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Friends and Neighbours?

By Dave Roberts :  20/01/2009 :  Comments (35) :
I've not taken much notice over recent years when the so called sad decline of the 'Friendly Derby' into something more caustic and abusive has been lamented in some quarters. This was probably because I only heard such sentiments expressed on Radio Merseyside, a station which has always sought to impress the unity of Merseyside upon everybody who would listen. While there is, undoubtedly, considerable unity on Merseyside I don't think it extends to football allegiances.

The 'Friendly Derby', I concluded, was just a myth and part of their (local BBC) agenda. So I ignored it because I didn't recognize it.

The myth may have been assumed to have substance following the very special circumstances of Hillsbrough, with Everton mementos appearing in rememberance on the streets and on the Kop and the divide temporarily bridged by grief. Perhaps this was further fortified by the chanting of 'Merseyside, Merseyside' at Wembley. But these were very special circumstances and if there was ever the prospect of our Derbies being friendly, that possibility was killed stone dead by the snide and sarcasm of the late 'grate' (sic) Bill Shankly. (I won't repeat the remarks, we all know them...)

I have just read the article in the Times concerning the loss of the 'Friendly Derby', by following the link on the home page and I was amazed that the myth of the 'Friendly Derby' was being perpetuated there too! What they confuse with friendliness are the differences between our football divide and those of other similar rivalries. Ours has nothing to do with religion or politics.

Ours has nothing to do with race or culture or what part of Rome or Milan we live in or whether we believe our part of the world should be independent of where the other club live. Ours cuts across families but is nevertheless just as tribal. Some of us will have parents of differing persuasions, I know I did, and while I love my brother, he is still a Kopite (and an arrogant one at that) and I can't stand him when football is the issue.

This strange sort of partizanship, probably unique on a scale as large as this, did allow the events after Hillsborough to happen when they wouldn't have happened on such a scale anywhere else and has probably served to keep physical violence between supporters to a minimum which is exceptional when compared to other such rivalries.

But this doesn't mean I want to be friendly at a Derby match. I loathe our neighbours with a passion and their result is always the second I look for in the hope that it was a defeat. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see them go to the wall as a result of their massive debts and their owner's inability to pay them back to the Bank. I will never physically assault a Kopite nor join in the Gerrard chants which have become so infamous, but that doesn't mean I do not hate the buggers with an everlasting passion.

Friendly Derby? In 46 years of watching them they have never been friendly to me... it is just that we have a peculiar way of showing our unfriendliness on Merseyside don't we?

Reader Comments

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David Gee
1   Posted 20/01/2009 at 22:10:30

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Dave - could not agree more. I have mates whom are RS, and whilst I like them, the one thing that we can never agree on is football. They just have a level of arogance (and ignorance) that beggers belief sometimes. They seem to think (thanks to Shankly et al) that they have some god given right to win, and that we should be grateful that they even play the likes of Everton.

Worst of all (I live in Sydney) is the non-scousers that support them, who are even worse....again, being brought up on the myth of Liverpool being the ’greatest team in the world’’. It will all come crashing down soon, when they (and others) go to the wall and the fat spanish waiter walks away......at least my kid brother is a Tranmere fan (bless, youth of today don’t know any better!!!)
Ged Jennings
2   Posted 20/01/2009 at 23:21:51

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My biggest gripe about Liverpool fans is this new ?bitter blues? comment that has came about in the last few years. It is the way they sort of scorn at us and look down their nose like a teenager at his younger brother, with an air of arrogance and petulance like no other.

If we say they won?t win the league because Man Utd have a better squad and are built to improve-bitter.

If we say that at times their manager has made tactical errors and they have cost Liverpool-bitter.

If we believe signings like Bellamy, Kuyt, Pennant, Lucas etc etc are not the standard to win the Premier-we?re fucking bitter!!

No we are not. Most Evertonians are also football fans and therefore can see that they are not a great side, but this cannot be said as they just laugh or sneer and say ?typical bitter blue?.

As a kid it was obvious that Liverpool and Everton had a mutual understanding that we wanted the other to lose every game and then most of the time good banter would ensue. These days they?re more interested in Man Utd.

A classic one which sums it up was Champions League Final last year. Watching it in the Dunnys Club on Rice Lane the final pen went in to choruses of fuck off as expected.

One gobshite stood up and went ?fuck thats no win, its was only on pens!? Ha- i just screamed ?have youse ever won anything NOT on pens??

