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The Last Aussie Blog
evertonfc.com , 16th July 2010 - 09:24
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Welcome to what will probably be the last of my blogs from Australia...we fly back to the UK straight after the game on Saturday evening.
The flight from Melbourne to Brisbane was uneventful, which was a relief to everyone on board after the aircraft appeared to stall as it began to speed down the runway ahead of take-off! The engines just stopped as our private jet prepared to move into top gear and I can tell you that it was a real conversation stopper!
We then got a taste of the baggage-handler's life when we landed in Brisbane. There were no airport personnel available to unload all our bags so the club staff lined up alongside the plane and started a human conveyor belt to transfer the luggage from the hold to the waiting team coach! It was good fun and was done with a smile and a song!
Brisbane is another lovely city and once again there is no shortage of Evertonians about the place.
Over 300 turned up to the Brisbane Roar's Suncorp Stadium on Friday morning for an open training session and they were treated not only to an entertaining hour of football but also some free merchandise that we'd brought with us from Goodison! I felt like an aid worker as I was swamped by eager locals reaching out for a DVD, a shirt, a ball, a pennant or a car sticker...or one of each! But the Evertonians over here have really showed their loyalty and they deserved some goodies as reward.
Whilst watching the training I got a tap on the shoulder and was delighted to be confronted by Mike Trebilcock. The 1966 FA Cup final hero against Sheffield Wednesday had made a four-hour car journey to see his beloved Everton train and he was delighted to meet David Moyes and the players. Jimmy Lumsden popped across to say hello and declared that he'd played against Mike when Leeds Reserves met Everton in the 1960s.
Mike has been in Australia since 1974 but he claimed that the standard of football ‘down under' hasn't really improved in all that time. In fact he was quite scathing in his criticism of the set-up in this country! He was bitterly disappointed with his adopted nation's performance in the recent World Cup but he added that, like the rest of the nation, he loves Tim Cahill!
Friday afternoon brought an anti-racism event for some of the players to attend. It was organised by the Brisbane Roar and was staged in a city-centre mini-park. (If those of you from Liverpool can imagine Williamson Square covered in grass then you'll have a feel for the venue.)
Phil Neville said a few words, as did Mr Keith Tamlin, the Club's Life Vice-President, and there was the usual plethora of Aussie media in attendance. There will be a feature of this tour on Premier League World that you'll be able to access back home but I bet they won't mention the fact that David Moyes was kept waiting for his interview because the cameraman ran out of DVD space before it started!
And that's just about it - apart from the game against Brisbane on Saturday. It's been a long but rewarding tour of a quite beautiful country and we've met some incredibly warm, welcoming, enthusiastic people...but it's just about time to go home!
We're a long, long way from Manchester Airport but once the final whistle blows on Saturday evening, the ride home will begin!
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