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banner Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 09:57 GMT
Why I love... Everton

John Parrott will be Blue until he dies. The former world snooker champion reflects on the highs and lows of life in the Gwladys Street end at Everton with BBC Sport Online's Charlie Henderson.

When did you start supporting Everton?

My father first took me to Goodison Park at the tender age of about six and I got serious about games around the age of 10 or 11.

When I hit 14 it was snooker time and I didn't go for a couple of seasons but was always still in love with them.

I sit in Row K in the Gwladys Street end, behind the goal. I'm blue until I die - always have, been always will be.

What about the first game you saw, who was playing?

I was too young to remember the game but I do remember the first evening game my Dad took me too - there's nothing like seeing that pitch with the lights on and everything.

It was a while back as we were playing a Manchester United team which included George Best.

We took a bit of a beating but it's fantastic to walk up those stairs, seeing the green turf for the first time.

It was special for me all those years ago and I just took my seven-year-old son to his first evening game so that was special for me as well.

Like me on my first visit, he thoroughly enjoyed it.

When you were his age you were privileged to see some great stuff.

Alan Ball
Ball: An Everton legend
I've fond memories of watching Kendall, Ball and Harvey in the seventies and onwards with Joe Royle up front, but Alan Ball was a great player and everything progressed from there really.

Is Alan Ball your favourite player then?

He was good but I'm a big fan of Peter Reid and Andy Gray.

That eighties team was the best Everton team I'm ever likely to see but to single them out is a bit of an affront to the others really.

There wasn't a weak link in the whole team.

We had the best keeper I've ever seen in Neville Southall, the full backs were great athletes, the defenders were solid and then there was the midfield - absolutely brilliant - Reid, Trevor Steven, Kevin Sheedy and then Adrian Heath, Graeme Sharp and Gray.

Not only could they play but they could also look after themselves.

If someone wanted to start kicking them and give them anything physical they could look after themselves. I remember a game at Loftus Road when QPR tried it on but soon changed their ideas after they got fed up.

So your best moments as a supporter came in the eighties then?

1984-87 was very special - Championships, FA Cups and the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Trevor Steven
Steven sent Goodison into raptures
But the Cup Winners' Cup takes the pick as my greatest moment as an Everton supporter, as I'm sure it does anyone else who was at Goodison on semi-final night.

We had to score three goals against Bayern Munich in the second leg and when Trevor Steven found the back of the net it was amazing.

It was a real hair standing up on the back of your neck moment and an unbelievable atmosphere.

How often do you get to watch them these days?

I go home and away but it's a bit more personal as my brother-in-law's Duncan Ferguson.

He's just coming back into the team and he's running himself ragged for the cause.

It's taken over half the season to get Duncan and Kevin Campbell in the same side and although it will take a bit of getting used to for both of them they will get the team out of any trouble.

Why do Everton seem to continually find themselves in trouble these days?

It's not so much what happens on the pitch these days but what happens, or doesn't happen, off it.

Manchester United are getting stronger and stronger and with 67,000 at every home game that's where they get the money from to get stronger, so clearly we need to move to a bigger ground.

Where the money for it comes from I don't know, but one goes hand in glove with the other.

At the moment we've only got 20 or so boxes and they're the worst you can imagine down at pitch level.

We need better corporate facilities and an ongoing concern that is money-making and can be used for more than just football.

But you're confident that the club will at least sort themselves out on the pitch before the end of the season?

We're massively in debt and Walter Smith's hands have been tied in being able to find new recruits to replace the limited resources we have had following the huge injury problems the club have endured this season.

But in the last few weeks they've looked much more committed and I still think they're far too good to go down.

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13 Feb 01 |  Funny Old Game
Why I love... Sunderland
04 Feb 01 |  Funny Old Game
Why I Love... Leicester City
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