Is Everton Protestant or Catholic?

Bob Waterhouse 09/08/2018 173comments  |  Jump to last

Since the split in 1892, there developed a widely-held belief that Everton became the club of the substantial Merseyside Catholic population and Liverpool of the Protestant population. Influential members of the clubs’ respective boards seem to have given substance to this belief.

While Everton was originally founded as a Methodist schoolboys club, it has a strong lasting association with Merseyside Catholic Irish.

The founder of Liverpool FC (originally called "Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds company Ltd" or "Everton Athletic") was John Houlding, an Orangeman. So were most of the original directors including John McKenna. Houlding was a member of both the Working Mans' Conservative Association and the Liverpool Protestant Association, the latter morphed into George Wise's Liverpool Protestant Party, which contested Liverpool Corporation wards Netherfields and St Domingo's as late as 1973.

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Everton acquired Catholic support ever since a certain Dr James Clement Baxter joined the Board of Directors at the turn of the 19th Century (also, the neighbouring Scotland Road and Vauxhall areas were and continue to be, overwhelmingly Catholic). Obviously, Catholics were by no means the sole supporters of Everton (which commands the support of most Liverpudlians), but it is noted nonetheless. Geography plays a part (North-West versus South-East), although this reflects the religious divide. [1] The fact that many of the respective clubs’ early board members were influential local politicians gave legs to this theory. This was particularly the case in a city, which at the time, had deep sectarian divisions often maintained by local political divisions.

The split of Everton FC in 1892 that brought Liverpool FC into existence saw theemergence onto the football scene of a body of men with strong politicalidentities. The men who controlled the fortunes of Everton and Liverpool footballclubs also took an active part in local politics and it would be strange, given thepolitical environment these men operated within, that football in the City ofLiverpool could have remained untouched from matters of religious controversyand discretely contained in a purely sporting context. To understand why thiswould be so, it is necessary to take a short detour into the sectarian history ofLiverpool politics.

During the pioneering period of professional football in Liverpool, religioussectarianism dominated local life – affecting housing, schooling, and the city’soccupational structure. By the mid-19th century, almost a quarter of thecity’s population were Irish born, and by the century’s end, Liverpool remained akey destination point for an exodus of Irish Protestants and Catholics. Frictionbetween the city’s Protestant and Catholic populations was a feature of the sociallandscape – on many occasions erupting into street violence and rioting betweenethnically divided communities. Some historians have argued that the ferocity ofthe hostility between Irish Catholics in Liverpool and the “native” British and IrishProtestant community surpassed the sectarian divide in Scotland, and only standsclose comparison with the experience of towns of Northern Ireland: ‘Liverpool –sister of Belfast, rough, big hearted, Protestant and Unionist’. Like no othermainland British city, Liverpool reflected the contours of the ongoing struggle in19th Century and early 20th Century Ireland between Unionism andNationalism over the matter of Home Rule for Ireland. [2]

By the time of my own upbringing on Merseyside in the 1960s and 70s, this overt sectarianism had appeared to have died out. However, I can remember the distress that my own mother felt one day after work when she had been shunned by the predCatholicy catholic workforce in her dock canteen by inadvertently wearing an orange pinafore for the day on July 12th!

More recently, Wayne Rooney’s grandmother has described him as ‘Irish on the inside’ and his legacy as part of Croxteth’s 60% Catholic community, is stressed as the continuance of the special links between Everton FC and the city’s Irish Catholic population. [3]

As has already been described, the split between the clubs owed much to late 19th Century political divisions in the city. Uniquely in England this split, well into the twentieth century continued to have a religious aspect which was intimately associated with ‘the Irish question’.

The important point to make here is that, whereas in other towns the issues primarily to be addressed and contested by local parties would be the more prosaic matters of, say, housing and health provision, or the setting of rates, in Liverpool “Imperial affairs” (that is, the stance taken by ward candidates on religion and the Irish Question), were paramount. For this reason, it would be completely understandable, given the high incidence of football club directors active in the local Liberal and Conservative parties, if ethno-religious labels became attached to Everton and Liverpool football clubs via the political views held by those directors. [4]

David Kennedy also shows how many early directors of Liverpool FC were officers in the Liverpool Working Man’s Association; the Glasgow branch was also intimately involved in cementing the sectarian development of Glasgow Rangers. He also has documented the similar influence of Freemasonery at the board level of both clubs. [5]

It is worth noting that the Liverpool Working Man’s Association changed its name to the Liverpool Protestant Party which contested Liverpool Corporation wards Netherfields and St Domingo's as late as 1973. [6]

Dod also claims that Everton acquired significant support in the neighbouring predominantly Catholic areas of Scotland Road and Vauxhall which was facilitated, as previously described, by the earlier role of Dr James clement Baxter who was a well respected physician to many local Catholic families. [7]

There continued to be much anecdotal evidence, up till the late 20th Century of the sectarian divisions between the fans – People ‘dressed’ their houses to advertise Cup Final footballing allegiances, though my Mum would never allow my brother’s Evertonian blue to go up in case neighbours or passers-by mistakenly took us forCatholics – John Williams [8]

The late Eric Heffer, Labour MP (Liverpool Walton - 1960s & 70s) once remarked he was obliged to associate himself with Everton FC (as opposed to the Protestant and formerly Tory-supporting Liverpool FC) throughout his career. [9]"In Liverpool, even in the two-ups and two-downs, most Protestants wereConservative and most Catholics were Labour, just as Everton was theCatholic team and Liverpool the Proddy-Dog one." – Cilla Black [10] "Being a Roman Catholic school, religion played a large part in our schoollife. Pop Moran even tried to turn me off football at Anfield – Catholicswere traditionally Everton supporters and players, Liverpool were theProtestant team. Pop honestly thought that being a Catholic I wouldn’t behappy at Anfield." – Tommy Smith (ex-Liverpool FC player and captain) [11]

However, it must be said that my research, and the majority of the more detailed research into the fans of Everton FC, conclude that the sectarian divisions of Glasgwegian, and even to some extent Mancunian, football supporters, are in no way matched by football supporters in Liverpool.

There, in fact, is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the fan base of both clubs is non-sectarian.

Although the Irish community had a flourishing amateur football leagues by the early 20th Century, this didn’t translate into professional football. There wasn’t the emergence of a catholic club as was the case in Ulster, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh. Both clubs in Liverpool had emerged from the Methodist New Connexion chapel team of St. Domingo’s. Although Liverpool FC was criticised in the Socialist press for not allowing a collection for striking Dublin transport workers, there is nothing in the local catholic press of the time to denote a specific sectarian attachment in the pre- war years. Of the Irish national party councillors in the city, Taggart had shares in Everton, while Austin Harford did in Liverpool. [12]

The question of why a similarly Catholic-based club, such as Glasgow Celtic, didn’t emerge in Liverpool is key to an understanding this issue. The detailed research of David and Peter Kennedy into this issue explains why this didn’t happen in Liverpool even though Liverpool had the greatest proportional immigration of Irish in the late 19nth century of any British city – in 1871, Liverpool had 15.45% of its population of Irish origin. The nearest to it was Manchester with 9%. [13]

Crucially the Kennedys have discovered that, despite the development of many Catholic football teams in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, none of them developed into an equivalent of Glasgow |Celtic. They have given two reasons for this. Firstly, none of the teams lasted or were part of an organised league. Secondly, the local Catholic hierarchy actively discouraged the development of such a team for their own political reasons.

It was the policy of the Liverpool Catholic hierarchy to integrate the Irish into British culture, whilst maintaining their Catholicism. This was due to the perceived threat to the native population of their poverty and passive support for Irish nationalism; to counter this, the hierarchy tried to cultivate respectability through constructing a network of charitable organisations. It also tried to emphasise British, rather than Irish, culture in its schools.

Also, Irish priests were vetted to screen out those with strong Irish nationalist views and 301 out of 391 priests employed were non-Irish. The leaders were outspoken opponents of Irish nationalism, eg, Bishop Goss was a stern critic of Fenianism and Bishop Whiteside was actually a Unionist! The overwhelming loyalty was to the Pope, rather than to Irish nationalism. Many of their appointments to run Irish parishes were continental clerical orders, eg, the largest was St Antony’s on Scotland Road which was run by French missionary priests.

