You can see it before you even reach it, the badge proudly peers over the entire local area. The walls steeped in history, Dixie’s statue. The chip shop, the bookies, the church, more history and memories of past glories. The away exit, the home entrance.
That tingle down your spine as you climb each step from the turnstile and finally reach that mind-blowing view.
The green of the perfectly cut grass, the steps so steep. The murmurings of anticipation, passion and hope.
Then the drum roll. Z Cars.
This is Goodison. We are Everton.
If you’re a football fan it won’t matter that I’m talking about Everton, you’ll get it.
Football has the ability to make you feel almost every emotion possible, all within the space of 90 minutes. Pure emotions. Elation, anger, excitement, devastation, love and hate. For 90 minutes you’re not always in control of your emotions and all you can do is feel them.
I’ve been to more football matches than I can count and have felt it all.
At least I thought I had.
Last week I felt something entirely new and the only words I can use to describe it is just pure emotion. I don’t know which emotion, it was alien to me. It was positive I know that.
I took my son, Corben to his first ever Everton match.
I remember my dad taking me to my first game. We won 5-2 and Andrei Kanchelskis scored a hat-trick, it was pure magic! I had Kanchelskis on the back of my shirt, he was my favourite player at the time and to see him single handedly destroy Sheffield Wednesday, a club I don’t live far from, was amazing.
I remember my dad telling me to watch out of the window as we approached L4 4EL, Goodison appeared, the Everton badge proudly filling the sky. My dad explaining all the history that surrounded the stadium on the walls and banners. He explained to me the reasons why we hold Dixie in such high regards as I had my photo taken with Dixie Dean’s statue. A pint in the Winslow, directly across from the ground before grabbing a tray of chips and placing a bet. We didn’t win many.
My dad making sure I got as close to the front as possible to welcome the Everton players in, having my shirt signed and a photo. Even after the game and we’d been stuffed by Man United waiting outside the away players exit so I could see David Beckham. Reaching the top of the steps that revealed Goodison Park…
Then the drum roll kicks in, Z cars plays and the stadium erupts.
It’s at that moment it hits you. I am Everton and will be forever, I was born an Evertonian.
I remember all of it. Now I’m the dad. I’m walking Corben around the stadium, buying a new Everton scarf, a match day programme, telling him our famous history and all about the legend that is Dixie Dean. Walking him up those steps holding back the tears waiting for his reaction as we reach the top…
He’s blown away, just as I was 20 years earlier.
It’s more than just a game. It’s generations of memories. It’s dads, mums, grandparents, families passing down stories, history to the next generation.
We partnered up with Thomas Cook Sport for our first Father and Son football experience. Thomas Cook Sport have packages that provide match day tickets and a hotel stays. It’s not all football either, they cover many sports such as Horse Racing, Tennis, Golf, Darts and many more.
You simply select the sporting event that’s relevant to you and Thomas Cook Sport sort out the rest.
We went to our Everton match and then on to a hotel nearby afterwards which was incredible. Ticket collection was easy, Everton won and then we were blown away by our hotel for the night. Thomas Cook Sport put us up in the Holiday Inn Express, Albert Dock. Yes, right on the dock! The views were incredible and it was a stone throw away from the city centre.
As you can tell from above this was always going to be a special day for me, experiencing that transition from being the wide-eyed little boy taking in all that is football, to then watching my own son experience those same feelings 20 years on. With the Thomas Cook Sport package though it was made even more special as we made a weekend of it.
There was no rushing around to get back to the car, long drive home and having to find food. We simply took our time heading back to the hotel to offload our stuff and chilled out waiting for match of the day to re-watch it all. The next morning we headed out to explore the city of Liverpool. A little shopping, bite to eat and met with some friends that aren’t local to us.
It made the whole weekend that much more special.
You can get all the details by heading over to Thomas Cook Sport and start planning your sporting experience too.
We also filmed it all, you can watch CORBEN’S FIRST EVERTON GAME & STAYING AT ALBERT DOCK below and the second day of our weekend over on the David and Donetta YouTube Channel.
I’d love to hear your first ever match stories in the comments below… See you online @MrDavidShaul
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Thomas Cook Sport covered the cost of the package deal only in return for a blog post of our experience. As always you lot know the score, it was 2-0… I mean, you know I only ever tell it how I see it 🙂