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Goodison Park
Everton v
Bolton Wanderers
Wednesday January 4th 2012, 3pm
Premier League
By Dean Williamson

(Neutral fan - Doing the 92)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

This was my first trip to Goodison Park and a rare neutral game for me as a Blackpool season ticket holder this match was a Christmas present from my partner. This was also my last Merseryside ground and no.45 in the '92 list.
 
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Goodison Park is well served by local transport. The nearest train station is Kirkdale which you can reach via Liverpool Lime Street (the main city centre train station). There is also a bus service which can be accessed across the road from Lime Street. You can also walk to the ground but it's at least a 30minute walk and you do pass through a large residential area which could be quite hostile for an away fan. Alternatively, as we did, you can catch a taxi which will cost around £5.
 
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Before the game we stopped in the Wetherspoons which is accessed by leaving the Lime Street Station main entrance and walk over to the shopping arcade. Take the first left and the Wetherspoons is nestled under the arcade to the left.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
 
Goodison park is one of the oldest grounds in the Premier League and looks it. It is very antiquated but this adds to it's all round allure. The stadium is in the middle of a residential area and quite imposing as you walk past someone's front door and find a huge stadium on the other side. There is also no direct way around the stadium as on one side you even get directed around a Church! We were sat in the Gladys Street End so our view was perfect but  there are many parts of the stadium which do have a restricted view due to the infrastructure holding the stadium up. There is something about this ground that few others have and if they could bottle it's recipe then all future stadiums should be modelled in this way.
 
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
 
The game was very dull and devoid of skill for large parts of the game. The main flashpoints were the three goals. We witnessed Everton keeper Tim Howard score from his own box as the gusty winds took hold of a long punt forward which took one bounce and flew over the Bolton's keepers head into the goal. An undeserved lead for Everton but one the fans took delight in that rarest of goal keeper goals. A note here on the atmosphere which was very subdued for the majority of the game and not like the reputation that proceeds 'the blue army'.

There was two more twists to this game with Bolton providing the rare bits of fast passing football leading to an equaliser and finally a winner with a few minutes to go. Queue pandemonium in the Bolton end who brought what seemed only a couple of hundred fans. Aside from the game I would recommend making your way down to the concourse before half time if you want to get served for beer or food during the interval. The tea maker broke during the break leaving large queues of people forming around the concourse despite many not requiring a hot drink. Rather than serve those customers who were not waiting for a tea and thus reduce the queue the staff chose to stare blankly at the tea machine as it took 5minutes to make each beverage! In the end we ordered a bottle of water, a pie and a chocolate bar which came to £6. As for the toilets in the stadium they are tightly packed in and have clearly been painted over many times which indicated the same facilities have been in place since the stadium opened. Finally, the stewards were very non-interventional. We had no trouble whatsoever and this seems to reduce the potential intimidating atmosphere you get at grounds when stewards decide to wield their very little amount of power. All credit to Everton for training their stewards properly to deal with football fans.
 
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was fairly standard for a Premier League ground. As usual there are large swathes of people all trying to reach different directions and so you need to be on your toes and certain where you’re going as to not get stood on., Once your within 5 minutes of the crowd the roads become open and it easy to get away.
 
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A great evening out and a ground I will be returning to. I would like to see Goodison on a sunny day and a match where the homes fans are in full swing!


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