The Gwladys End seats just over 10,000

Some day they are going to tear down Goodison Park at Everton Football Club, and they will replace it with something bigger, more modern, more comfortable, and for me, undoubtedly less charming.

Proper old-school wooden seats. A bit cramped, though.

The new one won’t have the wooden seats, or the church in the corner, or be in the middle of a residential neighborhood, or be just a mile from their rivals at Anfield, or have the pillars blocking the view. Okay, so I won’t miss the pillars.

But Goodison is one of last old greats for me; in fact, it is known as The Grand Old Lady, as well as one of the most intimidating stadiums in the country, when their fans are up for it. The first time I walked in for a game, I had a moment where I honestly thought it could be 1892 and not look much different. That’s how long Everton have played at Goodison, but the end is coming … someday. Probably soon.

Everton have to grow, of course, to keep up. But let’s hope that when they do build their new stadium they will do it right — the way Spurs apparently have — and not build a generic place on the edge of town.

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The Grand Old Lady

Here is what it’s like from pitch-side:

For now, I encourage people to get there while they can. And I encourage you to take the stadium tour, as I did. You’ll get to see the usual board room, hospitality suite, players’ tunnel, and pitch-side view. You’ll also get to sense the simmering resentment of their red-clad neighbors. And you’ll get to hear proper Scouser accents:

Even now, when I listen back to it, I honestly can’t make out some of what he is saying! These regional accents are another thing we’re losing, the world over.

So the next time you’re in England having a soccer adventure — something I can help plan, by the way — get yourself to Everton for a game, or at least a stadium tour. While you still can.

And click below for my photo gallery from the tour, with a few shots from game day mixed in, as well.

Goodison Park tours are offered five days a week, three times a day, at a cost of £5-15. Click here for details.

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