The overall effect of this was to create specific parish, rather than Irish, identities. The parishes’ sports teams played a full role in this. Irish nationalist politicians started to get elected in Liverpool by the late 19thc due to the development of universal suffrage. However, this seemed to direct them into developing the class, rather than ethnic, concerns of their constituents. The only MP to actively promote Irish nationalism in Liverpool was the Irish outsider Thomas Power O’connor, who was criticised by local activists. [14]

Indeed, as the clubs developed, they both developed strong links with both Catholic and Protestant populations:

"Both professional clubs developed strong links with the Liverpool Irish. This was especially the case at Everton where some board members were influential supporters of the Home rule movement e.g. Irishman Dr. William Whitford, a surgeon and Chairman of the Everton district liberal association. A later Chairman James Clement Baxter, another prominent Liberal, was instrumental in securing the loan which enabled them to leave Anfield. His son, Cecil Stuart Baxter, also became Chairman of Everton. There were 2 other Liberal Home rulers on the board." – Alfred Gates and George Mahon. [15]

At Liverpool, this was matched after the death of John Houlding:

"Three Irish publicans joined the board – John Joseph Hill, Thomas Crompton (a former Everton player) and William Harvey Webb. Even in 1892, there were Irish councillor shareholders in both clubs: John Gregory Taggart – Everton and Austin Harford – Liverpool. There is also strong anecdotal evidence that both clubs, but particularly Everton, gained strong support from the Irish community." [16]

Irish nationalist councillors in the city also contributed to the non sectarian development of both clubs:

"Of the Irish National Party councillors in the city, Taggart had shares in Everton, while Austin Harford did in Liverpool." [17]

Both clubs also provided facilities for teams of both religions to use, in contrast to Scotland and Northern Ireland:

"In Scotland and Northern Ireland, only Irish clubs recruited Irish players. In Scotland, there developed an antagonism to recruiting Catholic players as exemplified in the long-term anti-Catholic discrimination at Glasgow Rangers. In Northern Ireland, the establishment saw football as a vehicle for Unionism and Linfield, the biggest club, became identified with the Protestant cause. Catholic grounds were also attacked, eg, Hibernian needed to form its own guard to secure a playing area. Celtic’s fixtures were often marked by crowd violence. Belfast Celtic were eventually forced out of existence due to this in 1949. There was also discrimination to these clubs from the football authorities who sometimes found it difficult to join local and regional leagues. By contrast, in Liverpool, Irish teams seemed to face little or no hostility in being admitted to local leagues. Both clubs provided players to train St. Francis Xavier club team. There also seems to have been free movement between local club teams eg, St Francis Xavier and Brittanic. The lack of hostility was maybe also due to the lack of an Irish threat to the two major clubs. [18]

One of the more recent developments that gave rise to the view that Everton is the catholic club was the significant recruitment of Irish Catholicl players by the club in the 1950s:

"Through the 1950s, the Everton team took on a distinctly Irish flavour, with the likes of Peter Farrell and Tommy Eglington becoming big crowd favourites. This brought about a significant influx of Irish fans and may have been responsible for suggesting a Catholic flavour." [19]

However, this seems to be due to Everton’s more extensive scouting network in Southern Ireland than to any religious link. Indeed, there seems to be no evidence that either club deliberately targeted a particular community in their recruitment policies.

"However, despite there being a marked difference between Everton andLiverpool in the volume of players selected from Ireland, evidence suggests that,overall, there was no attempt by the clubs to operate discriminatory policies onthe grounds of religious sectarianism when employing playing staff. And neitherdoes there appear to have been any policy to build up support amongst onesection of the population to the detriment of attracting support from anothersection." [20]

In Manchester, there is more historic evidence of sectarianism which could arise from Manchester City’s origins the Church of England parish of St Marks in Gorton. The recruitment policies of Manchester United were also focused earlier on Southern Ireland when they became the first club to sign an Irish player in the early 20th century. Their widespread recruitment of Catholic players in the 1950s also lead to some of their Protestant professionals to complain of discrimination against them. [21]

The overwhelming research evidence indicates that neither club, despite their origins, has a specifics sectarian support on the lines of clubs in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

References

1. Dod – ‘Trouble between orange bigots and Liverpool people’ September 2007
2. David Kennedy – ‘Red and Blue and Orange and Green
3. Rooney is part of a Generation Irish ‘On the Outside’ – The Independent, 11 October 2006
4. David Kennedy – ‘Red and Blue and Orange and Green
5. Op. Cit
6. Dod – ‘The trouble between Orange Bigots and the Liverpool people’ September 2007
7. Op. Cit.
8. John Williams – ‘Into the Red: Liverpool FC and the changing face of football'
9. Dod – ‘The trouble between Orange Bigots and the Liverpool people’ September 2007
10. ‘Cilla and Ricky’s “Scouseness” Test’ Liverpool Echo, 17 December 2002.
11. Tommy Smith and Dave Stuckey ‘I Did It the Hard Way’ p.14.
12. John Belchem – ‘Irish, Catholic and Scouse – The History of the Liverpool Irish 1800-1939’ 2007
13. David and Peter Kennedy - ‘Irish Football Clubs in Liverpool
14. Op. Cit.
15. Op. Cit.
16. Op. cit.
17. John Belchem – ‘Irish, Catholic and Scouse – The History of the Liverpool Irish 1800-1939’ 2007
18. David and Peter Kennedy - ‘Irish Football Clubs in Liverpool
19. Michael Kenrick –‘Are Evertonians Catholic or ProtestantToffeeWeb
20. David Kennedy – ‘Red and Blue and Orange and Green
21. Stuart Brennan – ‘Why Rangers ‘hate’ the Reds’ Manchester Evening News 12 August 2004

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Reader Comments (173)

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Nicholas Ryan
1 Posted 09/08/2018 at 16:45:03
This is a question, that should Never be asked; Never ever.
Steve Hogan
2 Posted 09/08/2018 at 16:51:22
Bob, if you don't mind me saying, the timing of this article is rather strange. Apart from the historical context, it seems nobody really cares in the 21c.

Perhaps at the current time we should be asking 'Is Everton a South American team'?

ie Bernard, Mina, Gomes, Richarlison et al

Jim Burns
3 Posted 09/08/2018 at 16:52:35
Yawns loudly as he irons his sash while listening to Ave Maria on the radio . FFS!
Steve Hogan
4 Posted 09/08/2018 at 16:54:44
This looks like an academic contribution Bob ie well referenced?
Alan McGuffog
5 Posted 09/08/2018 at 17:08:54
Oy vey...enough of this knish already. Driving me meshuga
Jimmy Salt
6 Posted 09/08/2018 at 17:27:07
Have to agree with the first comments on this article.
It is well referenced and a good read but the title spoils the whole thing.
This sort of question needs to remain a memory.
David Pearl
7 Posted 09/08/2018 at 17:32:57
Well yes I grew up being told catholic... not that we were, or cared. A bit outdated really but errm. A blue is blue
Alan Bodell
8 Posted 09/08/2018 at 17:41:23
A very well researched piece on the 'history of our history' and to add to the ambiguity of many who think they know i'd add when Glasgow Celtic have adopted and sing at most games that song Gerry Marsden made famous, something about not walking alone or something, then we can all put it to bed that the two clubs from our city are today not sectarian unlike theirs still is.
Ray Roche
9 Posted 09/08/2018 at 17:43:10
David, and I grew up believing that there were no religious divides in our football city, although my Dad had a definite Orange side to him.
I still don't think it matters and further more, it's a question that, like Nicholas says, should never be asked. Why do some people try to make a big deal out of something that doesn't exist ?
John McFarlane Snr
10 Posted 09/08/2018 at 17:47:17
I must confess that I didn't finish reading the article, this is a fallacy that has been done to death over the years, in the same way that we were supposed to be racist.

I would imagine that most football clubs, with the exception of Celtic and Rangers, [and possibly Hearts and Hibs], have a mixture of faiths and also non believers, from Boardroom level down. I agree with David [6] that a 'Blue' is a 'Blue' and that's all that matters.

Brian Williams
11 Posted 09/08/2018 at 17:49:45
Fuck off. Everton has NOTHING to do with religion and your fucking story should never have been published.
Absolute shite trying to introduce religion into Everton.
Peter Fearon
12 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:00:45
I understand why this is interesting from a historical point of view and I believe that there is no subject that should not be discussed openly, but in the context of our times and given the sectarian history of this city, Glasgow and Belfast among others, I deplore a debate on this irrelevant topic in this forum. Michael, Lyndon, do we really need to go there? To what end?
David Pearl
13 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:01:24
I’ve just heard that Marcel Brands walks on water.
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:02:22
As Steve (4) says Bob is just looking back into the history of religious divide in the city of Liverpool, you either take it or leave it, I certainly don't think Bob is stirring up any unrest.
Jim Marray
15 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:03:32
Clearly I am a bit older than most who have posted so I do remember the idea of the sectarian split between the clubs particularly as one of our neighbours was a red solely because they were protestant.
I also remember the Irish Nationalist graffiti in the streets to the South of Scotland road and the pro Orange/anti Papist graffiti on the wall near the flats on Netherfield Brow (and all this was there in the early 1980s).
However, the truth was that the sectarianism was never strong and my dad and his mates (mainly merchant seamen) used to go and watch both teams when they were home. So for me neither Everton or Liverpool were viewed as sectarian in the 70s when I spent my youth going to the match as often as I could. And unlike Parkhead I can never remember being asked if I want to buy An Phoblact while waiting for the game to start :)
Julian Wait
16 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:07:13
Jim #15 - agree with all of that. No-one I knew ever chose a club because of their religion. My dad - a staunch catholic - used to watch both teams as well; and he was also a Merchant Seaman, during and after the war. I asked him once and he didn't think there was any real affinity. Plenty of RS used to have Celtic scarves as well, although I never saw many Everton fans with either Celtic or Rangers scarves.
Ian Burns
17 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:11:39
I am astonished that TW has published this article. I thought we were better than that. This is the first time in reading; contributing and enjoying this website more than any other, that I have had reason to complain.

I realise it is a free country and everybody has an opinion (even that prat Boris Johnson) - but this is one article which in my opinion should be taken down. It has nothing to do with EFC and has little historical fact that makes this article relevant.

Nick West
18 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:13:03
Who cares? Everton is for everyone, no matter their religion, gender, sexuality, race, nationality etc.

Bit puzzled to see such a piece on here, to be honest.

Si Cooper
19 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:16:40
Some snowflakes on here.
It’s a valid subject to research due to the situation in Glasgow and other places where that schism exists or has ever flourished.
If it doesn’t interest you in particular stick with the OPs that do.
No harm no foul, each to their own, freedom of expression, etc, etc.
Dermot Byrne
20 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:22:37
Interesting that people seem worried a bit of historical research is so dangerous. Not sure it is inciting anything.

