Story and pictures by Ayush Kumar
Maybe it was the fact Ian Butler was driving his blue Mustang down Everton Rd that gave it away. The number plate EVRTON probably helped too.
Just days out from Everton FC’s arrival for the Sydney Super Cup series, we’ve found a serious contender for the title of No.1 Everton superfan in Australia.
Ian, a 62-year-old father of two from Kellyville in Sydney’s north-west, has followed the storied English Premier League club for more than 50 years. He’s often seen driving his Blues-dedicated Mustang through the streets of Sydney, and even his family dog is called Seamus after the Everton club captain.
Everton FC are coming to Australia for the first time in 12 years to play in the Sydney Super Cup series, with matches against Scottish Premier League champions Celtic FC at Accor Stadium on Sunday 20 November and then Western Sydney Wanderers at CommBank Stadium on Wednesday 23 November.
Born and raised in the UK, at a working-class town called Crewe just 50km from Everton’s home ground Goodison Park, Ian was just eight years old when a local lorry driver started telling him stories about the blue side of Merseyside.
The rusted-on Toffees supporter, who delivered coal to the family farm, took the youngster to his first ever Everton game . . . against Leeds United at Goodison Park in 1968.
There was no turning back from that point and Ian has been a true Blues supporter ever since. He recalls catching the train with high-school mates to every home game to watch Everton play. He even enrolled at the University of Liverpool primarily so he could keep going to every Everton home game.
Ian’s love for Everton FC runs deep in his family as he describes his sons as even more passionate fans of the football club than himself.
The family home at Kellyville features a grand old team poster on the living room wall and there’s also a massive Everton badge on the wall in the TV room. “My wife doesn’t like it very much but it keeps the whole Everton theme going and I think my wife has just accepted it and it’s never going away now,” he said
The Butler family recently got a dog who they named Séamus after the Everton captain Seamus Coleman.
“My eldest boy used to have an Everton number plate as well when he was in NSW but had to give it away when he moved to Victoria as he could not get the same number plate there,” said Butler. “My sons’ rooms are Everton themed as well and they have all the kits, shirts and memorabilia.”
The last time Ian saw Everton play in a stadium was back in 2017 when he visited the UK with his family and witnessed Wayne Rooney score a screamer from the halfway mark against West Ham.
He says he’s counting the days till Everton arrives Down Under for the Sydney Super Cup matches.
“I don’t know which team wins here but I believe we have a good chance of winning both the games. However, honestly I am just really looking forward to see them play live again,” he said.
“Hopefully they bring a good strong side and we’re going to have two exciting contests. I’m especially looking forward to the match against the Wanderers at Parramatta’s CommBank Stadium, with the RBB at one end and us Everton fans behind the goal at the southern end.
“I’m really looking forward to both games and experiencing a live Everton match again.”
While fans keenly wait to see who is selected to play in Sydney as World Cup national selections are also finalised, Ian talks about passionately the players he hopes to see play in Sydney.
“I’d love to see Séamus Coleman obviously and Jordan Pickford, but unlikely this time around due to him being England’s first-choice goalkeeper and will be in the World Cup squad. He looks like he gets a bit emotional so I’d like to see him in real life. It’s also a new team compared to what we saw in the UK in 2017, so it’s a good opportunity to see a new group of players play.”
Leading in to the Sydney Super Cup matches, Ian and every other Everton supporter will be able to get up close and personal to the Blues stars when they appear at an Everton Open Training Session and Fan Party at Accor Stadium from 6:30pm on Friday 18 November.
Tickets and information about the Sydney Super Cup are available at sydneysupercup.com.au