Last week a new series started on evertonfc.com, exploring the matchday habits and routines of players past and present, members of staff and other notable supporters.
Today, lifelong Blue and Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP speaks about how he became an Evertonian and his pre-match traditions.
Don't forget you can share your gameday rituals and be in with a chance of winning a very special prize - visit evertonfc.com/WeGoTheGame now.
How did you come to be a diehard Evertonian?
I had absolutely no choice. It’s in the family with both my mum and dad, going all the way back. It’s in the blood and I’ve never known else. Like many Evertonians, it’s all about your family and where you come from.
What are your first memories of coming to watch Everton at Goodison Park?
The first time I came was around 1974/75. I can just about remember the Billy Bingham days but the Gordon Lee era is the time I remember well. The Duncan McKenzie game against Stoke sticks in my mind and I saw Bob Latchford’s 30 goals in a season. I was here for most of those games and the memories are very vivid.
Like most people, I sat looking at the Boys’ Pen and thinking I would be terrified if I ever had to watch a game from there! I remember Goodison in those days and love the fact that it hasn't changed that much now. All other clubs have gone to modern grounds but this place has heart and soul.
What is your pre-match routine?
We’ve always pretty much done the same thing. My family all live around the Culcheth, Golborne and Haydock area so we come down the East Lancs in one car.
We park up just off County Road and then we go to a pub called The Stuart. We used to go in the Glebe but sadly that closed down so we were homeless for a while. But The Stuart is our local now and it’s a lovely place.
We set off to Goodison about 2.40pm and we get in for Z Cars. Nothing changes, that’s our routine. We have all got a block of Burnham season tickets in the lower Gwladys. We’ve been in the same place all our lives and have never moved. We know all the people around us. I’m sure I’m describing what a lot of Evertonians do - and long may it be that way!
Can you ever imagine coming to Goodison and doing anything differently on a matchday?
Occasionally I come as a guest of the Club. I brought Ed Balls to the Norwich game, but I prefer sitting in the Street End.
The nice thing is that some people know who I am but understand I’m at the game as an Evertonian and nothing else. It’s a great switch off from work and it’s where I want to be, with the people I want to be with. It’s everything I look forward to.
Why are matchdays special to you?
There’s a real comradeship with Evertonians. We are the same type of people with the same values. We think about the Club in the same way and it’s a fantastic environment to be in. My kids are Evertonians and they are absolutely steeped in the same thing. We treasure it.
I’m very close to my brothers, we are a close-knit family and the Club has been the glue throughout our lives. It’s kept us together through all these years. Wherever we have been living throughout the country, we have always had that magnet to come back. I’m sure that’s the case with many Evertonians.
How much have you enjoyed the first season under Roberto Martinez?
It’s been a joy to watch at times. Let’s be fair, David Moyes left some firm foundations at the Club. I’m not one to re-write history – but let’s remember what David did. He left the place with a strong backbone to the team.
But Roberto has come in and added that extra flair. He’s brought a positivity and a belief that maybe was lacking at times, particularly in those big games. Evertonians believe again and that’s incredible.
I haven’t met Roberto yet but it seems like there is that magnetic side to his character. He seems to inspire people and it’s been great to watch the team develop.
We are Evertonians. We go the game. That's what we do.
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