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Across the Park

By Ian Macdonald :  10/03/2009 :  Comments (39) :
Across the Park poster

Last Monday I was honoured to be invited to a new book launch by Peter Lupson the author of the best selling book ?Thank God for Football?

The venue was the City Exchange the home of the Echo in Old Hall Street, gathered there were 80 guests from the media and acquaintances of Peter.

The new book ?Across the Park? is a celebration of the passion, roots and rivalry that Everton and Liverpool share. It tells the story of the church minister responsible for setting the ball rolling towards the club's birth; the acrimonious spilt that led to the creation of LFC and the hugely significant gestures of reconciliation since. The story of two tribes so to speak.

Representing Everton in the Blue corner was the cannon ball kid Dave Hickson, Derek ?that goal? Temple, Sir Philip Carter and new CEO Robert Elstone, in the red corner was Chris Lawler and Ian Callaghan.

The night started off early with an introduction by Everton fan Ken Rogers, executive editor of Sport Media. Ken spoke glowingly of Peter Lupson and his previous works including his nationally celebrated work on the book ?Thank God for Football? which led to five graves of founder members being found and restored with the respect the founder deserved. Peter even found that one or two clubs had got their forming dates wrong and are now rectified, such is his meticulous detective work. I have expected Peter to look like a mixture of Colombo and Sherlock Holmes.

Peter comes from Ely near Cambridge and nailed his true colours to the mast admitting he was a Norwich fan from their Third Division South days to the present hard times again. So I think Peter knows about football rivalry to a degree as the Ipswich/Norwich derbies are quite feisty. Along with his wife Evelyn, Peter lives on the Wirral teaching.

When Peter came to talk to the gathered audience, I thought to myself this guy could have been a minister himself and if he had taught me I would have listened more and learned more, such is his magnetism  that leads you towards his every word.

Peter told us that, coming from his backwater small town to the Metropolis that is Merseyside, he felt like he came to the Hollywood of football. So many big names littered the two main rival teams. The only time he touched Everton and Liverpool before was when playing Subbuteo.

He wanted to make sure when writing his book that there would be no bias and showed his works to fans of both sides to see that he was a fair referee. But he did use a blue pen and his son and heir is a Blue... although his son in law is a red.

Peter told us that we had two fantastic clubs and he felt so lucky that he could get two slices of the magic that occurred at the weekends when visiting Everton one week and Liverpool the next, which was commonplace in the fifties and sixties as away travel was both costly (and still is), and geographically a test with poor road systems at the time.

Lupson photo

Peter went on to speak about the infamous split in 1892, which at the time was bitter and acrimonious due to John Houlding, a local brewer and owner of Anfield demanding exorbitant rent from the tenants, Everton. As Everton got more successful, they were League Champions within ten years of their formation, so would Houlding?s demand for more rent, until George Mahon led a rebellion.

Before next season, Mahon and Baxter, the two main Everton directors, bought land in Mere Green and raced against time to get the ground ready for the new season. Houlding was left with an empty ground to fill and just three players. He even tried to keep the name Everton but when attempting to register it, was dismissed out of hand... hmm ? which brings us to them trying to take the Liver Birds as their own presently. Some things never change... but I digress.

Everton?s early history held a Christian ethos and nature which was enforced when John Houlding died in 1902. The Everton directors decided to forgive and forget the past and at the founder of Liverpool's funeral, three players from each side carried his coffin with all of the Everton directors in attendance.

In 1903, Everton director Baxter led a deputation to complain to the local council that the present tram system servicing Walton and Anfield was inadequate for both sides and to get it sorted. Then in 1905 a joint matchday programme was published, which went on for 31 years. David France's collection I believe has nearly all the eleven hundred issued. Our clubs where one unit so to speak at the time.

Liverpool were in the Second Division, Everton in the First. The reds were competing with Man Utd and Bolton for promotion. One game when Bolton played pushing for leadership, both Liverpool and Everton players went to watch to find the chinks in their armour. The more experienced Everton players  giving the reds valuable information for tactics and fitness.
When Everton won the Cup in 1906, beating Liverpool along the way in the semi-final, the Liverpool directors came to St Georges Hall to welcome the Blue heroes back.

Across the Park

Will Cuff of Everton and George McKenna of Liverpool become two of the most powerful men in football during their time and great friends off the field. At Everton?s 50th anniversary in 1929 both sets of directors gathered at the Philharmonic Hall to celebrate. When John McKenna died, Will Cuff wrote at the time he had lost a life long friend and was deeply saddened.

Sir John Moores was also a major shareholder in Liverpool FC and an advisor, which I did not know. He told the Liverpool directors who picked the team it was not the way forward and that a coach should do the task. He even asked the late great Matt Busby who he could recommend and the Huddersfield?s coach was his recommendation, enter one Mr William Shankly.

At that time, Liverpool had a transfer ceiling of £12,000 which stifled the club when entering the player's market. Sir John helped get their financial house in order not even taking any dividends from his shareholding with them. Err thanks Sir John!

