On Sunday, Everton plays Liver­pool, it is the Mer­sey­side derby. In April, we walked down the streets inbet­ween the two sta­diums. This is our lon­gread with pic­tures and videos.
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Chapter 1: An evening with Steven Ger­rard
Chapter 2: We’re gonna have a party when Maggie That­cher dies“
Chapter 3: The beloved club as a vor­a­cious neigh­bour
Chapter 4: Ever­to­nians in the houses of Liver­pool FC
Epi­logue

Black let­ters are carved into the red brick wall: Everton Foot­ball Club. Behind it, Goodison Park, the sta­dium of Everton FC arches up. Nine-year old Aiden McGee whizzes by on his scooter. Which team do you sup­port? He doesn’t answer ver­bally but points across the park on his left. There are ter­races behind the park. Those of Anfield, the sta­dium of Liver­pool FC. Which club do you your family mem­bers sup­port? The kid points over to the other side, behind the red brick wall. Goodison, Everton.

His mother smiles. Her son has been over­whelmed by pres­ents from the other family mem­bers, she says, Everton tops, scarves and all that. He even had a trial at the club. But Aiden shakes his head, no chance, Liver­pool for­ward Daniel Stur­ridge is his beloved idol. Once again, he points to Anfield and says, I will be a pro­fes­sional for the Reds. And then, I will buy my par­ents a Con­ver­table‘. For now he has to settle for spee­ding his scooter through the neigh­bour­hood. A quite unique neigh­bour­hood that includes two renowned clubs of the Pre­mier League.

The straight-line distance bet­ween the two sta­diums is only 900 metres. Bet­ween them, there lies the buffer zone of Stanley Park. It doesn’t take longer than 20 minutes to walk from one to the other. Everton started playing at Anfield at the end of the 19th cen­tury but after con­tro­ver­sies over the purchase of the land from its then owner, the club moved to Goodison Park. The busi­nessman John Houl­ding founded Liver­pool FC at Anfield. It was the begin­ning of a spe­cial rela­ti­onship. In the words of Bill Shankly, Liver­pool’s legen­dary manager and no less talented apho­rist, If Everton were playing at the bottom of my garden, I’d pull the curtains‘.

Feud or mere folk­lore? How distant could be two clubs that stand so near to each other? Ans­wers lie in the streets on a quiet Thursday in April when no game is sche­duled and the streets are empty of fans from out­side the city. A walk through the quarter, a visit to the neigh­bours of Goodison and Anfield.

Stacey Peers is a hair­dresser, red hairs, red nails, red heart. Liver­pool FC born and bred, she says. But she can’t avoid Everton as the sta­dium towers over her salon from across the street. Ten years ago, at the age of 23, she met a young lad named Steven Ger­rard in a bar, nice com­pany‘, she says non­cha­lantly, as if this Steven has grafted in the docks and not for seven­teen years in the mid­field of her beloved club. Stacey Peers is the only employee of Susan Savage, a lady with long bleached blonde hair. Susan is an Ever­to­nian through and through. In a space of 15 square metres, the two women cut and debate, no mattter if the cli­ents are old ladies with per­ma­nent waves or young lads with tat­tooed wrists, no matter if they are red or blue. Right in the shadow of the sta­dium. They all get along well, like a family, they say. But why is that? The answer is just one word: Hills­bo­rough. 

11FREUNDE-Dos­sier on Hills­bo­rough: https://​www​.11freunde​.de/​t​a​g​s​/​h​i​l​l​s​b​o​rough

On April the 15th in 1989, 96 sup­por­ters of Liver­pool FC lost their lives in the sta­dium tra­gedy of Hills­bo­rough – the home of Shef­field Wed­nesday FC, most of them were juve­niles and died in a ter­race crush. It seems ever­yone round here – whe­ther a Liver­pool or Everton sup­porter – has his own sad Hills­bo­rough story to tell. The grief over their dead family mem­bers and friends bound them tog­e­ther as did the sub­se­quent fight for jus­tice. Police, Poli­ti­cians and tabloid news­pa­pers wrongly blamed the vic­tims for the tra­gedy. The rela­tives fought for decades until the case was recon­si­dered and the admi­nis­tra­tion apo­lo­gised.

