The Merseyside derby, then and now

One of Everton’s most prominent supporters, who is in failing health, recounts this story:
The doctor tells him “I have good news and bad news.” The Evertonian says, “tell me the bad news first.” The doctor responds, “your cancer is spreading rapidly.” “So what’s the good news?” the Evertonian asks. “You won’t have to see Everton play at Kirkby.”
This story captures the view of most die-hard Everton fans about the club’s quest to build a new stadium outside of Liverpool. But it turns out that no Evertonian will have to see the Toffees play at Kirkby. The government has rejected the club’s proposal to build there.
This, however, is the only good news from Everton’s season thus far. A third of the way through, we are 14th in the Table, just 4 points above the “drop zone.”
To make matters more interesting, we play Liverpool on Sunday. The Shite isn’t particularly enjoying life either, sitting in the unaccustomed position of 7th place and having already been eliminated from Europe’s Champions League.
The cliche is that you can throw all of this out where the Merseyside Derby is concerned. I’m not 100 percent sold on this bit of wisdom but it was certainly true 14 years ago this month. Then, an Everton side that had won only once in 14 matches (as opposed to once in 7, which is the current situation), defeated Liverpool 2-0. Duncan Ferguson scored the first goal — and his first in an Everton shirt — after having been “breathalyzed” by the police the night before.
This was the team’s first match under Joe Royle, a former star player for Everton. Joe recalls the great victory here. Scroll down towards the bottom if you want to hear Joe tell the story in his own lilting scouser tones.
UPDATE: With Everton unable to move to Kirkby, there is now talk about buliding and sharing a stadium with Liverpool, who has a permit to construct one near the current site of both Anfield and Goodison Park. Sharing a park with the Shite is perhaps an even less appealing prospect to the Everton faithful than moving outside of the city. However, the aforementioned Joe Royle favors the idea.

Anfield and Goodison both hold special memories but both clubs, to have a chance of challenging Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, would need greater income. Certainly Everton would gain as it halves the costs and it could make a fantastic stadium for both sets of fans.
It’s tried and tested in Milan [where Inter and AC Milan share the San Siro] and a number of other big cities and it works.

Legendary Everton player and manager Howard Kendall opposes a “groundshare,” as he opposed moving to Kirkby, but admits it may be the only solution for both clubs.


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