My Everton #124: A Goodison Mascot & Aaron Ramsey's Promise

I grew up near Caernarfon. My grandad and dad supported Everton, so it wasn’t a choice for me - it was just part of life. I started going to matches when I was eight or nine years old - in around 1983. Not a bad time to start going, as my dad still reminds me!

On matchdays we’d jump on a coach full of Evertonians and that - sharing those days with the same people - was a big part of it. We'd get picked up from our village in the morning and get into Liverpool around midday before spending some time in town then heading to Goodison for the match.

In 1985, I entered a competition in the Everton programme to win a day as a mascot. I got home from school one day to find an envelope with an Everton crest on it. My dad was beside himself with excitement – I think he knew what it might be... And it was.

What a day at Goodison. My most vivid memory is being in the boot room, changing into the kit they gave me. Then I heard my sister gasp, and it was Kevin Ratcliffe arriving. Oh, my... It was amazing. 

My sister, Nest, loved Trevor Steven. So, I went up to him and said: "You’re my sister’s favourite player." We had a photograph taken with him (above) and he said to my sister, "I’m very proud of you, my fan." That phrase has stuck in the family, I still write that in birthday cards to her! 

I remember going to look at the full trophy cabinet. Then I went out to watch the players warming up - suddenly I was stood so close to my heroes. It was so surreal.

Howard Kendall was lovely, too. He was great with us and made us feel so welcome.

I still have my autograph book with all of the signatures. BBC Wales were there to film me - I hated the idea of a camera following me but now, I am glad that the footage exists to remind me.

Before kick-off I walked out with the referee, carrying the ball and putting it on the spot. I shook hands with the captains, Kevin Ratcliffe and Steve Foster, and I remember them telling me to wave to my crowd as I walked off. 

After that we went up to watch the game in the Directors’ Box and it was the first time I’d seen a game from that stand – I was normally in Upper Bullens.

The obsession continued, of course. Years later, in 1993, I went to study geography at the University of Liverpool, and I remember I couldn't wait to go and experience a game from the Gwladys Street when I arrived. I did that as often as I could throughout my course.

After university, I came down to South Wales for my first teaching job and, coincidentally, Aaron Ramsey was a pupil at the school. I tried to make him promise to play for Everton but, unfortunately, that didn't work out!

My partner, Mei, is also an Evertonian and we were like little kids watching Howard’s Way when it came out – reminding ourselves of that era. 

I'll always be a Blue.

By Erin Roberts, Evertonian

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