Every club has dickhead fans, fickle and unknowledgeable but the fact we?re all now ?bitter? is just an easy way to see why ten red shite are not worth one Evertonian.
Keith Glazzard
3   Posted 20/01/2009 at 23:42:55

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Ged - a lovely moment in football came when, very unusually then, the final league match of the season was live on TV. The pub in Manchester was packed with ’neutrals’. As the game went on, the murmer grew that we ought to support the RS, as tArsenal were southern jessies etc. Nobody spoke out against this until the last kick of the game, and the room errupted in celebration. Everyone hated LFC more than the southerners.

I guess this makes MU, MC, Oldham, Bury etc supporters all ’bitter’. These kopshites ought to get out more.
john sreet
4   Posted 21/01/2009 at 06:38:50

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Mr Roberts, congratulations on an excellent post, the best writtem and articulated article I have read on this issue. For 52 years I have loathed the reds, and in many ways it is sad as it divides families and removes a part of the bonding betwen fathers and sons, nevertheless on monday my neighbours in the adjoining hotel room in Frankfurt probably thought I was having sex as I shouted yes yes yesm while many hundreds of miles away my son held his head in his hands in despair.
Dave Richman
5   Posted 21/01/2009 at 10:05:48

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Some of the beauts we have over here in South Africa have to be seen to be believed!

One alleged RS ’fan’ who (once he’s had a look at the results in the paper, naturally) never fails to have a pop at me, didn’t even know they were fucking playing us on Monday night!
Ciarán McGlone
6   Posted 21/01/2009 at 10:12:12

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I never really understood the rivalry until I went to my first derby about 10 years ago...

Someone had painted a red headband on Dixie and apparently the Hilsborough memorial had been covered in blue paint...

There was murder that day...I nearly got a bottle over the head in the Oak for wearing a cork top...

Being from Belfast i’m used to a bit of mindless rioting...but this stuff seemed to be more pointless than usual..
Martin Kulkarni
7   Posted 21/01/2009 at 11:09:27

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Ged

I look at the ’Bitters’ tag with a different view.

I would tell any Dark Side fan that they’re are damn right I’m bitter, because I can catalogue many instances over 30 years of ’reasons to be’ (as the great Steve Walsh would sing).

My brother (RS fan) was going down to Monday’s match from Tyneside where we live and I advised him that relations are not what they might have once been between the two sets of fans and to be careful.He launched into a tirade about how he goes to derbies every year and he’s never seen any trouble.

I couldn’t seem to dissuade him from this rather naive romantic view he still holds and I’ll tell you why.It’s because a a Liverpool fan he doesn’t have any resentments to harbour unlike us ’Bitters’.I think it’s that simple.

When have they ever been shafted by EFC directly or by others to our benefit?No,I can’t think of any such occasions either.
Lloyd Farrell
8   Posted 21/01/2009 at 11:17:57

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A message to Keith Glazzard & Ged Jennings about this new "buzz" word the Gobshites are using "your just a bitter blue"
For god sake, will they ever wake up and realize they are all so disillusioned about the club, that by all accounts are in worse debt than us by asking the bank to give them six more months to start re-paying the loan ? ?FACT?
http://www.anfield-online.co.uk/lfc-news/2008/americans-transfer-debt-on-to-liverpool-fc/
they have a waiter who doesn?t want to wait on the Gobshites for much longer,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/7827052.stm ?FACT?
Due to problems with the aforementioned owners who seem to want to pick the players just as much as the waiter does.
His King Kev rant was a classic moment of comedy ? FACT
What a fool, What a complete fool..

Ged a quick note about us ?The peoples Club? I totally agree with you, We are football fans, that?s why we are Evertonians, We follow our hearts and give our footballing option to anyone who will listen to us, But its seems that no-one is allowed to mention how shite & lucky the RSGS are, how in some cases the waiter makes a mistake?. But then we are all ?BITTER BLUES? what a load of horse cock that comment is, We know, We Believe, We understand exactly where we are & where we want to be, We know what we have to work with, and we get on it with it, NO rants about who should pick the league fixtures, No rants about how many top teams we have to play ?at home? consecutively in fact no rants at all & that?s a FACT?.

Did you hear Moyes Rant about playing the top six teams in the league for the last six games of the season a few years ago, NO we just got on with it?.

We are ?The Peoples Club? FACT
All ?kopites? are ?Gobshites? FACT
IMWT FACT

Bring on Sunday
Mark Stone
9   Posted 21/01/2009 at 12:08:13

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For me, personally, it’s a friendly derby. If I don’t go to the game then I watch it with a groups of mates 80% of whom are reds. Throughout the game we have a bit of banter and a laugh. For this reason it’s always the game I look forward to the most.

