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Blues fan photographs every turnstile at Goodison Park ahead of its final season

3 weeks ago

Blues fan photographs every turnstile at Goodison Park ahead of its final season
Goodison Park 'The Grand Old Lady'. Credit: Laura Gates Photography

Photographer and lifelong Blues fan Laura Gates has created a unique memento for fellow supporters as Goodison Park nears its final season.

Laura Gates Photography has taken pictures of every turnstile at the ground, known as the Grand Old Lady, capturing generations of memories with each image.

She says what on the face of it is just a series of doors actually represents something precious for Everton fans, many of whom have watched games from the same seat in the same part of the ground their whole lives.

Season ticket holder Laura began the project by photographing her own turnstile, at the Main Stand, never really intending to go any further.

“I’ve loved photography from an early age, and I’ve always done it as a hobby, so I started to combine that love for photos and for Everton,” she explains.

“At first I was taking photos on my phone then I’d take a camera with me to matches or go to Goodison on non-matchdays and just walk around taking pictures.

“I took one of my turnstile, that was the first one, then I took one of my mum’s and my boyfriend’s. I posted them on social media and a few other people messaged me to ask if I did others and it just snowballed from there.

“I went and spent countless hours basically just photographing doors. I walked the perimeter of the ground many many times, and I found it really fascinating because although they are essentially only doors, they’re much more than that because there are so many years’ worth of memories attached to them.

“They are sentimental for people because how many fans have walked through those doors for generations? 

“I’ve had people tell me, ‘this was my dad’s turnstile when he was young and now we go together through the same one’, there are just so many stories and since I’ve been taking these photos people have shared with me how much it means to them.”

For 27-year-old Laura, photography has now become a full-time job and Everton is her favourite subject.

“My mum’s a Blue, she’s always gone to the game and still goes now. I started going when I was very young, with my cousins, sitting in the back of the Gwladys Street and just loving the atmosphere and Everton as a whole. 

“It’s been one of the biggest, if not the biggest, part of my life. I’ve met most of my close friends through Everton and it’s how I met my boyfriend, so it’s such a major part of my life – even my dog has to wear an Everton bandana!

“I think the interesting thing about Goodison is, unlike the modern stadiums which are very vast and open, each stand and each part of the stadium is so unique and has its own story to tell.

“Goodison has been there for well over 100 years and it’s such a beautiful old stadium with so much history.”

With 19 home league home games left next season before Everton makes the move to Bramley Moore Dock, Laura says all those memories are becoming even more special and poignant.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the feedback since I put the turnstile photos on my website,” she says. “It’s lovely to have that appreciation for my work and something I’ve put so much time into.

“Football culture in Liverpool is a family thing and it’s a way of life. Photographing Everton is something I’m so passionate about and to think people are enjoying what I do and getting as much out of it as I do is a genuinely nice feeling.”

See more of Laura Gates Photography here.

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