Of course, Sir John was also responsible for bringing Harry Catterick to us after sacking John Carey for finishing fourth. Sir John was a contempoary Abramovich, demanding only the best. Although he never really gave money to Everton ? only loans and a wealth of advice and inspiration, building a world class (at the time) stadium, hosting a World Cup semi-final and the envy of so many.

Sadly how can we talk of the relationship of the two clubs without mentioning the name of Hillsborough, a tragedy not just for Liverpool but of the whole of Merseyside, especially and globally. I?ve always said, but for the flick of a coin, this harrowing chapter could have had our names on it. Everyone on Merseyside knew someone who knew someone that was bereaved.  We where all touched in  way that I have never known in my lifetime. We were united in grief, like Colin Harvey said at the time, we were not divided here. Who could forget the thousands of scarves both Blue and Red hanging on the terraces of the Kop. The mile length of both scarf?s joined together across the park.

Even sponsored running teams in Red and Blue ploughing their course to Hillsborough to lay wreaths for so many loved ones. You see, as much as I respected Shankly, he was wrong with one of his so many famous quotes: football is more important than life and death. During this sad time, fathers sons and daughters were cruelly taken away by decisions in my opinion made by the Sheffield Police.

Memories of the time that will live forever on that black day. The emotional scenes at the Cup Final that I thought should never have been played when "Merseyside, Merseyside" boomed around Wembley. Who ever won the cup, it was going to be  an empty, hollow victory. Our boards should have said No when we both got to this final.

Those band of brothers days  now seem a distant past, the banter has gone to a big degree on derby day... replaced by bitterness and hatred from both sets of supporters. Lately another glimpse of light  through another tragedy of the killing of little Blue Rhys Jones came to pass. It was at the Liverpool /Toulouse game that a man I respect and owe a pint to, Tony Barrett, had a great idea to show the world that tragedies like Rhys's death can overcome our local rivalry. I thought at the time Tony?s idea of playing Z-Cars before the game at Anfield could go horribly wrong but my faith in human spirit was rekindled thankfully. As Rhys's parents stood at the side of the pitch with their Blue scarves on,  our song Z-Cars was played and you could have heard a pin drop, such was the respectful silence for the little Blue. When Z cars finished the silence continued then applause before YNWA was sung.

A big round of applause to those reds there that night for both reds and Blues where united again but why does it take a tragedy these days? By the way, Tony Barrett is a red journalist but a good man in my book and loves Merseyside.

Across the Park

A fan pays homage to Derek and Dave

Over the years, 49 players have been on both books across the park, 39 of which actually played for both sides. Dave Hickson, present tonight, being one of the most famous players to cross the divide, but he saw sense and came back home. Always remember Dave?s famous saying ?I'd break every bone playing for my team but I?d die for Everton?! We have had the most transfer dealings between both clubs, I never knew that.

Ben Chambers is widely recognized as the man now who brought football to Merseyside originally to keep his players fit after the cricket season. He came from the Last of the Summer Wine filming area, Sheply, where he is now laid to rest. But for Peter?s detective work, we would not have known that the grave of this man, to whom we owe so much for the formation of the  giants of  Merseyside, had become in disrepair and overgrown, with little known of the significance of the great man.

Peter wrote to Bill Kenwright and Rick Parry, telling of the state of the grave and giving an insight to the debt we owe Ben. An echo of the past was organised just like when John Houlding died, where both representatives of our teams went to Sheply. Graham Sharp and Brian Hall came plus two academy players from each side. The grave was fittingly restored and a service held at the graveside. Graeme Sharp said that it showed him the unity of years gone past maybe its time to restore this unity.

The book is a great read at a low cost, full of information and pictures, just go and buy it! Do you think we will ever get back to just banter and drop the bitterness?

Reader Comments

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Tony Marsh
1   Posted 10/03/2009 at 09:53:48

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Well constructed article as usual, Ian, but I think you're missing the point mate. I for one don't want to be paly with Liverpudlians on Derby day. I want lines to be drawn in the sand and I like the division of the two sets of supporters if only for a day.

I have grown up watching Everton and I am mid-forties now; through it all, the joy pain and heartache there has always been LFC and or its fans to ruin everything for us.

Heysel was the biggest football disaster to ever affect our club and yet we were not involved in it directly. I have never met a Liverpudlian yet, and I know plenty, who has ever acknowledeged the damage it did to our club. Most of the time they just laugh and say not that old chestnut again when ever it's mentioned. Try telling aKopite it's their fault we missed out on winning two European cups because of them and watch the reaction.

As you rightly point out, the Hillsborough tragedy left a hollow feeling once we reached the Cup Final in 1989 but yet again a great chance of glory and a trophy for us ruined by our wonderful neighbours. We where in a no-win situation in that final and I still don't know why we bothered turning up that year. Do you think any of their lot gave a shit about us once they were lifting the cup???

