The First Football Quarter – Liverpool’s Unique Friendly Rivalry

Liverpool is immersed in football history, it’s something you just can’t escape when visiting the city, it’s infectious and an asset we’re proud to embrace and soon celebrate with the Football Quarter

But one of the best things about our footballing culture is how truly unique the rivalry between Everton and Liverpool is.

It is the longest running top-flight derby in England, having been played continuously since the 1962–63 season and is known around the world as the ‘friendly derby’.

A relationship like no other, the Merseyside derby is built upon the respect between the fans, which is why Liverpool is the only city that could create the first Football Quarter.

Signature Living are planning to bring The Shankly Hotel and the new Dixie Dean Hotel together on Victoria Street to create the worlds first ‘Football Quarter’ in the heart of Liverpool.

Aiming to boost the city’s tourism offer and create hundreds more jobs locally, this proposal is perfect for Liverpool.

Here are some of the things that make the Merseyside derby so unique and why our fans are the best in the world.

The Friendly Derby

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the ‘friendly derby’ refers to how the matches are played, far from it. Liverpool versus Everton matches have seen more red cards than any other Premier League contest in the past 20 years.

Instead, this name comes from the history of good will between red supporters and blue fans.

What makes the Merseyside Derby different from so many others is how similar the fans are to each other. There are no political or social differences between the two clubs, their home grounds are just a mile apart, and there are no defining religious differences between the sets of fans. Unlike in Manchester, there is no dispute around one club being from the city and the other being from outside.

Instead there are simply two sets of fans from the same city who support teams from the same city, making a Football Quarter ideal for this close knit city.

Their Histories Are Intertwined

John Houlding

John Houlding

This historic rivalry was ultimately born out of one man’s bitter dispute with his committee in the late 19th century.

Everton President John Houlding was involved in a rental dispute with the club committee when Anfield was the home of the toffees in 1885.

Following the row, the blues were forced to move from Anfield across Stanley Park and found Goodison Park, which remains their home ground today.

John Houlding then founded Liverpool F.C and made Anfield their home ground.

The roots of the rivalry were formed from that point on, however because of the intertwined nature of their history, it has always been friendly and respectful.

Reds and Blues are Family

Football is part of the DNA of Liverpool, it has shaped the city as we know it.

In most cities across the world, households will support a single club, passed down from generation the generation.

However, in Liverpool on every street in every area, you will find families and friends whose allegiances are mixed. One will support Everton, the other Liverpool. You’ll find husbands and wives walking to the match together, him in a red scarf, her in blue. Or vice versa.

On Derby day, it’s not unusual for both sets of fans to attend or watch the match together,  sit together and enjoy the game, no matter what the outcome.

No Fan Segregation

Despite the heated exchanges on the pitch, the Merseyside Derby is one of the few contests that see fans from either side sitting in unity, there is very little segregation in place.

The 1984 Football League Cup Final at Wembley saw almost all sections of the ground mixed and combined chants of “Merseyside, Merseyside” and “Are you watching Manchester?”

There is a huge amount of respect shown from both sides.

Unity in Times of Sorrow

It’s no doubt that Liverpool as a city has been through a lot.

Whether football related or not, one defining characteristic of the community of Liverpool, is unity over everything else.

After the Hillsborough disaster of April 1989, reds and blues came together as a sign of respect, honouring those who lost their lives. Red and blue scarves were tied together and stretched across Stanley Park to connect the two stadiums, held up by fans of both clubs. Everton and Liverpool both reached the final of the FA Cup that year and chants of “Merseyside” could be heard around Wembley.

Similarly following the tragic murder of 11 year old Everton fan, Rhys Jones, Anfield played the famous Z-Cars, traditionally blasted through the speakers at Goodison Park, to greet the Everton players as a mark of respect.

Player Transfers

Peter Beardsley

Wikicommons

Another thing that sets this derby apart is the number of players who have represented both teams.