Doubt it is a relevant question now but interested to see history.

Drew Shortis
21 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:24:35
I'm not from the city so don't feel I can comment with any authority, but I've never been aware of any deeply held religious connections by either club. I was under the impression Liverpool had more Irish fans and there was some kind of link between Everton & Rangers, but I could well be talking out of my arse about that. More of an impression than anything solid.

I have to agree with the first response, this shouldn't really be a question that's worth asking. You see the hatred that can be caused by religious rivalry & the nonsense between Rangers & Celtic. I don't like the idea of the two senior teams of Liverpool developing anything more than a sporting rivalry.

Brian Williams response is a little OTT, but I understand the sentiments. I think it's a legitimate thing to research if your interested in the history, but it's certainly not something we should dwell on.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

22 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:25:19
I think Bob is being harshly treated by some posters in this thread.

I don't think the editors have done him or his opening post any favours being published on TDD with so much angst and interest on who we are signing.

Nor does the stark headline help 'warm' an audience to Bob's evidently well-researched and accurate reporting of Everton's early history and how both the red and blue divide of the city clubs was influenced by religious affiliation.

I recall just a few months ago having this aspect of Everton's early history revealed to me on these very pages by one of the authors Bob references, David Kennedy, and his book 'Merseyside's Old Firm: The Sectarian Roots of Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs'.

David was also harshly treated and misunderstood as Bob appears to be here by some.

I consider neither David nor Bob are trying to argue that affiliation to Everton and Liverpool is determined along sectarian heritage, even though in both clubs' formative years the governance of each was heavily biased towards different religious creeds and political allegiance.

What both David and Bob seem at pains to demonstrate is that - to their credit - neither of our city clubs adhered to such sectarian traits as is evident in the Auld Firm pair in Glasgow. For that I believe we can be both grateful and proud.

So from me, well done Bob. You certainly don't merit the dismissive scorn some have posted in this thread.

Matthew Clarke
23 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:34:12
Theobald Tone Wolf was protestant but staunchley irish republican and a major historical influence in republican policitcs. Traditionally republican politics was never sectarian it was always the protestant domain sectarian politics as a means of controling the catholic population after partition which led to the civil rights marches in northern Ireland in the late 1960's and the birth of the provo's and twenty five years of bloodshed on both sides of the divide.

In 2018 does it really matter if you're catholic or protestant it's all about the team you support, unless you just want to seriously shit stir, especialy with tensiosn still bubbling under the surface in the north.

Darren Hind
24 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:39:51
Dont get yourself too upset Ian.

The history of religion is like every other subject really, There will always be some (not necessarily those who are religious themselves ) who find the subject facinating

I don't think there is any offence intended here. its just a pity Bob didnt speak to John Mc first. He may have thought twice about putting in all that time and effort researching a subject which, as John points out, has already been done to death

Ray Roche
25 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:40:21
Is Norway a Catholic country?
Jim Hardin
26 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:48:30
Well researched and written piece. I appreciated it as I have not seen the other articles or treatises on the subject. I am wondering though, if an article more appropriate wouldn't be whether Evertonians can truly believe in any god, given the last few decades and the rise of Liverpool? Surely, a supreme being wouldn't let this happen if he or she did exist? *

*Merely intended as humor.

Ian Burns
27 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:55:35
Darren - 24 - yes you are right - apologies all. However, I am touchy (obviously) when religion gets in the way of sport. It has caused enough wars already, for me it is one subject which I wish could stay out of sport.
Gary Russell
28 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:58:24
Does it even matter? I am religiously an atheist and guess many on here are too. But organised religion, that scourge on humanity, seeps into everything, sadly.
Stephen Davies
29 Posted 09/08/2018 at 18:58:44
Ian # 17 purely on 1 point.


The writer has quoted quite a lot of facts in his article

Dave Lynch
30 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:01:50
I'm off to Norway on a cruise on Saturday Ray.

I can't wait for one of the locals to recognise my accent and start spouting shit about the other lot.

As my mother used to say. " He'll get the full length of my tongue."

Ian Burns
31 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:03:13
Yes agreed Stephen, maybe I was a little hasty - but I just think it is a subject which need not be aired anymore as religion has caused enough heartache. However, I have taken the slap on the wrist and we move on.
Gerry Quinn
32 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:08:31
Religion in Norway is mostly Lutheranism, with 71.5% of the population belonging to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway in 2016. The Catholic Church is the next largest Christian church at 2.9%.

Therefore all Koppites are Lutheran...all Evertonians are every other religion and don't care who believes in what as long as they all believe in Everton!

Simple

Brian Williams
33 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:26:48
Si Cooper.
Fuck all to do with being a snowflake.
If you'd seen the damage and death caused by someone asking that very question "are you catholic or proteatant"? you might understand some of the strength of feeling.
If you had any experience in the deaths to both sides during the troubles purely in the name of religion (discounting politics) then you'd realize your "snowflake" comment is as deeply offensive as the question itself.
I'm no snowflake mate but the question fucking riles me like nothing else.
Dave Lynch
34 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:39:57
FFs Brian. Chill out mate!

Murder and killing has gone on because of religion since man created invisible people that live in the sky.

Whether you, me or next doors dog like it or not it's part of human nature. It was an attempt ( and a decent one at that) at exploring a part of our history.

No need for the venom mate.

I have spent a lot of time in Ireland, both north and south, I'm married to a Gaelic speaking Irish woman and still go over 4-5 times a year as I have done for the past 35 years.

The troubles are long gone and thank fuck they are. Still a minority of idiots but there always is wherever you go.

Joe McMahon
35 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:45:42
FFS it's a day of transfers plus I thought this kind of question went away in 1961. The years is 2018, fans, football and attitude has changed.
Ray Roche
36 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:52:18
Dave@30
I went on a cruise to Norway in 2013. Lovely time but the weather was .erm...changeable. No, it pissed down while the UK sweltered in 80c!
But we had a great time (thanks Holland America) If the weather behaves you’ ll have great time. Enjoy 👍
Dave Lynch
37 Posted 09/08/2018 at 19:55:32
Cheers Ray.

I'm really looking forward to it.

Gerry Morrison
38 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:07:05
Yesterday-Cult
Today-Religion
Tomorow-Myth
Don Alexander
39 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:22:32
Most of us this century on TW have found themselves turning to Buddha as far as I'm concerned.

As in,

"Budd-ha thought we wuz PROMISED a new stadium!"

"Budd-ha can play better than Barkley!"

"Budd-ha was told Chang was beer!"

I'll get me coat.

Frank Wade
40 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:26:52
Bob's article finishes with "The overwhelming research evidence indicates that neither club, despite their origins, has a specific sectarian support on the lines of clubs in Scotland and Northern Ireland."

Most of the posts above would support his conclusion.

Peter Gorman
41 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:43:39
I couldn't care less about religion despite being raised in one of the aforementioned traditions but I certainly don't believe Bob deserves the derision being cast his way for what is actually a well-researched article on the club's history.

That is basically my less eloquent tuppence version of what Jay Wood said in post 22.

Derek Thomas
42 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:52:18
Not again; Just fuck off with this out dated sectarian fantasy. Leave it to the idiots in Glasgow and Belfast.

The Club is and alway was Blue, nothing to do with orange or green.

Andrew Laird
43 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:53:19
Ray Roche has summed it up at #9 with:
“Why do some people try to make a big deal out of something that doesn't exist ?” enough said Ray.

Brian Denton
44 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:53:28
Is the Pope a Catholic?
Charles Barrow
45 Posted 09/08/2018 at 20:57:19
The author should not be criticised for a piece of historical research. My comment is merely that this issue was discussed a couple of months ago in another thread on this site.

It is of some relevance as many Irish and glasgow fans of the “other side” have often justified their allegiance on sectarian religious grounds. This article makes it clear that this view is nonsense.

Max Murphy
46 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:02:58
Interesting article. Well researched. Thanks Bob.

Apologies to the plebs on here who cannot see the article for its historical context – and are merely brain dead from too much exposure to football.

Dick Fearon
47 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:05:47
David @13, O)ther than Marcel Brands one other walked on water and he can't do that any more cos he has holes in his feet.
I'll grab my coat.
Andy Finigan
48 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:07:47
In my younger days, there was proportionally a 50-50 mix in the park end when we used to sing "Celtic -Rangers", but I don't think it is important what our supporters religion is. Just enjoy supporting our team.
James Hughes
49 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:18:09
A piss poor OP. My family half red, half blue and we are allegedly CoE. Went to the match will left footers and proddie dogs alike.
Ray at #9 is spot on.
Brian at post 33 is right, if you can see the shit storm caused by the religon question, then you know to leave well alone.
A shite article and I ashamed that TW put it out there, especially after a great day. Lyndon & Michael Hang your heads bwoy
Alan Bodell
50 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:18:36
Year 2018, interesting article of football origin on Merseyside and people get offended and outraged because the subject is religious with no inflammatory content ?, yep this is year 2018 everyone.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
51 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:32:13
Snowflake alert indeed! I can't believe there are so many who feel the need to make such strange statements about what is a simple piece of largely historical research. If you're not interested... swerve!

We try to publish most things Everton-related that are sent to us unless it is obviously problematic. Ironically, I put up because I wanted to check some formatting issues with the author, and assumed you'd all be distracted with the Deadline Day shenanigans So much for that theory!