All the empty years we had through the 1970s were terrible for us. Going in to school every Monday was a nightmare. Listening to the gloating from the Reds as trophy after trophy was lifted. This carried on right through the 1980s as well and even during our glory years, we still couldn't put one over on them. Two FA Cup final defeats and pipped to the title in 1988 when they did the double over us.

So I ask you, why should we put the bitterness and the resentment aside when we play them? I can't and I don't want to. I like it. It spurs me on and I don't see any harm in it. I don't go along with "The Baby's not Yours" bullshit but I certainly don't want to be shacking hands and saying well done with the enemy, win, lose or draw.

Football is a tribal sport and to many of us fans a Derby game is a battle in an on-going war. Long may it continue.
Rob Sawyer
2   Posted 10/03/2009 at 10:30:31

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Ian ? great article.
Tony ? the fact that the reds won loads in the 70s whilst our 69/70 team failed to kick-on can?t really be blamed on the reds ? we should look closer to home. We would have gloated had the boot been on the other foot. Heysel does stick in the craw but it was 24 years ago ? time to look forwards not back?

Intense rivalry is great but it should not be an "on-going war". I have a mate who is a red but who?s dad is a blue - should they be bitter and resentful to one another or should they, perhaps, keep things in perspective and remember also the things we all have in common whilst enjoying the banter and rivalry?

John Boden
3   Posted 10/03/2009 at 12:18:30

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Great article but I fully agree as always with Tony Marsh. Similar age as Tony, i.e., 47 and them cunts have ruined my life. I have three great kids but not a lot else ?cos? of them bastards.

Rob, understand your point mate about the 70s; however, we had a great chance to rectify that in the 80s until them cunts ruined it with Heysel, and then they have the gall to moan like fuck when they get a slightly extended ban!

Cunts the lot of ?em?.

Mo Brown
4   Posted 10/03/2009 at 12:27:52

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I agree an intereseting article and I can?t wait to get the book. However, I have to categorically agree with Tony?s assesment. Grudging respect at best where that lot are concerned. A passionate reply, Tony, as ever.
Liam Reilly
5   Posted 10/03/2009 at 12:18:19

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I hate the fact that we were denied a right to play in the European cup following Heysel. It still hurts, but we had no god-given right to go and win it, even if we had participated. We are Everton after all.

Tony?s right about the Hillsborough final though. We were in a no-win situation there. The irony is that the two tragedies have probably done more for their club's notoriety than anything they could have produced on the field, similar to United?s Munich.

The bottom line is there are far more important things in life than football, but it can be very difficult to remember that, when disagreeing with a red.
Chris Jones
6   Posted 10/03/2009 at 12:35:08

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When Liverpool won their first European Cup, my Dad (a lifelong Evertonian but whose own Dad was a red) put us three lads in the car and we went to Liverpool and stood on Queen?s Drive to applaud the other side?s achievement. Afterwards we visited an uncle in Bootle ? him a red but my cousins all Blues.

This is the truth of it. A family affair and shared love of a great game. So I can?t bring my self to hate the other side.

I dislike intensely what they do on occasion, even despairing of them (e.g., the so-called fans, scum I prefer to think of them, who gatecrashed the Champions League final knowing they were stealing the seats of fellow Reds). But I?m also conscious of the fact there are likely many in our midst who?d give us cause for shame in similar circumstances.

However, I prefer to dwell on the positive. The players from both sides carrying Houlding?s coffin and Z-Cars being played at Anfield for Rhys Jones ? Liverpool showed some true class that day!
Ron Hill
7   Posted 10/03/2009 at 13:01:22

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The derby only started getting bitter when we started contesting it on the pitch properly and LFC had to accept some humility when they didn’t take all the points.
Nick Entwistle
8   Posted 10/03/2009 at 13:16:18

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Liverpool supporters have a genetic malfunction, perhaps have been touched by the Devil, though in the majority are just complete tossers.

Merseyside, Merseyside, Merseyside...
Jay Harris
9   Posted 10/03/2009 at 13:19:23

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Ian, a great post as we now come to expect of you.

As a Blues supporter for over 50 years now, I can recollect being crushed in with a mixture of reds and blues in the 60?s derbies with nothing more aggressive than a bit of scouse banter and I would love to return to a bit of Merseyside unity.

However, a series of arrogant Liverpool managers have IMO ensured that won't happen. The current reprobate is the worst with his "small club" jibe and constant reference to us as an alehouse team.

There is so much wrong with modern football that local lads such as Rooney, Gerrard and Carragher can become millionaires and forget their roots, becoming arrogant and superior. I really can't see a way back to that unity even if common-sense finances return to football.
Alan Clarke
10   Posted 10/03/2009 at 13:49:48

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Good article.

My bitterness, though, is based purely on the fact that the RS think they have this God given right to glory. They think they should be entitled to the league because they haven’t won it for a while. They think they should be entitled to a rich owner who will buy them any player they want. Their manager is a nasty piece of work and so are their players. Maybe the bitterness wouldn’t be there if they conducted themselves with some class and humility. How many koppites do you know that you could have a proper sit down football conversation with? Probably none.

