My Everton #74: My Senses Would Never Be The Same Again

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I was nine years old when Arsenal were the visitors for my first game at Goodison. It was 6 April 1968. Joe Royle scored twice in a 2-0 win but that was only half of the story.

My dad sorted out the tickets - and the tickets themselves were the source of much fascination. I held them as if they were gold and devoured every morsel of information they contained, including the diagram of the ground.

We parked in Arnott Street (which became our regular spot) and walked up Goodison Road with thousands of others. I was captivated by the conversations, the humour, the smells - burgers, ale and cigarette smoke, mainly - and the tightly-knit terraces and ginnels. 

Then, as if my magic, there it was; Goodison Park, rising up like a castle. It was huge!

We walked along Gwladys Street, past the queues and the police horses with their clacking shoes and their 'manure' adding to the odors of the day.

Turning into Bullens Road, I stared up at the brickwork which seemed to go on forever and we squeezed through the turnstiles and into the darkened corridor and stairwell  which led to the steps into the ground... The Lower Bullens. 

Reaching the top of the stairs, my breath was taken away, not only by the vastness of the stadium but also by the vivid colours, which felt in stark contrast to the drab surroundings, and by the deafening noise, primarily coming from the Gwladys Street. 

I was bitten.

When the teams came out, the canvas of green was completed with the primary colours of blue and red, the noise intensified and reached crescendos each time Big Joe scored his goals. 

My senses would never be the same. 

I took my sons to their first game about 20 years ago and I made sure we sat in exactly the same spot in the Lower Bullens. I watched their reactions and smiled at the their same sense of wonderment. 

They, too, were bitten!

By Robin Moore, Evertonian

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