Firstly I should set out where I'm coming from on this. I've been supporting Everton all my life (I'm 58 now) and saw my first game live against Chelsea in 1968. I can remember the 66 cup final but only from watching it on the telly. Season ticket holder through much of the 70's (Carlise away and at home still makes me feel physically sick...) before work took me away in 1978. I've lived in Cambridgeshire for the last 30 years. I probably get to no more than 6 home matches a season these days and a few away but watch all the matches on tv. So probably sadly I'd have to admit that I'm more of a fan than an actual supporter these days but no lessening in my devotion to the wonderful Blues.
What worries me is the atmosphere at Goodison these days when I go to a game. Since all seaters came in atmosphere at most grounds has gradually eroded but at the last few games I've been to (including the Villa game) even though we were comfortable winners there was hardly any singing apart from the Villa fans and generally (and I was guilty of this myself) we just tend to sit there and watch the pretty patterns played out by Roberto's team. The fact that he has introduced a style that is very patient and only comes to life when an opening has been worked just doesn't lend itself to the fans getting really behind the team through singing. I should say I was and still am a big fan of Moyes. I think without his work we'd have still been in the doldrums over the last 10 years and Davie's approach was a bit more "up and at em" and encouraged a more raucous approach from the fans. Equally I'm delighted to now have Roberto as our boss and I think his style is good and will take us on to another level particularly in Europe but sadly I cant see it bringing back the old days of great atmosphere and singing. Maybe this is the price we have to pay for this style? I should say (and again this is probably true of most teams) whenever I get to an away game, the singing and atmosphere with the away fans is magnificent. It always has been a great away support for Everton but part of me wishes we still had matches at Goodison like we had in the 70s when the Gwladys were in full voice and if the Park End weren't doing it they'd get it with both barrels from the Street End as well!
The Goodison crowd will always be up for the big games against the usual suspects but how do we get Goodison back to the bear pit it has been in the past for the routine matches - for the sort of games that Alan Brazill still talks about on Talksport as the most hostile, noisy intimidating ground he ever played at?
So...the irrelevant rantings of an old (ish) man who should get up to speed with the real world and realise things have changed? Or a legitimate concern that we can do something about? I'd hate for Goodison (or if we have to move - a new Goodison) to lose what I still remember as one of the most formative emotions in my life - that presence the Old Lady had of a raucous bear pit of a place with huge support for the lads in blue and an intimidating effect on any opposition that dared to think it could step on to that pitch and take us on...
COYB!!! Gerard Ryan
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