If I disliked a person just because they’re a Liverpool fan I’d be a tit. Yes they might call me a bitter blue but I’ll then call them a gobshite back. It’s not malice it’s just banter and it’s a bit of fun.
Ciarán McGlone
10   Posted 21/01/2009 at 12:40:09

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Hear hear...Mark.

I think the contrived moniker of ’the people’s club’ has kind of went to some people’s head..
Alan Clarke
11   Posted 21/01/2009 at 12:36:32

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I can trace my family support of Everton back to the days when we played at Anfield. It has been instilled in me from when I could first talk that they are utter shite. I remember my first feeling of hatred towards them, when Rush scored a hat-trick in the 86 cup final (although I also feel the same towards Bobby Mimms). My family was never split, just always blue.

What I can’t understand is this ’friendly’ tag. My grandfather would not allow anything red in his house, this was before Heysel. I’m not into fighting with them but I can’t stand their gimmicks, their flag waving to that shit song, their poor knowledge of how a game should be played, their famous but silent Kop, and their twat of a manager. The worst thing is this tripe of doing things "the Liverpool way", which their classless manager seems to be going against.

1=20
Tony Bateman
12   Posted 21/01/2009 at 16:26:04

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When I get called a "bitter" I ask them why I am bitter. They reply because "Everton don?t have a glorious history like us".

I tell them that I am bitter because of the outcome of a very shameful event in the Shite?s history, so everytime they call a Blue a bitter, they are actually recalling a very shameful event.
Alan Smith
13   Posted 21/01/2009 at 17:35:14

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Can?t stand them. Was not too bad before 1985, but the Heysel incident for me fanned the flames of hatred. Not only lost the break up of our great team, but with it the the domination of domestic and European matters of the next few years and with it the deaths of 39 Italian supporters because of their hardcore moron supporters. No trouble from us on the way to Rotterdam I seem to remember.
Tommy Brannigan
14   Posted 21/01/2009 at 18:27:02

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A good fellow blue mate of mine was having a drink in his local last season and the shite were on live. Obviously the place was full of the non match going, shirt wearing pricks. After a while he was sussed as being a blue. "You're one of them bitter blues" they said in a threatening manner. His response followed like this,*

"How come you reckon we?re bitter, your more bitter than us"! "Oh no we?re not," they replied. Mate's reply, "You fuckin hate Man U, also fuckin hate Chelsea, also fuckin hate Arsenal... in fact you fuckin hate anyone that?s won the Premiership! However, we only fuckin HATE YOU!! So how come were so bitter? NOW FUCK OFF!!"

Well, I thought it was funny .

Jacqui Moore
15   Posted 21/01/2009 at 18:32:56

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Never has and never will be a friendly derby. What do we mean by Friendly? Shaking each others hands at the end of the game and saying ?well done?. Me thinks not, although the time has come to stop the vile chanting and sing about our own team and players. Don?t think for one minute I like them as I hate them with so much passion it?s sinful.

Unfortunately, my husband is a red and I even got married in my Everton Shirt and him in his shitty top. Come the end of the derbies we don?t even talk about the game until a week later. At the moment he is pissed off and I don?t care not one little bit. It doesn?t mean I don?t love him but when it comes to My Everton and derbies, for that one day I can?t bear him. Friendly, my arse.

Ed Fitzgerald
16   Posted 21/01/2009 at 19:22:44

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My best mate is a red, we exchange a few curt messages post derby games, take the piss the next day and then get on with our life. There are some gobshite blues and some gobshite reds. Shankly was wrong with his famous quote. There are lots of tits like the journalist Oliver Holt who want to portray the derby as hate ridden as other derbies, I think he is wrong. The fact is that many supporters of both sides sit side by side with fuck all trouble, where else does this happen??? Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham etc?

Jacqui, getting married in footie shirts is fucking mad.

Christine Foster
17   Posted 21/01/2009 at 20:12:18

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Jacqui, love the comments, I have the same problem too! I also have sons who roared as Cahill spun away and another son who held his hands and called me 10 mins later from his home in the UK.
Such is the rivalry and tribal nature of support within our city. I may not reside there anymore but my heart, my family and my "tribe" are there.

Scousers blue or red, never had the arrogance of Manc supporters, but the RS have adopted it lock stock and barrel.

The influx of support the RS have from other parts of the country (world) has brought with it that arrogance. Whilst Everton fans exist everywhere, they don;t have the fly by night supporters who know nothing of the club, its history or its pride.

