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This week’s main report takes a look at one of the most famous rivalries in English football – the Merseyside Derby. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
History of The Merseyside Derby
Everton are the oldest club and were founded in 1878. Liverpool on the other hand were founded in 1892. However, things are not that simple, as you could argue that Liverpool FC only exist because of Everton. The toffees, Everton FC’s nickname, originally had their ground at Anfield but moved across Stanley Park less than a mile to a new ground at Goodison Park. The owner of Anfield needed a new tenant and Liverpool FC were formed and moved into their now famous ground. The first meeting between the clubs ended in 3-0 victory for Everton in 1894. Interestingly at that time, Everton wore a red shirt and blue shorts and Liverpool’s kit was blue and white. Of course now, Liverpool wear red and Everton blue.
When it comes to winning trophies, the Reds are way ahead of their rivals with 18 league titles to Everton’s nine, and a proud history of success in Europe – five European Cups – including the Miracle of Istanbul in 2005, 3 UEFA Cups, and 3 European Super Cups. Everton have only tasted success in Europe once, a 1985 Cup Winners Cup victory. However, Everton have been in the top flight for the most seasons of any team in England – 107 seasons. But both clubs have suffered in the league since the start of the Premier League, with Liverpool’s last title in 1990 and Everton’s in 1987.
The rivalry between Everton and Liverpool has often been called ‘the Friendly Derby’. Until recently, the fans were not segregated and they mingled together on the terraces, and there was no traditional hatred of the other club, as there are with many derbies around the world. The relationship between the fans was good natured and the derby was passionate but only so that fans could have bragging rights over the other half of the city – reds over blues or visa versa. However, since 1985 when Liverpool fans rioted at Heysel and caused the deaths of 39 Juventus fans, the relationship between the two sets of fans has soured. That year, English clubs were banned from European competition for five years. This was just at the time when Everton were finding success in the League and in Europe – the Blues would have played in Europe at least three times in those 5 years but were denied by the ban. Many believe it is this that has led to the Merseyside Derby becoming much more bitter in the Premier League era. This matchup has resulted in the most red cards of any fixture in the Premier League history.
This weekend’s Merseyside Derby
Everton go into the derby one place ahead of Liverpool in the league. They also finished above Liverpool last season, and the Reds are desperate not to let their neighbours do that again. However, Everton have not beaten Liverpool at Anfield under the stewardship of David Moyes, a fact the Everton manager would dearly like to change. This could be his last season with Everton if rumours are to be believed, with many thinking he has taken Everton as far as he can, and that they need some fresh ideas. His team will be desperate to put on a show for him. Equally, Liverpool will want to do the same for Jamie Carragher, a stalwart of Liverpool since coming through the youth team. Carragher was originally an Everton fan and he’s retiring at the end of this season. Expect a lot of passion, some fierce tackles, some cards, but also a bit of respect between the two sets of fans as the anniversary of Hillsborough – the disaster where 96 Liverpool fans died – is still fresh in the memory.
founded: started; created
kit: the shirt etc that a team wears; uniform
taste success: be successful; win a trophy etc.
the top flight: the top league; top division
to segregate: to divide; to place apart; to not allow to mix
bragging rights: the right to boast; after a victory fans can laugh at their rivals; to be in the winning position