I was visiting Goodison Park for the first time yesterday.
I've been to many grounds up and down the country over the years and a few others around Europe, but for one reason or another, Everton away is one of those that has eluded me for years. Newcastle and Blackburn away are two others I haven't quite managed yet.
So when Sunday morning came around, I was dead excited. With the 13:30 kick off, my older brother and I had to leave Derby pretty early. I usually don't take my brother with me to Chelsea games, seeing as he is a Leicester supporter, but he was visiting and I got him a ticket.
Our travelling plan was complex but, in theory at least, should have saved us a lot of time. We were meant to board the Birmingham bound coach at 08:30am, but unforeseen circumstances meant that we wound up taking the train instead. We arrived in Birmingham at exactly 10am. A 20 minute wait for the 10:20am service to Lime Street St. in Liverpool and we arrived in Liverpool just after 12:30pm.
This part of the day went extremely smooth.
We met a group of Chelsea supporters on the platform in Birmingham. Didn't know any of them, but having noticed the Chelsea top I was wearing underneath my jacket, they gave us a quick nod and we quickly formed part of their group. Arrived in Liverpool exactly as planned. Had time for a quick pint before we made our way to Goodison Park.
Once we got there, it was mayhem, as you would expect. Took us 25 minutes just to walk 40 steps, but strangely enough, although there was heavy police presence, they didn't over-police the supporters. Everton and Chelsea supporters mingled freely and peacefully with no problems whatsoever. Very refreshing to see.
Inside Goodison, it wasn't long before the first Carefree song broke out, quickly followed by the now customary 'we know what we are'. Everton, of course, responded with their own 'Everton Everton' and the place was rocking way before kick off.
The Everton players had been out warming for a good 15 minutes before the Chelsea players appeared, maybe this had something to do with their lightening start.
Once Chelsea came out to warm up, 'Super Frank' was in full gear and lasted almost the entire time they were warming up. Lampard came over and acknowledged us. Several times in fact.
Game kicked off, and we were 1-0 down before I had time to blink. Lightening start by Everton and , let's be fair, the atmosphere was deafening at this point. We responded with 'we know what we are', and 'Chelsea Chelsea'.
Then something weird happened .
Everton supporters began singing 'you're just a fat Spanish waiter', and hilariously, but rather predictably, the Chelsea supporters joined in and for about 30 seconds or so, both sets of supporters were the singing the same anti-Rafa song.
Everton were well on top at this point, and Azpilicueta, who was defending the side of pitch closest to the away stand, was having a nightmare and Ramires was doing absolutely nothing to help him out. Ditto Cole and Hazard on the other side.
We did the customary Di Matteo song in the 16th minute.
Nothing much happened between then and Lampard's goal, other than a few chances missed by Everton. Lampard's goal resulted in chaotic celebrations. I was punched about million times in the back by an uncontrollable 50 year old. My brother was pushed in the back and nearly fell over the wall and onto the lower tier.
We settled down and and all you could hear was 'we know what we are'. Everton supporters began whistling to drown us out, to which we responded with 'you'll never sing that song, you'll never sing that song'.
Quite appropriately, they sat down and stayed quiet for the remainder of the first half.
The first 15-20 minutes of the second half flew by, with nothing really happening. Torres' powerful shot brought the noise levels up slightly, but Jelavic hitting the bar a minute later got the Everton supporters going again.
Lampard smacked home the winner not long after that and ran towards the corner we were stood to celebrate and again, for the millionth time, acknowledged our support. 'Suuper, Super Frank' was all you could hear at this point.
Most of us were caught up in a massive Frank Lampard love-in and it wasn't until a few minutes later that we realised, 'hang on, not long to go here, we could actually win here' and subsequently another round of 'we know what we are' began.
The stewards, most of whom are no doubt Everton supporters, were quite clearly irked by how the game was turning out, so they told us all to sit down, as standing is against the law. The entire away stand, both tiers, stood up in protest and began singing 'stand up if you love Chelsea'.
This prompted the Goodison Park PA to tell us to sit down over the mic, which resulted in the both tiers standing up again, this time singing 'stand up if you hate Tottenham'.
While we were all stood, Fernando Torres ruined a good attacking move and gave the ball away, which prompted the guy behind me to yell 'well I'm not standing up for that, you blonde tit'.
We eventually all sat down, but by this point there was only a few minutes left on the clock.
Final whistle resulted in more chaotic celebrations. Frank Lampard came over one last time to acknowledge the brilliant away support. Not sure how it came across on the tele, but we consistently out-sang the Everton supporters throughout.
After the game, we needed to move quickly back to Lime Street St in time for our train. Finding a taxi though, proved difficult. We were quite a large group, so realistically we needed 2 taxis.
Having searched for more than 30 minutes, two taxis finally pulled up. One was vacant, the other was booked as two Everton lads jumped in. They kindly offered to share the taxi as they were also headed to the station.
So picture the scene, two Chelsea supporters and two Everton supporters sharing a taxi, driven by a Liverpool supporter, listening to QPR getting hammered on his radio. It's probably a moment I'll never experience again.
We missed our train, so we had to wait nearly 2 hours for the next one. Once it arrived, the station was packed with Chelsea supporters all making their way back to London.
Having our missed our train earlier, once we got to to Birmingham, we also missed our connection train to Derby and were forced to wait another hour for the next one.
We said farewell to our new friends who were lucky enough to find a train to London immediately. We returned home at 9:45pm, a full 13 hours after we had left Derby in the morning, and just in time for MOTD highlights.
UP THE CHELS!