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Official Review by Matt Rees, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Goodison Park, home to Everton F.C, has hosted more top flight English football games than any other club. It first became the home of "The Toffees" in 1892 and is one of the world's first purpose built stadiums.
Before the move to Goodison Park, Everton played on an open pitch at Stanley Park. Nowadays, Stanley Park is a destination where Liverpool wants to construct their new stadium. It had been suggested that Everton and Liverpool would share a stadium at Stanley Park; however, the fans hated the idea and was quickly dismissed.
Goodison Park, located in Walton, Liverpool, has a capacity of 40,157 and is referred to by fans as "The Grand Old Lady". Over the years, Goodison Park has undergone development and is now an all-seater stadium.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
At Goodison Park, the food options and quality are nothing special. However, is still appetising and is priced fairly. As expected at Everton, and football stadiums in general, the variety of food is limited, with meal deals (pie and a pint) pricing at £5.90. The pies on offer include cheese and onion, Scouse pie, and Steak pie, all priced at £2.50. In addition to this, a kid's drink, crisps, sausage roll, and a Milky Way would cost you £4.00, which is a very good price! Also, a chocolate bar and hot drink would cost you £2.90. Lager is on sale at £3.60 for a 600mL bottle, though alcohol stops being served 15 minutes prior to kick off. Like all football stadiums, the queues at halftime can get very bad, so I advise to eat and drink prior to the match.
Although the food and beverage options are decent, I feel Everton could introduce the hot dog and a stadium burger. Most of the options are just plain pastries, so a nice juicy burger or hot dog would be nice.
The only other option is to eat in the city centre, because other than a few burger stands, there is nowhere to eat near the ground.
Everton, when playing well, can have Goodison Park rocking. As it is a tight, enclosed, and old fashioned stadium, no noise escapes. When playing the "big teams", the roar of the crowd can drive the team to a win. When playing on TV, the commentators have described the stadium as "shaking", which can only mean good things!
However, the atmosphere is at its best when Everton host Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby in one of the most fierce rivalries in world football. If you are a first time visitor, this is not the game to come and witness, as a lot of trouble is caused, and the intensity is off the scale! Whatever game you go and watch, though, the noise made is very good.
A person visiting Liverpool wouldn't think it's the nicest and friendliest places to visit, and to be honest, it isn't the most touristic of places, either. However, outside the stadium, it's a very safe environment, with police manning the streets. I'm not saying it's some kind of glorious environment, but overall, the area is fine and shouldn't stop you visiting.
I have to admit Everton have got one of the best core of fans in the Premier League. The fans, nicknamed "The Evertonians", sell out Goodison Park every week. Additionally, the noise made by The Evertonians is unbelievable and are known to be the 12th man. I can only say good things about this set of fans who haven't seen silverware in 17 years, but boy do they keep their optimism!
In 2005, the club reached the Champions League group stage for the first time ever. This was a huge achievement and was a special moment for the fans. Despite being knocked out, the fans were rewarded four years later, where they enjoyed a trip to Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately, they saw their team lose 2-1 to Chelsea in the 2009 F.A Cup Final.
However, like all fans, they completely change during a grudge match. The fans are very hostile when welcoming Liverpool and Manchester United to Goodison Park. There was a particular incident a couple of years ago where a group of Everton fans hijacked a Liverpool fan's car when travelling home from a derby match. This is just the culture of derby matches in English football, and to be true, this rarely happens.
Everton is easily accessible via car, bus, or train. From the M6, you would exit at Junction 26 and continue towards the end. Then, at the gyratory, turn left and join the M57 Junction 7. After, join the M56 at junction 4 and then turn right at the A580. From then on, the ground is well signposted and easily reached. Also on the car front, many parking spaces are allocated less than half a mile away at Stanley Park. This would cost you £5.00 and is approximately a 15 minute walk from the ground.
When travelling by train, I would advise to get off at Sandhills. You would benefit from this, as a bus station is located just outside the station providing you with a service directly to the stadium. A bus fare would set you back about £2.00 from the station.
Although the ticket prices are fairly expensive, the quality and experience of the match is superb at Goodison. An adult in the family enclosure costs £36.00 and £18.00 for a junior. However, if I were you, I would pay that little extra and go and sit at the "top balcony" in the "Goodison Road End" stand. These are arguably the best seats in the house, and you can experience the match at a high and side view. If you're not one for heights, it's not the place to sit, as it is the tallest part of the stadium. For an adult it would cost £40, junior £20, and OAP £26.
The ticket prices are often slashed by half price when the fixture is either an F.A or Capital One Cup fixture. The standard of the Premier League football is the best in the world, and with Everton playing attractive football at the moment, the return on investment is brilliant.
As expected, a club shop is located just outside the stadium and programmes are on sale for £3.00.
Additionally, I was very impressed with the statue of Dixie Dean that was erected in 2001. Dixie was a club legend, scoring 349 goals for the club. This is a fitting way to commemorate him.
With Everton being one of the best clubs in Britain, they have an exciting bunch of young players. Record signing Marouane Fellaini has been in scintillating form recently and is considered one of the best players in European football. Also, Everton have two classy and experienced centre backs in Phil Jagielka and Phil Neville, and a highly rated shot stopper, and United States national team keeper, in Tim Howard.
Finally, a special report was done on Goodison Park on Halloween as it is considered haunted. Personally, I find this quite cool and I give credit to Everton for letting Sky Sports do this. If wanting to know if Goodison Park is haunted, a usual stadium tour is on offer at £10.00 an adult and £5.00 for a child.
Is it worth visiting Goodison Park? Yes, definitely. Not only would you be visiting one of the most historic stadiums in English football, the quality of the game would be fantastic. Goodison Park is a superb destination to watch football and I highly recommend that you visit!
(Some photos used with permission, courtesy of Julia Cox.)
Member Review by sanderkolsloot on Mar 24, 2013
Goodison Park is one of the oldest stadiums around, but the real atmosphere of English Premier League Football is lacking. The fans are rather passively involved with the game, starting typical chants only after the home team scored the 2-0. The visiting Reading team made the most of sound during the match. Furthermore, you can buy beers inside the stadium, but can't bring it into the stands.
The stadium itself is old and somewhat refurbished but has a lot of restricted view seats, due to old construction columns and second tier seating overhanging and therefore blocking some views.
Prices are ok, for about 35 pounds you can be part of Everton football.
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