top of page

Onward Evertonians


I remember very vividly my 1st game at Goodison Park, one of the most significant matches in the club's history, May 7th, 1994. The stadium's capacity was reduced to just over 31k due to the new Park End being built. I was 13 years old and had been pestering my Stafford Rangers supporting father to take me to Goodison for years, and somehow, he had managed to get 2 tickets for Everton Vs Wimbledon on the last day of the season, Everton needed to win to stay up, we all know what happened next. Sat in the Lower Bullens below the away support I remember not being able to see any of the action when the ball was in the corner of the Gwladys, where it meets the Bullens, What I do remember is being distraught at half time and the sheer elation and relief at full time, a pitch invasion my father would not allow me to join in with and a first game memory that will be remembered forever.  

Fast forward 28 years and I am sat in the Park End, as a season ticket holder with my own 17-year-old son, half time, my head in my hands as Everton are 2 nil down to Crystal Palace and facing relegation in the face again, another comeback beckoned, and we all swore “never again”. Since that night, when we witnessed a pitch invasion that acted as an explosion of relief more than joy, things have spiraled and there is a sense of ‘circling the drain’ with the 10-point deduction. No threatening to derail the progress Sean Dyche has made off and on the pitch. With more rough seas on the horizon with clubs now threatening to sue Everton, one thing that is a constant and shall not be removed, is one of the most dedicated and passionate fan bases in English football, who are now angry with a sense of injustice, this will lead to some vociferous nights ahead at Goodison park.  

As a photographer I had always wanted to do a project based on Everton who had been a constant in my life for 35 years and something I have shared with my son Thomas since his first game in 2009, a 3-nil win against Balckburn. With our imminent departure from Goodison there seemed no better time to undertake a project. I want to document the special place Goodison holds for all Evertonians and the connections they have made there, the experiences, and importantly who they share these experiences with. Leaving the ground after another relegation survival job against Crystal Palace, I had the idea to do a social documentary project that explores fan experience and memory through their first ever game at Goodison Park.  

A crucial element in the project is the environment, not only Goodison Park, but the chippies, the pubs, the streets and all the iconography that surrounds one of the most famous grounds in world football that acts as a throwback in today's era of mega stadium bowls. Still in the early phases of the project, that will run until the last game at Goodison, I hope to capture the broad church that is the Everton fan base and the stories of their first games.  

Everyone remembers their first game, or so I thought, I have been surprised by the amount who must wrack their brains to remember, and then suddenly you can see the expressions on their face as it all comes flooding back. One thing that always stands out is who they went with or who took them. From Alan and Bobby who were 6 years old when their Dad dropped them in the Boys pen and then went to the pub, to twins David and Steven who fondly recall their Dad taking them to their first game, and it does not matter that they saw a defeat. This tends to be the narrative, a story of fathers and sons, Daughters and Dads, Mums and Boys, all experience and sharing Everton together, the losses, the pain, the joy, the relief and even a win or two, as we prepare for a new state of the art stadium on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey, where no doubt countless ‘first game’ stories will be written.

bottom of page