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Part Two - Chickening out of the first meeting with the Reds

The first example of blues being scared of Liverpool came in the 1893 Liverpool Senior Cup final. It was also the time that their paranoia about referees favouring us started and all this happened before we had even been elected to the Football League.
Within a year of the rent dispute between Everton and John Houlding that led to the Blues moving out of Anfield, the two clubs were set on a collision course in the final of the Liverpool Senior Cup. It was a chance for Everton to gain some revenge on Houlding, who they felt had been trying to rip them off for personal gain.
You would think that they'd be up for the game and feeling confident, especially as they had just finished 3rd in Division 1 and reached the FA Cup final, while Liverpool were two divisions below them in terms of status.
However, Liverpool had romped to the Lancashire League title and now looked set to gain election to Division 2, so the Blues realised there was perhaps a chance they might get beat. So, despite having nothing to fear on paper they decided on a course of action that would in effect nullify any possible Liverpool victory.
Everton arranged a home friendly against Scottish side Renton on the day of the cup final, which was to be played at Bootle. By fielding their strongest side in the meaningless game at Goodison, it meant a reserve side contested the cup and gave them the perfect excuse should they fail to win.
As a consequence, Everton did in fact lose 1-0, but even with a weakened team they still couldn’t face the prospect of Liverpool collecting the cup. Everton’s players protested so strongly against some refereeing decisions that officials decided not to present the trophy in order to keep the peace.
The club then put in a complaint to the local FA about the referees competence, but this was not upheld and they were criticised for their unsporting attitude in defeat.
Liverpool were eventually presented with the cup at the beginning of the next season, where it was proudly put on display in the Sandon alongside the Lancashire League championship trophy. However, both cups soon disappeared and Liverpool had to pay £150 to replace them. Although I’m not suggesting for a moment that the bitter blueshites pinched them!
Steve Horton

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