Goodison Park - Everton
Saturday 2nd January 2010
V Carlisle United, FA Cup 3rd Round 3pm
By Glenn Aylett
Went down to watch Carlisle play Everton in the third round of the FA Cup and must admit for all the stewards were helpful and the fans were friendly enough, I must admit the facilities for away fans are like something out of the eighties.
I would advise any away fan who is entering Goodison Park that for all the ground looks reasonably modern from the outside, if they are paying their £ 34- luckily we only had to pay the Carlisle ticket price of £ 20- that they will be very disappointed.
Firstly, the catering is abysmal. After standing in a very long queue and faced with the meager choice of three pies and overhearing someone saying their meat pie was awful, I decided to play safe with a cheese and onion pie which for £ 2.50 was barely warm and the pastry was awful. Also the beer isn't served on draught and comes out of cans, which means the beer is warm (the bitter is awful) and works out at £ 3.60 a pint as cans are a bit less than a pint. If you don't like Banks bitter or Chang lager forget it, and the choice of food is limited to three pies, all awful , and a large hot dog for £ 3.70. No burgers, chips or pasties here and even a club the size of Carlisle puts Goodison to shame as the beer and food is a lot better.
Secondly, health and safety is like a throwback 30 years and this is where the away end is showing its age and Everton need to get a new ground. The toilets were overflowing and filthy- thank goodness I didn't get a dodgy pie- the women's toilets were totally inadequate and had huge queues, but more importantly the away end is like a narrow passageway with inadequate safety exits which could prove disastrous in an emergency as there were 6,000 fans in the Bullen End who couldn't be evacuated quickly. Also there were a heap of broken chairs lying around on a gantry which could prove a fire hazard and wooden seats and flooring in the stand I thought had been banned years ago.
On the other hand parking was good enough in Stanley Park, you don't mind paying your £8 if your car is going to be safe and access from the M58 was quite easy, just follow the signs for the city centre and also you get to see Aintree if you come in from the north. We also had a bit of time to kill so had a look at Anfield, only half a mile away, and a walk round Stanley Park.
As for stewards and the fans, very friendly and seemed welcoming. We didn't experience any trouble or aggressive behaviour and the reputation for Everton being a friendly club was well deserved. Also it was nice they applauded us at the end of the match.
With regard to the match itself, the game was quite good and the Blue Army made itself heard, especially when we equalised with Everton and it looked as if we could hold on for a draw. Also we came very close to a second goal, but this Murphy's law hit the post and then Everton scored a second and a penalty in injury time sealed Carlisle's fate. However, it was an excellent day out and we all enjoyed it and Carlisle certainly weren't disgraced and played bravely against a team that's 48 places higher than us and in Europe. Yet we still now have the consolation of facing Leeds, this season's giant killers, in the regional final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
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