Personally, I'm in the John Lennon camp — "Imagine no religion..." but you can't negate the history of our club and the ironies that saw it grow from a Methodist entity to leaning more toward Rome, at least in terms of the Board of Directors and attracting a significant Irish / Catholic following.

Thankfully such distinctions are largely a thing of the past... but take a moment to count the Irish names on this forum, and the number who respond with that "RIP" nonsense when someone dies. And this at a time when we are seeing more and more demonstrations of religious faith from players genuflecting as they come on the field, or pointing to the heavens in celebration of a goal.

I wish it would all go away... but a number of the adherents are duty bound, as I understand it, to tell us all about it, or to kill us if we qualify as infidels.

Michael Lynch
52 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:34:21
Michael

Amen to that

Peter Warren
53 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:40:02
Thought it was a good piece personally!
Kevin O'Regan
54 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:40:19
I'll be honest - I am a believer brought up Catholic and faith is something which is important to me. But having seen what happend in the north, and people claiming to be either Catholic or Protestant - but not really practising their faith - ie. putting it into practice- then this has no relevance at all. Not for them, not for EFC and not for any church. One thing I do believe however is that today my faith in the big fella upstairs being a toffee became a lot stronger.
Shane Corcoran
55 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:45:35
Matthew #23, I think you've got Wolfe Tone's name backwards there.

Interesting read for this old atheist Irishman.

I'm a Celtic fan and I hated when we had so many former Rangers players in the 1990s. Nothing to do with religion but their sectarian songs are shit whilst I do enjoy the rebel songs sung at Parkhead.

James Hughes
56 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:48:52
Michael, ever been to Glasgow for an old firm game. They do not take the issue lightly. Your response is poor and not relevant.

Ed Fitzgerald
57 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:51:36
Everton and many other football clubs have religious roots therefore there is nothing wrong at all with article. If you don’t like it, don’t read it!

If you want to pretend that there is no legacy of sectarianism on Merseyside left - get yourself up to Southport any July 12th and then pass judgement.

Racism, Sexism and Bigotry have no place in Sport or society in the 21st century but to be blind to the fact it still exists is fanciful at best.

Danny Broderick
58 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:53:24
Some over-sensitive souls on here. This post is nothing to do with sectarianism, it is just looking back at our roots, and the conclusion at the end concludes that there was no religious divide. I personally have been asked in the past if one side was catholic and one side was protestant, and I never really knew the answer. It was never an issue for me, but it is nice to at least know the facts.

There are too many people these days who take offence to things merely if they disagree with the subject. There is nothing offensive in this post.

Brian Williams
59 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:55:55
Michael (#51).

I have to admit that I didn't read one word of the article because it's title alone is, in my book, completely out of order.

I suppose those that don't have too much first-hand knowledge, or are not aware, of some of the absolute atrocities carried out by Protestants and Catholics because they simply WERE either Protestant or Catholic may find nothing wrong with the question but I find someone asking whether my club is Protestant or Catholic insulting in the extreme and inflammatory unless they're completely naive and/or socially unaware (IMHO).

Michael Kenrick
60 Posted 09/08/2018 at 21:58:36
That is half the point of the OP you despise, James, that Everton and their history are in fact quite different from Scotland. Good to see you picking up on that despite your asinine comments.
James Hughes
61 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:12:32
Michael its still only half a point, is that asinine enough for you.
Michael Kenrick
62 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:17:47
Brian, your refusal to read the article because you don't like the title... I can't help you there.

But the article does actually illustrate and support the historical context of the question, if you are at all interested. And it is fundamentally a historical question.

I understand your concerns regarding the countless atrocities committed in the name of religions... That's not the subject of the article, but I too find it hard to ignore with any mention of religion.


Dave Lynch
63 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:19:25
James @56.
Wtf have the two Glasgow clubs got to do with the two Liverpool clubs?

Other than transfer dealings I'll give you a clue.

Fuck all...

Alan Bodell
64 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:23:01
Michael, it's 2018, you're wasting you're time with these offended by everything people, today has been a good day for our signings hopefully and this really was a well put together piece of our historic support base which ever way it originated in those so dark days of religious discord.
Christy Ring
65 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:29:52
Its a well written, and very thorough, historical facts, and I don't see why people are getting high over religion. I saw a documentary, a few ago on Irish TV, and back in the 50's and 60's, the Irish players came across on the boat, and Everton was the club they all signed for. The great Dixie Dean ended up playing for Sligo Rovers also, that's just the way it was.

John Boon
66 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:33:20
Such a topic is so outdated that it borders on ridiculous even though the actual facts are generally accurate. Surely we have passed the Rangers Celtic naive mentality. Religion has no part in football. I am a seventy nine year old Catholic but that is totally irrelevant when I watch my beloved Blues.Even more unimportant is the religious belief of the players. The only factor is if they can score goals or stop their opponents scoring.
Aidan Wade
67 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:33:31
There was probably a way to sidle up to this topic and make some interesting comments on Everton history - instead the title clangs like a frying pan upside the head. Hugely out of step with a modern football club - It's not that such historical questions are not worth discussing, they should be handled with more tact than Slippy G in a Disco

Jamie Crowley
68 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:35:00
As an outsider I find this topic fascinating, as well as the responses.

It's part of the Club's history. That's all I see in this.

I'm Catholic. Some might say ardently so. Here's the thing the sectarians forget - especially the religious radical ones.

This will get a bit religious, but makes a point in the end (I hope).

Ask any devout Protestant or Catholic what's God's greatest gift? Atheists, just stay with me for a bit please. The answer is almost invariably "life" or "free will".

It's the free will thing that gets me and is paramount in my opinion. Human beings can choose to do anything or believe anything they want. Atheists wouldn't argue with that, and religious folk believe that's a gift from God.

So if you choose to be Catholic, Protestant, or Atheist, that's your right. Either by social convention or from above.

To me and in my mind, that means it doesn't really matter what an individual's religious preferences are - it's their right to believe in whatever the heck they want to.

And again for me, and what drove me away from Celtic and definitively towards Everton, Evertonians espouse that viewpoint.

Everything I've ever read on these pages about this subject, albeit a part of the Everton history, is that is doesn't matter. You're either Blue, or you aren't.

And thank God for that! Treating people poorly strictly because of their religious preferences is simply astoundingly unacceptable.

So leave that sectarian crap for others.

I've said it before, my best friend here in Florida is a Blue who played for the Everton Youth Team in the FA Cup. He's Protestant. We constantly joke back and forth - all of it in good fun and as friends - about my Catholicism and his Protestantism. He's a good, good man. He favors the Protestant way, I prefer Catholicism.

Who cares in the end?

Either the fairy tale I espouse is crap and I'll end up as worm food 6 feet under, or I'm going to meet my Maker. I prefer the fairy tale. So do Protestants. And Atheists can believe in whatever the hell they want to.

Keep it out of Everton. Everton has a history. It's a history that might be more a bit more of one than the other Christian faiths, but my experience with it is Everton is all-inclusive.

And that's awesome.

Open door policy - come one, come all.

FFS I hope I've not offended a single soul with this post.

Brent Stephens
69 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:37:27
No problem with this article, for me. It resonates with my own upbringing in the city, tensions in my family on religious and football matters, and with Everton's history. If there has been a similar article recently, skip this one. If you think it's irrelevant to the site, skip it. If you think the content is contestable, contest it or ignore it.

TW publishes all sorts of articles which are not purely about, but which are related to, football generally or Everton specifically. And is much richer for that.

Ray Roche
70 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:42:51
Thank God I'm an Atheist.
Jamie Crowley
71 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:44:32
Hahahaha! Ray! Brilliant!
Brent Stephens
72 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:46:57
Thank god I'm a blue.
Jack Convery
73 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:46:57
I once heard Jesus Christ Is An Evertonian - therefor what does it matter. Its a good historical piece - well written.
Ernie Baywood
74 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:49:34
Those who are calling it outdated... you realise it's a piece on history don't you?

Interesting enough piece. Clearly religion was a big part in our foundation but I've never really bought the religious divide... I think it's something that people went looking for and when they found any hint it provided them with confirmation. It's called confirmation bias.

There also will have been families for whom their two most significant beliefs were their religion and their football colours. Taking a sense of being a part of "what's right" might have made people link the two.

Peter Mills
75 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:50:10
Michael #51. I respect that you have published this article, the questions raised are perfectly valid as a matter of historical research.

However, as someone who has posted “RIP”, or “May he (or she) rest in peace” as a comment of genuine respect and condolence on this site, I find your description of it as “nonsense” to be uncharacteristicly opinionated and unnecessary.

Ciarán McGlone
76 Posted 09/08/2018 at 22:57:13
Good article.. the title was always a pertinent question which was asked in the parts i'm from. Rightly or wrongly.

I'd actually read part of a phd on the same topic a few years ago. Came to much the same conclusion on the history of both clubs and the city.

Anybody who's genuinely offended by this historical piece would be best avoiding libraries for the rest of their lives.

Jamie Crowley
77 Posted 09/08/2018 at 23:06:21
I think Everton should start a Church of the Good Humo(u)r.

Clearly we have it in abundance.

Between Ray's comment and Ciaran's:
Anybody who's genuinely offended by this historical piece would be best avoiding libraries for the rest of their lives.

I laughed my ass off.

I'm converting to the Church of Good Humo(u)r.

Brent Stephens
78 Posted 09/08/2018 at 23:08:12
"I'm converting to the Church of Good Humo(u)r".

Me too. "Altarnative" humour?


Jamie Crowley
79 Posted 09/08/2018 at 23:10:44
Hahahaha! Yes Brent, yes.

