Why… Everton?

The Why…? series of articles will discuss how fans became supporters of particular football teams. This week Ed Stewpot’s favs: Everton

Kevin Sheedy and Tony Cottee join Pat Nevin in celebrating a new 4AD release

The short answer has always been why not, but for someone who lives 257 miles away from Goodison Park – I guess it needs a more in-depth answer.

I was 10 in 1989, still at primary school and I hadn’t yet made “the most important decision of my life” – which football team to support. It wasn’t easy for me, there was no obvious choice, my dad followed 1p5wich but never shouted about it and never coerced me into supporting them. Friends from school all supported the big successful teams of the time, a familiar list of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, and they did their best to try and persuade me to follow them, but I just didn’t go with it, peer pressure is a horrible thing and even back then I wanted to be different from the crowd.

The 20th of May 1989 came around and it was the FA Cup final, it was the first one I remember watching, Everton against Liverpool. It was played only 5 weeks after the tragic Hillsborough disaster, which wasn’t something I aware of at the time, but it was just one of the reasons it was such a memorable final. I can remember the spirit in which it was played, and the frenetic pace at which both teams attacked each other. I was hooked.

John Aldridge gave Liverpool the lead after only 4 minutes and it took another 85 minutes for the next goal to be scored. The main outlet for Everton was Kevin Sheedy, a pacey left sided player who would knock the ball past the opponents right-back and put in cross after cross for our two strikers – little Tony Cottee and Everton legend Graeme Sharp.

The game went into extra time and the plucky team in blue, who were positioned as underdogs throughout, went behind again – this time to Ian Rush. Now remember, I was still on the fence at this point, I could have gone either way, but the words plucky, blue and underdogs from that last sentence are very important…

Everton equalised again, I was overjoyed, the game wasn’t over yet – the two Merseyside teams were level again. But not for long. It only took 2 minutes for Ian Rush to score again, Liverpool were 3 – 2 up and that’s the way it stayed for the remaining 15 minutes.

Now, this was more than 22 years ago, I was only 10 and my memory of the day’s events are a little hazy, but what I can remember and what I’ve taken away from that game of football was that Everton, the team in blue, were great – they deserved to win and on the other hand, Liverpool were lucky, Ian Rush was a menace, and their goal keeper was way too much of a liability for my liking.

So the final whistle blew and I rushed outside to tell my Dad the news;

“I’m going to support Everton!”

I remember his response to be somewhat underwhelming, something along the lines of;

“Oh, OK then.”

It was the biggest decision of my life, but dad’s reaction didn’t matter – I was chuffed to bits with my new team. If social networking was around in 1989 I would of tweeted the world of my new loyalty, and I would of Facebook’d all my friends confirming I was a blue, and red was never my colour!

Twenty-two years of being a toffee and it hasn’t been easy, we’ve had our ups and downs – and we very nearly went down in 1994! But the last 10 years under David Moyes and Bill Kenwright have given Evertonians everywhere optimism and hope. And in our household the future is bright and blue as well. Finley, my son, arrived in June 2010 and I won’t be letting him support anyone but Everton, he’s definitely a blue and I’ll finally have someone to share the stories of our — hopefully — bright blue future with!

Martin Lucas

Martin Lucas is a freelance website designer based in Colchester, Essex. In addition to following the toffee’s, Martin obsesses over house music, film, photography and Apple products. You can find him on Twitter @martinlucas or visit his website: http://www.martinlucas.co.uk/

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