I’m hoping this 6 + 5 rule comes in because they’ll be ruined. Finch Farm will see us overtake them in the future as we’ll sweep up all of the best of the North West’s talent. Then we’ll see who’s bitter.
Paul Gladwell
11   Posted 10/03/2009 at 14:37:24

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I am with Tony on this, they never gave a toss about us when they won that final, they even invaded the pitch when they scored and I will never forget that rat Aldridge rubbing Brian Law's hair when he scored an own goal in the replay after Hillsboro against Forest, utter scum. I think Stuart Pearce mentions it in his book and how he felt like cracking the fucker.
Nick Entwistle
12   Posted 10/03/2009 at 14:57:55

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Never a fan of Liverpool players but will always have time for Aldridge giving an official a touch line bollocking when trying to get subbed on to the pitch in USA 94.
Steve Rooney
13   Posted 10/03/2009 at 16:27:53

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Great article, Ian. Looking forward to reading the book. Of course football is tribal, Tony. That doesn?t mean it has to be vitriolic or ill-humoured.

Most of my family, and many of my close friends, are Reds. I know for a fact they?ll have been cheering on Middlesbrough at the weekend, in the same way as they know I?ll be cheering on Madrid this evening. None of this alters the fact that they?re people I love, like and respect. It?s just a fact of football-supporting life that we all accept with grace and good humour.

I don?t know about others, but as a kid, going to derby games (both before and after Heysel), one of the things that made me proudest as a scouser was the ability of the majority of us on both sides to indulge in a passionate rivalry, whilst at the same time as getting along with and, in my case, going to and from the game together.

Those of us who don?t quite share Tony?s view are not arguing for an anodyne, ?friendly? rivalry. We?re simply lamenting the end of what was, in large part at least, a respectful, ?grown-up? rivalry. The attempt to blame Liverpool fans alone for this is dishonest and, indeed, symptomatic of what has become a rather poisonous relationship in recent years.

As for Benitez, he stands as a graceless, witless affront to the traditions of his own club, let alone as an irritation to us. I feel certain Bill Shankly would be firmly with us when it comes to him.

Brian Lawler
14   Posted 10/03/2009 at 16:44:32

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That Tony Barrett is a total gobshite of the highest order.

If you don?t believe me go through the archives of the Echo website and read some of his anti-blue bollocks.

He?s as bad as fat Bascambe.
Micky Norman
15   Posted 10/03/2009 at 17:24:53

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Great article with some very interesting responses. In recent years, the arseholes who run LFC have done a lot to damage the relationship between the two clubs. I always felt Parry was the worst.

However, this moment in time is the perfect opportunity to heal some wounds. Parry gone, Benitez going soon (yes he will) and new grounds to be built eventually. Liverpool is a great football city and deserves two great clubs. Who?s for a shared stadium?

Neil McKinney
16   Posted 10/03/2009 at 19:05:59

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Excellent article Ian. I like to think I have got a pretty extensive knowledge of our club (for a 32 year old anyway), but I loved reading about this unity and mutual respect.

I do, however, have to partly agree with some posters above. I feel that football as a game has evolved to the point where there is so much at stake that fans find it difficult to separate banter from vitriol. Add to that the Reds ability to rub our noses in it at every opportunity which has diluted the mutual respect to the point where only tragedies seem to break the rivalry.

Maybe if we?d have had our golden era in the modern game (Premiership) and they had struggled, we would have been as conceited. We?ll never know, but as someone stated above, the bitterness and rivalry returned once we really began to compete again. Being a boyhood blue growing up through the nighties I really didn?t develop my dislike for the RS until recently. Since Benitez?s arrival I have really started to despise them and all they stand for. I still have mates who are RS and I don?t despise them, but when it comes to talking about football your average RS knows fuck all outside their own club, some couldn?t even name the squad FFS.

One constant is the fact that football really isn?t more important than life or death. As amusing as that quote may have been, the day it becomes true will be a sad day for mankind, and it is good to see that in times of tragedy we are still able to put the crap to one side and unite.

Stirring stuff Ian. Can?t wait for your next installment of history. COYB!
Jon Summer
17   Posted 10/03/2009 at 21:22:05

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I can remember going to see the reds coming home with the European Cup with my Dad and a few nieghbours. We?re all blues, when they came out on to the balcany with the cup and Emlyn shithouse Hughes started singing Liverpoo are magic, Everton are tragic??... I have hated them since that day.

And then came Heysel; I have never wished them any harm and was heartbroke about Hillsborough and agree we were in a no-won situation and I wished they?d have cancelled the final.

They call us bitter but they?ve never given us the respect we deserve and now they say things like we aren?t bothered about Everton ? our main rivals are Man Utd? As if they are on a par with Utd... LOL, and we are just another team from outside of the City.

