My Everton #116: My Greatest Gift - From Dyche

Everton is my life. I've lived Everton my entire life. I still live for them now.

I've been going to Goodison for 71 years. When I first started coming, in those days, my dad and my grandad would go to Everton one week then Liverpool the next. My grandad, who was a Red, brought me here and as soon as he did, that was it for me. I was an Evertonian.

Back when I was in school, during the holidays, I'd go to the old training ground, Bellefield, with my mates and I'd run around West Derby, which is where the players would go running. I would always try to run alongside Davie Hickson. He was my idol, The Cannonball Kid. He'd run through a brick wall for Everton, he was just brilliant. 

Then, as I got a bit older and I first started work, we would sneak off and find an alley to play football, and my workmates would call me Dave, after Dave Hickson! Funnily enough, I lost contact with one of the guys - Tony Boyle - and coincidentally came across him at Goodison one day. After 50-odd years, he came up to me and said, 'Alright, Dave?!'... After all that time. This Club gives you connections like nothing else. 

I went to Rotterdam. I took my two lads over there. I've had so many great memories that go even further back than that as I remember all of the success in the 60s. I was at the famous FA Cup final in 1966, too.

I know we're leaving Goodison soon and we've got to - it is the right time, but we won't half miss it. I just hope I'm still around to see the new stadium, as I'm 81 next birthday!

Speaking of birthdays, I was at the People's Place by Goodison a little while ago with one of Everton in the Community's fantastic programmes and there was a special guest... Sean Dyche. There were nine of us there on that particular day and I made sure that I made room for him next to me on the table we were sat on. He came over, sat down and I said, 'Sean, before you start, can I shake your hand and thank you for the best birthday present I've ever had?', which was the 5-1 win at Brighton at the back end of last season. He laughed and he was fantastic to talk to. 

His problem was - I was away then and I was asking him about all sorts - the fitness regimes he does, how he wants us to play - it was a grilling! Everyone laughed and he was a great sport about it.

By Peter Smith, Evertonian

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