RAWK Advent Calendar day 7: Goodison in the olden days
Posted by John C on December 7, 2015, 12:30:31 AM
You wouldn't let your 10 year old son go to the other side of the world with an irresponsible 16-year-old blue nose would you? Well in 1973 my mum did, at least I think she did….. maybe she didn’t even know I’d ventured to such a far away place, all she knew was that I was being minded. Otherwise, being able to entrust your precious ones with their cousins must be a great perk of parenthood, but permit and risk influence from an Evertonian is just fucking irresponsible as far as I’m concerned.
My cousin, Peter, loved his footy, one of my earliest memories of him was watching the Leeds v Chelsea FA Cup Final in 1970, I clearly recall his excitement before, during & after that ferocious game. Fortunately he didn’t have sufficient influence to persuade me to become a blue, despite him minding me & my sister almost every weekend I was a staunch Red.
So whether it was a pre-birthday treat or an evil alternative to get me to cross over to the dark side I’m not sure, I only remember him telling me he was taking me to Goodison park on the 3rd
of March 1973 to see his Everton take on Liverpool. I’d already been to Anfield by then, and the journey by car was unnoticeable, but this journey from South Liverpool to the district of Everton by bus and on foot was epic. I honestly don’t know how many buses we got on and how far we walked but it was a fucking cruel trek.
Finally we arrived and it literally felt like I’d travelled to the end of the earth. I didn't know there was even a place on earth so far away from L17. I’d only been taken to Anfield a few times at this age, but as I mingled amongst a sea of blue I remember sensing this eerie feeling that “this just isn’t right”. They were just footy fans but everything felt different. Alien.
Of course I didn’t know it at the time but this was a Liverpool side that was going places, we were on the brink of greatness while there was an expectancy of a home victory in Goodison Park that day.Clemence
I’m not sure where we sat, I just remember it being in the upper tier somewhere among the home fans. Even as a young and inexperienced match-goer that I was, it felt unfamiliar and peculiar.
At long last kick-off, I felt like I’d been out of the house for 3-weeks. Kevin Keegan was my long-standing hero, but seeing the silky skills of Steve Heighway right in front of me made me fawn. Once Liverpool had resisted some early threats from Everton we grew in to the game and my excitement made my presence known. At first the blue faithful weren’t really arsed about me and quite a few other Reds in the vicinity, but as the game unfolded they became more frustrated and less tolerant with shouts of “sit down you little c*nt” to dissuade my vantage of standing on the seat during the game. Fucking hell I was ten and tiny – I couldn’t see a fucking thing!
They got their wishes nonetheless, it doesn’t take long for a ten-year-old to get bored at a footy match even if his Red heroes are on display. No goals, cold, hungry and bored, fucking bored. Until very late in the game my entertainment was from the increasing anger around me and being treated to raucous expletives from the frustrated blue noses as Liverpool’s dominance prevailed.
By the time Emlyn Hughes had netted two late goals in the last 10 minutes I’d fallen off my seat about 10 times and the blues had become livid. Indignant and incensed were not words in my vocabulary at that age, but they describe aptly the atmosphere around me when the final whistle blew.
It was a game in my early life like so many that saw Liverpool victorious in the 70’s. Naively I left that ground unappreciative of what Emlyn Hughes had actually done, who he was and what he’d become, he wasn’t Keegan, Heighway or Cally, he was just a lad that won us the match.
Goodison had close to a capacity crowd, I haven’t got a clue how I emerged from the place without getting lost. With a sense of delight over the win and relief of being able to go home I stayed close to my cousin as he tells me we’ve got about a mile to walk. His target was, I think, the nearest 68 bus stop which was chocka when we got there. No chance of getting on the first bus, we squeeze on to the second. Do you know how long it takes the 68 to get to Aigburth? 4 days, no word of a fucking lie. Standing up, getting trod and farted on, it was the worst bus journey ever from an unknown land.
I arrived home completely fucked, I was probably in bed within a few minutes after a long needed piss.
When you’re a kid, certainly back in those days, you haven’t got a clue how special the things around you are. There's nothing special about this post except for me and my faded memory that I was taken to a piece of our history.
To the memory of Peter Parker. RIP.
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