Through our popular My Everton series – presented in association with hummel – two long-lost Evertonians have reconnected having spent nearly 40 years apart.
After reading My Everton #45: Making Front-Page News by Bill Mangan, Martin Baggott wrote to the Club in a bid to reunite with his childhood friend.
Bill, who was christened in honour of the great William Ralph Dean and has brothers named after Colin Harvey and Roy Vernon, discussed his memories of attending Everton matches as a child, including the 1966 and 1968 FA Cup finals.
Many of those memories were made with Martin, who recognised his school friend's name on Club channels – after the two lost touch following Bill's move to the Bahamas for work in 1982 and then to Switzerland, where he still lives today, in 1990.
With the help of hummel, we went one further than putting the pair back in touch by arranging a special meet-up at Goodison Park, complete with the opportunity to meet shared hero and Everton Giant Derek Temple, as well as the chance to watch the men's senior team train.
After an emotional reunion, Martin told evertontv: "When I saw Bill's My Everton entry on the website I couldn't believe it - I was shouting to my Mrs, 'It's Bill Mangan!'
"I couldn't believe it because we'd lost touch but this guy is such a big part of my life, he really is.
"We first met at school in Ellesmere Port. We went to all the matches - home and away, hitchhiking, getting the train, one thing or another to get to where we needed to be to watch Everton."
Bill added: "One of the first memories we spoke about was the time when we went to Wolves away. I got a bang on the head in the stands and ended up in the St John's ambulance.
"After we'd got out, the game had finished and everyone had left. We'd hitched down so we had no way of getting back home.
"We tried to hitch back home again but we got hopelessly lost - we ended up in the back of a removal van, which left us somewhere miles away from where we needed to be and Martin had to call his dad to come and pick him up... He wasn't best pleased!"
Discussing their memories with Temple, who scored the famous goal to seal Everton's remarkable 3-2 comeback victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the 1966 FA Cup final, Martin said: "I remember when Derek put it in the back of the net to make it 3-2. It was all standing behind the goals and it was at the far end for me. This big fella, he must have been a docker or something because he was huge, lifted me up and had me by my ankles throwing me up and down.
"It was crazy! The world went mad and I loved it. I was only 15 at the time.
"It seemed like forever when he received the ball to it going in.
"When it went under Gerry Young's foot, I thought, 'He's away now!' And he was... And he picked that spot... I don't know how you had the composure to do that."
After reminiscing with the two supporters, Temple said: "It's a marvellous story. It's been so long and I asked them if they still recognised one another!
"It's been a great pleasure to meet them both and I'm glad they've had chance to catch up after all these years.
"[The 1966 FA Cup final] doesn't feel like that long ago - it could have been yesterday. I've still got vivid memories, I think they're starting to fade a little bit! But it was a wonderful day for everybody connected with the Club."
Our My Everton series has been shortlisted for the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) Awards in the Best Use of Content category.
The weekly series, which was launched in August 2021, aims to tap into the Club's worldwide fanbase and engage supporters in entertaining stories that highlight the shared love of Everton.
The first-hand written entries of My Everton aim to showcase the uniqueness of the Blues by describing moments fans fell in love with the Club – for the first time or all over again.
In return, the showcase offers supporters a unique chance to reach a global audience with their stories and win a series of money-can’t buy experiences, ranging from signed merchandise to exclusive access to the training facilities and VIP matchday experiences.
Generating nearly 13 million impressions in the 2021/22 season, the successful campaign has been expanded for the 2022/23 season with additional video content and matchday activation set to supplement the first-hand written stories.
Got an entry? We'd love to hear it. Simply submit via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.