We truely are a class above that.

We are BETTER Blues

Just tell them they can’t spell either...
Chris Jones (Wakefield)
18   Posted 21/01/2009 at 21:05:19

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A couple of people have mentioned Shankly. I think we should remember many of his comments were said ’tongue in cheek’ - why else would he have spent so much of his time after leaving Liverpool visiting and talking to Everton players at Bellefield?

One time he was serious though was when he was addressing a formal function, speaking of a famous player Shankley said: he "? was the greatest centre-forward there will ever be ? He belongs to the company of the supremely great . . . like Beethoven, Shakespeare and Rembrandt".

Note, he said he "was the greatest centre-forward there will EVER be...".

Who was he speaking of? A certain William Ralph Dean.

Yes, there are some Reds who know a bit about football.
Dave Wilson
19   Posted 22/01/2009 at 06:23:28

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"I nearly got a bottle over the head for wearing a cork top" . . . .

Nothing you said then Ciaran ?
Ciarán McGlone
20   Posted 22/01/2009 at 08:44:02

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No Dave, Cork wear red.
Dave Roberts
21   Posted 22/01/2009 at 15:10:19

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Tommy Brannigan,

I?d like to meet your mate. That is a fucking cracker but Oh so true! I will have to remember it for my next joust!

Chris Jones,

I know what you mean about Shankly. In many ways he was the manager we should have had. While a lot of what he said was in a way ?tongue in cheek? he knew exactly what he was doing. When he arrived it was Everton who were the big club in Liverpool, it was us who had the history, the tradition and the success. He needed a higher profile for his club and he did that in the first instance by getting a higher profile for himself. He made himself a darling of the press with insulting comments especially about Everton as a way of diminishing the role of the ?bigger? club at the time. This is all well and good except anybody such as he, who could and did say that football was more important than life and death, must have known the impact it would have on Evertonians.

These were the seeds of not only the great divide, but also of the arrogance of today?s Kopites even though most were not born until after Shankly died. Shankly was a good manager and an even better publicist. But he did not do the relationship between his club and ours any favours and he set the tone for everything that followed.

When did you last hear a Man U manager taking the piss about City... or an Arsenal manager taking the mickey out of Spurs... or vice versa? I never have and ?tongue in cheek? or not, Shankly was the first, to my knowledge, or in my experience, to do anything like that. And for me, that diminishes the man in my eyes.
Peter Howard
22   Posted 22/01/2009 at 16:46:36

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Ciaran
Thanks for clearing that up- I thought a cork top was an Australian hat.
Steve Edwards
23   Posted 22/01/2009 at 17:40:27

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Ciaran - If you were at that game 10 years ago, that would make you only two at the time. Just shows you what bastards those gobshites are, trying to bottle a two year old kid in a cork hat... fuckin priceless!
Denis Byrne
24   Posted 22/01/2009 at 21:15:19

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Apologies in advance for this reply and going against the grain of this thread, and while I empathise and agree with many of the comments, this is the most depressing post I have ever read on TW.

I have come to despise the shite and have reflected upon this shift of consciousness many times in the last few years. I (fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your historic perspective) grew up exposed to the most beauitiful of games in the mythical time of the late 70s and early 80s, when as a blue I?d go to all the Goodison games and frequently with red mates to anfield, shouting for the oppossition and receiving and reciprocating banter, without ever resorting to violence.

My fanatical season ticket holding red uncle at my brother's wedding stood up and urged the blues to beat Man Utd in the FA Cup Final, not because he hated Man Utd, but rather because ?the treble will come to Mersyeside and god bless the blues if they do it and show to the world the city is the home of football, and we (Liverpool) will do it next season and be even better" and all blues and reds stood up and cheered and got bevvied together, safe in the knowledge that WE (the city, EFC and LFC) was peerless and magnificent and Gods chosen ones. The political landscape unquestionably had a significant influence on this, but this is another story.

And I stood arm in arm at Wembley with my red biological brother, he with red and white scarf and I with blue and white scarf, singing, "Merseyside, Merseyside, Merseyside" as a demand of heritage, because we had parents and aunties and uncles and grandparents at home tears streaming down faces having dreamt of a red/blue derby at Wembley for almost 100 years - oh god, how quickly we have forgotten that desperate aching longing.

This is not a fabrication, but a now sad and ancient fact and our growing denial is a tragedy to behold. This civil war and my new hatred, fills me with despair and shame and a longing for the days of the mythical ?friendly? derby that as we growingly deny make us simply barbarians.