Too good. It astounds me the ability to have such wit with the English language you fine people across the pond possess.

Brent Stephens
80 Posted 09/08/2018 at 23:13:24
I laugh at you yanks as well, Jamie!
Tony Abrahams
81 Posted 09/08/2018 at 23:32:07
And with laughter being so important Jamie, I think it might be a very wise choice!

Agree with Peter Mills, and can only say in Michael’s defence, that we all speak nonsense at times!

Live and let live is such an impossible dream, and I’m sure many a wise man would tell us this?

And finally going back to religion, but we are going to have some catholics, in our team next season, after the transfer window we have just had. Up the blues!

Kevin Fitzsimons
82 Posted 10/08/2018 at 00:13:54
For anybody who doesn't understand please visit this excellent explanation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdolFXcNAH4

Enyoy COYB

Dave Bowen
83 Posted 10/08/2018 at 01:14:47
I look at the Neanderthals that support Celtic & Rangers based on some spurious belief in a god that may or may not exist, and shake my head at their stupidity. Now this well-meaning, but misguided article is posted and wonder at this new stupidity.
Dan Davies
84 Posted 10/08/2018 at 01:39:08
Is Everton run by freemasons?
Frank McGregor
85 Posted 10/08/2018 at 01:46:57
To be honest I don't know if the present Pope we have now is a Catholic.
Sure have my doubts!!
John Hughes
86 Posted 10/08/2018 at 03:23:32
I am a proud C of E man Church of Everton. COYB.
Alan J Thompson
87 Posted 10/08/2018 at 04:49:00
As most have said, who really cares. Now, if you'd have asked me if it was a Brown Bitter or a Brown Mixed...
Tom Hughes
88 Posted 10/08/2018 at 05:13:36
Interesting article about the history of our club and city. Obviously, the title appeared slightly inflammatory at first glance but, if anything that only reflects the rather repugnant bigotry of those times.

Some have recoiled against it, but others might say that lessons can always be taken from history... and this is a part of our history. Plus the headmaster of my old school gets a mention for an extra connection (Pop Moran).

Bob Butchard
89 Posted 10/08/2018 at 05:38:01
I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Blue; I watched my first ever game from the Boys Pen. I don't suppose that would be allowed today, correctness unlimited.

My mum's brother-in-law, my uncle Peter, supported the other mob, but he enjoyed his football enough to go and watch whoever happened to be at home any given week.

He had a sarkie sense of humour, I remember him at our place one Sunday morning after Mass. Everton had been at home the day before. I asked the question, "What was the game like, uncle Peter?"

"I never got in," he replied, "they shut the gates."

Gullible young me queried, "How come they shut the gates?"

The inevitable grin told me I'd been sucked in again: "They ran out of Holy Water for the fonts," he chuckled.

That happened about 1950. Funny it has always stuck in my memory.

Peter Gorman
90 Posted 10/08/2018 at 06:06:11
"I look at the Neanderthals that support Celtic & Rangers"

As someone who has 3% archaic neanderthal DNA, I find that comment offensive.

Brent Stephens
91 Posted 10/08/2018 at 06:18:00
Alan #87 brown mixed as a teenager. Now, either.
Peter Howard
92 Posted 10/08/2018 at 06:46:54
Dat would be an ecumenical matter!
Jim Burns
93 Posted 10/08/2018 at 07:17:15
Si @ 19 - what's a snowflake? You are right to remind us that we are all entitled to a view and to express it on here. That's why I'm expressing mine. I don't think this article is relevant and the ground has been well trodden before.
Brian Williams
94 Posted 10/08/2018 at 07:31:43
Peter #90.

Hey Peter, so you saw that programme too with Doctor Alice Roberts. Fascinating wasn't it?

Mark Dunford
95 Posted 10/08/2018 at 08:18:10
A well-researched piece that – as others have pointed out – is let down badly by a crass headline. A shame as the article shows religion to be something of a personal issue and really argues for mutual tolerance rather than division.

Football is now global and the diversity within the team is hopefully apparent in the fan base. All undermined by the stupidity of the title.

Thomas Lennon
96 Posted 10/08/2018 at 08:25:59
In a century where this different groupings of the previous century have become less and less distinct we are seeing the rise of 'dogwhistle' politics in the US and the UK as the more extreme opinions become levers of power and profit – hopefully only for now but history tells us otherwise.

The OP piece is full of long disused 'whistles' that have faded out of use in my lifetime in the places I have lived. I lived in Belfast in the 1980s where they were in common use and police with automatic weapons searched you before you could go shopping on your own High Street. Soldiers would stop you in country roads in the dead of night to try to discern if you were paramilitary and that was largely done using religion as a reference. I lived in Glasgow in the 1980s too and although the religions lived side by side reasonably peaceably compared with Northern Ireland they were still in daily use.

Desperate times full of scared people, but eventually we learned to live in peace.

Long may they remain historical references. Unfortunately, we have new scapegoats now and again religion & culture is to the fore. It is important we remember our old mistakes and see where they got us so we can use that knowledge to take us forward in the 21st century – this time with a dramatic reduction in amount of blood lost. Hopefully, the story of footballing tribes on Merseyside is one such lesson.

Terence Connell
98 Posted 10/08/2018 at 08:57:43
Interesting article and there's no need to get nervous about it. We can talk about our past without getting hot under the collar.

I lived down south for many years and it used to irritate me when southerners asked me which is the Protestant team and which is the Catholic team on Merseyside. I told them that was nonsense and that most Liverpool families had reds and blues within their own houses.

Benjamin Dyke
99 Posted 10/08/2018 at 09:48:51
I for one loved reading this. I understand the sensitivities as a whole lot of evil has been done in the protestant/catholic name over many years in many places on these islands.
But for me it gave me an insight in to both the formation of my club and its subsequent history and an insight in to the world my forefathers in Liverpool lived through politically and socially, leading right up to my own parents and their family.
And thank goodness that most of us escaped the nonsense done in the name of the divide.
This kind of piece definitely belongs on ToffeeWeb.
Danny O'Neill
100 Posted 10/08/2018 at 11:02:46
Interesting read.

My non-researched & lighter view, just how I saw it as a youngster in the 90s and gut feeling.

I always felt that the Everton fan base was probably more Catholic, but that was purely a reflection of the demographics of the city; Liverpool being a city with more Catholics than most parts of the UK. If I recall a random stat floating around many years ago (again not researched it) was that we were the only city in the UK with more Catholics (%) apart from Londonderry / Derry.

In the 80s when we were all running around in half Everton / half Celtic or Rangers bobble hats, Evertonians seemed to lean more towards the blue / green whereas Kopites towards a red / blue combo. "To hell with Liverpool & Rangers too" as the line in the song goes.

I think it started to change with the Walter Smith & Duncan Ferguson link in the 90s, certainly from an outside perception phase.

Having worked away from the City since 1988, I always get asked this. There is an assumption because of wearing blue & said 90s links that we affiliate with Rangers & are the Protestant team.

My response is we are neither. Liverpool (city) is simply not divided like that; certainly from a football perspective nor in a sectarian way, not in my life time anyway.

I also point out that we are a mixed city full stop in footballing terms; families can be split down the middle on Derby day.

If I was to suggest either way, I'd say that by virtue of Liverpool's % of population being Catholic and that our strongholds were traditionally in the more working class parts of north Liverpool, then more of our fans were Catholic and therefore in that sense we were historically the "Catholic club". However I would also imagine for similar reasons, a large portion of the city based Liverpool cohort are too.

Interesting subject, but not one I think about too much. I'm Catholic, support Everton & follow Celtic because of family ties but it's football to me.

We are neither, just a reflection of the city we come from.

Danny O'Neill
101 Posted 10/08/2018 at 11:07:12
** youngster in the 80s (Eighties); I was older & wiser in the 90s!! God I'm at that stage of life where I lie about my age now!!
Alan J Thompson
102 Posted 10/08/2018 at 11:07:26
Brent(#91); Can you still get the Mild? And it can be an argumentative thing, anyone remember trying to explain Down South that the bitter went in first? As if some things in life weren't hard enough, they'd heard of the Black'n'Tan but didn't have a clue what it was.

That's the problem with these things, they raise other things which perhaps we should leave to the individual.

Brent Stephens
103 Posted 10/08/2018 at 11:28:34
Alan, yes, mild sold in a few pubs near me.
Mark Taylor
104 Posted 10/08/2018 at 11:46:38
To the extent I thought about it at all, I had always assumed that Liverpool were the Catholics and Everton the 'proddies' and that Liverpool had greater affinity to Celtic and Everton to Rangers. So this article challenges that perspective.

My family were Irish Catholics and supported Liverpool, so maybe that maybe explains my assumption. By accident more than design I ended up as an outlier and supported Everton but I am basically an atheist. Weirdly, we had a very close relative, also a Catholic, who played several hundred games for Everton after the war so I'm not sure why my immediate family plumped for Liverpool given those circumstances.

I think the conclusion I'd now draw is that neither club was one or the other and their respective fans don't care that much either way.

Rob Dolby
105 Posted 10/08/2018 at 12:17:06
Interesting, well researched and diversive article. In my opinion religion doesn't belong in sport neither does politics or racism.

Maybe in the future a piece could be done about our Russian influence as opposed to our American influenced neighbours.

Raymond Fox
106 Posted 10/08/2018 at 12:24:11
Bob seems to have touched the nerves of a few sensitive souls, trust religion to divide and cause anger. It's a well researched piece I found interesting and well written but I hope irrelevant as of now.