It is the burden of memory the people bear – but it is not the only one. Out on Goodison Road, sun­beams shine through the sta­dium walls. The neigh­bou­ring, narrow streets are an ocean of bricks. People in tracksuits sit on the steps of the ent­rance, in bony hands fags burn down to the filter. Young guys race by on Cross motor­bikes, apart from that a calm atmo­s­phere pre­vails in the quarter, shut­ters are let down, shops closed. They only open on match­days, spen­ders and spen­ding power is absent. Forty thousand plus people come to visit the game but the majo­rity are not not inte­rested in staying. The girls in the pubs tell us that only foot­ball keeps these bars alive – and this is Eng­land?! It’s as if, in ano­ther country, all the bake­ries in town were closed down. A hearse drives down the road, through it’s large window you can see a blue coffin with the Everton club crest on it.

A man in a lea­ther jacket comes across, frizzy grey hair, red­dish beard. Which team do you sup­port? He stands straight like in a mili­tary salute. Everton FC. He points to the sta­dium. Alan Ball, Howard Kendall, Colin Harvey – the holy tri­nity, the great mid­field trio of the late six­tees and ealry seven­tees. Whoever wat­ched these boys play had to be a slave to Everton instantly.

The man is called Bernie and he was thirsty this morning. This quarter can be rough, he says, but his eyes gleam warmly as he immedia­tely elects himself as the guide of these streets, he doesn’t seem to be too busy that day anyway. Last time he attended a game must have been some­time in the eigh­ties with his bro­ther who sits in a wheel­chair. Bernie now takes care of him.

But he can’t afford match tickets though he lives only five minutes away from the ground. He can hear the roar of Goodison and Anfield from his flat. So near, yet so far away. Last week he called the club, Next time a ball crashes into my garden, I ll put a knife in it‘. As revenge for the high ticket prizes? No, no, just because the idiots would have failed to score again‘. Bernie laughs and coughs. That’s Liver­pool, he says.

Bernie shows us a church right next to the sta­dium. St. Luke’s. In the past, he says, people climbed onto the roof to watch the game from there. A young builder stands in the ent­rance hol­ding a bowl of cereal in his hand. The bowl is red. Liver­pool FC? God no, I am an Ever­to­nian. But my wife is a red, she always puts red things in my bag, crazy, I tell you‘. His name is Deano, that’s enough of an intro­duc­tion in his eyes.

Inside a man in a blue and white garment approa­ches. Colin Greene, lay reader, white hair and smooth face. As with all the others, his first ques­tions is, What is your team?“ The pho­to­gra­pher sup­ports Man­chester City. The lay reader reacts as if his lips have been burned. You’ve recently been crushed by Man United, haven’t you?‘ Bernie, still wan­de­ring with us, says, You shall not kick a man who lays on the floor. You should know that as a priest‘. Laughes loudly. Colin Greene takes us to the Garden of Remem­brance, the final res­ting place for sup­por­ters. The church sits close to the ter­race. Fan­zines and match pro­grammes are piled up in the first floor of the parish house. The holy scripts of foot­ball.

At the fare­well, Deano waves his hand. He’s had swapped the bowl for an electric drill. You visi­ting Anfield? Better watch your camera!‘ Deano and Bernie shake with laughter.

1985: Everton vs QPR.

It is a popular cliché in Eng­land: Liver­pool is bad-mou­thed for it’s rob­be­ries and burg­la­ries. The­re’s a story of an adver­ti­sing shoot out­side the sta­dium that is dis­rupted by street gangs that chase away the staff and steal the video equip­ment. In 2012, a rese­arch reve­aled that five out of ten of Eng­land’s poo­rest and most deprived districts are in Liver­pool, with Anfield third poo­rest.

