1978. Nine Years old. My first visit to Goodison Park.
Having taken the first six years of my life to realise that I'd been 'chosen' to support the blue half of Merseyside as opposed to the dark side like many of my peers, by '78 I was very well educated in the School of Science. We're a long way from that now. In the words of one of our own, I salute you Mr Leighton Baines when you said that we lack chemistry. You can't have science without it!
On that cold winter's day, I watched in awe my heroes George Wood (I was enjoying a spell between the sticks at the time) and Bob Latchford, (legend). Even a 1-0 loss to Ipswich Town couldn't dampen my love for the club.
Fast forward to 2016 and I'm still visiting Goodison Park and still getting the same sensations as I did all those years ago. The excitement, the adrenalin and the disappointment. Maybe it's me, maybe it's the intervening 38 years or maybe it's just part of being a Blue that's made me cynical, but heroes in this current crop? No. My son on the other hand, does. Unfortunately for him, he'll learn soon enough.
Back in 1978, I'd have given an arm or a leg to play for the Toffees. Now, at an age even a veteran professional would view as old, I realise that my chances of being spotted are diminishing by the day. They say with age comes experience. This I believe is true. Today, the idea of donating a limb to fulfil my dreams is something I'd not willingly do. Partial dismemberment is not something to take lightly.
However, two kids down the line and the closest thing to a scout watching me play, is one that wears a woggle, there is another body part that I would give to be involved with the club I love, and that's a bollock.
And let's be fair, I won't be the first or the last to make this offer, as I've been watching a load of old bollocks for months.
This season has been my son's first with a season ticket, albeit a half season ticket, but a season ticket nonetheless. Having sat through the last ten league games (won 2, drawn 2, lost 6), you can see where his pessimism comes from. I made sure he was 'born not manufactured' as a blue and that 'we go the game', but none of that counts for anything if it's not enjoyable. This season has been harsh.
Roberto's first season was excellent, nobody can deny him that. Three great loan deals made the difference. Two years on and those same three players now on permanent deals which would suggest progression. As would the addition of three more players on permanent deals, especially when you list them as two ex-England internationals and an up-and-coming Argentinian international. Yet none of them have set the Premier League alight.
Don't get me wrong, Funes Mori and Lennon have done themselves proud (not taking the Anfield derby into account), and even Cleverley has impressed me at times. I was one that visited change.org a couple of years back voting for him not to be included in the England squad. In my defence he was playing for the Mancs at the time. What I didn't like in his play, was the constant sideways passing, which explains why he has slotted in so well to our current line-up. And before anyone says that I've forgotten Niasse, I haven't but don't get me started on him!
In all the years I've been watching Everton, we've had our ups and downs from the unforgettable Kendall inspired glory days to the forgettable uninspired days of Mike Walker, but this season has to be one of the lowest I can remember that didn't involve a relegation battle.
Everton Football Club is no minnow.
No player is bigger than the club (are you reading this Romelu? Champions League my arse!), no manager is bigger than the club (ditto Martinez), and no shareholder is bigger than the club. If you really are a 'true blue' (and you Kenwright), with only the club's best interests at heart, then do what is best for the club, no-one else. #MartinezOut.
My point, if you haven't guessed, is that although I was #BornNotManufactured and that my son and I, #WeGoTheGame, there's only one tagline that Messrs Kenwright and Moshiri need to take heed of, and that's the one on our shirts and closest to our hearts, #NSNO