I remember as a kid running onto the pitch after Everton had clinched the title against West Brom. What a feeling! It was a dream. I couldn’t believe it. My feet were standing on the turf of Goodison Park. For those few moments under the bright floodlights, I was in fantasy land.
It didn’t last long. I remember being one of hundreds of kids chased off by burly policemen. But not before I picked up one piece of precious turf and put it into a used crisp bag to take home.
Once home, this magic slither of mud and grass went into my Dad’s tomato plant pot. True to form, it was magic. Only green tomatoes grew.
A few years ago, I had the chance to play at Goodison Park in a charity match. You had to pay for the privilege, of course, but who cared? This was Goodison and I was about to live the dream. To actually play on the same pitch as some of the greats. Dean, Lawton, Ball, Harvey, Kendall, Best, Greaves, Charlton, Pele, Eusebio, Henri... and now me! This was also the opportunity to roam the inner sanctum, to sit where those greats may have sat, to run out of the tunnel and imagine Z-Cars playing, Toffee Ladies et al.
This was going to be one of the best days of my life. But alas, and I say again, alas, an injury picked up in a five-a-side game kept me from realising the dream. Gutted to the core and my dream had gone forever.
So, when in the recent article by Alasdair Jones, 'Memories of an Old lady', Tony Abrahams casually remarked he played there a few times, I couldn’t help feeling but a tinge of envy. I think even Mike Gaynes has been on the pitch and taken a penalty! I’m sure there are more on this site who have had that special golden experience of playing or kicking a ball at Goodison.
So Tony, and the rest of you guys, tell the other 99.9% of us what it was like. Recount your experiences to us who have been like kids with faces pressed to the sweet shop window all our lives.
For those lucky few who did get into the sweet shop, how did you feel walking up the tunnel? Did your mind capture the spine-chilling entrance from past teams? Were the changing rooms luxurious? (Please say Yes.) Did anything surprise you? Did anything disappoint you? (Please say No!)
Paint the picture, fellas, and describe the dream in beautiful rose-coloured strokes!
Reader Comments (17)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 03/04/2021 at 12:56:32
In fact, not only have I imagined my debut, I have imagined the rest of the season, game by game.
The winner at Anfield will always stay with me. However, my dreams are realistic; I missed a sitter at Stamford Bridge.
2 Posted 03/04/2021 at 14:10:47
The game finished 3-3 aet, but with a minute left Everton broke, a lad called Phil Quinlan, got on the end of a cross and I saw the ball hit the net. I sunk to my knees ready to punch the turf, and then saw the ball hit the barricades behind the goal, and because I knew Goodison so well, I jumped up with a massive relief because it would have been a sickener to lose.
My old school-mate was captain of Everton, and I was captain of Forest, so me and Big Eddie (Arms) Youds, had to go into the referees room to toss a coin to see where the 2nd replay would be played, and I was honestly fuming when I won the toss, because I obviously wanted to play at Goodison again!
The thing I noticed the most about all these pitches, wasnt that they were bowling greens, but how easy it was to get your foot under the ball and chip it, and although this game was obviously a great memory, trust me when I say, but it never held a candle to the night when Bayern Munich, came to town John!
3 Posted 03/04/2021 at 21:17:10
4 Posted 03/04/2021 at 21:21:47
5 Posted 03/04/2021 at 21:33:28
6 Posted 03/04/2021 at 21:47:13
7 Posted 05/04/2021 at 07:13:10
8 Posted 05/04/2021 at 11:29:41
Goodison never disappointed me, I also played a charity match on “our pitch” a couple of seasons ago, and whilst it seemed huge at age 17, it didn't actually look that big when I was aged 50!
My only disappointment was that I never got to do it more John, and you're correct, because it's something most young players just take for granted (there are arguments for both sides, if this is right) and I think it's only years later when we look back and reflect, which is probably something that is just a human trait.
Football is funny though, it's about little things, I suppose. Although you can never take away Butterfield's last-minute winner that he scored against Man City on Saturday, that game should have been at the Etihad Stadium, which would have obviously made the goal even more special, if that even makes any sense?
9 Posted 05/04/2021 at 12:28:30
However l did once play at Goodison in a charity match for 45 minutes, as the away team. We all got given the new kit to keep, so mine was yellow.
We had Snodin as our captain. We were informed he was running late and had forgotten his boots, so if anyone had a spare pair of size 4s to let him know. Obviously a piss-take but it didn't stop us from clocking his feet once he did arrive.
For the home team Sharpy was the captain. I had to play left wing in a 4-4-2 although my best position was in the hole as l can pass and play a mean dead ball. Shame l can't run. In fact after my ACL and tears in both meniscus l am finally awaiting my new knee in the coming months. I wont be attempting a comeback.
As for the game. I chested down a corner in front of the Gwladys Street stand only to skim the post. I took a free kick and Sheedy-like curled it around the wall only for the keeper to touch it over. The bastard. Unfortunately from the resulting corner... and l blame the slope l cranked it behind the goal.
I did have another excuse though, as apart from my knee swelling up my right ankle was also swelling due to me being stamped on by Sharpy. l tried my signature move, flicking the ball over his head on the edge of the box. As the ball landed l tried to take a touch before burying it in the top corner (in my mind)... but he didn't seem to like my signature move as much l did and got me good. A definate red card and penalty completely missed by the ref. To make matters worse, as l did my best Richarlison impression squirming on the floor, l looked up to see him apologise to someone else. I just about got through the half.
Of course l enjoyed the day. It would of been better to play without my restrictions but there you go. I found the pitch a bit spongy and the away dressing room a bit small. Perhaps after my knee is replaced l will see if l can get fit enough for a game at Bramley-Moore Dock in a few years. You never know, l could get spotted... l'm pretty sure l can run just as fast as James. 😉
10 Posted 05/04/2021 at 12:35:36
Playing at the club's prime stadium was, up until this season, a requirement for the home team – every home team – in the FA Youth Cup.
I'm hoping that it's only the present circumstances that have relaxed this rule, and that it will be reinstated once we get back to normal – which will be a big step closer with the Covid passports. An absolutely essential step in bringing the crowds back.
11 Posted 05/04/2021 at 12:42:57
I was never good enough to get on the pitch to play, it must be every Blues dream to do that.
12 Posted 05/04/2021 at 14:34:24
Dave P, I think the pitch was spongy, because Everton dont water it once the season has ended for some reason. They have a few games to maybe give people a chance to play on the hallowed turf, but they dont water it and make it dry right out, possibly something to do with the pitch having a bit of synthetic knitted in with the turf, maybe?
13 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:29:15
I have since then, on a couple of occasions, through friends, had personnel tours with stand tickets and passes to the Players Lounge after the game. The last time was October 1988 and I had a conversation with Tony Cottee who scored that day. Managed to get back often and the last time was 2014.
14 Posted 05/04/2021 at 23:06:25
15 Posted 07/04/2021 at 09:42:42
16 Posted 07/04/2021 at 19:38:29
17 Posted 09/04/2021 at 16:21:28
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.