Everton F.C’s Goodison Park Tour

Before I decided to go to Liverpool I met a friend of mine from Wallasey. He was an Everton fan and he highly recommended going on the stadium tour around Goodison Park. So when I booked a ticket to go to Liverpool I also immediately booked a ticket to tour Everton’s stadium.

I got the bus from Birkenhead to Liverpool city centre, then another bus to Walton where the stadium was. I ended up paying £4.40 for a day bus to anywhere I needed which turned out to be a bargain. I left two hours beforehand in case I got lost and/or on the wrong bus to Goodison Park.

Turns out it wasn’t a problem as I turned up over an hour early. I’m not an Everton fan, but I felt a wave of adrenaline and awe when I walked around the corner and saw the massive stadium at the end of the road.

I’d paid £15 for the standard tour, however there was a VIP tour for £99 where you get an ex Everton player give you the tour. Surprisingly the legend (Mark Higgins, check his wiki page…) was on site at the time, so he tagged along and gave us the tour for free which I thought was nice of him.

I felt bad because I had no idea who he was, but all the Everton fans on the tour were gushing over him so I assume he is a big deal locally. I shook his hand and told him that I had a few friends that were Everton fans, and they would be very jealous that I got to meet him. He smiled and said something Everton related…

 

There were ten of us on the tour, not including the tour guides. The lady (Lily) was Everton born and bred and seemingly had blue blood running through her veins. She seamlessly spouted facts about Everton’s history and answered any questions we had. The one thing I loved about the tour was even though they made jokes about Liverpool, it was clearly a friendly rivalry and deep down they liked them really. I hate it when people take rivalries like this seriously. Ultimately it is a friendly rivalry and beyond that they should stick together, which they do as we’ve seen in the past.

We went up the stairs and I saw a picture of a stocky looking guy with weird hair. I resisted the urge to ask who he was and it was a good job I did; as we soon went into the whole suite dedicated to the stocky fella…

“…And this is the Dixie Dean suite!” Lily said proudly as I sheepishly made my way to my seat, thankful that I didn’t make a joke about him before I walked in there…

In the Dixie Dean suite we were told stories about Dixie Dean, including that he is the only person to score 60 league goals in an English top flight season. One story was that at the start of the last game he had 57, so he needed a hat-trick to get 60. He got the hat-trick in the 88th minute, handed the ball to the referee, said “Thank you” to him and headed off down the tunnel…

He ran a pub nearby when he retired, then he died at Goodison Park aged 73 whilst watching Everton play Liverpool. Part of me thinks that it was quite poetic in a way, because if he loved Everton to the core, then if he had to choose a place to die then that would have been one of his top choices.

Also in the Dixie Dean Suite were commemorative trophies displayed in glass cabinets. Some of them were congratulatory trophies from other club for the fact that they were the first club to reach 100 years in top flight football (another interesting fact: they’ve never been relegated. Only two other clubs in the Premier League have never been relegated from the top flight. See if you can guess which two…) Then it was off to the stands.

 

We walked out in the private stand area and the view was breathtaking. Lily told us that a season ticket in this part of the stand was £6,500 a year, and each person had their own name under the seat. I sat on Martin Walker’s seat (Sorry Martin!) and listened to more facts about Everton. Soon we left and headed to the changing rooms.

The away changing room was a lot bigger but was a weird shape. To be fair you wouldn’t want to deliberately make it comfortable for the away team. They should be lucky they have hot water! The nice thing though was that they hung up all the shirts for the other Premier League teams. So I went straight to the Watford shirt and took a photo or seven…

Once the rest of the group teased me about Richarlison and Marco Silva we went into the home dressing room. The kit man was setting up the kit ready for the Spurs match that Sunday, so it was quite cool to get an insight into that. Then we went down the tunnel to the Z-Cars theme, touching the Everton badge above us as we went through the tunnel. Mark Higgins told us that even after all these years (he played for Everton in the eighties, including when they beat us 2-0 in the F.A. cup final) he still got goosebumps going through the tunnel hearing the music. I said that I wasn’t even an Everton fan but I got goosebumps as well!

“Hold on a minute!” The kit man said as he ran through the tunnel up onto the pitch where we were. Then he handed shirts, boots and football gloves to the three kids that were doing the tour. I smiled and told Lily that this was one of the reasons I chose to do the Everton tour over the Liverpool one. I always considered Everton to be a ‘family’ club and have always had a soft spot for them. That little moment cemented it.

