Friday, 11 December 2009

Liverpool FC & Everton FC - Share we go again

Despite Liverpool FC ruling out a groundshare with Everton, it's an issue that refuses to go away. I was recently asked for my views on the topic, and replied with the following:

IMAGINE telling Catholics their cathedral in Liverpool was closing and they had to go over the road and share with the Church of England.

Forget history, forget your religion, this is the future. This is business.

It would never happen, of course. There would be uproar.

Yet it seems perfectly acceptable to suggest that my cathedral - Anfield – should be closed (bad enough in itself) and that the club I love, Liverpool FC, should share a new ground in Stanley Park with that shower from the other side of said park, Everton.

Well sorry, no. Never.

On so many levels, it's a non-starter.

A club's ground is central to its identity – it is its home, its powerbase, and it's the cathedral for the fans' religion: Liverpool.

To share it with your bitterest rivals would dilute everything to do with Liverpool FC - from the matchday experience to the framed picture of your club's home.

It would be the end of a combined 248 years of footballing history - that's how long Liverpool and Everton have lived in their OWN homes.

And how would it work?

What would the stands be called? What colour would the seats be? Where would the Shankly Gates go? And what about the statue of good old Bill? Or the one of Dixie Dean at Everton?

But of course there's the business argument. The money. Well sorry, fuck the money!

It's not about money, or business. It's sport, it's a team, a club, something that represents the city and means an awful lot to a hell of a lot.

Not only that, but the business argument is flawed. Inter and AC Milan is always trotted out as this shining example of how groundshares DO work. Well do your research, it doesn't. If it does, why have Inter Milan paid for feasibility studies into building their own ground?

What about Roma and Lazio, they share? Yep, Roma want to leave, too.

If we merge the grounds, what next? Merge the teams? Half-red, half-blue kits with players turning out for Merseyside United or Everpool?

Silly maybe, but so is this groundshare idea. An idea that has only come to light again because Everton's Kirkby stadium fell through.

Well sorry Blues, clear up your own mess - we're not bailing you out - if we leave Anfield, we leave for a new Anfield, the new home of Liverpool Football Club...and no-one else.