No, I don?t wish the RS any harm but do wish they'd go bankrupt and get relegated and fade away, something like Leeds Utd did.

Denis Byrne
18   Posted 10/03/2009 at 22:58:56

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My God, how depressing. TM, how readily and with such deep miscalculation you miss the point of Ian?s piece... And there is the rub - you?re as bad as the Shite when it comes to balance and perspective and merely contribute to the ongoing pain between the clubs.

Your offer completely misinterprets the whole article and fails miserably to acknowledge the shared heritage between the clubs that exists despite the hatred. No doubt your vehemence and bigotry, and that of others, will be targetted towards the so called ?family? of Blues and hence contribute to the ongong intransigence that Moyes and Cahill et al, in their diplomatic and sensitive contributions, show us the way and are an example to us all, which we continue to sadly ignore.

James Boden
19   Posted 10/03/2009 at 22:49:41

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I think Tony made a great point and good on those who agreed with him. Why should we all of a sudden lose the bitterness? What they have done to us is unforgiveable. They exist purely on the back of Everton Football Club and this is how they repay us.

All them terrible referring decicions. They have had unprecedented luck and stole ours too. The bias of Kopites, the self-righteousness. Heysel ripped apart Everton thanks to Liverpool. And despite all this we stood by them on Hillsbrough. But i cant imagine they stopped while celebrating with the FA Cup thinking "Everton deserve this for sticking by us during these troubled times".

In their mind, the league title should be theirs. They have the affront to slag off Man United for Munich and that their support comes from all over. Hang on ? what about them then? Even where I live, down southeast, there are plenty of Gobshites with no affinity with Merseyside in any way, shape or form. Might have something to do with supporting the team that their dickhead dad did due to the monumental success they had during 70s and 80s. No surely not from Liverpool, no way.

And when Bill Shankly, who built the foundations for what that club would become, retired, did they honor him? Did they Shite. They booted him out "Thank you, Bill, for everything you?ve done, NOW FUCK OFF".

Nope, I'm just bitter cause the Great Liverpool Football Club would never do anything so despicable. I can only imagine how horrible it must have been to go into school Mondays as they gloated on and on, with every trophy every year.

And to really kick us in the bullocks was the farce of 2005. We finish 4th, then they overshadow it by fluking the European Cup on the lottery that is penalties and thus we get robbed to the full in the qualifying rounds. That, 20 years on from Heysel too, really added salt to the wounds.

And speaking of Heysel, not only did they cost us, but also Juventus. What should have been their greatest moment was their most devastating. So Liverpool Football Club in 1 night almost ripped apart 2 football clubs. And we aren't supposed to be bitter???

One penalty in 71 years at Anfield... but bitter we shouldn't be? That's why beating them matters so much more. And Dan Gosling will forever be in Everton Folklore for that. However, Andy Johnson deserves his mention for what was surely the most pleasing Everton goal ever ? to sum up a marvellous day to really humiliate them.

We can only dream and my perfect reality would be: We score the winning goal in the 96th minute in front of the Kop to win us the Title and relegate them. Now that is what dreams are about and we?d all go to heaven.

Thai Indawongse
20   Posted 11/03/2009 at 07:23:02

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How can you get this book in Australia?
Pete Jones
21   Posted 11/03/2009 at 09:21:42

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I cringe with shame whenever I see fellow Blues cheering Man Utd on against Liverpool. At the end of the day, we?re all scousers at heart, half my mates are red, along with my dad, whereas Man Utd are more of a genuine enemy for almost countless reasons (not to mention the evil that is Rooney!).

I think it?s a sign of real small-mindedness, of people who never leave the city?s boundries without getting a nose-bleed, to put the local rivalry above all else. I have always supported LFC against MUFC, and I always will, and I?m no less an evertonian than any of you out there!

Steven Flynn
22   Posted 11/03/2009 at 10:49:35

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Pete Jones, think your on the wrong site mate, try
Peter McKie
23   Posted 11/03/2009 at 11:00:18

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I was a bit disappointed with this book to be honest. A lot of the histrorical stuff covered by Peter Lupson is pretty much to be had in other books produced on the subject and reveals only a few more details about the founding fathers of Everton and Liverpool FCs.

Noble idea to build bridges between the clubs, I suppose... but I?m not sure Peter as an outsider captures or even realises the depth of feeling existing between and separating us.
Nick Swallow
24   Posted 11/03/2009 at 11:19:53

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Cunts, the lot of 'em!
Paul Gladwell
25   Posted 11/03/2009 at 12:01:04

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Pete, how many of them want to see us beat the Mancs, or should I say Munich, as so many of them like to call them? Apart from old timers, not bloody many. They are more bitter than us these days and the day I cheer them against Utd will be the day that victory helps us to win a trophy ? that would be the only time I would like to see them win.
Stewart Littler
26   Posted 11/03/2009 at 13:56:38

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Pete Jones, Manchester United, whichever way you look at it, have earned the respect they are shown, bringing through youngsters even now when they have the money to blow the rest of the opposition away... and the day I want that short-sighted, evil, foreign legion from across the park to beat them will never ever arrive. Their fans might be scousers (although lots more aren?t) but the club isn?t anymore.

