Goodison Park, home of The People's Club, EVERTON FC is part of my long football history. As a college student age 22 I sat down for the first time at a professional match in the Gwladys Street Stand, upper tier, cost 6 shillings, about 30p in modern money. I had been watching matches for 10 years but never in a seat, standing up at Bloomfield Rd, Old Trafford, Anfield, Ewood Park, Deepdale, and even at an FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
At Bloomfield Road I even took a back pack with 3 bricks through the turnstiles so that I, then less than 5 feet tall, and 11 years old, could look over the retaining wall to the pitch. Try that these days !!
LITTLE BOY BLUE is an old Merseyside nursery rhyme and the title of a recent award winning 4 part drama about the murder of 11 year old Rhys Jones, an avid footballer and Everton season ticket holder in 2007. He was shot in the back by a 16 year old punk gang member called Shawn Mercer as he went home alone from practice with his youth team, Fir Trees Boys Football Club, in Toxteth, Liverpool. Tributes were played at both Goodison Park and Anfield to young Rhys, and Mercer was tried and found guilty at age 18 and given a life sentence with a minimum of 22 years. Other gang members plus Mercer's parents were also locked up for various sentences.
Everton has a number of traditions. As the teams leave the tunnel they are greeted by the Z-CARS former TV cop show theme music, and by a Toffee Lady, a girl dressed in a blue bonnet and long dress with a wicker basket of Everton Toffee mints that she throws to the crowd. The club has played there for 125 years and on all 4 outside walls are murals depicting the history of this great club.
Thirteen years ago a young and innocent looking Little Boy Blue, WAYNE ROONEY left Goodison Park for Old Trafford. I remember a photo of him age about 9 as a mascot lined up with the referee and captains at a Merseyside Derby. This week after a distinguished United and England career he drove back down the M62 to rejoin his former club. He claimed that in those 13 years he still wore Everton Blue pyjamas to bed. If he doesn't make it he can always take a Ferry Across the Mersey to the area's third club, Tranmere Rovers in Birkenhead, now in the 5th tier, the National League at Prenton Park.
If you look at all the advertising, the programme, the posters, the electronic advertising boards and web site of The Toffees one colour you will not see is LIVERPOOL RED. Orange, purple, maroon, pink but NEVER RED. With new foreign investment and an aging stadium plans are to move to a new purpose built home near the River Mersey at Bramley Moore Dock with a 60,000 capacity, in the near future. the new majority shareholder is Iranian Farhad Moshiri.
It is estimated that with new revenue sources and 20,000 more seats, the current season match day profit of £18 million could increase to £50 million. Rooney has not come to a retirement home. £90 million has been spent on new signings including goalkeeperJason Pickford £30 million, Michael Keane £30 million, Davy Klassen £23.6 million, Henry Onyekuri £7 million with Romelo Lukaku going to Old Trafford for maybe £75 million. Rooney was a free transfer.