11 January 2009


Everton - The People's Club
When I were nobbut a lad, I had two teams. There was my real team - Hull City, always languishing in the lower divisions, always providing more pain than joy, always rooted in the real world - and there was my "dream team" - the top flight team that could win cups, defeat the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United and be a home club for great international players - and this dream team was Everton. On my locker door at school I had two pictures sellotaped - one was of Hull City's tiger mascot which I painted myself when I should have been doing homework and the other was a photograph of the great Alan Ball (Everton and England).

Yesterday, I visited Everton's ancient Goodison Park stadium for the very first time to see Hull City play the mighty Toffees in the nation's top division. We caught the "Soccerbus" from Sandhills station. I saw the great bronze statue of legendary striker Dixie Dean just outside the ground before we entered the ancient stadium. My seat was in the Upper Bullens stand on the back row - seat S55. A bloody awful position even though the ticket cost me £34. My view of the pitch was slightly obscured by pillars and the cantilevered construction.

Everton won 2-0. Felliani's opening goal was clearly offside and the second - a brilliantly taken free kick by the Spaniard Arteta -should never have even been awarded by the Scouse referee who made a series of dodgy decisions in Everton's favour. Why did he keep listening to the protests and perpetual arguing of the Everton players? And why could he not see that there was a pattern to any physical challenges upon Everton players - fall over, writhe around for two minutes, get the free kick and then - miraculously get up as right as ninepence. Bloody actors! However, I must admit that The Tigers didn't really trouble keeper Tim Howard all game and we are now very much in the business of surviving.

Liverpool is home to 435,000 Scousers but in 1931 it had a population of 846,000 and was Britain's second city. You can see its past greatness in its architecture and in the character of Liverpudlian people. It was a bitterly cold day but after alighting from our Trans-Pennine train in Lime Street Station, we headed for the waterfront and the refurbished Albert Dock where we ate lunch at The Ha Ha! Bar (I wouldn't recommend it). It was frustrating not to have enough time to visit the Slavery Museum or the Walker Art Gallery or the shops in the latest retail development - Liverpool One. Perhaps we will have to come again.

We spoke to several Liverpudlians. What an amazing and unique accent they have! Of course, educated Liverpool people like Willy Russell or Phil Redmond have tempered their accents but speak to an ordinary working class Liverpudlian and what they say is verging on the unintelligible!

Excuse me. Can you tell me the way to Lime Street Station?
Ey yous. tinnie yous tell me de way ter limey statin?
And might be answered with:-
Yis ay tinnie. bowl up de brew. take a rite and it is juss in front o' yous.
Albert Dock looking towards the Liver Building


  1. I spent a year at a boarding school on the Wirral in 1969-70 (Royle, Whittle, Labone, Kendall, Ball - how come that side never won more trophies?). My class of 18 had 14 Evertonians, 3 Reds and a Wolves fan - I've always been an outsider.

    I think Hull's good first half of the season will be enough to keep them up. The first wheel nut in Wolves' promotion campaign loosened yesterday.

  2. I read that when the Beatles first visited the U.S., teenage girls started attempting to speak with Liverpudlian accents. I might chuckle now, but when I first read The Secret Garden, I tried to write poetry with a Yorkshire accent.

    (I'm just trying to bring something to the conversation, since I'm useless when it comes to sports talk.)

  3. I would agree with everything you said about the footie, because I wouldn't have the foggiest, either.
    And all ll I know about accents up your way is off 'Auf Weidersein, Pet'. And, like S&S, From trying, very badly, to read 'The Secret Garden' to my children. I think they believe the Yorkshire accent is a cross between my cousin in Norfolk, Whats-'is-'andle off 'Minder', another friend in Somerset and Spike Milligan's Indian accent...Because I'm sure that's what I ended up sounding like!

  4. Until I saw your photo I never knew there was an actual Liver Building in Liverpool but now that I have been presented with photographic evidence that there is both a Liver Building and a Pool (Liver and Pool, sort of like Buda and Pest, I suppose?), I will never doubt again.

    Check my blog out on Monday (Jan. 12); I have given you a minor but very prestigious award.

  5. Does Albert dock still smell of cat food fumes from the local factory ?? My first gig outside Yorkshire was in Liverpool, well dodgy !!

  6. I've always rather liked Liverpool and always found everyone very friendly: I was once lost there and went into a garage where a group of helpful people immediately clustered round and one of them volunteered to drive ahead of me all the way to Everyman Theatre, which was where I was headed, and did.


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