As Evertonians, we take great delight in mocking the apparent Scandinavian fan base of our red neighbours. But recently in the Everton One shop, I met Danish and Icelandic Blues in the space of 2 minutes. Danish Blues! Ha, that’s quite funny, and I didn’t even mean it to be. Anyway, moving on….
Last week before Lille I bought a new Everton Umbrella, the large golfing variety even though I’ve long since hung up my 6 iron. Sure enough, the next day it was hurling it down persistently here in normally Drizzly Nottingham, and so up went the brolly. It came as rather a surprise when, within minutes, a passing motorist felt it important enough to wind down his window and shout “Scouse tw**” at me. Nice. Now, he drove off so I didn’t get the chance to explain – “actually young man, I was born in London and have supported Everton for nearly 50 years, I went to Uni in Hull, and now live in Nottingham, so I may be a tw** but I’m not a scouse one”. But by that stage, he was probably half way to London, so he was spared my boring monologue.
It’s funny, I often chastise the Man Utd supporters bemoaning their team’s fortunes whilst clogging up the M6 Southbound to whichever leafy glade in the Midlands or further South to London and beyond, whilst I’m driving on the same road on what I’d normally hope was a 2 hour drive back home after a match at Goodison.
Am I any less a fan because I live over 100 miles away? Some might say yes, but trust me, the A50, M6, M62 route I take up to the Old Lady (I’m sponsored by AA Roadwatch) is never short of an Everton supporter, so I’m by far from being the only ‘outsider’. I don’t know how Everton got in to my heart, body and soul. I should, if you follow the ‘local team rule’, have supported Watford, or if I was chasing glory and had to pick a top flight club, it would have been Arsenal or Spurs (by whose supporters I was frequently surrounded and mocked whilst at school….but it didn’t scar me….much). But I didn’t. Royle, Kendall, Harvey, Ball, Whittle, Morrisey, West, Kenyon, Hurst, Wright, Wilson, were my early heroes, rather than the likes of Jennings, Beal, England and Saul at Spurs, or Wilson, Rice and George a bit further down the road.
I won’t claim to be a better fan than anyone else. I get up to a dozen home games a season, and used to go to every away game in London when I was kid and my dad carried the wooden box he’d made for me to stand on on the terraces; I used to go to a lot of away games from here too, but apart from sneaking in occasionally to home supporters close-ish to the Everton fans area, I can’t do that much anymore because it isn’t worth me getting a season ticket and all the opportunities that presents. Maybe Southampton or Newcastle away on a wet Monday night in January might have some spares!
But I’m as devoted a fan as you can find, and will support this magnificent club until my dying day, and who knows, maybe even after it as well. It doesn’t matter to me where our support comes from, but then it wouldn’t would it? But does it matter to you that you can hear our own Scandinavians in the Club Shop? I love it, I love the thought that the Everton message is spread around the globe, and spread across the UK as well. If it helps my cause, my girlfriend at Uni was from Childwall…?
I might just go and get my brolly out again.