My Everton #42: Bond With My Dad Lives Forever

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I fell in love with football during World Cup 1998. 

After France won the final, I remember asking my dad, 'Is that it?'... I was desperate for more.

That is when he introduced me to Everton.

I was seven years old, living in Manchester, with a Scouse dad who deeply loved the Blues. He would hitchhike up and down the country, he'd do anything to follow them.

Everton quickly became my obsession, too. My first game was against Oxford United in what was then known as the Worthington (League) Cup. We'd drawn the game at the Manor Ground, forcing a replay at Goodison. We played a weakened team and lost 1-0 - I was heartbroken, but more hooked than ever.

The roar of Goodison, the sight of Big Dunc (who became my hero after re-signing from Newcastle a few months later)... It's an incredibly special thing to be an Evertonian.

For me, being an Evertonian is much more than supporting a club. It's that feeling of belonging. I've never felt more at home than when I go Goodison Park. 

It's also a connection that I have with my dad, who is no longer with us, but I'll hold on to it forever.

The last game we watched together was when we beat SK Brann 6-1 in Europe. What a game. I like to think, in a strange sort of way, it was the Blues' perfect send-off for my dad before he passed away.

After losing my dad, I sort of lost the love for football, to be honest. It just wasn't the same anymore. Life took over and I had kids of my own - I have four of them now!

I still followed Everton but it was on the side.

Then my kids got into football and I was lucky enough to fall back in love with the Club all over again.

I could tell them about the days of watching them with my dad, the stories we had from going the match together, how we used to send my mum upstairs when we watched on TV because she was 'bad luck'! 

I told them about the glorious team of the '80s and the Dogs of War in the mid-90s.

I must have done a decent job because my lads now have a poster of Big Dunc in their room and they idolise him as much as I used to!

And, of course, Everton will always give me the one thing I can no longer have - that connection with my dad. 

We don't get to go to many games at Goodison, but I took my sons and two nephews to Frank Lampard's first game as manager, when we beat Brentford in the Cup. 

It was the first time I'd been in a while and I was overcome with emotion. I love that place. I love the Club. 

The Spirit of the Blues goes all round this world. I may be from Manchester, but my heart belongs at Goodison. 

Up the Toffees. Always.

By David Godfrey, Evertonian

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