The House of Scouse
quick reads for those of you on the run. all things scouse are on offer as we ......
quick reads for those of you on the run. all things scouse are on offer as we ......
By The Bullens Ultra
So here we are, the football season is back upon us, the transfer window has been and gone, and clear battle lines are being drawn between your colleagues at work, your mates and in a lot of cases your families. You are in your head thinking how you are going to take the piss out of your opposition whether it be those Liverpudlians who need a sat nav to find Anfield or those bitter blues from the other side of Stanley Park, so get ready as the season continues it will just get worse and worse.
My overwhelming thought of the last few weeks have been of how good it is to have football back again, weekends just are not the same in the close season, you try to fill your time doing other things on a Weekend but it never really hits the spot in the way that a good old fashioned schedule of association football does.
You might try 'that new thing on TV that everyone is talking about' which ends up being shite, you may take in the cultural side of your city and wonder down to the Tate gallery in the Albert Dock with your good lady, but somehow something always reminds you what you are missing, whether you are absent-mindedly singing in your head about how little you care about the colour of David Moyes' hair whilst moving from one work of art to the other or whether you are thinking 'If John Heitinga had a fatter head he would look the spitting image of UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre' it always seems to catch up with you, it is ALWAYS worse for me when there is no national tournament such as the World Cup or the Euro's it just seems like an Eternity.
Then comes pre-season usually a poisoned chalice for my club of patronage which if you have not guessed by my pen name or the opening notes (you are very stupid) is Everton. Everton if they have a good pre-season they get all us blues so excited for what is to come, “maybe a fifth place and even another trip to Wembley on the cards?”, then they get beat by fucking Blackburn and do not win their next five premier league matches and get dumped out of the League Cup by the 'mighty' Brentford on pens, I once again turn into the frustrated man tearing out what is left of his hair and consider whether I should just start watching WWE full time and give up football for good so I am no longer disappointed (at least you get entertained with WWE). But then like in 2008/2009 season out of the 7 matches we took place in during Pre-season only two wins one against against Nob End of Preston and another against Colorado Rapids (Not the MLS team you understand but a team made of employee's of the local Rapid DIY store in Colorado) we finished 5th that season and went to the FA Cup final beating Liverpool, Villa and Manchester United along the way. So this year a pretty mixed pre-season, what you would call a 'Meh' programme of matches - so does this mean the blues will have a pretty 'Meh' season? Only time will tell.
I enjoyed Pre-season and had a good trip to Birmingham away with the boys, and attended the Villareal game at Goodison before me and my mate proceeded to get very drunk after a boring game and end up leaving The Abbey on Walton Lane about 3am, with a funny but quite obviously insane Delta driver delivering us safely home (sort of). Without being funny and trying to get a 'low dig' in at Liverpudlians I feel a bit sorry for them not going to the match as much as us blues do, it is really not the same watching the game in the alehouse, its not just the atmosphere inside the ground you are missing its the whole experience, aside from Top 4 games & Derby's it is quite easy to get a ticket for a Liverpool home game and I would encourage any red to get down to the ground for the game even if it is an obstructed view or not in your favourite stand, take that thirty quid you would normally spend on ale and put it towards your match ticket.
My match day routine differs depending on who I am going with and how I have got my ticket etc, normally goes a bit like this, Saturday morning, get up and read the sports sites have something to eat, Egg & Soldiers – Breakfast of champions. I then head up to Hunts Cross station get the Southport train and change at Sandhills go one stop to Kirkdale and walk up Westminster Road. I basically have an unofficial matchday play list starting with The Bunnymen 'All That Jazz' as we go past South Parkway, then arriving at Cressington to 'North Parade' by The Coral from there it is mostly 80's Mod stuff and some 90-00's Indie ending usually with The Bluetones 'Slight Return' as I am walking up to a pub that I and a few of the older generation know as 'The Darkhouse' but is actually called The Barlow Arms opposite the Elm Tree, its a great little pub that gets packed on Matchdays but you always get served quickly and there is a good atmosphere.
Before walking up to the ground I put a little accumulator on in the betting shop and take that walk up to see “the grand old lady” one more time. When I see Goodison it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, whilst I know that it is one of the biggest things holding us back, there is still something special about her - I don't want an Identikit stadium on the edge of the city next to some soul-less retail park, Goodison has character, it has soul, it is unique, homely and glorious all in equal measure.
As a kid and through to my mid twenties you could find me on the Gwladys Street with the scallies, now that I am a respectable 30 years of age I don't do that any more, I have taken my rightful place at the side of the pitch (still near the Gwladys though), there is a good atmosphere but it seems to be more tranquil. A bet on the Everton game in the ground (usually correct score and first goalscorer), then to the bar for a pint of Chang which is inevitably followed by the question that in my head I always ask myself “WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO BUY THIS BEER THAT TASTES LIKE RABBIT SHIT?” and I can never honestly answer to my own satisfaction other than the fact that it is all that they have. After a quick scan of my fanzine, I head up to my seat and for the second time in the day the hair on the back of my neck stands up as I take in a sight that I will never take for granted – the boys in their royal blue jerseys running out to the sound of Z Cars and the hive of activity that is the Gwladys Street cheering the team onto the pitch.
The match kicks off and there are the usual chants, shouts, moans and groans. No matter who we play whether it is Cambridge United in the 3rd round of the League Cup on a rainy Wednesday night or Real Madrid in the Champions League there is always one urchin that will scream “Come on Everton, these are shite”. Half time comes and another quick scan through the fanzine and maybe a coffee if the weather is a bit nippy, Rossy from Radio City babbles on about crap in the background as some poor bastard tries to hit the crossbar from outside the penalty area and ends up falling over as everybody laughs at him. Watch the second half and hopefully celebrate a victory, clap the team off, then the melee ensues as everyone is trying to get out of the stand to head for the heavenly sanctuary of the rain-free boozer.
I head to the Taxi Club on Cherry Lane to meet up with my uncle's or cousins if they are about, the taxi club always has the evening game on and they do an exceedingly good and very cold pint of Carling, I usually sit about chat shit about the Blues, do Moyes's job for him and point out that Moyes really must be knocking off Anichebe's bird or how the fuck else is he getting a game? have a few pints and spend time with my family and family friends I have known since I was knee high to a grasshopper and all that jazz. I get the 81 home and look forward to either heading out fr a night out or watching football first or match of the day and seeing it all again.
This is all so very special to me, I have visited Goodison Park since I was little I have seen few highs and a what seems like a lot of lows but I will love the place until the day I die, I know that others do too and I hope that when sooner or later we do leave Goodison and relocate to a posh new ground, these tales will be told of how Goodison was and is to our children and to theirs and will never be forgotten.
The game is what it is and whether we win, lose or draw and whether I come home ecstatic, despondent or indifferent I always feel richer for the experience, always.
The Bullens Ultra