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snez1

Credit to Everton

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Dunno about anyone else but my blue mates and even Evertonians that I just kind of know were first class this weekend. Nearly everyone offered a hand shake and a good luck, some are even supporting us over Chelsea now after yesterday and everyone I was with behaved perfectly on Saturday.

 

Wrote a little blog on what i thought of the weekend and how disgusting yesterdays action was compared to Saturday. Maybe it's a bit too friendly in places given all the shit they've spouted at matches in recent years but i wrote it with the thoughts of my own personal close blue mates who have always been spot on and were this weekend too.

 

Snez's Blog: Evertonian class made Saturday the real final.

 

 

Evertonian class made Saturday the real final.

 

 

To my mind this season's F.A Cup is all but finished. Sure, there is one game left to play when Liverpool meet Chelsea but whatever happens on May 5th, the abiding memories of this season's competition were cemented in my conscience on Saturday.

 

Sunday's football schedule was depressing fare all round. From Ashley Young's latest ludicrous tumbling act, to Chelsea and Manchester United fans disgracing their clubs, to the unfathomable goal that never was for Juan Mata, the whole day just seemed to strip bare the current wounds of football and poke at them with a sharp object. However, I'd rather not focus on the numerous distasteful aspects of yesterdays matches here, and casting my mind back just 24 hours further allows a smile to wash over my face.

 

Of course, it's much easier to say this when you're team wins a derby at Wembley and books their place in a final, but the sense of pride that Saturday brought runs deeper than the 2-1 scoreline. Liverpool as a city put on a show of footballing class, dignity and respect that the all London semi final could not begin to compete with.

 

In their infinite wisdom, the powers that be decided that due to the perceived unsavoury nature of the Merseyside derby, a ludicrous kick off time of 12.30 was required to help minimise trouble between blue and red fans. The game's early start meant that supporters would have to take the 200 mile trip to Wembley at ungodly hours to ensure their attendance and wouldn't be able to 'hit the booze' in the pubs due to the early kick off time (little do they know that a 4am crate of larger on a bus to a scouser is seen as an added bonus rather than a deterrent).

 

There were a lot of anxious people wondering how well the two sides of the city would represent themselves on the grand stage in London and some apprehension surrounded the match in the preceding days. They needn't have worried. The collective appreciation of a Merseyside great in Gary Ablett was moving. The solidarity displayed by Evertonians when they held aloft their numerous 'DON'T BUY THE SUN' banners was inspiring. The impeccable respect shown during the minutes silence for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough tragedy was the perfect example of why Merseyside had put on a spectacle that no other city in England would have been capable of. Before the tribalism began at kick off both sides had displayed a faultless show of togetherness for their city and it's sons and daughters who couldn't be there with them.

 

For all the ills that have befallen the 'friendly derby' in recent years, Saturday felt like a huge step in the right direction. There have been other shoots of recovery in recent times such as Z-Cars blasting out at Anfield for little Rhys Jones (if the video below doesn't bring a tear to your eye then you're not human) and Evertonians behaviour at Wembley on Saturday was thankfully in stark contrast to the vile, classless scenes witnessed in the same arena on Sunday night.

 

Comparing the two semi finals almost seems unfair on Chelsea and Tottenham but compare I will. Reds and blues from Liverpool travelled together through the night all the way down to the nations capital, they filled the entire stadium and could have done so two or three times over. They behaved immaculately, showed respect where is was due, cheered their respective teams on for 90 minutes and then left. The lasting memories of the day will be the mutual appreciation of Ablett, the minutes silence, Carroll's redemption, Brad Jones' deserved moment of joy and Distin's moving apologies. The football wasn't always of the highest quality but the application and the mood surrounding the occasion was. It was a proper semi final day with two proper clubs and two fantastic sets of supporters. The winners left elated and the losers deflated but back home they all went together.

 

Fast forward 30 hours and a London derby between two of the countries best teams staged in their own back yard was an all round embarrassing farce. Chelsea's fans couldn't even be to bothered to fill their end of the stadium. Apparently travelling across their own city was too much of an arduous journey for Londoners to make on a Sunday evening. If that wasn't bad enough, a minutes silence on the 23rd anniversary of one of the worst moments in the history of English football was ruined. Sickening chants of 'murderers' and boos rang around Wembley for the brief moment of 'silence' for Hillsborough before it was mercifully cut short. We then had the sight of numerous players from Chelsea playing in the game having seemingly jettisoned their black armbands given to them to commemorate the 96 victims. Words like shameful and disgusting come to mind. It was everything that the previous day's semi final wasn't.

