Editor’s note: Today marks the first column of a new weekly series by Matt Jones entitled ‘The Heart Of English Football’ that gives you insight into what it’s like to be a supporter who lives in England — capturing the experience, rituals and everything we don’t get to see or feel via the television set.
Nobody really likes Mondays. That’s a given. But Monday Night Football – as Sky Sports like to bill it – always goes someway to reprieving that start of the week lull.
At the moment, it’s the best show out there for football supporters. The analysis from Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher is top notch, as is the chemistry and passion that exudes from the pair. Getting home from work, putting my feet up and watching an hour of impassioned football debate sandwich each side of a game is always something to look forward to. It’s as good as it gets for self professed football nerds like myself.
But when your team is playing, things are a little different. As most regular readers will know by now, (for my sins) I have an Everton season ticket and travel far and wide to watch the Toffees in action.
Monday night games might not compare to long away trips in terms of awkwardness and expense, but they are still a bit of a hassle.
Just think about the logistics of it. Most people finish work between 5pm and 6pm and have to make it to the ground for an 8pm kick-off. Those who work outside the city of Liverpool have to head straight to the ground with no time to go home, have something to eat or see their families.
It’s far from ideal, especially when the lads I go the game with all work in different places and finish at a scattering of times. Arranging a time and place for a pre-match drink can become a bit of a nightmare!
But it’s all worth it once you get into the ground and there’s no better sight for an Everton supporter than a floodlit Goodison Park. There’s just something hypnotizing about the famous old ground night and no matter how many times I’ve been to watch Everton, it never loses it’s aura.
It gets even better when Everton, inspired by Romelu Lukaku, go in 3-0 up at half-time. I was obviously ecstatic as the Toffees tore into a soulless Newcastle side time after time throughout the opening 45 minutes.
But, I have to admit, a small part of me did feel sorry for the traveling supporters. I’ve been in that situation before: cold, tired, out of pocket, 3-0 down at half-time and worst of all, a long, long way from home. This game – just in case you were wondering. It’s not a nice place to be in.
Perhaps the Everton side shared some of my sympathy, as the team took their foot off Newcastle’s throat in the second half, with Yohan Cabaye inspiring something of a comeback. In the end, the game finished 3-2 in Everton’s favor after a stunning strike from the Frenchman – which was roundly applauded by the majority within Goodison Park – and a very late goal from Loic Remy.