My Everton #133: The Crossroads

Mine is a classic case of feeling like I didn't choose Everton but, rather, Everton chose me.

Growing up in Lincolnshire in the 1990s, most of my peers at school supported the usual suspects - Manchester United, Arsenal, the other lot from across Stanley Park. I was always a bit different, though.

Having somehow stumbled upon Everton as my team, I was met with a crossroads on what I think must've been my sixth birthday. I liked two football shirts - a Lincoln City away shirt, or an Everton home shirt (the one with Danka as the sponsor). I was told to pick one and that would be my birthday present. I went with the blue one, and the rest is history.

Having been a keen member of the old Goodison Strikers' supporters' club for a few years, my first taste of Goodison came in February 2000 as my mum, dad, brother and I piled into the old Citroen ZX for a trip over the Pennines. I vividly remember, having purchased a Kevin Campbell poster from the club shop, walking up the steps to the Lower Bullens and catching my first glimpse of the pitch. I was utterly transfixed. Derby County were the opposition, and goals from Michael Ball and Joe-Max Moore secured a victory. I loved every minute of it.

I've been to 56 games at Goodison since then (39 wins, 8 draws, 9 defeats), and that feeling of magic never dulls every time I step into the Grand Old Lady.

Goodison Park has provided me with countless wonderful memories over the years: an incredible atmosphere as we beat Newcastle 2-0 to secure our fourth place finish in 2005; Seamus' keepy-up dribble against Arsenal; James Beattie and James McFadden scoring wonder-goals in the same game against Fulham; chatting to an opposition fan in the Winslow before the Sigma Olomouc UEFA Cup game; Leon Osman scoring the best team goal I've ever seen in the same competition against Larissa (pictured above); more European football in the Europa League and a pulsating performance against Wolfsburg; singing, 'He scores when he wants', after a Tony Hibbert own goal; a pre-Christmas comeback victory against Spurs courtesy of Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic; an even crazier 3-2 comeback win on Bonfire Night against Watford - Leighton Baines keeping his cool to score the winning penalty; and, most recently, our first home win of the 2023/24 season against Bournemouth.

With a new stadium on the way for the Blues and a baby due for my wife and I this year, I'm not sure how many more visits to Goodison there will be. One thing is for sure, though - the memories I have will last a lifetime.

Thank you, Goodison, and thank you, Everton. Up the Toffees. Always.

By David Robson, Evertonian

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