Are You a Red or a Blue? Football in Liverpool

more than a year ago
Are you red or blue? A Kopite or a Toffee? Kenny or Dixie? We mean no disrespect to Tranmere Rovers, but the footballing divide in Merseyside concerns only two clubs — Everton and Liverpool. This city is the capital of football in England, the most successful town of them all, an even more remarkable fact when you take into account the 30 years that have passed since a league title came here.

It was Liverpool FC who won that title way back in 1989/90, and the Reds remain the most likely to end the curse, coming within a point of doing so in the 2018/19 season. Liverpool are one of the most successful footballing teams on the planet, winners of six European Cups (more than any other English club) and 18 domestic league titles, a numbered bettered only by Manchester United. The club’s glory years came in the 1970s, but Anfield and the Kop have been rocking throughout, no matter the performances on the pitch.

Everton are an altogether more inconsistent kettle of fish, to say the least. The Blues have spent a whopping 116 years in the top flight of English football (a record) but have only nine league titles to show for it, and not a single one since 1986/87. Playing their home games at Goodison Park, The Toffees are one of the founding members of the Football League but have spent the last decade or so underachieving, flitting between magic and misery with frustrating consistency.

The rivalry between the two clubs defines football in the city, but it has become increasingly one-sided in recent years. Liverpool’s resurgence means that those games that might decide the title have taken on greater importance, while Everton’s biggest games of the season remain the two Merseyside derbies. This will change at some point, football goes in circles after all, but Man City and Man Utd are bigger fish for the Reds.

But the derbies are still intense affairs, to say the least. Football is a religion in Liverpool — Bill Shankly famously said that it isn’t a matter of life or death, it is far more important than that — and the excitement on match days fills the city. Football might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it remains the ultimate spectator sport, a way of life to many people and something more important than that to others. Are you a Red or a Blue? Best wait to see who you’re talking to before you answer that question.


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