Agree with Tony?s comments for the most part ? what really gets me about Shite fans is they do not know anything about the club prior to the 70s ? perhaps this book will educate them.

Keith Wilson
27   Posted 11/03/2009 at 14:24:47

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The facts are :

Evertonians welcomed home the "Hillbillies" in 1977... got dumped on from a massive height by "Crazy Horse" Hughes... fighting on the streets... fact

Everton v Man Utd (1985 ) Wembley. Whiteside scores winner... All around County Road and Bootle after getting off our coaches, the "Hillbillies" singing "Man Utd and Norman Whiteside" songs, why? "Because we didn?t want you to win the treble" ? fact!

The 5-year ban from Europe... fact!!
Clive Thomas... fact
Graham Poll... fact!!!

So, so many things to print / say.... The "Hillbillies" will be fighting amongst themselves when Everton play Man Utd... because they will be split in two wanting either to win or lose... fact.
Keep the faith.
EJ Ruane
28   Posted 11/03/2009 at 19:01:28

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I?m 50 this year... (applause - "woo, yeah, awriiiide" - "thanks")

My memory of events is that things were fine (even good) between us, until Heysel. Since then, things have got worse by the year, basically for the reasons Tony mentions.

I?ll be honest, I watched the Chelsea-Juventus game last night hoping for a Juventus win and for them to be drawn against the lovable reds.... Why? Because I wanted them to be forced again to have to deal with Heysel, to feel shame for it, ffs? just to acknowledge it.

Something they have only done once ? when drawn against Juventus last time and FORCED to. (You know when you stick a dogs nose into it?s shite and it tries to look anywhere else.)

That is what I believe today's hatred boils down to. Naturally they mourn Hillsborough and understandably, they celebrate when they spawnily spawn a European Cup.

Fair enough... but talk about selective bleedin? memory.

Bitter? Me - yes!

But can I remind everyone that bitter is EVERY bit as legitimate a human response as happiness.

When I see (as I did recently) some Scandinavian dumbkoff holding a banner say ?World?s greatest supporters? It is impossible for me to think anything other than ?I fucking despise you?.

Hatred (also a natural human response) is something that many people seem very nervous about ("Isn?t ?hate? a little strong?") and hating them for something that happened in 1985 might seem severe.

But not for me, because it?s all about ? can?t believe I?m going to use this 80s yankspeak ? ahem!.... ?closure?.

There?s never been any apologies to us, they blamed everything that moved, accepted little or no responsibility and generally conducted themselves like... well... Liverpool FC.

As you sew, so shall you reap... or something.
Tony Heslop
29   Posted 11/03/2009 at 23:21:43

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Z-Cars at Anfield ? pure class.
I?d like to think that players and fans of both Everton and Manchester United can show similar class on semi-final day, very close to the 20th anniversary of that Hillsborough semi. I?d like to see both sides wearing black armbands and believe that our fans would respond with due respect, not least because most Merseyside-based Blues know someone or know of someone who died or was injured that day.

I?ll never forget the shock at Villa Park as news came through or the feeling it was such a hollow victory against Peter Lupson?s Norwich. Let?s not forget what we have in common and the wider football family on a day like that.

Damian Carville
30   Posted 12/03/2009 at 01:23:20

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As a life-long and extremely passionate EFC supporter, I have to say I am embarrassed by the tone and consistency of the vitriol displayed on this thread, starting with the first response to the article.

Let?s get one thing straight, LFC are the luckiest, most unpleasant collective on the planet...and we have suffered unfathomable misfortune at their hands

However, to be honest, MOST (not all) of Everton?s downfall throughout our chequered history has been at our own hands. We have never produced a team that has been able to establish a period of dominance. Never. I remember the 80s vividly...I remember Heysel as if it was yesterday...but you all know we would have fucked it up soon anyway, we always do. I think our 85 team was a ?perfect storm? of quality young players and the wildcard introduction of the likes of Reid and Gray (both injury prone and perceived as ?finished? when we bought them). Do not get me wrong, I LOVED this team, I still do. however, Liverpool fought us every step of the way and had were still winning trophies alongside us... don?t forget, the season after Heysel (when we had added Lineker and not lost anyone) they pipped us to both trophies... if the violence in Belgium had not taken place, they probably would have beaten an ageing Juventus team anyway.

All this is a digression from my main thought here... I used to enjoy going to the Derby with my mates (Red and Blue). I used to enjoy going to the Clarence after the derby, win, lose or draw. I HATED losing, I hated everything red, I cannot stand their songs, their ?history? their ugly, unpleasant managers... I really can?t. But they were better days.

