A Soldier's Song

by   |   17/03/2020  28 Comments  [Jump to last]

I'm trying to help search for an old Everton song that was set to the Irish National Anthem, A Soldier's Song:

It was from the pubs and travelling to the away grounds rather than from the match itself, and would date back to the '60s.

The original version started "Soldiers are we whose lives are pledged to Ireland, we have come from the land beyond the wave". Would anybody remember an Everton take on this?

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Jim Wilson
1 Posted 18/03/2020 at 14:55:12
Can't remember the song.
Everton were known as the Catholic Irish club in the 50's & 60's and I think the club have neglected their ties with Ireland in recent years.
The support is still there and Everton should ensure they play a match in Ireland every year, especially now as Liverpool have moved in on our old hunting ground.
You only have to watch Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk to know there are some very promising players in Ireland.
Everton recently turned down a request from Drogheda to play a friendly. Sending over the U23's wouldn't have done any harm at all.
Enhancing Everton's ties with Ireland should be a priority for the club.

I would also be interested in finding out what the words to the song were.

Ray Roche
2 Posted 19/03/2020 at 10:37:12
Jim, I started going the match in 1959 and I don't remember any specific Catholic bias at Everton. Or any Protestant bias either. My Father would have been 108 had he lived, and him and HIS Father had been Blues all their lives, hence my being a Toffee, and there were never any religious connotations attached to either Liverpool club or I'd have had it drummed into me, just as all our history was. I suppose if you were a Catholic you wanted us to be regarded as a Catholic club because it suited you, and vice versa, but when people try to infer that their is a religious divide it irritates and frustrates me. I followed us home and away in much of the sixties when I wasn't playing myself, and have never heard that song.
We were just Evertonians.
Ray Roche
3 Posted 19/03/2020 at 12:20:12
Not having a personal pop at you Jim, by the way.
Jim Wilson
4 Posted 19/03/2020 at 13:20:04
Ray - I don't think Everton had any Catholic bias either.
Everton were just happy to sign Irish Catholics all those years ago and I think that is why a lot of Catholics attached themselves to the club.
And if you supported Everton you generally supported Celtic.
It's the way I remember it anyway.
My general point is that Everton do not do enough to promote the club in Ireland and right now there is massive player potential there that they could tap into. It would save them a fortune.
Ray Roche
5 Posted 19/03/2020 at 13:23:42
Jim, your last paragraph, spot on. We should be trying all avenues of potential, not just, say, Brazil etc.
Chris Williams
6 Posted 19/03/2020 at 13:42:42

The City of Liverpool had a history of sectarianism, which had all but disappeared by the end of the fifties, and totally disappeared shortly after that. It’s pretty well documented. It is possible that it spilled over into local football to some degree, but a long way back.

My own view is that most people of my generation ended up supporting their ‘family team’ in my case Everton, like my Dad, as he did like his dad. My Dad was Catholic his Dad was not, but his Mum was. My best mates family, next door, supported Liverpool, always had done. So did he and his brothers.They were Protestants, his dad had no such allegiance, plus he was a Londoner, so no axe to grind. I never heard any mention of football and religion other than from gnarly old Irish priests. My sons and my grandson now support Everton, because of me, and are atheist, not to say heathens, and I’ve never even mentioned religion in this context.

So it may have been an influence at one stage but had died out quite a long time ago.

Try reading, Liverpool Sectarianism: it’s Rise and Demise by a guy called Roberts. Sorry can’t recall his name

Alan McGuffog
7 Posted 19/03/2020 at 14:11:39
In the time of the much maligned Peter Johnson did we not set up a feeder club relationship with Home Farm in Dublin ?We may have signed up Richard Dunne through this arrangement though I'm not certain.
Wonder why we kicked this into touch as it must have cost us per annum the equivalent of a fortnight wages for Morgan S.
For my two cents worth there's never been a Glasgow style sectarian divide. Thank God.
Jay Harris
8 Posted 19/03/2020 at 14:28:36
As a young 8 year old in the late 50's I can confirm the assertion that there was definite sectarianism going on until at least the mid sixties.

I recall stones being thrown in Shaw street at the annual Orange lodge parade and Catholics having their windows smashed on St Pats day. Thankfully all that nonsense came to a halt.

As far as the football goes there was a suggestion by some supporters at the time that Everton were a Catholic club but the club never went down that path.

As for the song Derek, as a member of the Gladys street choir at the time, I don't recall it at all.

John McFarlane Snr
9 Posted 19/03/2020 at 15:36:37
HI Jay [8],

There's no doubt that sectarianism was going on in the city of Liverpool as late as the 50s, but there has never been a Catholic/Protestant divide between Everton or Liverpool. Everton's origin was from a Methodist Chapel, and Liverpool's origin from Everton, following a dispute with John Houlding.

