My Everton #94: Reliving The Matchday Magic

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My Everton story began in 1992.

I remember living in Bootle at the time and walking to the game from near Stanley Road. The walk was always exciting, but when you got past The Royal Oak and down Spellow Lane, where the "Grand Old Lady" comes in to sight, hearing the crowds chanting Everton songs at the top of their voices; it was a different kind of feeling.

It’s one that gives you goosebumps and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up - a feeling you just don’t get anywhere else.

We would have a portion of chips from one of the chippies and wait outside the ground. I’d look up towards the giant Everton badge on the side of Goodison, completely in awe of my surroundings. I vividly remember the mural of Dixie Dean painted on the side of the first house as you enter Goodison Road.

Matchday was something else; something you just couldn't put your finger on; something...magical.

Fast forward 30 years and I'm living in Walton with my wife, Nickie, and we’re a stone’s throw away from the ground. The magic is still there.

We're bringing Brodie, our 4-year-old son, up as a Blue and we’ve been to four games so far. Three of which we have won whilst he has been in attendance (not a bad win ratio).

He sings all the songs and especially loves "Spirit of the Blues" and "It's a Grand Old Team,” singing: "And if you know your history" at the top of his little lungs.

Nickie was brought up a Red but, after visiting Goodison a few times, she was hooked with the atmosphere that matchday brings and is now per cent Blue.

Just like the great Alan Ball said: "Once Everton has touched you, nothing will be the same." It’s a sentiment that every Evertonian knows and loves, and it’s been proven here.

Brodie loves putting his Everton kit on, followed by his hat and scarf, and heading out on my shoulders, singing along with the crowd. We have a little tradition of getting a new pin badge from one of the stalls outside the ground for every game he goes to.

We’ve been to a few events together and he has already met a few legends of the game, like Graham Stuart and lan Snodin, and while on a tour of Finch Farm, he met Tony Bellew, so his Everton matchday and engagement memories have already got off to a flying start. 

Although we all love matchday, the good thing is that at Brodie’s age, win lose or draw, it doesn't matter. He doesn't understand the league tables, points, or goal difference. He just likes to be there, in the thick of it, supporting our team.

I know it's a cliché to say that you relive your own childhood through your children, but it really is true, and it's amazing at the same time. Even when we are not at the game, hearing “Z-Cars” ringing out from our front door has the same effect. It still makes you stop in your tracks, gives you goosebumps, makes the hairs stand up - the lot.

Everton is one amazing club and the mix of feelings you get from supporting them week in and week out is one that cannot be rivalled or emulated anywhere else on the planet. Every game is like an emotional rollercoaster, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

By Daniel Smith-Gibbons, Evertonian

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