My First Everton Match: Norwich, Feb 1995

  Everton 5 -0 Norwich City, FA Cup 5th Round, Goodison Park, 18th February 1995.

  I always knew I was an Evertonian, it was just a case of when I would show it. Blue blood runs through my family from my Dad to my great granddad playing for the club, so Everton was the only club I was ever going to support. I was only eight years old when my dad took me to my first Everton game. I don’t remember why he chose this game but I must have been showing signs of being interested in football such as playing it in the street and collecting stickers.

  I had no idea where the club were in the league or what the FA Cup was about. Before the game all I knew was we had the legend in goal Neville Southall, the star striker was Duncan Ferguson and the manager was Joe Royle. I was excited that I was getting the opportunity to go to Goodison Park, a place my family would talk about endlessly with fond memories. I remember walking to the ground through County Road with my pockets full of crisps and sweets and seeing small groups of people trickling down the side streets and I was wondering what Goodison Park looked like.

  When I turned a corner and saw the Main Stand I was amazed at its size, all the fans in blue flowing down the roads and remember the smell of chips, cigarettes and horse muck that still lingers comfortably today. My Dad took me round the ground and pointed at all famous points like the church and the Gwladys Street end. Our tickets were for the Family enclosure so we went through the turnstile behind the church. My dad got the match day programme and we went to our seats which were quite close to the away dugout and great view of the pitch.

  Again I was amazed with the number of seats in the stadium, seeing three tiers behind me in the Main Stand was strange and I remember seeing the words Everton painted on the upper Bullens and thinking if it was weird to be sitting on a white seat than a blue. I remember seeing the players warm up, seeing new faces that would go on to lift the FA Cup. I also remember trying to catch the toffees from the toffee lady and my Dad telling me about Z-Cars.

  When the players did come out and I heard Z-Cars for the first time, I froze and felt the hairs on my back stand on edge. They still do today and I like to think it’s the blue blood inside us surging through our bodies once we hear the drums rumble.

  I don’t remember the game very vividly, more the atmosphere of Goodison Park. It was hearing the songs being chanted from the Gwladys Street, seeing people getting passionate about the team and the roar of the crowd whenever we had a chance or scored.

  It was an entertaining game as we won so comfortably against a good Norwich team. The players who stood out for me were Anders Limpar whose trickery and skill punished the Norwich backline and he scored a great opening goal at the Park End. Captain Dave Watson was strong and commanding throughout. Andy Hinchcliffe was impressive with his accurate left foot and Paul Rideout partnered Big Dunc as both strikers scored and dominated in the game.

  I just remember leaping off my seat whenever we scored and seeing the little video on the scoreboard of a stickman scoring and the word Goal flashing.

  After the game was finished I must have thought Everton were going to win everything and was probably one of a few fans who knew Everton were going to win the FA Cup that year. I was a confirmed Evertonian and Goodison Park was my new home.