This was a breath of fresh air considering Everton’s sniffy neighbours last week. And it seems a different world despite them virtually sharing the same postcode.
Goodison Park is on the other side of Liverpool’s Stanley Park and I must confess I’ve always had a soft spot for The Toffees when it comes to the Merseyside derby.
There’s something about them living in the shadows of their brash arrogant neighbours that I can sympathise with as a Sunderland supporter. And although it’s 5,000 seats smaller than its city rival you’d struggle to guess from a wander around outside.
There’s a huge new stand that towers above most of the terraced houses around it and whilst Anfield is clad in money-grabbing photo opportunity points and stadium tours and museums, Everton seem keen to let everyone be involved. Huge flags with the current squad are attached to the outside and the ground itself is adorned with a “history of Everton” timeline packed full of trivia and information about the club’s past.
It means that a trip here can easily occupy an hour as you walk around taking it all in, with occasional pieces of art dotted around. This feels like a proper ground and is the first one I recall seeing with an endorsement from VisitEngland. Walls painted a brilliant blue and every corner feeling battle scarred yet simultaneously loved makes it a tremendous visit.
It may be that Liverpool rubbed me up the wrong way, but in my book Goodison is undoubtedly the better out of the two famous old grounds for a day out.