In the first of a new series, Blue Kipper feature The Harrogate Toffees. Over the next few months we will be putting the spotlight on other Everton Fan Groups.
Blue Kipper: Tell us about The Harrogate Toffees
Harrogate Toffees: The Harrogate Toffees were formed in January 1996 and basically covers North and West Yorkshire with the bulk of our members living in or around Harrogate, Knaresborough, York, Wetherby and Leeds. We also have members in the North East who travel down the A1 to join us in Wetherby for match day travel. We average around 70 members with about 25 being season ticket holders. As a branch we hold a number of social functions in the local area including race meetings at Wetherby and York; an annual golf competition with a walk for the non golfers, quiz nights generally in the Borough Bailiff in Knaresborough and a Christmas party in Wetherby.
Blue Kipper: What's your match day routine?
Harrogate Toffees: Our coach leaves Knaresborough at 10:20 for a 3pm kick off and stops at Wetherby (10:40); Yorkshire Post Building, Leeds City Centre (11:15) and Junction 24 M62 Huddersfield (11:45). We generally arrive at the ground at 12:45 although anyone who has ever travelled on the M62 will appreciate that it is not the easiest of journeys and we have been known to arrive just in time for the kick off! Evening games are particularly difficult in terms of traffic congestion and we have to start out in Knaresborough at 3:20 to have any chance at all of seeing the full game!
A number of us go to the Barlow Arms for a pre match drink - some may know this pub as the 'Dark House'. We also run coaches to selected away games and these will generally involve a pub stop on route.
Blue Kipper: What's the best trip you have been on and why?
Harrogate Toffees: In terms of a coach trip - it has to be the semi-final against Man U. We had a 50 seat coach full of Blues and booze ...a great combination and of course we won!
A group of us travelled to Liverpool to catch an official Everton flight to Germany when we played Nurnberg in the Europa League; everyone who went would agree that this was our best trip following the Blues so far. Everything about the day was enjoyable, although we nearly missed our flight because we were too mean to pay the £2 express boarding charge and were stuck in a queue as the last call for our flight was made. Fortunately we made it and the whole match day experience in Germany will be hard to follow.
Blue Kipper: Who are the characters at your Branch?
Harrogate Toffees: We have the mad Professor - he used to be good fun but he has turned into Mr Grumpy but he still provides us with a chuckle at his expense (hope he doesn't visit your site!).
Our choirmaster is Woody - guaranteed to get the whole bus singing once the loony juice has taken hold.
Al - you will pay your membership and I will pursue you until you do....... and Bern whose charm appears to work wonders at the ticket office .
Blue Kipper: What's The funniest thing that's happened to you on a match day?
Harrogate Toffees: We couldn't think of anything in particular however we have had some good laughs as a group, particularly on away days.
Blue Kipper: If you could get Everton Football Club to do one thing to help the Supporters Club, What would it be??
Harrogate Toffees: To be kept in the loop would be a bonus. We do seem to struggle to get information from the club at times. We can't really complain though. I don't think many football clubs would give their supporters a free ticket to the next round of the FA cup when bad weather prevented them from getting to the Friday night game against Fulham in January 2012 (our coach was stuck on the M62 in snow and ice and turned back after 5 hours!) and then pay the cost of coach hire which enabled our supporters to travel free to the cup replay at Sunderland? As a supporters club, we are happy to be affiliated to Everton Football Club and proud to be Evertonians.
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