Religion was the best business money making model ever invented. I suppose it does not matter if there is no god. If you truly believe there is, dare I say it gives more meaning to your life. The downside is the fanatics who want to force others into their way of thinking.

David Pearl
107 Posted 10/08/2018 at 12:38:26
Danny, 100... that's how I remember it too. And those woolly hats. Celtic coming out to that song and having all those crap managers changed it all. I blame John Barnes. Times have changed and I somewhat route for Rangers now, err scrap that...!! Times change and that the divide still exists up north is repulsive. Then again the Middle East is hardly a beacon of light.

I think this article is quite well researched but the title of it should be changed.

Ray Thompson
108 Posted 10/08/2018 at 12:46:44
I am a fourth generation blue and I am a 66 years old season ticket holder. I am neither Catholic or Protestant and as far as I know none of my grandparents etc were affiliated to either side of the religious divide. When I was a kid, though, I was often asked by other kids whether I was a Proddy or a Cogger knowing that if I gave the wrong answer I would get a thump. Luckily the answer "neither" often got me off!!

I have often been asked this question of whether Everton is the Catholic or Protestant club and the answer alluded me though. The Street End in the 80s used to chant, "Celtic - Rangers" just to indicate that we fancied a scrap.

The best answer I now give is that the Everton/Liverpool split was on temperance lines. Everton board members being most influenced by their wives who were worried about the evils of drink and so left the pub landlord and owner of Anfield behind. Hard to believe, I know, but temperance was once a big an issue as religion.

Dean Johnson
109 Posted 10/08/2018 at 12:46:47
If ever there was reason not to write a fan article on this site, you have all your answers above.

Kenrick will slate or support you depending on his own point of view, not the actions of a responsible "editorial" team.

Others like Brian just can't help but perpetuate religious conflict by getting so angry "because of what he's seen in the past". Isn't that the kind of tit-for-tat mentality that is prevalent in the middle-east?

I found this a good read, what I didn't like was the sheer hatred towards the author by those who claim to hate religion and what has been done in its name.

Here's a thought, most people need an excuse to be a cunt. As long as that mitigating moral superiority is there, you believe it gives you the right to be a cunt to everyone else?

Hate begets hate and this country is lost in a sea of it.

Eric Paul
110 Posted 10/08/2018 at 12:55:03
Dean,

You're doing it.

Dave Abrahams
113 Posted 10/08/2018 at 14:16:17
Danny. (100), just as an historical point of interest I read in the 1960's that Bootle was the most catholic populated town in England, and the Protestants who lived there there were smashing fellows as well.
Paul Bernard
114 Posted 10/08/2018 at 14:27:00
People need to put their tampons back in and stop being enraged by everything.

The article is written to explore the past and move into the future united.

There will always be small sections of every club that contains idiots who are racist, sexist and often just full of hatred.

As far as I am concerned, I don't care who you are or what you look like, a blue is a blue.

Unless you are a Liverpool fan, I treat you with extreme caution ;)

Ed Prytherch
115 Posted 10/08/2018 at 17:03:22
Thanks, Bob, for an informative article.

I grew up in Ormskirk, born in 1947, lived in a council house. My dad played for Stalybridge Celtic before the war and he was a City supporter – hated Man Utd. We had a good mix of Protestants and Catholics on our street and everyone my age supported either Everton or Liverpool but there was not a strong link between religion and which team you supported.

I remember seeing election posters with religious affiliation on my way to Goodison in the late 50s and 60s and I had heard that religion, politics and football were aligned to some degree but I knew little detail. I appreciate the education of the article and the responses.

Kieran Kinsella
116 Posted 10/08/2018 at 17:56:55
Mark 95,

I agree -- the headline was awful and didn't reflect the actual article.

Michael,

I did find your "RIP" remarks offensive. One poster just lost his Dad here and we've seen others like Harold Matthews pass away. I think it's a bit crass to criticize however people (religious/non-religious) express their sympathies.

John G Davies
117 Posted 10/08/2018 at 18:06:32
Is RIP a religious term?

I have no interest in religion but a genuine question.

Derek Turnbull
118 Posted 10/08/2018 at 18:15:48
In the 60s or thereabouts did our fans rework songs to "Soldiers are we whose lives are pledged to Ireland" or to "we're on the one road, we're on wrong road to God knows where"?

Kase Chow
119 Posted 10/08/2018 at 18:29:09
Gotta say I find this type of article - or maybe the question - deeply uncomfortable

I am of Indian decent and love LOVE Everton. Love them

What does that mean? That I don’t ‘belong’? Because I’m not Catholic or Protestant?

Honestly, religion has caused enough problems hasn’t it?

Erik Dols
120 Posted 10/08/2018 at 18:56:34
Kase, no offense, but have you actually read the article? It claims (and proves) that "The overwhelming research evidence indicates that [Everton] has no specific sectarian support"... So If you're not Catholic or Protestant, you belong at Everton!
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

121 Posted 10/08/2018 at 19:11:55
You echo my thoughts, Erik.

There is evidence in this thread that the more vociferous voices opposed to the publication of Bob's article haven't read much beyond the headline and have based their conclusions on its content on that.

Dermot Byrne
123 Posted 10/08/2018 at 19:35:10
Kase, it really is nothing to do with any form of exclusion.

Religion may well have been the reason for all sorts and squabbles and wars but this is just a bit of history.

Nobody is a more or less entitled blue or a better or worse one mate.

Mike Allison
124 Posted 10/08/2018 at 20:15:02
Lots of interesting details, but essentially the article says ‘Is Everton Protestant or Catholic?’ then it says ‘no.’ I don’t see what there is to get upset about in there.

It’s actually very interesting that so many people got so upset but actually reading the article doesn’t give much cause for it. This subject has been covered on ToffeeWeb before but I think there was detailed information that I hadn’t come across before.

It’s a question that does get asked about the Merseyside clubs and certain myths are still occasionally perpetuated. This article is an intelligent and well researched rebuttal of those myths (with some formatting issues).

Ray Roche
125 Posted 10/08/2018 at 20:28:51
Derek @118
No they didn’t, not t my knowledge and I went home and away in those days. Whether they did in some specific ale house is another matter but I don’t recall it.
Michael Kenrick
126 Posted 10/08/2018 at 20:53:47
John (#117), I was pretty sure RIP was a Catholic supplication for the soul of the dead being spared from purgatory, but it seems I'm wrong about this. Although it is from the Latin, the acronym meaning Requiescat in pace "Rest in peace" it has been broadly used by the main Christian denominations, Catholic and Protestant.

I guess if you believe in life after death (an oxymoron surely!), then fair enough... but I suspect it's used more as a routine and rather hollow expression of condolence similar to the annoying claim that someone's death "puts into perspective" anything at all. I've always wondered exactly what that was supposed to mean?

Mike (#124), you perfectly captured my own assessment of reading the submitted piece as I prepped it for publishing. I had no hesitation in posting it because it was well written, and it was about a historical aspect of Everton FC. I had no conception that the title could possibly cause any offence to anyone. I still don't understand it despite the rabid mouth-frothing it induced. It's just a question... a perfectly valid one to ask. It's what the author chose, not that that would absolve me, but we rarely make changes to titles unless there's a good reason to.
Jamie Crowley
127 Posted 10/08/2018 at 20:54:40
John @ 117 -

RIP - Rest In Peace - is an actual prayer for the soul of the departed. So yes, it has religious meaning at it's core and inception, but isn't really viewed as such now.

Nowadays it is used with little to no religious connotation, only to offer sympathies to the surviving family and friends.

Dave Abrahams
128 Posted 10/08/2018 at 20:56:38
To be honest, when you read the topic right through, it is a very interesting and historical post: Bob brings up Man Utd and their signing mostly Catholic players after the war. It is a fact that Bobby Charlton, wanted by every top club in England, as a schoolboy was warned, as a CofE, not to sign for United because they were a Catholic club. I think Ron Atkinson was the first non-Catholic to manage United after the war.

Again Glasgow Rangers were well known for not signing Catholic players and Maurice Johnston was touted as the first Catholic to sign for them since the war. As a matter of fact, Don Kitchenbrand, a South African, signed from Sunderland in the late fifties was a Catholic and he later said "When I signed for Rangers, they never asked me what my religion was so I never told them."

As in most subjects, there is plenty of humour in them if you look for it; better to be humorous about a topic than bitter... Unless of course the topic is THEM.

Jamie Crowley
129 Posted 10/08/2018 at 20:58:16
Michael @126 -

I was taught by the good Sisters at St. Jude's Elementary that RIP is indeed a three word prayer. And they were sure to emphasize those three words were quite powerful.

Make of that what you will. You're 100% correct in that it really isn't viewed as a prayer by society, only by us religious nuts. ;0)

Cheers.

John G Davies
130 Posted 10/08/2018 at 21:01:08
Thanks Jamie.
Surely a little unchristian to only wish believers a rest in peace.
Dermot Byrne
131 Posted 10/08/2018 at 21:08:12
RIP? To be honest someone can say ABC and not sure anyone has the right to decide if it is "hollow".
Jamie Crowley
132 Posted 10/08/2018 at 21:09:05
John -

Not being confrontational at all here, please don't mistake me.

I don't understand your statement of, 'Surely a little unchristian to only wish believers a rest in peace. '

If anything, if you're a bit religious, you should wish non-believers RIP more than anyone else! They might need a little help!! ;0)

RIP isn't reserved strictly for "believers." In theory you'd hope RIP is mentioned for anyone!

