The first time I heard of Bluekipper was when searching Google for Everton info one particular transfer deadline day many years ago when Walter Smith was at the helm and we had Gemill, Ginola & Gascoigne playing for us and I was hoping for some sort of miracle! Initially I'd read the match reports trying to guess who their star man would be, generally it wasn't who I'd have given it too and I sometimes wondered if we'd watched the same game.....nonetheless I always checked in and was disappointed if they were late posting it due to 'going on the ale' after the game with the subsequent and predictable hangover the following day. I never really 'got' why one of them just couldn't have drafted a few lines, or just suggested the starman until many years later.
When I had any spare time in work, I found myself checking the site for the latest Everton news. The official EFC site was still in its infancy at this time and nowhere near as current or amusing as Bluekipper who were miles ahead of their time. I later joined the forum but was nervous of posting initially in fear of being slated for my opinion, everyone appeared so knowledgeable and I felt massively inadequate and so used to stalk with the odd comment here and there......The boards though were hilarious and I spent many hours trying to suppress my laughter in the office!
In 2004 there appeared an advert on the Bluekipper Website to become a member and with that came the ability to drink both before and after the game in the Bluekipper lounge. I wanted a part of that and instantly replied. The site was full of stories from the Bluekipper Lounge where they always managed to get ex Everton players to come along, you could have a drink with fellow blues in a bar that wasn't too chocca and take part in an Everton quiz with free butties. I was delighted when I received an email confirming our membership, happy days. The first game of the 05/06 season we arrived at Crofts on City Road where none other than Brian Labone was the guest. Sadly there was some or other problem at Crofts and the Lounge was later cancelled, I remember getting an email from Steve Jones from Bluekipper saying the membership money would be returned and sure enough a cheque arrived .....Good honest guys I thought.
Now 2006 wasn't my best year personally and certainly didn't get off to the greatest start so I didn't find out what had happened to the membership or the lounge. Sad really as I missed all the trips in 2007/8 to Ukraine, Nuremburg, Bergen & Fiorentina where Bluekipper chartered their own flights out there to them with former players, t shirts and loads of fun. I also missed most of their legendary End of Season and Icon do's which were slick, professional, great value for money and an opportunity to meet your heroes.......me, I was too busy globetrotting round the States as a newly divorced single lady!
2009 and Facebook had really taken off, I noticed one day the same Steve Jones came up as 'someone I might know', I clicked request friend and almost immediately he befriended me......no, seriously it was at least an hour! After the Man Utd game at Old Trafford Steve messaged me asking what I thought of the game. Steve Jones, editor of Bluekipper asking me......nervously I replied something along the lines of plucky resilient Toffees were unlucky, we'd battled hard and defended well but when Arteta brought down Carrick and Ronaldo scored the penalty just before half time there appeared no way back as we had no forwards that day. Still not sure to this day whether he agreed or not, probably not! We exchanged messages a couple of times a week and he managed to make me laugh out loud at some of the things he'd write. I told him my Dad was coming up for the West Brom game on 28th Feb and he immediately invited me to bring my Dad to the Bluekipper lounge after the game as Pat Nevin was going to be there, I took Dad and Steve sat with us all night, making sure my Dad had a brilliant 70th Birthday by telling him the Bluekipper story. To cut a long story short the next time I attended the lounge, Steve asked me out, I said yes and out we went! Still remember it well, it was his Birthday, he drove to Croston paid for the meal and drove home!! Our second date was at Crosby beach putting Everton shirts on the iron men.
That was over 6 years ago and to say those 6 years has been eventful is a massive understatement, incredible sadness, hilarity, holidays, parties, away days and an enormous amount of love and laughter but throughout all of this has been Steve's first love, namely Everton and Bluekipper. Through thick and thin, heartbreak, hangovers and everything else that's ever been thrown at Steve his resilience is unquestionable, particularly towards Bluekipper. Even these last few months he's single handedly made sure that the site was updated daily and now it's time for him to hang up his dongle and concentrate on his girls!
Thank you Steve & Bluekipper for the last 15 years of not taking yourselves too seriously and for keeping people all over the world up to date on happenings at Everton, it's a sad day, there'll never be another quite like it.
One last request now you have no distraction.......Can you tidy your office and can I be your third time lucky, Mrs Kipper?
BlueliverBird aka Jayne x