While it is important to herald the achievements of the club on the pitch, this season has been as much of a success for me off the pitch. This season is my daughter’s first a season ticket holder. Thanks to the excellent pricing structure for kids I was able to afford to take her for the first time. She’s now as big an Evertonian as can be and while she will point to goals from Lukaku and chanting of Naismith, her favourite player’s name against Arsenal as some of her highlights. However, it is the club’s off the pitch action that have gained her attention and made her a fan for life.
Everton have gone to huge lengths to involve families this season. There has been the creation of the junior fans forum, a number of themed matchdays and countless other events. These things aren’t shoved down people’s throats, in fact if you don’t frequent the fanzone you will probably have avoided, or perhaps missed out on the many things the club have done for families and children this season. Here are a few things my daughter has been up to and received during this season…
- She has received a huge amount of free stuff. Everton themed chocolate at Easter, I love EFC lollipops and wristbands on Valentines Day, a 25th anniversary Everton in the Community t-shirt, signed pictures, several legends badges and a host of flags, banners, posters and masks and photos in the booth.
- She has participated in competitions. She won the Easter Bonnet competition thanks to her Everton Mint inspired creation and got to meet Roberto and Mrs Martinez, Bill Kenwright and be given chocolate’s and a signed Steven Naismith shirt as a result. She got me involved in the golden egg competition in which we correctly guessed the Everton giant as Duncan Ferguson winning her a signed ball and myself the opportunity to go on the pitch at half time at Man City and try and hit the bar for a season ticket (watch the video to see how I got on!)
- She has become totally enamoured with the presenting staff in the fanzone to the point were we are leaving for the match earlier and earlier so we don’t miss anything.
- She has met some Everton Legends including Howard Kendall and Neville Southall.
- She has featured in programmes and the end of year videos.
And there will be many things I have forgotten but needless to say she has loved every bit of this season. The extra effort the club have put into entertaining the future generation has resulted in her putting everything of herself back into the club and it is something I can’t thank them enough for. A lot of us don’t like our entertainment with a side order of cheese but kids clearly do. The #efcfamily hashtag makes me cringe on twitter but my daughter feels very much part of Everton Football Club and she will tell her children how great it was growing up as a blue. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, off the pitch as well as on.