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As I sit down to write this, it is November 8. That date will always make me smile as it is the date of one of my favourite experiences as an Evertonian. Rewind four years and it takes us back to Nurnberg...
Any Evertonian who was there will know what I’m on about. It was a truly incredible experience and something that I will never forget. Everywhere you looked you just saw blue. It was unlike any atmosphere I have ever experienced at any away game, home or abroad. The locals seemed genuinely delighted to welcome us to their beautiful city and their hospitality was much appreciated by the thousands of Blues who were everywhere you looked.
The five of us who travelled together arrived in Nurnberg about 9am and once checked into the hotel we headed into the main part of town. Nurnberg is a truly stunning city. The fact it was bitterly cold and all the Christmas decorations and markets were out only helped with its beauty.
However on this particular morning almost every wall or railing was adorned by blue flags. No matter where you went, there were Blues everywhere. I don't think the locals knew what to make of it, but every one of them I spoke to seemed to enjoy seeing so many of us there.
We set up our base for the day in a bar on a balcony overlooking the main square. It must have done more trade that day than it does in a month, despite the fact we ended up only spending 10 Euros each all day, but that's another story for another day!
The train ride to the ground was incredible. I've no idea how many people were on that train but it was one big party atmosphere and when we got off the police were more than happy for the party to continue as they helpfully gave us directions to the ground. We saw many of the police happily posing for pictures with fans and politely declining the offer to share peoples drinks, although I'm sure some of them wanted to.
I've watched the game back a couple of times and to be honest, not much happened until the last ten minutes. The penalty from Mikel Arteta raised the roof and you could see Evertonians in every section of the ground celebrating, we were everywhere! The atmosphere only improved when Victor Anichebe scored a fine individual second goal to put the seal on a fine win.
The noise our fans made inside the ground in those final ten minutes was unreal. There is a video on YouTube of 'We shall not be moved...' and it still sends shivers down my spine when I watch it now.
After the game we headed back into town and eventually settled on heading back to the hotel after a long day. Any thought of an early went out the window when we were allowed to help ourselves at the bar!
When we surfaced on the Friday morning, we again headed into town and it was like a ghost town! It seemed that everyone had left either straight after the game or early that morning. All day I think we only saw about twenty-five fellow blues. However, no matter where we went, we were made to feel welcome and the locals expressed their thanks for how well behaved everyone was and how much they had enjoyed us being in their city. We had a lovely day and got to see a bit of the city as well, although we ended up back in the bar on the balcony where we were the day before, but it was just a little bit different to match day.
We had to be at the airport for 5am on the Saturday and my decision to not go to bed was not one of my smartest moves, I have to say! After 15 minutes of sleep, I still don't know how I managed to get home, but I guess that is all part of the fun!
Everton in Europe is one of those things that you just have to experience, nothing beats it. Any chance we can play Nurnberg in a friendly next year? I really want to go back...
Up the Toffees!!
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