Everton had a contingent of Irish players in the late 40s and early 50s which led to them being considered a Catholic club by some, but as you have suggested, boys and girls appear, in general, to have followed in the footsteps of their families but, as you'll also know, many siblings straddle the Blue and Red divide.

Jay Harris
10 Posted 19/03/2020 at 16:16:17
Hi Sir John,
Good to hear from you.You are the font of nostalgic knowledge.

I hope youre taking good care of yourself in these difficult times.

Ray Roche
11 Posted 19/03/2020 at 16:59:32
John Snr,

John, your post is exactly how I recall things. My Dad was a staunch Protestant and, indeed, I have very early memories of watching Orange Lodge Parades from sitting on his shoulders, but he never tried to push any sort of religious beliefs on to any of us kids. Maybe that’s why I have no religious beliefs at all. He watched Everton one week and Liverpool the next, just to watch a game of football, and for a time so did I, going with my mates to Anfield and they’d come to Goodison with me. (They were in the second Division then.) When I could afford it I went to away games instead. Religion never played any part in our football world.

John McFarlane Snr
12 Posted 19/03/2020 at 17:03:27
Hi Jay [10], the title you have bestowed on me embarrasses me in a pleasant way. I can think of one recent poster who would take a different view of your assessment. Regarding my knowledge, some is the result of over 70 years of attending games, the rest is down to the fact that I have one or two books that I call my reference department. I've found them useful on more than one occasion, as my memory threatens to desert me.
Christine Foster
13 Posted 20/03/2020 at 06:21:58
If memory serves me right, I must look it up, a chap called David Kennedy wrote a book around the socio - economic background of the two clubs including the religious context, much of which is referenced by the fact that a very large contingent of irish roman catholics made up the area of Everton in the late 19th and early 20th century and formed a large part of the fan base. The club developed from protestant roots but in the early days especially after the split, the club had traditionally a large and irish base. Leading to the assumption it was a Catholic club. Indeed growing up I remember vividly the routs taken by victorius teams would differ as well, Everton would parade it's bus through Scotland road and the valley, Liverpool through Netherfield road which had differing religious populations. By choice or design the clubs followed routes where their support base existed.. perhaps that's the closest perspective we have.
Chris Williams
14 Posted 20/03/2020 at 06:29:15

David Kennedy

The Old Firm: The sectarian roots of Everton and Liverpool.

As a kid I used to go with my mate and his family to the Orange parade along Netherfield Road. I thought it was a good day out. I never thought about the religious aspects of it, and it didn’t bother my very Catholic parents, who were close friends with their next door neighbours, my mates parents.

In common with many fans in those days, we’d go to Goodison one week, and then slum it at Anfield the next.

We’re still best mates now. I gave him a copy of that book for his birthday, a few years ago.

Jim Wilson
15 Posted 20/03/2020 at 15:51:46
That was a great insight Christine and on the lines of what I can remember.
Steve Boardman
16 Posted 20/03/2020 at 16:17:48
Like many people on here I grew up in 50 and 60’s Liverpool. Dad was Blue (thankfully) and mum, to this day still supports the darkside.

My family happened to be Catholic and I went to SFX but my school year was 50% blue and 50% red so I completely agree that the idea there was a sectarian affiliation between the clubs is wrong.

However, I also remember the Orange parades and the occasional outbreaks of sectarianism in the 50s and 60s. They happened, but they weren’t football related.

I have pasted a link to the David Kennedy article here http://ToffeeWeb.com/season/09-10/comment/fan/RedBlueGreenOrange.pdf

There was also a very good summary of it written by Bob Waterhouse on ToffeeWeb a few years back, but it seems to have disappeared from the archive.

Dick Fearon
17 Posted 20/03/2020 at 22:54:54
I well remember the religion generated bitterness of my youth. Upon saying you had a new girl friend the first and only question on your family's lips would be 'What religeon is she'.
If one partner was Green and t'other Orange it was called a mixed marriage.
Based on religious grounds there was strict demarcation lines with Catholic and Protestant specific zones. Similar to the festering problems at that time in Northern Ireland.
When Liverpool city council began its mammoth post war task of urban renewal it took that opportunity to deliberately solve those problems.
As a result lifelong neighbours found themselves placed in among strangers with different cultures. The same can be said from both sides. The elderly were suddenly cut off from friends and family and that created its own problems.
As for the two clubs
I do remember seeing large numbers of mostly Irish priests in the Gwladys street stand, each it seemed with a small flask of the hard stuff. A regular on the tannoys was 'The Holy Ground '
I cannot say how it was at Mordor because I would only use its outside toilet that was open to the public on non match days.