The struc­tural change from the indus­trial to ser­vice eco­nomy can be seen in the city centre but districts such as Anfield or Everton partly look as if they’re stuck in the eigh­ties. The city tumbled into mass unem­ploy­ment back then, Prime Minister Mar­garet That­cher beco­ming the main target for working class anger. She fought the trade unions and miners. Her Chan­cellor advised her to abandon Liver­pool to a managed decline‘. People in Liver­pool still accuse her of backing the lies of the police after the Hills­bo­rough dis­aster. After her death in 2013 a song from the movie The Wizard of Oz‘ stormed the charts, the ter­races and the cele­bra­tions in the streets: Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.

The burden of indi­gnity from Eng­land’s south is ano­ther bond for the people in Liver­pool who, whe­ther red or blue, main­tain an anti­pathy towards Lon­don’s estab­lish­ment rather than one against their local rival.

Back in the days, sup­por­ters of the two clubs walked to the matches altog­e­ther, to Goodison one wee­kend, to Anfield at the other. Nowa­days, money’s too short for a visit to even one club, let alone two.

The club doesn’t want us, they prefer the guys from Norway or Japan‘, Billy Jones says. Simply for one reason: we go to the sta­dium and drink one or two in the pubs after­wards. Whe­reas people from the rest of the world go buying out the fan store‘. He wears a tracksuit and trai­ners – as they call it in other cities tau­tingly: the Liver­pool uni­form. Jones smokes his ciga­rette in the hollow of his hand, he served in the army for many years. He has been loo­king through his window at Liver­pool’s sta­dium for more than four decades and was a season-ticket-holder for a long time but can’t afford it any more.

The very che­a­pest ticket for one season costs 910 Euro. Jones gets into a lather on ticket prices, the atmo­s­phere and the club owners until he shrinks back from his own rant and declares: Don’t get me wrong. I love Liver­pool.‘ He climbs onto the demo­li­tion waste in front of his home grumb­ling that they‘ had let the area become run down. They‘ could mean the city council, but also (even if he doesn’t say so): his club, Liver­pool FC.

According to reports in the The Guar­dian‘, in 2013, the club bought the houses around the sta­dium with a view to demo­li­tion and sta­dium expan­sion. Ins­tead of spea­king with the resi­dents, the club let the area decline to force other neigh­bours out. By now, a large number of houses had been demo­lished. LFC is cur­r­ently rede­ve­lo­ping one side of the sta­dium.

Sup­por­ters in the neigh­bor­hood have a vor­a­cious neigh­bour – and it is their own, beloved club. Last year, Liver­pool gene­rated gains of 357 mil­lion Euro. For most of the kids in the streets on their scoo­ters the only pos­si­bi­lity of seeing their idols like Daniel Stur­ridge is as they rush by in their sports cars, not in their jersey on the field. That changes both the image of a pro­fes­sional foot­baller and the dreams of those that aspire to beco­ming one. Hardship and luxury are just a short pass away from each other in Anfield.

Today, on the street adja­cent to the sta­dium, nearly every shop is closed and shut­tered when we visit. Faded signs of diners and tattoo stu­dios, a kiosk dis­plays screen­shots from sur­veil­lance cameras showing recent burg­la­ries. The ent­rance of one house has the dim­pled paving stones which nor­mally lie at cros­sings for blind people and – to put it this gently – are not purcha­s­able in any store.

Eileen Snell smiles as she tells about an encounter with a Japa­nese Liver­pool fan. She asked me: This all here – is it because of the war?‘ Snell, a grand­mo­ther with bleached blonde hair, has been living in Sker­ries Road beside the sta­dium for more than 40 years, these houses are also in Liver­pool FC’s ownership. Her garden is almost under­neath Anfield sta­dium.

But she is a sup­porter of Everton FC and wel­comes her sons and gran­dons at match­days pre­pa­ring sand­wi­ches for them. The match sche­dule is pinned on the fridge.