There you have it.

I'm done talking religion, it's a damn dangerous subject.

Cheers.

John G Davies
133 Posted 10/08/2018 at 21:21:03
Jamie,

I can see you are not being confrontational, me neither.

I'm fine thanks Jamie, I don't need any help as a non-believer. Again, it's individual choice each to their own... and you're right: religion can be a dangerous subject. One of the reasons I don't have anything to do with it.

Dave Abrahams
134 Posted 10/08/2018 at 21:24:25
Jamie (132), I understand your last line completely, I find it best to practice my religion rather than ever attempt to preach it, every other persons religion is their own business to me.
Peter Mills
135 Posted 10/08/2018 at 21:35:35
I’m with Dave Abrahams, I have found comfort, annoyance, peace and aggravation in religion during my life, but by far the healthiest emotion has been humour.

Posibly the most compassionate and moving post on this site over the past couple of weeks was that by Mike Gaynes, asking for the names of specific people so that prayers might be offered worldwide over candles via his Buddhist wife. Mike, I know you are a few hours behind us here in the UK, I suspect English may not be your wife’s first language, do you think you could get away this evening with quietly slipping in the name of an old lady we all hold dear for a worldwide prayer of special intention?
Tell Mrs Gaynes her name is Eve Rton.

Stephen Davies
136 Posted 10/08/2018 at 21:46:16
A couple of things.
When Bobby Collins was a youngster Rangers went to his house with the intention of signing him.
When they were shown into the living room they say some Catholic artefact in room...and thr family never heard from them again and he signed for Celtic.
Bobby wasnt Catholic..buy a neighbour had recently been to Lourdes and gave the item to them .
On another note..Liverpool didnt have any Irish (Eire) players on there books until 1979 Ronnie Whelan.
Ian Hollingworth
137 Posted 10/08/2018 at 22:01:12
Who gives a shit
I thought this was a football website
We struggle to agree on all things football without bringing religion into it
John McFarlane Snr
139 Posted 10/08/2018 at 22:15:49
In my post [10] I stated that I hadn't read the whole article, because the subject had been done to the death over many years. However I did read the final sentence, "The overwhelmingly research evidence indicates that neither club, despite their origins, has a specific sectarian support on the lines of clubs in Scotland and Northern Ireland." I feel that if that had been the first sentence, it wouldn't have attracted the 136 responses that has been reached as I type this post.

In closing, whenever a new person started in the various jobs that I had in my working days, the first question I asked was, "Are you an Evertonian or a Liverpudlian?" and as a relapsed Catholic, I embraced the Everton religion.

John Keating
140 Posted 10/08/2018 at 22:22:21
Looking at the probable team against Wolves it seems to me we will be Protestant so I will in no way support them.

However, when all our new signings are playing in a couple of weeks it looks to me as if we will be Catholic so COYB as we say in the Vatican.

Jim Wilson
141 Posted 10/08/2018 at 22:31:13
Interesting article, Bob.

It was obvious in the '60s and '70s that Liverpool had a Rangers leaning and Everton Celtic. In recent years, Liverpool have done a lot to woo the Irish and Celtic support. And we should also play friendlies in Ireland and play Celtic as we've always had close links.

I can still remember all the Celtic support we had when we beat Man Utd 5-0 and when we won the European Cup Winners Cup. Great days.

Friendlies against Rangers? Definitely not. I'll never forget the trouble at the Tommy Wright Testimonial and at a more recent one too. But we like Celtic and they like us!

Dale Rose
142 Posted 10/08/2018 at 22:54:53
Interesting article, so why don't we gang up together and get the Methodists?
Si Cooper
143 Posted 10/08/2018 at 00:38:19
Jim Burns, ‘snowflake' is now used for people who are easily offended and unable to deal with opposing opinions. The point is, those people try to deny others the right to express their opinion on subjects they personally deem to be taboo.

Brian Williams has the right to say he doesn't like the subject matter, but he can't use the fact he is personally offended to try to dictate what others can write about or discuss unless it crosses into the realm of illegality.

I think he is being grossly insulting if he thinks anyone with the slightest empathy isn't revolted by some of the things that have been done because of religious differences. He is also incredibly naive if he hasn't yet realised that the dregs of humanity will always seek a banner of some kind to rally behind to try to give credibility to their wholly self-interested actions. Religion is just really easy to exploit because the scum can pretend there is some higher calling involved.

I grew up in an era when a lot of people raised the question that forms the title of this piece. It never meant anything of importance to me but some people seemed to really want there to be a connection. It's good to be able to state that careful research reaches a sensible conclusion.

Mike Kennedy
144 Posted 11/08/2018 at 05:04:22
I am currently in Belfast. The amount of people in Liverpool shirts in the loyalist areas is overwhelming. You see more people wearing Liverpool shirts here than you do in Liverpool City Center. To them Liverpool is the Protestant team.

The last time I watched the derby over here. I was accused of being a 'Feinan'. As it happens, my parents were Catholics from Cork. When I was growing up in 60s on Merseyside, most of us 'left footers' supported Everton. I supported Everton because of my parents not because of religion. I became an atheist early in life. I am just saying Everton are perceived as the Catholic side over here whether or not it is true.

I will be watching the game later with my 'proddy' Liverpool supporting brother-in-law in a bar in North Belfast. I will have to keep my mouth shut, fact.

Jamie Crowley
145 Posted 11/08/2018 at 05:36:00
Mike -

Genuinely curious, as I find your area of the world and the religious dynamic fascinating.

Will you have to keep your mouth shut for fear of retribution? Or do you keep your mouth shut out of respect for others and their allegiances?

Mike Kennedy
146 Posted 11/08/2018 at 05:52:28
It depends on the bar. If it is a local bar I will keep my mouth shut out of fear. City centre no problem.
Over here I support Crusaders that attracts Loyalist support despite my ancestry because the family I married into supports them. They are mixed Catholic and Protestant but mostly all atheist now.
My taxi driver last night said he used to support Crusaders but had to stop going when the troubles started as he was a Catholic. He started to watch Cliftonville instead. But now most people don't care but there are always one or two looking for any excuse.
David Peate
147 Posted 11/08/2018 at 08:30:31
All very well mentioning Eric Heffer being Labour, Catholic and Evertonian but why is there no mention of Bessie Braddock being Labour, Protestant and Evertonian. This redoubtable lady was very prominent at home matches. I am a Protestant who lived in Everton and all my boyhood friends in the 1940s were all without exception Evertonians.
Alexander Murphy
148 Posted 11/08/2018 at 08:46:59
Everton, possibly the most egalitarian club in British football, with a well earned reputation for reaching out to its community with numerous positive, pro-active and enlightening projects.

St. Pauli, almost certainly the most egalitarian club in world football, the number, scope and participation of its projects, memberships and involvement dwarfs even Evertons fine efforts. Hopefully, Everton can match then supersede St. Pauli in the future.

Take a leaf out of our noble clubs lead, focus upon positives.
Leave meaningless behaviours, such as sectarianism, where they belong in the past.

those who know

Dave Abrahams
149 Posted 11/08/2018 at 09:22:45
Jamie (145), at Derby games on Merseyside if you sit in the wrong end or area of the ground you keep your mouth shut especially if your team scores, if you cheer you are turned on by rival fans and then you are ejected by the stewards for your own protection, so they say, this happens to both sets of supporters at both grounds.
Ray Roche
150 Posted 11/08/2018 at 09:36:41
David@147

I think that if you are a Protestant who supports Everton then you imagine us being a Protestant club, if you're a Catholic then you imagine the opposite.
But at the end of the day, who cares? I don't think we're either.
As long as we're not Buddhist...all that chanting.
Although, come to think of it...

Paul Tran
151 Posted 11/08/2018 at 12:45:30
I've been working in Glasgow last three days, running a course with the usual Celtic/Rangers mix. One of the Rangers lads asked if I was red or blue?

When I told him he launched into a mad tirade against them, said he hated them and everything they stood for. He won't go to a game while Slippy is in charge. Never heard that up here before,

Dave Abrahams
152 Posted 11/08/2018 at 12:58:25
Peter (135), I read your post last night and wondered if the old lady was a relation of yours, I've just read it again and grasped it, funny I always thought of our team being masculine. Nice one Peter.
Eric Paul
153 Posted 11/08/2018 at 13:19:16
A very good friend of mine in work is a Rangers fan – he won't even touch anything green. He is also an Everton fan since he came down from Glasgow 30 years ago. I once asked him why he chose Everton? His answer: “Because they play in blue”.
Shane Corcoran
154 Posted 11/08/2018 at 13:44:26
Eric, time for a friend cull.
Eric Paul
155 Posted 11/08/2018 at 13:47:15
Shane
Why?????
Shane Corcoran
156 Posted 11/08/2018 at 13:49:54
A grown man that won't touch a colour because a football team wears a garment of that colour??????????
Eric Paul
157 Posted 11/08/2018 at 14:06:08
Fuckin hell do you take everything literally!!!!!
Peter Mills
158 Posted 11/08/2018 at 14:22:38
Dave#152, Some fall on stony ground!
Shane Corcoran
159 Posted 11/08/2018 at 14:33:08
Eric, nope, but I've not heard that term used figuratively.
Alan J Thompson
160 Posted 11/08/2018 at 14:50:04
RIP, in a lot of places it is known as life after life. Can we now get on with it.
Kev Jones
161 Posted 11/08/2018 at 15:47:49
Thanks Bob for the thoughtful post on a relevant part of Everton’s history. As a kid I thought that the two merseyside clubs expressed a religious divide and the facts you provide show me how mistaken I was. The fascinating information in your article right down to the detail of individuals, the demographics of local wards and the relation to local politics is to be applauded in this age of ‘post truth’.