Throughout the history of both clubs, there have been 30 transfers between the two teams. While that may not seem a lot over a 120-year existence, you won’t find many other derby matches where the teams have had that many transfers between them.

There have been 20 players who have left Everton to join Liverpool, and 10 who have made the opposite journey.

The Merseyside Reign

Both teams shared in the glory of Merseyside reign in the 80’s.

From 1980 to 1989, Liverpool won five league titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and two European Cups. Whilst Everton won two league titles, an FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup.

Liverpool is statistically the most successful football city in England, with 27 league titles won by both clubs combined.

If there’s anything a scouser loves, it’s a fellow scouser succeeding. So, with seven league titles, three FA Cups, four League Cups and three major European honours between the two clubs in a 10-year period, there was no doubt that the respect is high from both teams.

Famous Derbies Around The World

The Derby of Eternal Enemies between Olympiakos v Panathinaikos in Greece is one of tehe most frosty rivalries from around the world.

This rivalry goes beyond the bounds of the football pitch, with Panathinaikos originally representing the upper class and Olympiakos originally representing the working class.

Athens can come to a complete standstill when the two clubs clash and often for days afterwards. The intense battles spill out on to the streets in the form of fighting, riots, and tragically, deaths on some occasions.

Similarly the Manchester Derby between United and City often erupts in violence and fights, forcing the police to segregate the fans and cordon off areas of the city.

In Italy, the Derby of the Capital between Roma and Lazio is famous for its heated displays of rivalry that often spills into violence.

In 1979, Lazio fan Vincenzo Paparelli became the first fatality in Italian football due to violence when was hit in the eye and killed by a flare fired by a Roma fan from the opposite end of the stadium. This kind of extreme hooliganism has resulted in both clubs being forced to play games behind closed doors as punishment. Something that has never been seen in Merseyside.

There is also, of course, the Old Firm Derby between Celtic and Rangers. Fuelled by religious sectarianism and it’s very clear that these two sets of fans do not like each other.

Last but certainly not least is the El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The rivalry is deeply seated in the political and regional divisions that exist between Catalonia and the nationalist sentiment represented by Real Madrid and stemming from dictator General Francisco Franco.

Rarely has a year gone by where the El Clasico has not been seen as a clash between two of the world’s top teams and a meeting of galaxy of superstars.

The Worlds First Football Quarter

football quarter

With plans to form the world’s first ‘Football Quarter’ in Liverpool’s centre, between The Shankly Hotel and the new Dixie Dean Hotel, now more than ever it has shown the friendly spirit and healthy rivalry between the two teams.

This outstanding proposal will aim to boost the city’s tourism offer and create hundreds more jobs locally.

It would create a draw to the city, a showcase for the hundreds of thousands of additional football visitors and a real tourist destination for footy fans.

The Football Quarter of the city will be a fantastic place for locals, football fans and tourists to come together, enjoy a piece of history and make some fantastic memories.

Liverpool has long called for an area of the city where Evertonians and Liverpudlians can celebrate their combined success in football, and what better place than between two iconic hotels that pay tribute to sporting greats.

The Football Quarter Podcast

The Football Quarter Podcast, featuring our very own Chris Shankly and David Fehily, is a weekly football podcast dedicated to discussing the biggest issues concerning both Everton and Liverpool.

“Liverpool, as a city, is known for having so many things going for it: music, culture, architecture – and obviously sport is a massive part of that but, you can’t go anywhere in the city where you can get that holistic history of both clubs,” said Chris Shankly before continuing: “So, what we wanted to do was to create a place where people can go and get that wider, broader perspective on Merseyside history.”

Although Chris was discussing the football quarter here, he could have easily been describing our new football podcast that shares the same name. “The essence of it is partisan,” added David Fehily.

It Could Only Be Liverpool

Despite their on-pitch differences, you’ll never find a more welcoming community than those in Liverpool and it’s this friendly rivalry which has helped the city become what is it today.

