- The red half of Merseyside has enjoyed an extended period of dominance over the blue half
- Could BBC's Panorama programme be part of the reason for the mythologising of Liverpool's Spion Kop?
It's a tale of two preseasons. Liverpool are in the United States, continuing their efforts to crack a lucrative market. Jurgen Klopp's team are performing in three of America's most iconic venues.
They play Borussia Dortmund at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana; Sevilla in Boston's Fenway Park; and Sporting Lisbon in New York's Yankee Stadium.
Everton have been in Switzerland. FC Sion and their 14,000-capacity Stade de Tourbillon does not quite have the same appeal. Nor does the picturesque but tiny Stade Saint-Marc for the meeting with AS Monaco. The build-up for Marco Silva's side has been low key.
The Champions League winners are a huge attraction. Their neighbours are not. But the status of clubs are not merely defined by results and trophies. Liverpool and Everton's paths diverged more than half a century ago when Anfield became the focus of global recognition in a way that Goodison Park did not. If Evertonians want someone to blame there is an easy target: The Beatles.
The main conceit of Yesterday, one of the summer's big films, is that a shift in time creates a world where the Fab Four did not exist but somehow a musician maintains a memory of their songs and performs them as his own. In a football version, would the Kop have earned international repute without the Beatles?
One of the seminal moments in terrace culture came in April, 1964. Liverpool were on the verge of winning the first division under Bill Shankly and the BBC's Panorama came to Anfield for a game against Arsenal. The cameras were in the ground to record a spectacle largely unseen by the British people.
The city was the centre of the pop culture universe. Liverpool's timing, winning the league, was impeccable. The Kop became the most famous terrace in the game
The reporter, John Morgan, made supporters the focus of the piece. "An anthropologist studying this Kop crowd would be introduced into as rich and mystifying a popular culture as in any south sea island," he said. "Their rhythmic swaying is an elaborate and organised ritual.
"The 28,000 people on the Kop itself begin singing together. They seem to know intuitively when to begin. Throughout the match they invent new words, usually within the framework of old Liverpool songs to express adulatory, cruel or bawdy comments about the players or the police. But even then they begin singing these new words with one immediate, huge voice. They seem mysteriously to be in touch with one another, with Whacker, the spirit of Scouse."
The film shows people on the vast terrace singing. She Loves You, the massive Beatles hit and Cilla Black's Anyone Who Had A Heart. The legend of the Kop was cemented.
Suddenly Merseyside had become interesting. Two months earlier the Beatles had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York. Beatlemania had gone global.
"The music the crowd sings is the music Liverpool has sent echoing around the world," Morgan explains. The city was the centre of the pop culture universe. Liverpool's timing, winning the league, was impeccable. The Kop became the most famous terrace in the game.
Over at Goodison, fans in the Gwladys Street end were acting in a similar manner, singing and swaying. Everton's misfortune was to win the title the year before. Had the Beatles cracked the big time 12 months earlier, the cameras would likely have been sent to the home of the Toffees. The Street End might have become the most famous terrace in football.
Arthur Hopcraft, in his 1968 book, The Football Man, wrote about "rehearsed chants and verses … created in Liverpool, where the city character, with its pervading harshness of waterfront life, and bitterly combative Irish exile content, was given a sudden flowering of arrogant expression with the simultaneous rise of its pop musicians and of both its leading football teams".
Only one set of fans was able to truly surf the Beatlemania wave. Everton were always fated to be in their neighbours' shadow from this moment on.
A number of other factors were important, too. The mere name "Liverpool Football Club" meant the team were immediately linked to the city. Almost every time the Fab Four were mentioned the word Liverpool was associated with them. Everton, a district, had little connection with the Beatles.
Liverpool's iconography was also important. The badge is a Liver Bird, the symbol of the city and red is the colour of the municipality. Everton's crest, featuring Prince Rupert's tower, is familiar to everyone in the region but not to outsiders.
Shankly played a huge role too. He was a showman and courted publicity in a way that Harry Catterick, Everton's manager, would never do. He became a national personality, always ready with a quip and reporters lapped it up.
Even so, Everton were traditionally the city's biggest team. They were one of the league's richest clubs " nicknamed the "Mersey Millionaires" " and were the more successful side in the second half of the 1960s.
If the Beatles' timing was different how might football history be changed? Imagine they cracked America in February 1963. Panorama could have come to Goodison in April for the top-of-the-table clash with Tottenham Hotspur in front of 67,650 rabid Evertonians " 19,000 more than Liverpool attracted a year later. Football culture might have been redefined in blue instead of red.
And could You'll Never Walk Alone have become an Everton anthem? It sounds like heresy but the song is conspicuous by its absence in the Panorama programme. It was a hit for Gerry and the Pacemakers " another local group " in October 1963 and might easily have been picked up by Gwladys Street fans.
The mythologising of the Kop has played a large part in Liverpool's success and Panorama ensured that Anfield's fearsome reputation was cemented in public consciousness. Goodison, despite being arguably even more hostile, never received the same publicity. The Swinging Sixties propelled Liverpool above their rivals.
The Reds never looked back. The Blues never reclaimed their former dominance.
The Beatles are to blame. John, Paul, George and Ringo were never football fans but they inadvertently made sure Liverpool were one of their biggest hits.
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