By Mark Ellis
My memories of Everton are so vast, so intrinsically linked to my life that they almost consume me. Yet I would like to think I haven’t experienced anything compared to our future under Roberto Martinez.
These are a small collection of these memories; no rhyme or reason to them, I love writing about Everton, it’s a great feeling following our special club.
My first game was in September 86 and for a long time it was all about the excitement of watching a football match. Sitting on the Gwladys Street terraces, having to take turns with twin brother Ben as there wasn’t enough room for the both of us.
My uncle Steve didn’t have a minute with us, each protesting we wanted a turn. My love for the club was born in a 0-0 draw with QPR. Having before not shown any interest in football , the first visit to the old lady was all it took for Everton to become the centre of my life.
The game that sticks out, at a time when I begun to notice the league table, was in 1989 when we beat Arsenal 3-0 to go top of the league. Playing Martinez style football with Pat Nevin running amok, we looked every inch a title-winning side. Sadly ending up finishing 6th with the second best home record in the league.
From that moment on, the excitement remained but the pressure of getting results also arrived. Suddenly there was more to this than simply watching a game of football.
My interest in Everton was expanding by the minute. My mum bought me and my brother a Teletext TV, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Now I could look for Everton news as well as going to the match. This was too good.
Today’s generation of supporters really have it all. These days you can’t fart at Goodison without someone knowing about it. I wouldn’t have known my name if we’d have had Twitter back then.
Listening to radio city for the sports news at 4.30 to see if we’d signed the player we were after, only to hear them repeat the same news story from 9 am drove me mad.
There was no other way to get information, apart from Club Call which was one word a minute at a premium rate
As a result the thirst for knowledge made its way to my mum’s telephone bill. Running up a £60+ bill desperately trying to get the latest news on Muller signing was a low point. We didn’t even sign the guy. Muller had his demands and so did my mum; my next 2 paper round wages went to help with the phone bill.
90’s Everton Memories
I used to resort to Teletext when I couldn’t take listening to the radio anymore. We always seemed susceptible to conceding when listening to Graham Beecroft. The tension was way too much. This probably had more to do with our defence than Graham. He was a great commentator though.
A couple of Everton games stick out on Teletext; one, an FA cup match at The Valley, ended Charlton 1-2 Everton. With John Ebbrell scoring twice. A 2-2 draw at Oldham in the cup is another. Teletext rescued me from the anxieties of listening to the radio for countless other matches.
The best thing i can remember from my school days was the sight of my uncle steve waiting to pick us up from the bus stop,he used to work all week as a delivery driver and had to work his fair share of Saturday’s,when we saw him,we knew we were going the match,the excitement was off the scale
Before the match, we would go to my Aunty Pats in Kirkdale by the old Sportsman pub. We’d have spaghetti on toast. My Uncle Ron, a massive blue had the calmness and “we’ll be alright” mentality. Even in our darkest days. To be calm and optimistic when we had the likes of Stuart Barlow,Brett Angell and Paul Holmes in the side deserves special praise.
The excitement felt when we walked up past the Tramways pub and the old bus depot on Carisbrooke Road was enough to make me float to Goodison. I loved the queue of people waiting to cross County Road. Match day had arrived.
As a kid we used to go into the Family Enclosure and I’ll never forget the Panini swap-shop, always a highlight pre-match – and being made up to finally get hold of Roy Wegerle to complete my sticker album.
Sounds feeble when you consider what young football fans have these days. However I still believe our generation had it the best, and I had a full sticker album.
What I remember most about supporting Everton in the 90’s was the relatively low attendances. Except for the derby, Man Utd games etc. But the noise was greater than today. Fans didn’t wait for the players to excite them and the support seemed to come from more areas of the ground. Not just the Gwladys Street.
Admittedly memories can be distorted but fans seemed to have less inhibitions about getting up and singing and getting others going. The Gwladys Street seemed to have more personality back then. Regular instances of mass laughter stand out, usually at a bad decision or poor play. This dry humor seems to have left the current atmosphere at Goodison.
A few comments standout; behind at home to Coventry City after a Dion Dublin brace and with Everton limping to defeat, the crowd deathly silent (ironic after what I’ve just said), a fella shouted “I can’t Take this Anymore””Aaarrgghhh” and stormed out among collective laughter.
Uriah Rennie, after another performance all about him, came in for some criticism with an arl fella shouting “Hey Rennie, your giving me Indigestion!” You just don’t hear banter like that anymore.
The 90’s also marked the start of the Sky era – and the end of Saint and Greavsie. It was a shock to lose the Sunday football and have it replaced with Burnley v Stockport. Mum wasn’t entertaining the idea of Sky at the time. Everyone thought it wouldn’t last.I spent a lot of Monday nights persuading my Nanna, to give up her TV for the evening. A far cry from people watching football games on mobile phones, laptops and tablets. The only tablets around then were to ease my Nanna’s heartburn.
I was in awe of Sky when it came out. The coverage was so much better, the fancy graphics, the dancing-girls and the prospect of Monday Night Football was manner from heaven. The weekend seemed to last longer and my Nanna’s Monday Corrie was a thing of the past.
Nanna knew not to wish Everton luck before the game. My brother Ben and I had complained that we never won when such a statement was uttered.
Being in Nanna’s brought a calmness to the situation. Watching Everton play has always been and always will be a nerve jangling experience for me.
There was no better feeling than walking back home after a win. Gleefully promising my Nanna we would give her three rings when we got in, and duly forgetting.
Derby County away was such an instance. We won 1-0 with a Nick Barmby goal and we walked down the hill convinced we’d win the league that night………
It’s great to reminisce. And while fans are rightly pushing for Wi-Fi at Goodison, the romantic in me yearns for a return of the Panini swapshop.
Follow Mark Ellis on Twitter @Markthablue