Looking at other cities and derby’s, it’s clear to see why Liverpool is the only place that could possibly welcome a Football Quarter.

Go to the Manchester Derby, the North London Derby, the Glasgow Derby and you won’t see scenes like you will at a Merseyside Derby. You won’t see opposition fans sitting amongst each other, or family members supporting different teams.

Driven apart by an undying passion for football, but united by a respect and honour for their great city, Liverpool and Everton’s rivalry in the Merseyside derby is a unique one that has roots as deep as any in English football. Rivalries shape footballing identity and culture and in Liverpool, one of Europe’s most distinctive cultural centres, it is no different.

Watch the Spectacular Merseyside Derby in the Famous Shankly Hotel

Join us in the Bastion at The Shankly Hotel this Sunday 10th December for the hotly anticipated Merseyside Derby.

Liverpool FC will be taking on fellow scouse rivals, Everton, in the first meeting of the season.

Starting at 2.15 pm, we will be showing the game in our famous Bastion Bar and Restaurant and offering exclusive offers to all fans.

We can’t wait to see who comes out on top in this historic fixture.

Amazing Derby Day Offers

derby day

Make the most of this great contest with our derby day offers and watch the game in the amazing atmosphere of the Bastion.

For just £12.95 per person, you can enjoy delicious food and a drink, live entertainment, plus match day drinks offers at the bar.

From arrival and throughout the game we will be offering 4 pint pitchers for £10, 5 bottles for £12 and double up on house spirits for £1 extra.

We will also have some amazing bonus in-play drinks offers including:

  • 2 for 1 on shots if LFC score first
  • 2 for 1 on the bar at halftime if LFC are winning at halftime
  • 2 for 1 for an hour after the full-time whistle if LFC win

Hosted in our Bastion Bar and Restaurant surrounded by the exclusive Shankly memorabilia, the game will be shown live on numerous big screen TV’s.

If you enjoy your match day at the Bastion, which we’re sure you will, you can consider joining our Premier League club. Click the link for more information.

The Merseyside Derby

It is the longest running top-flight derby in England, having been played continuously since the 1962–63 season and is known around the world as the ‘friendly derby’.

Liverpool host the Blues in the 229th Merseyside derby this Sunday, looking to secure a fourth straight victory over their local rivals under Jurgen Klopp.

Saturday’s victory took Liverpool into the Premier League’s top four, with Klopp’s side having won five of their six fixtures since their 4-1 defeat to Tottenham in October.

However, the Blues will visit Anfield in good form, having recorded back-to-back victories to coincide with Sam Allardyce’s arrival as new manager.

It is sure to be a close contest and we can’t wait!

The Bastion Bar and Restaurant

bastion

A beautiful bar and restaurant set in the heart of The Shankly Hotel, the Bastion is the perfect place to watch the Merseyside Derby.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by fans just as passionate as you are and have the chance to spend some time discovering memorabilia including Bill Shankly’s personal typewriter and original LFC contract.

We recognise the importance of football to the people of Liverpool and believe that the Bastion celebrates and pays tribute to one of the greatest managers Liverpool has ever seen.

Delicious Food

new menu

This offer also includes a pre-match meal in the Bastion Restaurant.

The menu offers everything from delicious grilled Sirloin Steak to the Shankly pie of the day or a traditional beef burger, served with an array of delicious sides. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a pint and really make the most of match day.

Perfect for groups of family and friends, the Bastion offers an unrivalled atmosphere with a special buzz on match days.

Why not book an overnight stay and have the ultimate football celebration for the Merseyside Derby, The Shankly are here to make your experience the best it could be.

Recently voted the best sporting city in the UK, Liverpool has a long history with football and the Shankly Hotel are proud to be a part of it.

To book your place for this amazing match day offer, call our friendly team on 0151 541 9999.

So…did Shanks end up an Evertonian after he resigned?

