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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, February 01, 2003
    Good spirits at Goodison
     
    Sun shone around Everton this afternoon. I arrived early and wandered along Goodison Road taking in the mood. Spirits were good. Gentle almost, though not passive. People going through their matchday rituals. At the chippie opposite the main stand entrance I reckoned some of those folk in that queue had been doing that for decades, could probably recall the price of cod before Bob Latchford grew his beard. Squeezing through the tea-and-cakes crowd in St Luke's Hall it seemed to me that those sat around the tables having been served by the dear church ladies, looked as 'at home' there as they would at home.

    Standing on the traffic island at the end of Gwladys Street waiting for Paul, Hal and Matthew to arrive, I read David Moyes' programme notes, which ended, unremarkably perhaps, "Finally, I'd like to welcome Terry Venables, Brian Kidd, Eddie Gray and Roy Aitken for this afternoon's match". Something about that impressed me deeply. How must it feel to be Moyes, a young man by his own insistence still learning his trade, to be the person offering hospitality on behalf of a world-famous institution, to men who are legends in the game. Thrilling, no doubt. Deeply, gently, thoroughly satisfying.

    And the dynamics of football mean that Moyes's gentle thrill and satisfaction spread around the club, penetrate all who share his blue passion.

    We have recently been where Leeds are now - in crisis. Which flavoured our satisfaction at winning another game and pulling up alongside Chelsea in the league table. Felt for Leeds today. Felt generous towards them in their struggles. As we walked out towards a twilit County Road after the game I thought, you can do that easily when things are going well.