I remember the ?89 final... I went with 6 mates, four reds and three of us blues. We all bought stupid blue and red hats... and were walking around Wembley, bevvied, singing (semi) nasty songs about each other until we saw some police... then we would put our arms around each other and joingly sing ?Merseyside...?. This would not happen today, and that is sad (in all honesty, I feel a bit sad looking back on it now... I am a little older).

I also remember sitting in between my two red mates at Goodison when Mike Newell scored the first (?89 I think)... I think we lost 3-1... I hated every minute of it, but they celebrated their goals respectfully (it is funny, I don?t believe REAL fans, who really understand, pick up the phone to gloat at each other when the others lose... we know how it feels... maybe we are better friends than all the angry folks on here, I don?t know)... and we went for a bevvy after the match.

I do not care what you say, things were better then.

My first Anfield Derby was in ?84 when Sharpy scored THAT goal. It was amazing... after the match, those of you who were there (all 100,000 of you I suppose, same ones at the Coventry game in ?83) will remember that there was fighting in the Kop. The reds ? no, let?s be real here ? a small minority of the reds could not take it that we beat them, and were about to overtake them (I couldn?t believe it either!). These reds were tits, unpleasant, spoilt, bad sports and... dare I say it... bitter.

Right now, I fail to see any difference between these ?fighting reds? and the majority of people who have contributed to this post.
Neil Farrell
31   Posted 12/03/2009 at 02:58:54

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Damian Carville: We all love Everton, and personally I too count several Reds as Best Friends. My issue is we are bitter because they won't admit their luck/ wrongdoings / or when we deserve a win. Something TRUE football fans of any other club will.

Then they rub our faces in it as if nothing happened. Take your pick of instances. A bit of humility / recognition of the luck / decisions / tragedies that have gone against us might go a long way to smooth things over.

EJ Ruane
32   Posted 12/03/2009 at 10:04:36

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Tony, Damian, I understand you want to be seen to be ?above all this nastiness?... Seriously, that is NOT meant sarcastically ? if you genuinely CAN rise above it, I take my hat off. In fact, I?ll go as far as to say you?re the better men (seriously ? and I accept that there are a trillion better/nicer people than me).

But, as I suggested (above), a far more natural, normal response is what the majority here are expressing.

In an old episode of Seinfeld, Jerry laudably tells George "The best revenge is living well". George responds with the much more realistic, "Not much chance of that". (If you change ?living well? for ?winning stuff? well... y?know.)

Regarding Hillsborough ? Everton FC, the club and supporters, behaved in exactly the right way. We realised that it could have been us, we all seemed to know someone (who knew someone) there and sympathised and empathised... completely! And rightly so ? this was the right response.

In 86, we lost to them because... we lost (and didn?t get that pen) and it?s still painful. 89 however doesn?t really bother me because... well it just doesn?t. (I suppose I sort of don?t count it.)

The problem for many blues (like me) is THEIR response to things that have had (continue to have?) a negative affect on us. We were the best team in Europe in 85 and because of them, we basically had the legs cut away from us. But you know what, when we were banned, I didn?t hate them. In fact I thought ?it could have been us?. (I was/am one of those who thinks all that ?muuuur-der-rers? stuff is fuucking ludicrous.)

What I saw at Heysel, I?d seen right through the 70s at British grounds (ie: terrace charges). The difference was the ground/fences on this occasion just wasn?t up to it. However, they WERE responsible and for me, the problem was what happened, or rather DIDN?T happen, after that. Denials, accusations, lack of responsibility, apology etc etc.

And when the ban was lifted? Fuck you! In short they are the kings of the double-standard ? and double standards in anyone I personally find to be amongst the most annoying and irritating of human traits.

I hate Jim Davidson because he?s a hateful turd. I personally have no problem hating the hateful and feel any other response (for me) would be...odd. As they used to say on Oprah ? "Denial is not just a river in Egypt".
Gordon Blair
33   Posted 12/03/2009 at 11:49:15

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We like to think we?re better than them. We show more class, more integrity, have a better grasp of who we are and where we came from. The gulf between the qualities of the two sets of fans can be likened to the qualities of the respective managers, one a calm, composed, honest, straightforward, well liked and well respected figure within the game; the other, a spoilt, bile spewing, chin merkin sporting fat spanish waiter.

The thing is, these are all generalisations. I?ve actually got some pretty sound Red mates ? their choice of club is the only aberration in what are otherwise decent people, even my red relatives aren?t actually that bad. I also know some fellow blues ? a very small minority ? who are right whoppers, that I wouldn?t want to associate with outside the gates of the Grand Old Lady.

I can understand a degree of resentment, but we need to ensure that we don?t use our less than illustrious neighbour?s failings as an excuse for the mismanagement of our own club for the last 20 odd years ? that would be a Kopite trick. It?s always nice to be able to blame somebody else, and god knows they give us plenty of opportunity, but if we are to move onwards and upwards ? we need to move on.

Continued bitterness does nothing to help our cause ? yes, they can be graceless, irritating gobshites, but that?s their problem, we don?t need to make it ours.