In my last blog regarding Grandy’s resignation and the reasons behind it; I intimated I’d shed some light on THOSE Bill Shankly rumours.

Those rumours I refer to are in relation to one of the most asked questions we get, “Did Shanks end up an Evertonian?”

A direct follow on from the question as to whether Liverpool treated him poorly after he left.

The truth is that the answer to both could be either yes or no. As with everything in life; it isn’t black or white, there are shades of grey.

The Rumours

If I can take the latter question first.

When Grandy left the club; he struggled to adapt to life without football. It had been all he knew, from a young age, from morning until night. To go from that extreme to the other is hard for anyone. As a result, he would often travel to Melwood to indulge in the facilities, to keep fit and to stay around the thing that he loved most; football.

Having spent 15 years at the club, and having personally bought and/or nurtured many of the players at the club, many of them; when coming into contact with his person would still call him ‘boss’ and in truth, the club felt like this would potentially undermine Bob Paisley’s authority.

His job was already on paper, hard enough; having taken over from the godfather of the club; it’s most successful manager and a man revered by football fans all over the world. The club therefore took the hard task of advising him of this.

Manchester Utd have just gone through it with Ferguson stepping down and Moyes taking over.

Moyes failed where Bob was a success.  Ferguson was however; offered a directorship at the club, giving him impetus there, whereas Grandy never was.

In truth, it was this that rankled with him. He could live with not being around the training ground, what hurt, and he says as much in his autobiography; was not even being approached about being a director.

Whatever way you look at it; and you can be the most mentally strong, composed individual in the world, hearing these words and sentiments from a club, organisation or person who you have given everything to, and taken to the pinnacle of success; is always going to hurt.

It’s like being dumped by your first love!

In typically true fashion however, he took it on the chin and very, very rarely spoke about it, electing only to really go on record with his feelings in the late seventies when he published his autobiography.

It was through this vehicle that he used the phrase; ‘Over the last few seasons I have been received more warmly by Everton than I have been Liverpool.”

So did he end up an Evertonian?

It is true to say that he did end up with a soft spot for the blue side of the City, and it is absolutely true that he spent a lot of time at both Bellefield and Goodison.

Bellefield was a two minute walk from his home and he would often take the dog for a walk (Scamp!), visiting Bellefield as part of his route.

He would enter the training ground and converse with the ground staff, players and management, and was widely welcomed and looked after by all in situ (many Liverpool fans like to think he took the dog there to do its business but alas that wasn’t the case!).

He was also a frequent visitor to Goodison.

In the wealth of memorabilia we have that will be displayed in the museum at the hotel; we found ticket stubs for the directors box there and for other parts of the ground; and the family were also regaled by the story of how when he was there one week; such had been the frequency of his visits; our blue neighbours even began singing his name.

So did he become an Evertonian?

The answer not quite. Liverpool was his life. But did he have a soft spot for them.  In truth, as we already know; he was a man of the people.

Everyone loved his personality and his charisma so it was hard not to be fond of him, rival fans included. More so; he loved Liverpool as a city. He had a great fondness for its people. Nanny Ness said of him once, “In Liverpool, with its traditional love for football, Bill found kindred spirits who shared his enthusiasm for the game.”

Grandy saw a successful Everton side as much a catalyst for success for his Liverpool team as any other element, highlighting that the intensity of rivalry and competition brought out the best in both sides.

He reflected;

“When they had a good team which was the equivalent of Liverpool or better, the games were tense.The rivalry is like it is for Celtic and Rangers, but without bigotry. I’ve seen supporters on Merseyside going to the ground together, one wearing red and white, and the other blue and white, which is unusual elsewhere.

You get families in Liverpool, half Everton and half Liverpool. They support rival teams but they have the same temperament and they know each other. They are unique in the sense that their rivalry is no real aggro between them.

This is quite amazing. I am not saying they love each other. Oh no. But I’ve never seen a fight at a derby game. Shouting and bawling, yes. But they don’t fight each other. And that says a lot.”

