By Jamie Quinlan
As an avid listener of The Blue Room podcasts over the years, as soon as I heard about the website and the call for contributions I knew I wanted to have a go.
I’ve done bits and bobs of writing for fanzines over the years but the problem I had this time was that I didn’t know what to write about.
I’m not one of those who has any inside knowledge at the club, I’m not one of those who played at the very highest level (county level in my teens for those wondering) or knows about how a football club runs behind the scenes and the business dealings involved. I’m just a 30 something bloke who’s been going the match for as long as he can remember and loves the club he follows second only to his kids.
Then it hit me.
I’ve got two kids, a daughter aged 9 and a son aged 5.
My daughter, Abbie, showed some interest as she was growing up but I think it was only because she could see and sense how much it mattered to her dad. She’s very cute and thoughtful like that. She’s been to matches before and enjoyed them but she can take or leave football for the most part, she’s taking dance and musical theatre classes now and is much more passionate about music, performing and shopping now. That’s fine with me, whatever sparks her interest and makes her happy.
I swore I’d never pressure either of them to follow football the same way I have and still do. I swore that I’d let them choose their own paths and passions. Obviously Everton would be their team regardless but the depth of their devotion would be up to them.
This brings me to my son, Matthew. As I said he’s only 5 and so is only just starting to show an interest in football and Everton. It started about 12 months ago. Since then he’s gone football mad. In particular Everton mad & It’s brilliant.
Something inside him has been ignited in this time and all he does is wanna watch football, play football and talk about football & as he used to say when he was a baby “our team”, Everton FC. He plays on a Saturday morning and he loves it and is progressing well.
With Everton it started with squad numbers and who was who. Then it was positions and who did what, then the kits and which one he wanted (he’s ended up with all 3), then who’s name & number to have on them, then transfer targets and the club’s history and heritage.
We live on the Wirral and I’ve been telling him about the great man himself, W.R. Dean, and showing him some land marks such as where he lived, where his funeral was held and school he went to. He remembers these and points them out to me every time we pass them. He’s got the bug, I’m raising a little Evertonian and I couldn’t be prouder. He’s like a little blue sponge, he soaks up everything and he wants to know every little thing about what is now his club. When the home kit was released last year we stayed and queued to meet one of my heroes, Duncan Ferguson, at Everton Two. I wanted the kids to meet him as much as they wanted to. I was a little star struck myself personally but Matthew just chatted away to him, telling him Lukaku is his favourite player amongst other things and the Big Man was great with both kids as you would probably expect. He told everyone he saw for about two weeks about talking to Duncan Ferguson when he got his kit!!
When we were growing up my brother and I wanted to know everything we could find out about our club and it’s history as well. Matthew’s curiosity and enthusiasm is a throw back to my youth. The Official History of Everton FC was a staple watch back then, we memorized teams from big games and glory days gone by, indeed I can still remember the F.A. Cup winning team of 1933; Sagar, Cook, Cresswell, Britton, White, Thomson, Geldard, Dunn, Dean, Johnson & Stein. We made it our mission to completely immerse ourselves in Everton FC. We absolutely devoured the information and let it sink in and add to our love of our great club.
Passing on what I know to my son is everything I hoped it would be. When you look forward to doing something for so long and you finally get to do it and it’s every bit as good as you hoped is one of the best things in life.
There’ll be loads of you reading this who will have experienced this already and will know what I mean. For those of you who haven’t yet I hope you get to experience it in the future. It’s just another little way in which Everton makes you feel special and can bring people together with a common love and passion.
We’ve bonded so much over Everton in the last year or so it’s unbelievable. This whole process is made extra special as the kid’s mum and I split up 2 years ago and it’s been a very difficult time for the 4 of us. To have this bond with them, and my son in particular, is extra special now as a result.
It’s particularly poignant for me as thanks to Farhad Moshiri and his vision and money Everton is once again a club on the up. We have a plan and a direction. We have a new management structure in place at the club with an acclaimed talent spotter and a world renowned name coaching our squad. We have good players and an U23 & Academy that is brimming with talent. The future looks bright and I’m as excited about my kids seeing this period in our history as I am for me.
Like so many of us I was passed my love for Everton from my dad and I’ve now passed that on to my son. It’s a rite of passage that I’ve been fortunate enough to be on both sides of and feel quite blessed to have experienced it. It’s also a testament to the club that they encourage parents to take their kids to the match with the ticket price initiatives that they continue to employ and it’s great credit to the club and the people at the club that they haven’t lost sight of the fans who love their club like no other.
I hope I get the opportunity to go to the match with my kids at Bramley Moore Dock before too long and watch a rejuvenated Everton Football Club that is challenging for honours once again and playing their football as one of the elite of English football, where we all know we belong.