My Everton #3: Pies With Hats And The Boys' Pen

A series of first-hand accounts describing moments that made us fall in love with Everton, 'My Everton' is a new weekly offering here on, bringing you the most-treasured memories of fans, players, and staff both past and present.

Got an entry? We'd love to hear it. Email us via

The meat pies came in tin foil, which we called the hat.

They were dead crusty on the top and soft underneath.

When you took your first bite, the fat – or the jelly – fell and burned your chin.

But I didn’t care.

I couldn’t get enough of those pies and that never changed.

I joined the army when I was 16 and whenever I had leave, the first thing was to see which Everton games I’d get to.

My dad was a steward in the Park End and would make sure the girls behind the counter kept my pies. Four before the match and three for half-time. I can still eat six at a game.

I don’t remember exactly when Everton got a hold on me but my dad says the first time my heart skipped a beat was when I got my first kit and my white Alan Ball boots.

We were living in Australia and my nan sent them from Liverpool. People would see me and say, ‘Oh, Everton’. I thought, ‘This is good, this’.

My first game in the Gwladys Street was in 1971 when I was five.

I remember the fella saying, ‘That’ll be 80 pence, please, lad’ – 50p for my dad and 30p for me – and the click of the turnstile.

Then the smells, the beer and pies and cigarettes, which got into your nose and mouth.

And the noise and the accents, coming back from Australia it felt like I was in a different world and I loved it.

I sat on a round bar to watch the game, with my dad behind holding me, and when we scored everyone swept forward. I was thinking, ‘What is going on here?’

I was made up when they changed to square bars, the round ones gave me numb legs and a numb backside.

My first match, I’d pleaded with my dad to let me in the famous Boys' Pen.

He relented and I came out after with an impression of wire mesh on my face, it stayed there about four days. I was facing a brick wall and looking through the side of my eyes to watch the game.

There were people wearing snake belts, climbing up the mesh and fastening themselves on with the S of the belt lock. That’s how you do it.

I stuck to the Gwladys Street and that’s where I sit today with my son and grandson. We’re all Tommy, like my dad – he’s in a wheelchair now and can’t go so much but still loves Everton.

We weren’t great in the 1970s but it didn’t matter – it was Everton, that’s all I cared about.

I got grief from lads at school – but they didn’t go the game, I did.

Bob Latchford is still my hero, I love the fella.

The 1980s was like living in a wonderland and we’ll get there again.

People can say they love their football. For Evertonians, it is family, it is life.

Talking about Everton gives me goosebumps.

Thank you, dad, for making my heart beat Blue – and for making sure I always had my pies with the hats.

By Tommy Fearns, Evertonian