There?s talk of having a banner at Wembley commemorating the 96 - I?ll be happy to help hold it aloft, and maybe it can be a step towards puling things back to the way they were and the way they should be ? much like their gesture towards Rhys?s family was.

I?m working in Warrington, and as bad as the Kopite who sits opposite me is, he is nowhere near as odious or ignorant as the Manc that sits on the other side of him. I?d be quite quite happy for the Reds to enjoy moderate success - 2nd in the league and loosing cup finalists, as long as they do slightly worse than us.

That?s just my take on the situation, and I understand how emotive it can be, but I really enjoyed the 86 trip to Wembley ? despite the result, and I?d really like to take my kids to an all Merseyside cup final in a similar atmosphere.
Simon Walker
34   Posted 12/03/2009 at 19:51:41

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Great article, think I might be buying that book.

I don?t think the point?s been missed at all, it would be great to think that we could congratulate each others success like those days. My Father is, at least in his intentions, a very honourable man, a favour never gets forgotten whether it?s owed or coming. That time when all you had to worry about was scallywags & pick pockets has gone and so has a lot of the banter.

Hopefully there?ll never be any violence at a derby game (has there ever been?) cos you might end up fighting your relative, but it is what it is right now, 2 teams with fierce inter-city rivalry, one of which is probably gonna up sticks and break that bond forever. I can?t feckin believe we?re giving up our home without a fight, Stanley Park is ours. COYB

Tim Lloyd
35   Posted 13/03/2009 at 14:55:32

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I too am of the old school. I confess I find the hatred quite objectionable. Not that it is all one-sided, I find it almost amusing that many of the most unpleasant Liverpool diatribes come from people who have never lived in our city.However, it is a rather infantile attitude, from both sets of some supporters I hasten to add.

I did notice the Roon confess the reason he said he hated Liverpool was because he always supported the Blues as a boy. Let me reassure many of you that matters rarely remain the same and it could be in twenty years or so, Everton could be top of the tree and Liverpool languishing.

When I first started to watch the Blues, Liverpool were in the 2nd Division of the old Football League. In our earlier days, we were considered a very successful Div 1 side.

Keep the faith, we will be back.
Mikey Cummins
36   Posted 13/03/2009 at 15:11:09

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As a Blue for all my life, I find it hard to hate the Reds from across the park. I love our banter, I love the derbies, I love beating them more than anything (thank you Dan Gosling). However, one of the reasons I can't hate them and I am sick of all the stupid bitterness between us is look how both sets of fans and both clubs react when there is a tragedy. When Rhys Jones died, Liverpool acted with such class a fitting tribute to a fine young man.

As our neighbours do not have the chance to grace the FA Cup Semi Finals 2009, let's go down to Wembley and really show what the City of Liverpool is all about. Let's show those 96 who were taken away from us 20 years ago & who are gone but never forgotten that the City is still as close as it was 20 Years ago. Let's for once make Liverpool FC proud to be our neighbours, friends and family and show everyone (especially the Mancs) that there are 2 footballing giants in our Special City. And let's Win the FA Cup. COYB

Roger Osborne
37   Posted 14/03/2009 at 19:15:02

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I get genuinely upset and frustrated whenever the shite register a victory.

Take the two Madrid games as an example, I was looking forward with some relish when the draw was made and as a fancier of the Spanish giants, and a bonafide thirty year standing Evertonian, it was a fantastic draw for me. I was so expecting to see them eliminated, or at least for Real to win the first leg and give them something to fight for, but lo and behold the Spanish side were piss poor on the night and when Benayoun scored late on I was less than impressed!

Have not been to well this week, and after hearing of the return in Liverpool this week and with it the shite running out as such fine winners made it even worse. Of course there is every chance we could see a repeat of ’05 and god forbid if those horrible bastards do reach the final in Rome this year we will hear endless comparisons of 1984, spaghetti legs, Alan Kennedy, or any other bullshit we may have to endure.

Looking forward to tonight’s saturation coverage of their endeavours in Manchester today. Expect half a programme dedicated to these beauties, Rooney outbursts et al.
Pete Jones
38   Posted 17/03/2009 at 08:17:51

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I still can’t believe how any true Blue could ever cheer the manure, no matter what the circumstances.

If you do support manure against the RS, then that really is genuinely ’blind hatred’.

Prepare to be reminded who the real enemy is when we get to wembley (for the first of two visits this season ;-)

Apart from that, COYB! We should be about a lot more than just hating the RS two or three times a year...

Am lookin forward to reminding those horrid, humourless mancs there’s still two giants on merseyside to fear...
Jon Summer
39   Posted 25/04/2009 at 13:52:02

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Peter Jones, just because you have relations with the RS, is no fault of ours who can?t stand the scumbags, Man Utd are every team's foes, but when it comes to ANYTEAM in the world playing the RS, I support ANYTEAM. And Sir Alex is an Evertonian on the QT and hates the shite and the FSW. I hope United win the PL & CL just to rub the RS nose?s in it... LOL

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