Tommy Brannigan
25   Posted 22/01/2009 at 22:53:12

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I reckon you?ve completely lost the fuckin plot. I?ve been following the blues for 44 years (since 9 years of age), and I?ve always hated the cunts. The only thing that has changed over that period of time is that, after Heysel, I hated them even more, for the obvious well known reasons. Trust me, I?m not alone. Get a fucking grip. Come on Sunday!!!
Denis Byrne
26   Posted 22/01/2009 at 23:33:56

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Thanks Tony, well constructed response. Very nicely proves the point.
Steve Edwards
27   Posted 22/01/2009 at 23:45:59

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Denis - As I read that I kept expecting you to say, "and then I woke up".

I personally remember as a young boy getting a ticket for the red shite end at the very last minute for the quarter final of the FA Cup at Goodison. I didn?t dare to wear any colours being amongst the shite. It was quite fogy that night and difficult to see up the other end.

Well, I?d done quite well keeping my emotions under control during the game but late on the great Alan Ball slotted one home and it proved to be the winner. Because of the fog I couldn?t see the ball go into the net but the Street End rose as one. All I did was throw my arms in the air and shout, "Goal".

Well the biggest fuckin red shite you?ve ever seen, a grown man, punched me on the side of face so hard, even though we were packed in like sardines, I finished up five or six yards away. The side of my face ached and I felt physically sick. There was only about ten minutes to go but I couldn?t get out of the ground. I remember that incident as if it were yesterday and that was back in the sixties.

My feelings towards the shite reflect pretty much those of the Dave Roberts and I thought it was an excellent article.

Tommy Brannigan
28   Posted 23/01/2009 at 08:42:50

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Denis. You’ve spelt my name wrong. Says it all!
Denis Byrne
29   Posted 23/01/2009 at 11:30:16

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Sorry Tommy

You sound like a nice person.

cheers
Denis Byrne
30   Posted 23/01/2009 at 11:32:00

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Steve, yes I agree with everything everyone says, and we have clearly had different early experiences, and yours and many others, as well as my recent explosure to the crap from the dark side, has unquestionably impacted upon my current attitude in that I hate the shite with a vengeance and hope they get taken over and it all goes tits up and the go into administration, fold, and never darken our city of the beautiful game again. I was simply sharing an exprerience.

This is the first time I?ve entered into a correspondance on TW, and always surpised, dissapointed and saddened by the personal attacks that seems to poison the site occassionally. Let's beg to differ and accept we only have a few things in common - a love of EFC and hatred of the shite (maybe a few ales too).

Good luck to you and Tommy and see you at the game!

David Marsden
31   Posted 23/01/2009 at 12:28:01

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My perspective is simple.

I hate Liverpool FC,
don’t particularly hate their fans,
just pity them.

Too fuckin’ thick to know better!! Thats the way it is, natural selection!!

We’re just lucky: born to be be blue!!
Brett Bradshaw
32   Posted 23/01/2009 at 12:00:14

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My best mate is a red and we have a friendly (of sorts) dig at each other all the time during these times.

My views tend to revolve around the truth and honesty. I will always admit to not having the best player, team, or manager in the prem. Even our style of football is (sometimes) not so easy on the eye. But I know where we are and I know where we are going.

His views revolve around them being/having the best of everything. You simply can’t get a word in sideways!

Gerrard and Finance aside, they would be nowhere in comparison.

Why can’t they just admit that they have a shit manager? why can’t they just admit that they are a 1 man team, or even a two man team!? I suppose I am going to far if I think one would admit to being lucky!

Moyes is a far better manager and bridges that gap created by the finances (in my opinion)

What pisses me off is that he will end every argument with the same comment - every Evertonian has a chip on their shoulder... because we don’t have the money! It’s complete bollocks!
Steve James
33   Posted 23/01/2009 at 20:09:32

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I moved from Liverpool to Manchester at the age of ten. One of the first things I remember is Man U fans referring to City fans as ?bitter blues?. Good to see the redshite have finally caught up with the terminology used some ten years ago across the East Lancs. I read I quote the other day which I believe reflects the difference between us and them: "one person with belief is worth 99 with interest" COYBB?s
Steve Edwards
34   Posted 23/01/2009 at 20:08:59

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Denis - I wasn’t being funny, I really thought your correspondence was at first, tongue in cheek. No offence.
Tommy Brannigan
35   Posted 23/01/2009 at 20:43:03

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Denis. Apology accepted. It truly is great to be an Evertonian!


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