Huge Everton banner unveiled at Goodison to mark Black History Month
12 months ago
A huge banner was unveiled at Goodison Park last night during Everton’s clash with Manchester United to celebrate Black History Month.
The image of six of Everton’s most celebrated players was the latest in an ever-growing range to be produced by Gwladys Street 1938.
Their hand painted creations have been unfurled in the famous stand for more than six years, celebrating both past and present club figures and capturing the combination of passion and heritage that means so much to Evertonians, particularly as their time left at Goodison Park is coming closer to an end.
From the Holy Trinity of Harvey, Kendall and Ball, to Dixie Dean, and remakes of old classics like the green and white ‘Everton are Magic’ flag, the banners celebrate a long football heritage in Liverpool 4.
Then there are messages around Remembrance Day, anti-racism slogans and support for foodbanks, illustrating the passion of fans for wider issues than football.
And last night’s banner was certainly one of the most ambitious and eye catching yet.
Depicting Joseph Yobo, Mick Treblicock, Kevin Campbell, Cliff Marshall, Daniel Amokachi and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, it was a timely reminder of the importance of Black History Month, which celebrates the achievements of Black Britons.
But don’t expect artist Joe to be grabbing the glory for the brilliant banners and the atmosphere they help create.
He said: “The banners don’t belong to me they belong to the Gwladys Street. That is why I take so much pride in making them.
“The majority of people don’t see the time and effort that goes into them and so I couldn’t be happier than when people appreciate them.”
“Gwladys Street 1938 is about the production of the banners but also about the people who help unfurl them before kick-off and about everyone who helps fund them, including Everton. It is a collective effort.”
The first banner was displayed before an away game at Watford in 2016 and celebrated defender Leighton Baines. Since then, Everton giants including Neville Southall, Brian Labone and 1960s manager Harry Catterick have been celebrated.
There is a painstaking process taking hundreds of hours that goes into producing the works.
Hand drawn sketches are placed onto grids, colour palettes are produced to replicate the subjects’ hair and skin tone. This work is then transferred onto the giant hand sewn banners, being drawn out at full size using a marker pen before finally painted.
There is no cheap mass production going on here, no corners being cut. The effort that goes into each one is mind blowing. That effort is matched by the supporters and stewards who faithfully look after the giant works of art on match days, from the fans who hold them, to those who might miss the players running out of the tunnel because they are underneath them.
Each and every person contributes to the end result.
Joe said: “There is something very authentic about Everton and Evertonians. We come to Goodison Park because generations of our families have passed Everton on to us. I try to replicate that authenticity in everything I do.
“It’s also important that the subjects are happy with them and that their family and friends are too.
“The banners are celebrating the players or managers, but they are also there to educate the younger generation. I hope young fans go away and their parents and grandparents tell them about the players and give them an appreciation of the people who made Everton what it is.”
That was certainly true of the family of Everton legend Colin Harvey who was the subject of a huge banner with his former team-mates and friends Howard Kendall and Alan Ball after the statue of the trio was unveiled outside Goodison Park in 2019.
Daughter Melanie said: “We were overwhelmed when we saw the banner. To think my Dad, Grandad and Great-Grandad used to stand on the terraces watching Everton for all those years and then there was a huge banner of Dad with his friends and team mates. It was wonderful and we will be forever grateful for the hard work and dedication that went into producing it.”
The name Gwladys Street 1938 is of course drawn from the birth year of the famous home end at Goodison Park and the banner to celebrate its 80th year in 2018 is one of the most memorable creations.
The hope is that the time left at Everton’s current home before the move to Bramley Moore Dock will allow the banners to capture the special essence of the Grand Old Lady, with six or seven very special creations already in the planning.
Joe said: “This is all about involving everyone on match day. My number one aim is for people to see the banners and feel a real sense of pride, that they represent them.”
“They belong to everyone. To all Evertonians.”