Adventures in Football #5: Finally, Goodison
December 11, 2010
EVERTON 0 WIGAN 0
After an astonishing break of 13 years, I finally got back to a football game in 2010. I got married the previous year and I’d been promising to take my wife, Maria, to a game. This one happened to coincide with her visiting Liverpool for her friend’s birthday celebrations. We could kill two birds with one stone. Go to her friend’s birthday party and finally get to set foot in the hallowed halls of Goodison Park.
This was my second time in Liverpool and the second time the city has genuinely hit me a bit with the culture shock. We had some food at a pub while waiting for the hotel to let us in and the state of everything was shocking. Dire food, terrible beer, an entire family screaming at each other in the lounge. Just unbelievable. The hotel itself was this old place with virtually no heating but the room was amazing. We had a foyer! It was a proper old school hotel. However, because they wouldn’t let us in until 2pm I had to abandon my initial travel plans to the ground and jump in a taxi. “I can get you within spitting distance,” said the driver. It’s a friendly rivalry.
The Everton team we got to see wasn’t setting the world on fire. They had the core of a decent side though. Timmy Howard in goal, Baines at left back, Jagielka and Distin (who my dad called “Dustbin” and it’s just stuck with me) plus Seamus Coleman playing as a right midfielder, Super Tim Cahill getting goals from centre midfield and Pienaar providing a bit of creativity. Plus, Fellaini was in this team. They had 16 shots, half of which hit the target and none of which hit the net. Howard had to make a late save to stop Wigan getting all the points, so a draw felt like an escape in the end despite Everton’s domination.
The birthday party was better than the game. My wife’s friend’s husband was a blue so we had a nice little chat about the team and how the game had been. Maria enjoyed herself a lot and we had a nice day in Liverpool. Goodison Park is a painful ground for me. It’s uncomfortable, like Anfield, and because it’s all seater you’re stuck there with your legs wedged into the seat in front. There are also the classic posts holding up the roof so views can be limited. I’m glad they’re moving to a new ground, and I’d love to go and see them there. I think one and out is enough Goodison Park for me in one lifetime. The atmosphere was great but that’ll do.
Part of the reason for recapping these previous ground visits is a new project of mine; to visit as many grounds as I can in the coming years. My total of five, in a life time, is a pretty lame. I know I went to a lot of games at the Victoria Ground so my games attended is probably more like 55 rather than 5 but still the grounds thing actually annoys me. I’ve also been to old Wembley to see Aerosmith play (The Toxic Twin Towers Ball baby!) and Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium where I went to see Beyonce with my wife. Another ground that, sort of, classes as a football ground is the Astrodome in Houston where I went to see the Astros play. Footballgroundmap.com has it listed so I’m including it. But that’s it. Total grounds visited; eight. In 44 years. Not a great return is it? In four days time the UK government is lifting restrictions on attending games and I’m aiming to get something in before the season comes to an end. Next year…I’ll be going for stuff every week. I need to catch up my friends on FGM. My mate Harris has been to 65 grounds. Sixty Five!
NEXT: Fans are back!