I am a Liverpool fan and always will be. My father’s sister grew up and lived in Liverpool. She married and raised her family there. Her grandson is a Red and was one of the groomsmen at my wedding. But some of her other grandchildren bleed Everton blue. Like my family in Liverpool being split between red and blue, the tradition has followed on with my own. While my father is a lifelong Liverpool supporter, my brother supports Everton.
Bill Shankly once stated that he would pull the curtains if Everton were playing at the end of the garden. The rivalry has always been there. The feud will always exist. But the stark reality is that for this season Everton is in genuine danger.
RED VS. BLUE NEEDS BOTH COLORS
While I am a die-hard Red and want to destroy the blue boys every time we play them, an Everton relegation would be a disaster for the city of Liverpool. The Thatcherite government of the eighties saw a “managed decline” of the city. Years following saw the abandonment of what was traditionally one of the busiest sea ports in the world. Having two Premier League clubs in the city is good economically. Bringing in outsiders to Liverpool each weekend is a huge boon. Local supporters of both clubs will say they are the true club of the city. However, football’s evolution into a global conglomerate provides both blue and red sides of Merseyside with worldwide followings.
But I’ll say it again. Everton are in trouble. Three games in and it is zero points and zero goals. They look devoid of ideas and this season will be arduous. Looking ahead at their fixture list doesn’t bring much in the way of hope either. Away to fellow strugglers Sheffield United won’t be easy. A home fixture with Arsenal and an away one with Brentford could be public executions. Home to Luton on September 30th could be the first conceivable reprieve from abject sadness for a Blue.
PUTTING OUR CITY FIRST
The Merseyside Derby rivalry is always there. But folks know when push comes to shove, the city comes first and the football takes a back seat. The Hillsborough disaster is the time most people think of when both sets of supporters came together, but there are so many examples and incidents over the years where both clubs united for a common good. Most recently, we saw both clubs honor Michael Jones, the construction worker who lost his life on the site of Everton’s new stadium.
I will always be a Red. I wore my jersey under my suit when I got married. Liverpool shapes the week. Most people think you have to hate your rivals, and yes I hate United and the rest. But Everton is different. It is the city of Liverpool that should always come first. A true Red will say that they want to beat Everton at all costs. It remains one of the first fixtures people rush to find on release day. Close the curtains like Bill Shankly? Maybe. Want to see them relegated? Definitely not. I am a Red and always will be. But it is OK to have a soft spot for the Blues also. Just don’t tell them that!