My Everton #29: 'Imagine Tribute Reduced Me To Tears' - Ukrainian Blue

Everton and technical partner hummel are proud to collaborate to present My Everton, a weekly series of first-hand accounts describing the most-treasured memories of fans, players, and staff both past and present.

Got an entry? We'd love to hear it - and there are exclusive prizes for the best fan submissions, including VIP tickets to First Team matches, invitations to watch training at Finch Farm, signed merchandise and discount on Submit via email to

My wife and I are from a little town in western Ukraine.

I moved to England for work in 2018, then, soon after, my wife and our daughter joined me. We all fell in love with the city of Liverpool immediately. 

Freedom, dignity, respect, passion, solidarity… These are just some of the values of this amazing city that I love - and the people of Ukraine share them. I have been to many other cities and with complete confidence I can say Liverpool is special. It is unique. 

It's a big privilege for us to live here and it feels like home now.

But it’s so difficult to process what is happening in my homeland.

I have family and friends still living in the town I left and I keep in daily contact with them, especially now as the sirens howl every day to warn of incoming attacks.

We haven’t heard sirens since the Second World War.

For the first few days, when the invasion started, I felt outrage and anger. 

That has since been replaced by exhaustion and guilt that I am safe, while the people I went to school and college with are now defending the country.

My wife’s family have a basement and this is where they are sheltering; my brother is volunteering under Red Cross; my brother-in-law has just joined the Territorial Defense Forces.

None of them have had the thought of running away - they are at home, on their land.

I know many Ukrainians no longer living in Ukraine share the same feelings of guilt as me. My way of coping is helping others around me - to do good by volunteering and hopefully easing people in difficult, albeit different, circumstances. 

Everton has become an important part of my life over the past few years.

After reading about the Club's history, its significance for the city and English football as a whole, what the Club does for the community and its people, the values it shares... I knew it was the club for me and now it has me, it will never leave me.

Going the match, seeing the floodlights of Goodison, hearing Z-Cars - the whole experience gives me goosebumps every time.

But I was reduced to tears before kick-off at the FA Cup match against Boreham Wood. I couldn’t hold them back. It brought everything into focus.

It’s been nearly three years since I was last in Ukraine and I had everything booked to finally return to see everyone this summer. Now I understand that will be impossible and, even when the war ends, I will see a completely different country. So much has been destroyed already - but we will rebuild and recover from this.

I wish every world leader could have been in Goodison Park that night to hear Imagine by John Lennon.

And before that, at the Manchester City game, to witness the embrace between Vitalii Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko - for me, it represented our whole country of Ukraine and a free world.

I was incredibly proud when Vitalii joined Everton in January - a fellow Ukrainian playing for Everton is a dream.

The way the Club and our supporters have rallied around him shows exactly what we’re all about. Everton cares deeply.

It is important to be on the side of truth and goodness and as touching as it has been, the Club’s response hasn’t necessarily surprised me.

I keep in touch with other Ukrainian Evertonians from back home and they mentioned that the tributes were heavily covered in their media, too. It means a lot to every single one of us. 

We’ll never forget it.

Vlad Pasichenko, Evertonian