Sport is part of society and so free discussion of any aspect of Everton and society is relevant. The range of discussion on this forum is very diverse and the editors should be applauded for providing this space.

Bob asks questions about religion and Evertons past but the relations between society, Everton and religion now have a new relevance. Helen BB our CEO writes about the influence of Christian ideas on the history of the club and faith based ideas drive the great work of EiC. She was recently invited to and attended a papal seminar on ‘sport in the service of humanity’. Lets discuss not dismiss.

Eric Paul
162 Posted 11/08/2018 at 16:58:35
Shane
Maybe I should have put barge pole or shitty stick, I’ll keep my friends thanks, you enjoy your fun filled life
Dan Davies
163 Posted 11/08/2018 at 17:01:35
Answering my own question from earlier, if Everton is owned and ran by Freemasons wouldn't that make Everton Luciferian?
David Peate
164 Posted 11/08/2018 at 22:09:52
Ray 150

That was not my point at all. I meant to infer that my boyhood friends were both Catholic and Protestant. We all supported the blues. We were just Evertonians not missionaries or enemies.

Ray Roche
165 Posted 11/08/2018 at 22:53:39
David, I think we've both missed the point! I just meant that you think/hope your team is of the same persuasion as yourself so you can associate with them easier.

Anyway, as I said, does it matter? It's the team that counts.

Alan McGuffog
166 Posted 12/08/2018 at 12:27:09
Ray I agree with you totally. First of all my two pennorth. There has never been a sectarian division based on religion as there is in Glasgow. Thank God ( mind you is God Catholic or Protestant ? ). I digress. If however some sad sack is a Catholic kopite whose grandad took part in the Easter Rising he may want to tell the world that LFC is the Catholic leaning club. A bluenose who walks with the Orangemen on the 12th may proclaim us to be Rangers counterparts in England. Both would be sad buggers in my book. Now them Coptic Christians..don't get me started !
Neil Carter
167 Posted 12/08/2018 at 13:50:50
To answer the question-Everton are neither-historically Methodist and currently irrelevant.
If Everton are Catholic then a Protestant church at the corner of the ground wouldn’t go down well.
My family are from Walton-date back to 17th century and not Catholic but have been blues from the start of the club.
This article concludes that religion is being attached to the club as a label historically and to attempt to now or them is irrelevant to football.
Rick Tarleton
168 Posted 13/08/2018 at 07:15:18
Thank you for a very well researched and fascinating article. When I was a boy in a family of reds and chose to support Everton because of 53-4 (Everton promoted, Liverpool relegated) my dad who went to most games at both grounds, he was a merchant seaman at the time, told me I was supporting the Catholic club, we were of course non-Catholics. It made sense, Everton had Farrell, Donovan, McNamara, Eglington, O'Neill and John Willie Parker. The nuns collected outside the ground and the Irish boat came in carrying hundreds of Everton supporters every other Saturday.

Yet in my school, Rathbone the split was probably fifty/fifty. No one worried that being a Proddie, we were following the Catholic club.

However, when the Moores family took over, it seemed that Liverpool started signing the young local Catholic boys, Smith, Byrne, Morrissey. When Johnny Carey was sacked it was rumoured that one of the factors that played a part was that John Moores preferred to not have a Catholic manager. These were rumours, anecdotal, but they did exist.

Later on in life I worked in Corby, that anomaly of a town in Northamptonshire, the rose of the English shires as it calls itself, where 90% of the inhabitants were Scots who'd moved down with Stewart & Lloyds steel works. Corby was a town where football mattered and religion mattered. Catholics were Celtic supporters and Protestants were rangers supporters. The divide was simple and very few deviated. I worked with two Liverpool Catholics who were devoted reds, but whose second team was Celtic as they were of Irish stock. My "second" team was Montrose as my dad played for them during the war when he was stationed there.

To look at it from a twenty-first century perspective and from a politically correct contemporary view as well, it doesn't matter and it was never like Rangers/Celtic or even Hibs/Hearts, but I'd suggest that up to the fifties it was a factor within the support base.

Vishal Poorundersingh
169 Posted 13/08/2018 at 07:40:53
Since my childhood I support EFC without knowing its affiliation to a religious group. If this is the case as mentioned in this article then I don't think I will change my mind. I will remain an EFC fan till the end. If Football is a religion then Goodison Park is our temple. COYB
Tony Abrahams
170 Posted 13/08/2018 at 07:46:53
Wasnt it that great Liverpool fan! Chris de burgh, who sang about the lord and the devil playing poker, with the line the devil still cheats and wins more souls, but as for the lord, he’s just doing his best!

Forget about catholic and Protestant, just remember that Liverpool will always be the devils club, and nobody would have celebrated a player like Ramos, more than them, if only he’d worn a red shirt!

Great shout by Peter, Mike, please get some prayers in for the real old lady, because if Goodison becomes a happy place, then so will all us Evertonians!

Rick Tarleton
171 Posted 13/08/2018 at 09:32:55
Tony Abrahams,they had the prototype of Ramos: Carragher.
Tony Abrahams
172 Posted 13/08/2018 at 09:48:12
Not in the same league on a football pitch Rick, but I know what you mean!
Tony Everan
173 Posted 16/08/2018 at 08:15:06
As far as Everton is concerned in my humble opinion any religious leanings are decomposing in the distant past. All that nonsense is best left to elsewhere.

I've got no religious leanings whatsoever, not even an atheist. I'm a nothingist so leave me aloneist.

Paradoxically, it makes me happy that Catholics
Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, anyone – or even any Alien who turns up in its spaceship is welcome.

As long as they behave themselves.

Jem Bir
174 Posted 16/08/2018 at 13:14:44
In Scotland, in Glasgow – this (for some reason) still matters – a lot. It's a national embarrassment.

It doesn't really matter at all in Liverpool.

David Israel
175 Posted 16/08/2018 at 14:28:19
I arrive late at this debate. From my name, most people will infer, correctly, that I am neither Catholic nor Protestant. I respect all faiths, as well as people who do not have any, as long as they go about their beliefs in a decent manner.

Anyway, the article is a well-researched piece of history and should be respected as such, and the author is to be congratulated. But I agree with those on here who say the title is awkward.

Alan J Thompson
176 Posted 16/08/2018 at 17:20:17
As a Muslim friend of mine is fond of saying; "Allah akbar mentum". - "My god is above this".
Tom Hughes
177 Posted 17/08/2018 at 11:44:35
I can understand people taking some umbrage with the title (I believe the equivalent question also appeared on an LFC forum with a similar response). However, the content is a pretty solid example of evidence-based, well-referenced research.

Okay, it includes a few anecdotal exerpts (and many more have been offered in the responses). However, the key issues covered relate to the well-documented sectarian and political backdrop that existed at the outset; The historic split that could've easily polarised the respective supports along that very real sectarian divide, with the more liberal-minded board-members moving to Goodison, while the staunchly orange conservatives stayed at Anfield. At first glance, it would appear that all the elements were in place to promote a similar outcome and rivalry here.

It's perhaps long forgotten now, but we have to remember that many in the establishment considered Liverpool a far greater potential powder-keg than Glasgow (or probably even Belfast) at that time. This was mainly attributed to attitudes towards the significantly higher numbers of Irish Catholics in the city, as well as the strong Irish-nationalist and related political networks that proliferated the city's make-up at that time.

I have a theory that the sectarian divide in Liverpool, while appearing as virulent as anywhere, was fundamentally different to that in Glasgow. Most of Liverpool's Irish came from Ireland's southern counties, while Glasgow was a more direct transfer of a proportion of Ulster's population, with all the much longer-established and deeply-rooted bigotry there.

On the otherhand, when my great grand-parents arrived in Liverpool from Dublin, Roscommon and the west of Ireland (one via New York), they had never seen a working class Protestant or an Orangeman before. Where they came from, they were probably more acutely aware and conscious of a class divide than any religious one.

There was also a strong cultural tradition of appreciation of all sports, and as the fortunes of both clubs fluctuated, so did their support, and that of each new generation. So that sectarian divide was crossed by the stronger desire to watch your favourite team, based simply on who was best at the time that you first showed interest.

Also, unlike many other two-team cities, the clubs' close proximity also didn't lend itself to a split on any geographical-tribal allegiances that might've occurred if one had grown out of the quite distinctive Irish inner-city ghettoes for instance. Ultimately, the fact that both clubs grew out of the original, means that the religious divide had already been crossed, and loyalties for some, already established.

My great grandad was a staunch Evertonian who started watching us in our Anfield days – he never changed his ways. Thankfully for most in this city, and increasingly with the passing generations, that sectarianism became a bit of a cultural joke, and source of self-ridicule. One of our city's greatest successes imo.

That said, as an Evertonian with some renewed vigour as a result of a new manager and signings, would it be inappropriate or incentive to now declare: "Tiocfaidh ár lá"? ;)

Tony J Williams
178 Posted 17/08/2018 at 13:10:01
Couldn't give a flying squirrel's nut sack to be fair.

As someone eluded to above, the younger me just automatically assumed it was a Catholic team, as I was a Catholic but once I was older and, ahem, wiser I realised that there was no affiliation within the club other than the Church of Everton.

Saying that I do still enjoy calling my wife a "Proddy Dog" every now and again then I realise I was married in a C of E Church and my daughter was baptised in one too.

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