The last part of the tour (apart from going down the road to the official shop) was the media room, where we took photos of a cut out of Marco Silva addressing the media. Finally Mark gave us all a signed photo each and said goodbye to us all.

I must say it was definitely worth the money. I loved the tour and the club had a real solidarity to it which was emphasised by the supporters that took the tour with me. I’d highly recommend it to anyone passing through Liverpool, and for Everton fans it is even better, as you get a 20% discount at the Everton shop after the tour. So if you want to get a shirt, keyrings, Everton pint glasses etc… You can essentially get the tour for free after the discounts on the items.

Finally I want to say thank you to Lily and Mark for doing such a great job showing us around the stadium and making us all feel welcome. And course the staff at Everton for letting a Watford fan through the door!!! If you are looking for something to do in Liverpool that is something different then I’d recommend this. I didn’t do the Liverpool F.C. tour so I can’t compare the two, however I enjoyed my time doing the tour, even as a non-Everton fan.

Ferry Across The Mersey!

I’m back in England playing tourist, and one of my friends now lives in Liverpool so I thought I’d go and see him. Of course one of the obvious things to do whilst in Liverpool was to take the ferry across the Mersey river. We were in Birkenhead – which is on the Wirral side (to the left of the river, whereas Liverpool city centre is on the right hand side) – so it made sense for us to hop on the ferry going towards Liverpool.

The tickets are usually £10 each, but me and my friend Lee bought a Walrus card at Birkenhead bus station the day before for £6.40 each, and that entitled us to use any ferry, bus or train around the Mersey area for the whole day. So we ended up saving £3.40, and on top of that any trains or buses from then onwards were essentially free, so we definitely got our money’s worth!

 

 

We got on the first ferry which was at 10:30 in the morning, and since it was raining and about five degrees outside (and possibly because it was the first one) we were the only two people to get on it. My friend did the generic old man speech saying ‘in my day this used to be packed…’ and so on. I didn’t mind; I kind of liked having the place to myself. I took unobstructed photos and pretended I was a world class photographer until the ferry rocked up.

We hopped on a ferry called The Royal Iris. My friend told me it had been in use for over 50 years! I have no way to fact check this so I’m just going to blindly say that it is true. I mean, I’m sure a simple Google or Wikipedia search would prove or disprove the statement, but I’d rather listen to some Spyro The Dragon music instead:


Anyway, after rocking out to Stewart Copeland I had a casual wander around the ferry. Interestingly it didn’t go straight across from one side to another. Instead it did a sort of loop whilst the audio tour of sorts listed off facts about the Mersey river, Liverpool, and possibly something Beatles related. Of course, it blared the traditional ‘Ferry Across The Mersey’ song by Gerry And The Pacemakers over the tannoy as well. I could post the video on this fine blog, but instead I think we should both continue to rock out to Spyro…

And that was it! I think it only took around 15-20 minutes in total. As I mentioned before it could have been a lot quicker if we’d just darted across, but I think logically it made more sense to take a bit longer because now there are buses, tunnels and a decent train system connecting the towns that most local people don’t use the ferry for everyday travel as it’s far more convenient to use other forms of transport. I assume the ferry is now just a tourist attraction for people like me who are impressed easily…

Royal Park Rajapruek, Chiang Mai, Thailand

I went here about four weeks ago and completely forgot to post about it!! Basically a friend of mine blogged about this place and I was completely unaware of it, so I spoke to him and found out more about the place. And on my day off I decided to venture out in search of this legendary place…

It’s about a 20 minute bicycle ride from where I’m living at the moment. Keep going south from the square and head towards a big ass temple called Doi Kham. It’s just at the bottom of that hill, near a well known restaurant called Good View.

…Or so I thought; I went past Good View and was cycling around all these tiny streets where there was not a person in sight. I asked a few people where it was in Thai and they looked at me blankly, so I accepted the fact I was going to die and planned my will…

No need though! As after 20 minutes at swearing in English and Italian I found a Thai woman who spoke French (as you do…), and she told me the directions of how to get there in French. Thanks GCSE French, I knew you’d come in handy one day!!!

I got there and because I had a work permit it only cost me 100 baht (just over £2) to get in when it should have been 200. I wondered about and saw lots of nice flowers. I smiled and pretended to know what type of flowers they were, then I headed to the right in search of greatness…

I didn’t find greatness, but I did find a museum about Thailand honouring the King. So I paid my respects and did a lap around the museum. Then once I’d learned a bit more about Thai culture I carried on to the right.

