My First Everton Match: Leicester City, April 1972

  As I’m sure is the same for many other people, I was taken to my first Everton game by my dad.

  It was at Goodison, naturally, and looking back at the records I think it must have been against Leicester City in April 1972.

  My dad didn’t drive and so we got the train from Ellesmere Port were we lived up to my Uncle Bob and Auntie Eileen’s house in Rock Ferry for some lunch, then it was back on the train to James Street and a bus from the Pier Head to the ground.

  The main memory was just the number of people and little me being squashed into the throng as we walked from where we got off the bus on Walton Lane to the ground itself. Inside the stadium, and before we went to our seat, it was the smell that first hit me – a combination of cigarettes, Higsons beer and other less appealing odours! Then, as we made our way to the inner entrance, there was the first glimpse of the pitch. It’s still to this day the greenest thing I’ve ever seen. Getting to the top of the steps was almost too much for me – the intense green of the pitch, the immense size of the ground, the vast number of people and the noise.

  The game had already started and as we got to our seats there were lots of shouts of “Where’ve you been Frank?” aimed at my dad and “Is that your lad?”, which made me feel important somehow. My dad had a Bullens Road stand season ticket and it was common in those days for the bloke sat next to you to give you his ticket book if he couldn’t make the next game. You’d arrange to meet him outside at the game after that to return it. I guess that’s how I ended up sat next to my dad.

  Some wag shouted “Eh, you’ve missed a goal – we’re one-up already”. We weren’t – but I believed it and spent the rest of the match hoping we’d hang on for the win. It was only after we filtered out that my dad explained that it had finished 0-0! I wasn’t really bothered – and it was good experience for the many disappointments to come in the next twelve years or so before the good times returned.

  There’ve been loads of fantastic moments for me at Goodison and at other grounds watching Everton but that first match is always going to be the one that stands out most and even now, at every game I go to, that first sight of the pitch as I walk up the steps to the seats takes me straight back to game number one.