Story and pictures by Ayush Kumar
HE’S followed Everton FC for more than 50 years, drives a Blues-dedicated Mustang featuring the number plate EVRTON, and his family dog is called Seamus after the famous EPL club captain.
If Kellyville father-of-two Ian Butler isn’t the No.1 Everton superfan in Australia, he’s certainly in the Premier League of supporters.
It probably won’t surprise you that we found Ian and his Mustang at Everton Rd, Strathfield this week in the build-up to the club’s first visit to Australia in 12 years.
Everton FC is coming Down Under for the Sydney Super Cup series and will play Scottish Premier League champions Celtic FC at Accor Stadium on Sunday, November20 before taking on the Wanderers, the pride of Western Sydney, at CommBank Stadium on Wednesday, November 23.
Born and raised in the UK, at a working-class town called Crewe just 50km from Everton’s home ground Goodison Park, an 8-year-old Butler was introduced to Everton FC by a local who delivered coal to his family’s farm.
The rusted-on Toffees supporter took Butler to his first ever Everton game which was played at home against Leeds United in the 1960s. Since then, Butler has been a true Blues supporter. 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.
The proud owner of a Mustang wrapped in Everton colours and a licence plate that reads “EVRTON”, Butler’s love for Everton FC runs deep in his family as he describes his sons as 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 Butler 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 until 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, Butler talks about passionately the players he hopes to see play in Sydney.
“I’d love to see Séamus Coleman obviously and Jordan Pickford. 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.”
- Tickets and information about the Sydney Super Cup are available at www.sydneysupercup.com.au