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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Everton's official Stadium Tour has been described as 'excellent' by national tourist board VisitEngland.

The guided behind-the-scenes look at Goodison Park is a 'Quality Assured Visitor Attraction' and assessors travelled to Merseyside recently to ensure the tour offering still met the expected standards.

A report received by the Club confirmed the tour 'comfortably' merited its continued status as a recognised attraction, describing it as, 'friendly and intimate, with its main appeal the excellent knowledge of the guides and their enthusiasm, rather than the glitz and high pressure of some stadium tours."

Supervisor Marie Martin, who has been managing and conducting the tour since 2003, said: “The assessor stated that ours is far and away the friendliest stadium tour he has experienced. That is a great achievement and it is down to all the tour department employees, from the booking phase to the actual delivery of the experience.

“The delivery of the tour makes our stadium experience unique because we incorporate anecdotes and information, light-hearted banter, and we also field questions throughout.”

The tour, which takes in the trophy cabinets in the Dixie Dean Suite, the home and away changing rooms and, of course, the hallowed Goodison Park turf, was also praised for the emphasis placed on pleasing young visitors.

A section of the tour which sees junior members of each party lead the way out of the tunnel as 'captains' came in for particular praise.

“The tour guides always engage with the younger fans,” said Marie. “They come here to experience the magic of their footballing heroes, so we try to make it exciting.

“Our history is not just one of great football, but also one of the social history of our city and children are our future supporters, so it is very important to me and the team that they are given the right information from the start.

“The guides make reference to the magnificent Everton Collection, and to make it more engaging we have items for the children to touch and hold - a pair of boots from the 1930s, a replica Dixie Dean shirt, photographs and so on.

“We also make sure we work closely with Everton In The Community and the teachers in the study centre to ensure we constantly refresh our knowledge and keep updated as to what our younger fans are interested in.”

Goodison Park Stadium Tours take place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11am and 1pm. All children receive a certificate and signature sheet on completion of the tour.

Tours do not operate on a matchday or on the afternoon before a first-team home fixture. Booking is strongly advised. Tours cost £8.50 for adults, £5 for Under-16s or £20 for a family ticket for two adults and two Under-16s.

For more information or to book a tour call 0151 530 5212 or click here.

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