With the Carling Cup semi-final coming soon I’m already looking forward to the second leg up in Merseyside.
Goodison Park, I have to say one of my favourite grounds, mainly due to the fact that it remained unchanged from the 1966 World Cup until just recently. Chelsea first played Everton at Goodison in 1908, winning 0-3, all goals scored by George Hilsdon in front of 10,000 spectators.
The best game I saw there was in 1991. I nearly didn’t make the game due to my exhaust falling off near Doncaster – £170 and an hour later I was back on the road. I arrived just in time to see the Toffeemen go 2-0 up against the white-shirted
and blue-shorted Chelsea team. This was a game that Alan Dickens played in, now there’s a blast from the past. Anyway, half time came and two goals by Kerry Dixon, one with each foot if I remember correctly sealed a draw and the Chelsea fans celebrated as though it were a cup win.
The 1991/92 season saw a defeat with Chelsea’s only goal coming from Eddie Newton. What ever happened to him? Can you remember his funny run? I have heard of knock-kneed but he was knock-ankled. A great goal though as I recall. This game was also memorable for the fancy dress. The theme was dressing up as Harry Enfield-style Scousers. This really upset the Old Bill, who as usual showed no sense of humour and made the away fans queue up in single file before gaining entry. I can remember one copper on horseback getting annoyed by the pushing and shoving as we jostled for position. He shouted something to which dozens of Chelsea fans with curly wigs and big moustaches broke into the “calm down, calm down,” routine.
Although we were told that the kick-off would be delayed, upon entry we found out that the game started on time and we had missed the first ten minutes. Also inside at the time was Mick Greenaway, who kept popping up in different seats a bit like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn. Of course, every time he popped up he got the travelling contingent on their feet with a chant of Zigger Zagger.
This annoyed the police and they sent a couple of heavies in to drag Mick out, based on the fact that he was enjoying himself. When the police were spotted by the Chelsea fans we all made our intentions clear that if he was to be pulled out then we would do our up most to ensure that they would be unsuccessful, so after a bit of a stand-off they left him alone. At the end the Chelsea players threw their shirts into the terracing below the away seats and I can remember walking to the car and seeing a guy wearing the Kerry Dixon one.
Also a good day out was a League Cup match that ended in a 2-2 draw. I remember the journey up and it rained so much that I’m sure that my wipers were on for the complete four-hour journey. When we got to the ground at about 13:00 we were told that the game was definitely on although there were still six hours to kick off. This was the infamous occasion when the club’s charter train for the supporters only got as far as Crewe before turning back.
While at the match I noticed that tickets were still available for the Merseyside derby on the following Sunday. How strange. I thought that these games were sold out months in advance. Another example of the media hyping up the “fiercest derby in the world”.
We headed straight into town to find some beer, food and women in no particular order or success on the woman front. Back to the ground to find some more beer. The only pub we could find was called The Stanley. This was a home boozer but we noticed something strange, a Chelsea Union Jack displayed in one of the windows. It must have been claimed hours before the Scousers got out of bed. Well, they would not have been at work would they?
The season after saw a rare sight indeed, a Robert Fleck goal that sealed a 0-1 victory. The game after that saw us lose despite a Mark Stein brace that equalled the Premiership record for scoring in consecutive matches.
Another great weekend on the Mersey was for the Umbro Cup, a four-team tournament between Chelsea, Everton, Newcastle United and Ajax. These tournaments always amuse me, as the other clubs seem to favour one team in each match whereas Chelsea fans just take the piss out of all of them. The only incident I can remember was an off in one of the pubs with some local Scallys and Alan Shearer getting crocked. Oh yeah, and I think we won it too. A good excuse to spend a few days in Blackpool as well. Which reminds me, why does everybody who goes on holiday in Blackpool sport a moustache?