Despair to delight for young Hollie at Goodison
12 August 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Young fan Hollie Gibbins went from heartbreak to Spurs heaven the last time we visited Everton.
Surprised by her dad Glen with a trip to Goodison Park and a rare chance to cheer on her heroes in person back in January, the youngster was left distraught when a combination of inclement weather conditions and roadworks delayed their journey from their home in Hull and caused them to arrive on Merseyside midway through the second half.
Determined to ensure the day wasn’t a total write-off, Glen led 11-year-old Hollie down to the area outside the ground where the visiting squad usually emerges after matches in desperate hope of at least catching a glimpse of the players, following what was an exciting 1-1 draw.
What happened next, neither of them could have imagined.
Thanks to the kindness of Everton’s team of stewards, Hollie was whisked into the usually off-limits section where the players board the team coach and given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet our players.
Glen (pictured, below, with Hollie outside White Hart Lane), 33, who became a Spurs fan after his father took him to Hull’s old Boothferry Park base to watch us play in Garreth Roberts’ testimonial in 1992, shared the story with us via our official Facebook page as part of a new feature for the 2016-17 campaign in which we’ll be asking you for your unique and quirky memories of visiting away grounds.
“When we set off from Hull it was amazing sunshine and a decent day but we were coming down the M62 and as soon as we got past Leeds, that was it. We couldn’t see more than a couple of metres in front of us because of the rain and then we hit the roadworks in Manchester. It was an absolute nightmare,” he recalled.
“Originally, when we’d left the house, I hadn’t told Hollie where we were going – I’d hidden her Spurs shirt under the seat of the car and when she saw it, she asked what it was doing there. That’s when I told her we were going to watch Spurs and from that moment she was ecstatic.
“Clearly we’d missed the game when we finally got there, though, and she was gutted. I dumped the car in a side street somewhere and we went straight down to where they barrier off the players’ entrance in the hope that we could see the players coming out. When we got there, the steward said: ‘Hiya sweetheart, did you enjoy the game?’
“That’s when Hollie told him what had happened. The steward said: ‘Well, you’ve got the best spot standing there.’ I didn’t know what he meant by that but a few minutes later he appeared again with another guy from Everton and I heard the words ‘awaiting confirmation’ on his radio. All of a sudden, I heard ‘yes, confirmed’ and then the steward said: ‘Right, it’s time to meet your heroes!’
“The smile on my daughter’s face will never leave me as they took us both into the enclosure where she met all the Spurs players and had photos taken. I was taken aback, I couldn’t believe it. I only had 10 per cent battery on my phone so I was trying to get all the photos that I could really quickly!
“All credit to Everton, they were awesome. How Everton and Spurs were with Hollie that day was a true reflection of two British teams and how it should be. The staff there turned a nightmare into a dream come true and it’s something I will remember forever.”
Understandably, Glen says both he and Hollie, now 12, have high hopes for the new campaign.
“We can’t wait!” he added. “At the end of last season it was a bit unfortunate but we like Poch and the lads have been doing very well.”