Everton’s warmth towards him following his resignation from Liverpool only fuelled his warmth for the people of this city and it is on that note that I end this particular blog; with a reflection from Grandy to these sentiments.

“If I had a business and needed a work force, I would take it from Merseyside. And we would wipe the floor with everybody. They’ve got hearts of gold. They’d give you their last penny….and they can work. So I’d pick my workforce from Merseyside and anybody else can pick theirs from anywhere else and we’d have a go with them. And I’d win. They’ve got a big spirit…when they’re on your side and all working together they take a bit of a beating.”

 

Christopher William Shankly Carline

40th anniversary of Shankly’s LFC retirement

12th July 1974: The date the Godfather of the Kop, Bill Shankly, announced his retirement.

The Unexpected

Nobody knew what to expect when a sudden press conference was called by John Smith, the club’s chairman at the time.
As the press filtered in with their notepads, cameras, and Dictaphones at the ready, there wasn’t a buzz of excitement. Unlike a usual event of this kind there was instead a dullness in the air.

A pin drop could be heard when Smith stepped up to make his opening statement:

“It is with great regret that I as chairman of Liverpool Football Club have to inform you that Mr Shankly has intimated that he wishes to retire from active participation in league football. And the board has with extreme reluctance accepted his decision. I would like to at this stage to place on record the board’s great appreciation of Shankly’s magnificent achievements over the period of his managership.”

Shankly agreed to a three-year contract with Liverpool Football Club during the signing of his last contract in July 1971. He was then offered the option of having it extended to five years. When the three year mark was met, Smith asked if he would like to continue for two more years. Shankly declined.

Speculations

It was widely speculated as to why he refused to stay those two more years. Even those closest to him like his wife and Bob Paisley had their own theories regarding the subject.

Conclusions were drawn that former England captain Emlyn Hughes once asked Bill why he chose to retire. Shanks said “I’m going to tell you the reason why I left” but his small grandchild came running in, and he got sidetracked. Emlyn never found out.

Without realising it or not, Hughes actually got the truthful answer to his question. Bill became anxious to spend more time with Nessie, his children, and his grandchildren.

In his autobiography, Shankly mentions his decision to retire. He says:

“After the FA Cup Final I went into the dressing room and I felt tired from all the years. I said to a bloke who was looking after the dressing room, ‘Get me a cup of tea and a couple of pies, for Christ’s sake.’ When I sat down with my tea and pies, my mind was made up. If we had lost the final I would have carried on, but I thought, ‘Well, we’ve won the Cup now and maybe it’s a good time to go.’ I knew I was going to finish.”

Regrets

Rumour has it almost immediately after resigning, Bill thoroughly regretted his decision. By the time the new football season came around, Shanks was back at Melwood FC, training with the players, enjoying the camaraderie and the chance to put his boots on again. Some players were calling him ‘boss’ and treating him as equally as their real manager Bob Paisley, to his annoyance.

“I wasn’t feeling ill or anything like that, but I felt though that if I was away from the pressures of Anfield for a while, and rested, it would make me fitter and rejuvenate me. I felt I could contribute more later on. I would never leave the city of Liverpool, and still wanted to be involved in football. I still wanted to help Liverpool, because the club the club had become my life. But I wasn’t given the chance.”

The retirement was a clean break between LFC and Shankly, to both side’s disappointment. However living close to Everton’s training ground, Bill would often call in and join in the training sessions, proving that many of his cutting comments about Liverpool’s city opponents were no more than harmless shots to fabricate a sense of bitter rivalry.

Shanks spent his first Saturday afternoon in retirement watching Everton Vs Derby County as the club’s special guest, and was met by a rapturous applause by the Goodison crowd.

He would talk to anyone about football and go anywhere to put his boots on again. Simply because, he just loved the game.
To him, the beautiful game was just that.