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Where it All Began: The Rivalry Between Liverpool and Everton Football Clubs

As we look forward to being the first city in the world to host its very own football quarter we decided to explore the longstanding rivalry between the cities two football clubs.

Liverpool and Everton FC are both top-flight teams who are rarely absent from any major UK or European championship. Their fans are famous for being the friendliest opposing supporters in the game and both clubs bring in endless streams of visitors to watch home and away games at Anfield and Goodison Park.

The footballing heritage of Liverpool will soon be represented in the worlds first football quarter with The Dixie Dean and Shankly Hotel’s both residing at the very heart of it.

Visitors will soon be able to explore the rich history of the nations most popular sport as well as the lives of two great players, Dixie Dean and Bill Shankly.

So let us take a look at where it all began, the friendly rivalry of Liverpool and Everton.

Who was here first?

Everton were among the first 12 founding clubs of the very first football league established in 1888.

Scraping by the very first season Everton narrowly avoided the need to be re-elected pulling ahead from the bottom three teams by as many points. Climb the ranks in later seasons Everton won their first championship title in the third season of the football league against champions Preston North End.

Preston North End - Liverpool football quarter
source: guardian – Preston North End unbeaten in the first league season.

Being the only football club in the city, Everton’s success drew in huge crowds and the noise that emanated from the small pitch on Stanley Park, became too much for local residents on match days.

As a result, the club moved to Anfield in 1884 and won the first home game there with a whopping 5-0 nil defeat against Earlestown.

Historically Everton football club was Liverpool’s very first football club and their home pitch was Anfield stadium.

Could this be the source of today’s ongoing rivalry?

Two clubs one city

Liverpool and Everton fans - football quarter Liverpool

Plenty of cities have two football clubs that exercise bitter rivalries towards on and other.

Our close neighbours Manchester have two teams whose rivalry often descends into chaos and anarchy; United and City.

Overseas Milan’s competing teams A.C and Inter Millan even share a stadium, but their ongoing rivalry runs deep and can be traced back to the class separation of the bourgeoisie and blue-collar worker.

Scotland’s Celtic and Rangers rivalry can be traced back into the far reaches of the Scottish history books and has a deep seeded religious basis.

Liverpool welcomed its second city team in 1892 after Everton football club became tired of John Houlding’s increasingly unfair financial demands. First asking for higher interest rates on the loan he’d provided the club and later for trying to make huge profits from the club at their expense.

Board members came together and decided that Houlding’s demands were becoming a real problem also, Houlding was a firm Conservative Party member and had other business dealings. As well as his interests in Everton football club he also owned a successful brewery.

At the time the Liberal Party had strong connections with the National Temperance Federation and many of the Everton board members were supporters of the Liberal Party, Houlding was a Conservative Party supporter.

Thanks to these opposing political loyalties and Houlding’s unreasonable financial demands, plus his future plans for the club, Everton’s board members decided to leave Anfield and set up camp at Goodison Park a mere 400 metres away from Anfield.

Liverpool 1892 - football quarter Liverpool

Houlding retaliated and formed his own football club at Anfield; Liverpool.

Out with the old and in with the new. Now there were two Liverpool football teams operating in close quarters in one of the UK’s major cities.

Could the source of Liverpool and Everton’s rivalry stem from this long-ago feud between board members, their opposing political beliefs and one ambitious business man?

Too close for comfort?

Literally, a 400-metre park is all that separates Everton’s Goodison Park and Liverpool’s Anfield stadiums.

Liverpool and Everton clubs - football quarter Liverpool
source: Troll Football

Unlike other major city clubs no physical, religious or social divide can be attributed to the source of Liverpool teams ongoing rivalry.

In fact, thanks to the close proximity of the stadium’s fans of the clubs seem to have a more amicable relationship with one and other.

Reds and blues can often live under the same roof, fathers and sons can support Liverpool or Everton and relationships remain close and jovial, expect on derby days.

One of the only recorded accounts of animosity between fans of Everton and Liverpool can be traced back to the Heysel Stadium disaster.

The tragic events that unfolded at the 1985 European cup final resulted in 39 deaths and over 600 injuries when a wall collapsed on the Juventus crowd after Liverpool fans surged into the neutral area through a barrier fence.

UEFA responded by banning all English teams from competing in any European competitions, a ban which lasted five seasons for all team’s bar Liverpool who were excluded until the following year.

Everton and many other English club fans blamed Liverpool supporters for the ban and in Liverpool, tensions between the teams were strained as Everton supporters felt Liverpool fans had represented the cities residents as hooligans on the world stage.

It wasn’t until another tragedy occurred that the Liverpool teams reunited.

Hillsborough remembered - football qaurter Liverpool
source: The Echo

The Hillsborough disaster brought Everton and Liverpool fans together in support of such a tragic loss of life.

Touching displays of unity after the Hillsborough disaster included the fans intertwining blue and red scarves strung together across Stanley Park joining the two stadiums together. The fans continue to show a joint support of those lives lost and the families that were effected today.

Titles, trophies and cup wins

European Champions League Cup - football qaurter Liverpool
source: Goal

Statistically, Liverpool is the most successful footballing city in the UK with both Liverpool and Everton teams playing in the topflight teams, Everton for more than 100 years.

Competing in nearly 150 league matches and playing 50 Premier league games, the teams are both forces to be reckoned with both in the UK and Europe.

Today the main source of rivalry between the teams could come from the resounding success of Liverpool in recent years.

Honours for Liverpool football club are double those of Everton and include 18 league titles against Everton’s 9, 7 FA Cup wins against Everton’s 5 and 5 European Champions League wins against Everton’s none.

Also, something to make Everton fans sore; the Merseyside derby table.

As it stands Everton have failed to win a derby match played at Anfield since 1999 and haven’t won a derby home or away since 2010.

Could such a long losing streak have left the blues feeling a tad bitter against the reds?

The worlds first football quarter in Liverpool

football qaurter Liverpool

All these questions could point towards the possible cause of the Merseyside team rivalry, however, as longstanding as this rivalry is, Liverpool will always be known as the home of the “friendly derby”.

Liverpool football fans attitude towards each other provides a great example to the rest of the footballing world and we are looking forward to becoming the founding city of the worlds first football quarter.

The Liverpool football quarter will be a celebration of the city’s footballing heritage using two sporting legends to epitomize healthy relationships between rival teams.

The Dixie Dean Hotel and The Shankly Hotel will be at the heart of the first footballing quarter in Liverpool. Both engaging guests and visitors with details about the history of the sport in the city and about the lives of those who played it.

Dixie Dean and Bill Shankly will both forever be remembered as huge contributors to the success of Liverpool football and both personify the amicable relationship between the two top-flight teams.

Their mutual respect for each other in later life allowed a wonderful friendship to blossom. One that lasted until Dean passed away next to Shankly at a Merseyside derby.

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