match’ print, designed by our very own Tom Regan, of ToffeeArt fame. For Evertonians, the Society fulfils a major role in maintaining the fact that we really DO know our history. We are constantly assisting the football club with information and an expert eye for detail from multiple angles, which, I like to think, goes a long way to upholding our latin motto, ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’. We help fans and families of former players with information requests and I really hope will one day be a part of helping to bring Dr. David France’s esteemed Everton Collection to the people.
Your favourite Everton-related book?
The one which first captured my imagination and which I return to again and again – not least as I carry it with me to all functions in the hope of securing another signature from a Royal Blue hero…! – is Ivan Ponting’s ‘Everton: Player By Player’. He wrote so brilliantly about players like Dave Hickson, Roy Vernon, Bobby Collins, et al. Poetic, vivid. Those black and white photographs came to life.
If you could travel in time, what match, before your lifetime of attending matches, would you choose to attend?
There are many from my lifetime, I was born in 1979, but wasn’t able to attend any of the great mid-1980s games, barring that trophy reception at the end of 1986/87, which turned out to be the end of an era. Of course I’d have loved to have been at the Bayern Munich game, I was five and, as far as I know, blissfully unaware as it wasn’t my dad’s thing to involve me in terms of watching the match on telly if it was on, or the radio. My uncle Dave was there. Before my lifetime? I’ll go for Dixie Dean securing the 60-goal record with his hat-trick in May 1928, versus Arsenal. Must have been some scenes that afternoon.
The best player you have seen in Everton’s colours?
I look forward to seeing James Rodriguez in the flesh one of these days. I was only 7 in May 1987, my only real memories are falling down the back of my seat celebrating and the sight of a mountain of horse manure on Goodison Road. Duncan Ferguson in full flight was exhilarating and in another era, with more luck with injuries could have been one of the true greats of British football, in my opinion. But I’m a goalkeeping enthusiast and Neville Southall is the easy answer to this one in my lifetime.
The player you wish that you could have seen, from the past?
So, so many. The Holy Trinity. The Golden Vision and Roy Vernon at their peak. But Dixie is probably number one for me. He’s bigger than big, isn’t he? A genuine, real-life superhero and all our very own.
Anything else to add?
I think I’ve probably exceeded the word-count. It’s honestly a huge honour to be involved. Up the Toffees!