 

It was all the proof needed that even if Fernando Torres smashes in a last minute wonder goal to hand Chelsea the trophy in 3 weeks time, this years F.A Cup has already been defined by Liverpool's two footballing giants. From a personal perspective, Saturday was everything that derby day should be (minus a ticket to the match of course!). A group of friends divided in their loyalties came together, watched the match, had a laugh and stayed out for the night without a hint of bother. Evertonians offered their insincere congratulations, Reds offered their insincere condolences, jokes were shared, banter flew and everyone had a drink and moved on. It was a day that was shared together and felt like an occasion for everyone. We might not like each others managers, players or clubs in a footballing sense and some arguments will forever rumble on but for that afternoon it felt how I imagined the 1989 final did.

 

It may sound patronising and as I said earlier it is very easy to reflect favourably on the day when your team are victorious but the respect I have personally for Everton and their fans was increased significantly this weekend. Most blues I know already had my respect of course. Some have sat with me at the Hillsborough memorial services, none of them buy S*n and the banter is nearly always friendly yet Saturday took it a notch up for me. They behaved in a manner befitting of their club's history and showed precisely why they are a truly 'big club', something that teams like Chelsea will never be, despite all their riches. They handled the sensitivity of the Hillsborough anniversary with the utmost class from top to bottom while never sacrificing their desire to see their fierce rivals beaten. To the average Liverpool fan like myself that means a lot. They dealt with the hollowness of defeat with dignity and despite the fact that they won't be in the final, they left a bigger impression on this year's competition with their behaviour on Saturday than Chelsea could ever dream of doing on May 5th.

 

No matter how much bile has been spewed over recent years or how much the two clubs have seemed to drift apart, one thing always reminds me of the way Liverpool and Everton should be regardless of the understandable rivalry. In the first derby after Hillsborough a banner was held aloft in the Liverpool end of Goodison park. It was thank you gesture for the support of Everton in the wake of the disaster that read simply 'LFC THANKS EFC WE NEVER WALKED ALONE'. On Saturday it felt like that. Both clubs strode into London side by side and showed everyone why Liverpool is the greatest footballing city our country has.

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Well done. Saturday was always only going to be about the 96, it was special that a local derby in a huge game was the way it was commemorated this year.

 

I think its easy enough to draw attention to their bad side and their bitterness. I have mates who have displayed both the good and the bad. A healthy rivalry grows through respect and some dislike from both sides and long may it continue.

 

The vitriol we've heard from some of them is expected, but yes, fair play to those who have risen above it and taken the time to show their respect. In these days of the monied game and mercenary professional footballer, there is a lot worse out there than them.

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Excellent stuff.

 

Chelsea aren't half the club Everton are, it IS a grand old club. Yes, some unhealthy rivalry at times from some people, both sides as well, but on the whole it's what football is all about, nice and fierce, but still holding the core principles of decency at heart, despite the bile bravado at times.

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Some fucking foul cunts directly outside our Wembley exit after the game. Proper bitter.

 

That said, my mate and I walked down from there to the tube amongst a sea - and I mean a sea - of Evertonians. I was wearing a Liverpool scarf and shirt, feeling more than a little conspicuous and it felt more than a little tense. Yet not a peep from any of them.

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Good post. And fair play to Darron Gibson for tweeting support for the 96 and justice yesterday. As he said some things are more important than rivalry.

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Some fucking foul cunts directly outside our Wembley exit after the game. Proper bitter.

 

That said, my mate and I walked down from there to the tube amongst a sea - and I mean a sea - of Evertonians. I was wearing a Liverpool scarf and shirt, feeling more than a little conspicuous and it felt more than a little tense. Yet not a peep from any of them.

 

Similar story, I ended up in a blue pub most the night with my blue mate and although it had emptied out a bit as the night wore on managed a few LFC songs without getting lynched.

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I remember back in 2009, I was hoping they beat the chavs in the final and some other Reds didn't understand why. This is why. Chelsea are a horrible little club.

 

Easy for me to do that of course since Liverpool will always be top dog, so if its true that there are blues out there now hoping we win then hats off to them.

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