We travelled up the night before and stayed in Chester, which is about 25 miles outside of Liverpool. We drove in, as I know from visiting Liverpool earlier in the season there is a lot of parking within close proximity of the ground, and as Goodison Park is so far out of the city centre, we didn’t want to faff around with trains and buses.
Again, like before the Liverpool game in October, I took a trip into the city centre and onto the Albert Dock. It was such a beautiful spring day, so walking around the waterfront was very pleasant. We also had time to go into some of the fascinating museums about Liverpool Life, and the Maritime museum, so the build up to the game was very lovely! If you’d like to know more about Liverpool as a city itself, read my blog from the Liverpool game!
Goodison Park is slightly smaller than Anfield, with a capacity of around 37000. The words ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’ (meaning ‘nothing but the best is good enough’) are plastered across one of the stands, and the phrase is Everton’s motto and has been since 1878. Across the back of that stand is a big outside food arena, with various stalls serving burgers, roast pork and chicken foods all at a reasonable price, and there was also a big bar. It was a mix of both home and away fans, and there was a very friendly atmosphere, and this continued throughout the day. If you’re walking to the ground from Stanley Park, the away fans are housed on the first stand you come to as you turn right past the away fans ticket office.
Like at the Manchester Utd game, the stewards and police were very very friendly. They were very chatty with us before going through the turnstiles, and then had a laugh and a joke with us once inside the concourse. They managed to embarrass me, however. After walking through the turnstiles, one of them exclaimed that my laces were undone, so I looked down at my shoes only to remember I was wearing my Ugg boots. It got even worse when I didn’t get the joke until quite a long time afterwards (my boyfriend had to apologise for me). At least I gave them a laugh!
The concourse was quite small, but didn’t feel too cramped because we hadn’t sold out our allocation. I imagine it’s a different story if the away end is full. There was a good selection of hot food, ranging from pies to sausage rolls and burgers and all priced between £3 and £4. To enter the lower part of the stand, there was either a shallow set of stairs or a really steep ramp. I imagine this was used for wheelchairs previously before the stand was redesigned, but I reckon it would have been quite a struggle because of the sharp gradient. I had purchased the slightly more expensive tickets in the paddock section, because on my previous visit I had noted it was wooden seats at the back which would have been uncomfortable if we had sat down, and standing up it looked like the overhang of the tier above may have obstructed the view. However, we did stand the whole game, and because we were situated right down by the corner flag, it was hard to see when the play was down the other end in the right hand corner.
The game itself was a weird one. We didn’t play particularly badly, but we didn’t play well enough to deserve anything from it. As soon as their starting line up was announced you knew we didn’t have much of a chance. Just quality name after quality name (even on their bench too). We were unlucky not to get a penalty, but I don’t think it would have changed the game in the grand scheme of things. We always knew March was going to be a hard month; I just have everything crossed that we win on Saturday. If not, I sadly fear for the worst.