Her hus­band died at an early age because of a heart attack he suf­fered on the sofa of the flat. He had just arrived back from an Everton game. That shows what this club does to you‘. She smiles smoothly. In this city the work­wear is sup­posed to be all wet and the humour all dry.

The door of her house is red, painted long before she moved in. The Elli­sons, her next-door neigh­bours, are Liver­pool sup­por­ters but curiously, they live behind a blue door. Both of the clubs could not exist without one ano­ther. They share too much history to untie. The rivalry is based on banter like that of sib­lings tend to hoax one ano­ther. When Everton opened a store in the city’s new Liver­pool One shop­ping centre, they named it so it’s postal address read, Everton Two, Liver­pool One‘.

Eileen Snell lis­tens to the radio com­men­tary during the games. Whenever Everton score, she knocks at the wall adja­cent to the Elli­sons. This sup­porter of the Blues lives behind a red door in a house owned by the Reds. And when Liver­pool is playing at the bottom of her garden, she pulls the curtains.

A pic­ture of a young boy and girl is stuck in her window, they wear the jer­seys of Everton and Liver­pool. The num­bers on the back: 96. Eileen Snell remem­bers the day of Hills­bo­rough when the fami­lies returned from the dis­aster and grieved at Anfield Sta­dium. I still hear them crying when I lie in my bed. I will never forget it‘.

Behind her garden, beside the ter­race, one can find the Hills­bo­rough Memo­rial. Paul Cas­sidy’s eyes are red­dened, he glances into the distance unable to look directly. The body of this small, tubby man works, he whips from one foot to the other, clut­ching his Marks and Spencer bag tightly. His eyes wander along the memo­rial plaque. Flowers, scarves, child­ren’s drawings. Cas­sidy blows out, he needs fresh air as memory tigh­tens his throat. Just ima­gine that‘, he says, Just ima­gine. Foot­ball, the thing you adore the most. You go visi­ting a game and then…‘ Shakes his head. Shakes it again. Then you don’t come back home‘.

Cas­sidy wears a jersey not with a play­er’s name on the back but the word: Remem­be­ring‘ the number 96 and Y.N.W.A.‘ written below it. Initials of the famous Liver­pool song: You’ll never walk alone. When he stands in front of the plaque to pause people turn and stare at him. Some even take photos of him. For Cas­sidy’s jersey is not red, it is blue. It is one from Everton FC.

A day of Scouse gonzo“ – pho­to­gra­pher’s note

Our brief was to walk from Goodison Park to Anfield collec­ting pic­tures and sto­ries that told of the area, its people and the changes to both as money flowed into foot­ball, but didn’t necessa­rily find its way into the city. In a day of scouse Gonzo, we allowed the story to pull us along, to church, Susan’s Salon, several boo­zers and Stanley Park, the gran­diose Vic­to­rian centre ground.

11 Freunde has the grass roots of foot­ball at its heart so a fea­ture on the people and places sur­roun­ding the Liver­pool giants seen in it’s pages seems apt.

In June, on the days sur­roun­ding the Cham­pions League final in Berlin, the spreads were used to adver­tise the maga­zine across the city, proudly pla­cing the gritty, boarded-up rea­li­ties of tra­di­tional foot­ball into the monied gla­mour of Europe’s most glit­te­ring prize.

David Oates, Web­site: https://​www​.davi​doates​.net/​g​o​o​d​i​s​o​n​-​t​o​-​a​n​f​i​e​l​d​-​w​i​t​h​-​1​1​-​f​r​e​unde/ ; Twitter: @DavidOatesPhoto
Con­tact details of the editor: ron.​ulrich@​11freunde.​de / twitter: @RonUlrich11

The map we handed over to the workers in the 11FREUNDE layout. A bit order­less. Examples: Nr. 3 – Sus­an’s salon, Nr. 11 – Billy, Nr. 16 – Eileen

More videos on this topic from the Guar­dian we highly recom­mend to watch:

Everton

Liver­pool

Thanks to Martin Per­cival, Tom Reed und James Cor­bett for hel­ping with the trans­la­tion.