Then as I was wondering around I saw a sign. Not this sign from Ace Of Base though:

…Anyway, I saw a sign that said ‘South Sudanese garden’. “What the flickenspiel…?” I thought to myself as I walked around it. It made absolutely zero sense being there amongst all the Asian style flower arrangements, so I did what most people would do in this situation and shrugged my shoulders, took a few pictures then exited slowly whilst saying “Nooo…no…” Like Consuela from Family Guy…

Turns out that they had an international garden for 30 different countries, however they had put the South Sudanese garden in it’s own little area for maximum confusion. I found the rest and took pictures of all of them feeling like an absolute fucking champion. My favourite one was the Japanese garden

“What the bejeebus is that…?” I thought as I waked around the corner. There was a big old temple surrounded by a moat of sorts. I took pictures, ran up the steps and possibly sang Watford songs before heading back to recharge as it was painfully hot outside. Coupled with the fact I’d cycled there I was cream crackered…

I got a iced cocoa and nearly fell asleep listening to the live music. Then as I got back I went to the shopping mall and bought myself a bar of Swiss chocolate with the money I’d saved from the half price ticket I’d got. I celebrated by dancing like James Acaster when he listens to George Harrison:

 

And that’s it! Have another picture, because fuck it, why not? And thanks Frank for making me aware of this bad boy…

45855312_2202694809765047_4721465206419488768_o

ANOTHER PROPER STEEMIT MEETUP IN CHIANG MAI. FUCK ME, THERE’S LOADS OF US HERE!!!!!

A few weeks ago @luzcypher mentioned to me that a lot of people from the Steemfest seminar in Krakow had got on the same plane as him and were now in Thailand. I thought this would be a great opportunity to meet a load of Steem people. I had heard so much about the community, so I set out to try and connect everyone who was in Chiang Mai.

.

20181201_191812.jpg
From left: @world-travel-pro@randomukrainian@teamsteem

I met @teamsteem and @mikemeister at Loi Krathong, but I heard there were loads more. So instead of just meeting once for a photo opportunity then saying, “Thanks, see you again in five years!” I thought we should make the most of the opportunity, especially considering it is very rare that a load of bloggers for one site are in the same location at one time.

.

20181201_191810.jpg
My world class photo skills…

The original plan was to take @world-travel-pro to a proper Thai style buffet, then when a few of the bitcoin bastards (trademark that shit…) met up for lunch we realised that @teamsteem was vegan, and because the moo grata – or Thai buffet – predominantly focuses on meats, it probably wasn’t a good idea to take him there.

.

20181201_203931.jpg

I offered a compromise to go to a vegan restaurant I knew called Vegan Heaven, but before I knew it everyone had decided to meet up at a restaurant called Salad Concept at 6, @teamsteem could get his sexy salad, sing ‘Give it to me I’m worth it’ then we’d join up with others at Su Khon Tha Thai Buffet.

@teamsteem to the restaurant staff: Gimme salad, I’m worth it…

In true Thai fashion it was understandably chaotic, but we got there in the end. And more importantly for me everyone had a good time.

.

20181201_193614.jpg

@teamsteem was sacrificing his social life by messaging everyone to make sure they found us. An hour or so later we were joined by @connecteconomy@luzcypher@mikemeister and @travellit. So shout out to @teamsteem, or team Canada as I called him. Mainly because I didn’t want to call him Terence & Philip…

.

20170211_134707.jpg
Random picture of The Philippines because I ran out of pictures and needed to break up the post…

Afterwards we all decided to go to a bar. I knew of a bar but couldn’t remember the name or where exactly it was (turns out the bar was called Day-Li, and it was closed permanently. Shows how often I go to bars…) Luckily @mikemeister saved the day and found an upscale looking bar so we could sit down and talk about how the price of Steem is skyrocketing right now…

.


Photo credit: @connecteconomy

Read the post here:

https://steemit.com/steemit/@connecteconomy/steemian-bbq-in-chiang-mai-e8jn3kpj

I had a good chat with @connecteconomy before heading home. I’m here for one more week before I go on holiday so I hope to catch up with everyone again before I go. But it was great to meet you all in person. I much prefer interacting with people face to face than through a computer so it was nice to create those personal interactions with people. It makes this whole platform feel more real…

If there are any Steemit people on here let me know. It would be really cool to nteract with you and possibly meet up