My Everton #13: The Game That Changed My Outlook On Life

To most Evertonians it was 'just another game', but for me it changed my outlook on life.

In October 2013, myself and my ex-partner were sat in a room in Arrowe Park hospital, after being told by the sonographer they couldn't find our baby's heartbeat.

We sat anxiously waiting to be seen and then it came - the worst possible news.

Our baby boy's heartbeat was no longer there and my ex-partner would have to give birth to him as if everything was normal. 

We went home and cried for hours and hours, thinking why this had happened to us.

We had thought long and hard about a name for our baby boy but nothing sprang to mind. 

The weekend after receiving the news, Everton were travelling down to the Midlands to play Aston Villa. We won 2-0, with Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman on the scoresheet.

The following day, 27th October 2013, was the day we had dreaded.

It was the day we would finally get to see our son, but we would not get to bring him home as he would be stillborn.

While we sat in the hospital we were still thinking of names and then out of the blue the name Leon was mentioned. 

We spoke about it and as we both really liked Leon Osman - and he had scored the previous day... It just felt like it was meant to be and we decided our little angel would be named Leon.

Fast forward exactly two years to 27 October 2015 and the Blues had been drawn Norwich City in the fourth round of the League Cup at Goodison Park. 

I woke that morning with just wish... For Leon Osman to score on my son's second birthday. 

It's all I could think of all day ahead of the match. 

As kick-off approached, I was anxious to see whether Osman would be in the starting XI that night. 

Not only was he named in the starting line-up, he was also captain for the night. Incredible.

I had mentioned my hopes to a couple of fan groups and I'd had lots of messages wishing me luck. People were even putting money on Osman to score to show their support!

I got to my seat and I just knew something special was going to happen that night.

It was goalless at half-time... But then Norwich took the lead in the 51st minute. 

Maybe it wasn't to be, after all.

The goal sparked the game into life and for the next 15 minutes it was end-to-end football. 

Finally, in the 68th minute, the moment I had desperately been wishing for unfolded.

We attacked down the left, the ball got played into the box and with one swing of his left boot, Ossie made it 1-1.

Pure elation.

We went on to win the match 4-3 on penalties and it's a night I'll remember forever.

Afterwards, I was inundated with messages from Evertonians around the world who knew about my wish. It was those messages that underlined I was part of the biggest and best family in the world.

A lot of people under-rated Leon Osman but with that one moment, he became my all-time favourite Everton player.

That night made me believe in fate.

By Kenny Almond, Evertonian