Christine Foster
18 Posted 21/03/2020 at 01:23:38
Regarding religious allegences of fans, I cannot recall any incidents or violence between the two on religious grounds none whatsoever, but I do recall vividly that along Scotland Road, people did refer to the other lot as a proddy lot.. and Dick was quite correct that the first question out of your parents mouth about a new boyfriend was were he was from and was he Catholic or the other lot..next question, was he a blue or a red..mixed marriages lol
John Keating
19 Posted 21/03/2020 at 05:04:45
Netherfield are used to be some sort of divide in a strange way.
Down the Brow towards the Friary, Four Squares, Scotty Road etc tended to be more Catholic.
The Lodge marched along Netherfield Roadand I remember as a kid going up the Brow with others to give them a bit of stick, not that I knew what I was doing or what it was all about, just we did it.
Regarding the footy no way do I ever remember in any way shape or form sectarianism being involved in either club.
I went to all Catholic schools and it was a straight mix.
Brian Wilkinson
20 Posted 21/03/2020 at 18:05:01
I know in the seventies part of the crowd would shout Celtic, followed by a chant of Rangers for a few rounds, finishing off by all either saying Celtic or Rangers,

Personally myself I have no interest in any other football club other than Everton and never invested in those half and half hats they used to sell outside the ground.

Paul Birmingham
21 Posted 21/03/2020 at 19:25:03
I don’t recall any football bigotry at Everton v Liverpool matches at any level.

Whilst historically Irish people moved and settled in Liverpool and across the northwest, this made areas traditionally staunch Catholic or a Protestant.

Fountains Road was Catholic but there was a mixture of Everton and Liverpool supporters. Orange Day and St Patrick’s day, were often all dayers, in the pubs, and church clubs,, and as in any time could lead to incidents as people have referenced.

In the early 80s there was a few bad winters and many Scottish fans regularly came to matches and this was consistent for a few years.

Times have changed again since them days.

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 24/03/2020 at 12:24:34
Paul (21), In July lots of Scottish Orangemen came to Liverpool for the 12th of July, they made an holiday of it and a few pubs along Great Homer St. and Netherfield Road made them welcome, especially on the 12th itself, when they opened very early before the march and stayed open until early the next morning, after they came back from their day out.

I think at one time they used to march from Liverpool over to New Brighton, I’m sure they did after the war, they got barred from there, for a variety of reasons then started going to Southport. Where they continued their mischief, we Catholic boys always behaved perfectly, wherever we went.

Ray Roche
23 Posted 24/03/2020 at 12:41:35
Dave, “always behaved perfectly “...how firmly is your tongue in your cheek?
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 24/03/2020 at 14:26:05
Ray (23), just a bit of gentle banter Ray.

I lived in Everton Brow and around there it was mainly a Catholic area, with Salisbury St, COE, in the middle and Steer St, also further up a COE school but the lad who was one of the main reasons, a bit older than me, I follow Everton went to Salisbury St.school, he lived next door to my nin, and there was never any problems over religion with them or any other Protestants I knew, growing up and later in life.

One thing that intrigued me was some of them would be called “ George Wise so and so’s” never knew why until it was explained to me that George Wise was a well know Protestant Counciller and fought the local elections under that banner.

John McFarlane Snr
25 Posted 24/03/2020 at 15:14:49
Hi Dave [24] I lived up the hill from you on Everton Road, and we played football where Steer Street widened at its meeting with Spencer Street. My mother [who died in 1950], used to tell me of the bitterness that existed between the Catholics and Orange Order in the Netherfield Road area on the 12th of July.

Growing up I never paid any attention to the religious beliefs of my mates who attended Heyworth Street, and they were equally disinterested in my beliefs. My brother and sister who were older than myself and younger sister attended SFX. My mother was in and out of hospital at that time, this resulted in our moving for a period to my Grandmas in Anfield.

My elder brother and sister transferred to All Saints R.C. school in Anfield, joined later by myself and younger sister, and although we returned to Everton Road for a couple of years, we continued to travel to All Saints. On my mothers death it was back to Grandma's, where we spent what was left of our childhood, and like yourself I didn't experience any hint of religious enmity, the big question was "Are you Blue or Red" ?

Alan McGuffog
26 Posted 25/03/2020 at 20:41:52

I think George Wise was also a bible bashing Protestant minister of one of those churches that were more anti-Catholic than pro anything else. If you get my meaning. We had family in the Netherfield Road area and I found, years ago, a bible, awarded to some distant great aunt, with an inscription from the bigot himself.

Thankfully those days are long gone.

Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 25/03/2020 at 20:45:45
Alan (26), yes I think you are correct, he wasn’t very well liked by the green side, but as you say thankfully those days are well gone.
Anton Walsh
28 Posted 30/03/2020 at 11:54:52
I read an article some years ago detailing all about when Liverpool first started to form their own team. The backers then we're all Orange Lodge and Masons. If I can find it again, I will post it. If you Google 'Masons' and 'orange lodge started liverpool fc' you will get some stuff.

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