Mickey Blue Eyes...
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Mickey Blue Eyes


"... ... ...

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

... ... ..."

W.B.YEATS (1865 - 1939). The Second Coming.



You won't like this if you are an incorrigible hater. It isn't the kind of opinion you want to read. Its subject is Evertonian attitudes and behaviour before, during and after the upcoming derby FA Cup semi-final against our age-old rivals. You pays your money, so take your choice and your responsibility. If things fall apart don't come crying or spitting excuses afterward. It will be too late.


Not an easy or popular subject, then. But let's try. It isn't necessary to get too precious or black-and-white. All you need is a sense of proportion and normal intelligence. And, most of all, a good sense of humour.


Firstly, let's forget anything the other fans might or might not do. Their problems and behaviour are no concern of ours. We are as responsible for our own behaviour as they are for theirs. There is nothing we can do about theirs, which can be just as bad and worse, but if we have a reasonable sense of decency we can and should do something about our own. The world will be watching: whatever happened in the past, let's leave it there and make this semi-final a good memory, let nobody say it was Evertonians who spoiled it. We want to feel natural supporters' pride at winning a football match, not shame because numbskulls got out of hand if we lose.


As recent release of secret 1980s government cabinet papers showed, our city has enough enemies without giving them ammunition too. Some of them can't wait to put the metaphorical boot in. You can guarantee there will be elements of mainstream media poised to do us damage if anyone is foolish enough to give them cause. Ask yourself, is that what you want?


We all know how these games once were.....full of feelings different to almost anywhere else. Not necessarily better, different. However, there is no need to sentimentalise our memories. The truth will do. We never had the sectarian religious and nationalist muck of Celtic-Rangers, none of the flat Lancastrian stuff of the Manchester derby, or the strange suburban tension of Arsenal-Tottenham. There really was a time when many Everton and Liverpool fans used to stand next to each other and wish with every fibre to beat the other, then go off home or to the pub and celebrate or take their medicine in the same company. Not all, of course. It was never as goody-goody as some sentimentalists would have it. There was too much competition for that, too much pride at stake, too much edginess. But it was different and we took a measure of pride in the fact. After all, we are each of us cut from the same cloth.


Now times have changed. What made these games different has almost evaporated. Now too often we have a kind of taut soap opera of jeering hate, a tenth-rate cheap spectacle where the only thing that matters between the fans is not the sting of spontaneous individual humour but a collective howling of poisonous and worthless insults. In the background idiot "social media" stokes the worst of everything. Too often the contemporary affect is how all this is carried over into conversation where previously the best dominant factor was give-and-take, the mark of a true scouser, and much envied elsewhere. We all knew instinctively where the line was drawn and few wanted to cross it. We didn't need written rules. We knew the nuances and cut-and-thrust. If anyone got too hot under the collar there was usually someone nearby who would pipe up, "Ah put the ball away will yer." Mostly that was enough.


Outsiders could scarcely grasp how two people could argue to the point of what looked like imminent blows - and then sit back laughing at themselves. It was spontaneous self-depreciation at its best. Some outsider ungifted stand-up comics even copied the gags we told about or against ourselves, though they had hardly any understanding of the essential irony. It wasn't that other areas were devoid of the trait, just that we had more of it, almost all of it nurtured in the raw environment of working class casual port employment and a heady mix of Celtic peoples and cultures. Gawd help any antiseptic middle class outsiders who wandered in and tried to take part; usually they ended up not understanding, reeling away with life-time scars and resentment. Which is why these days some strangers try to get the first verbal blow in even though it is a virtual certainty they will end up nursing a bruised ego. But, really, cultural incomprehension is mutual. It doesn't do to fall into the trap of exceptionalism.


In a few cases the derby situation is worsened by some non-Merseyside fans who think they have to prove their "loyalty." This might even be because the enemy has some fans in their same locale, but without Merseyside instincts. (Example: at the recent analfield derby disaster six Ulster Blues behind me tried to change the words of Grand Old Team - copied from Scotland anyway - to anti-Celtic, not anti-Rangers. All extremely tedious and needless.) Of course they too miss the point: vehemence is one dimensional. Reaction and counter-reaction become inevitable, until it becomes a vendetta in which everyone forgets the origins of the mayhem, which becomes an end in itself. Then it proves nothing but how stupid some people can be. Over the years there has been a gradual increase in the number of non-Merseyside fans due to cheaper and easier travel. Thus, a logical conclusion,.a downward spiral of behaviour that includes too many on both sides. How sad we came to this. What a horrible, horrible mess.


The worst development for Evertonians is the sick howling of, "Murderers!" and, amongst other things, the new, "Always the victim, it's never your fault!" None of it has anything to do with genuine football banter or humour, or even the sport itself. It is the impotent rage of fools who want only to inflict maximum vindictive damage. They relish their own hate more than any feeling for Everton or the simple game of football. There is no give-and-take and sport is of no consequence. What kind of legacy is that for our children, let alone Merseyside football?


At this time of the year we cannot and surely should not avoid mention of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Some of us lost family or friends. The memory must never be allowed to fade because the victim families still seek justice from a cowardly British Establishment. The released cabinet papers I mentioned earlier show men and women of power unwilling to accept their democratic responsibilities, so is it any wonder they displayed the same characteristics over the Hillsborough disaster and then attempted to cover it up by blaming the victims? And let this not be forgotten: some of those lost weren't Merseysiders. In fact Hillsborough was a national disaster that affected the whole nation. It should be respected accordingly. Chauvinism shouldn't enter into it, anymore than it should for the equal horror of Heysel. Why should we allow football to become a mere vehicle for mindless hate? Why should we lose sight of our common sense and common humanity? Why let crackpots win, as they once almost did in the 1980s?


So what is to be done?


Well, there are no easy answers. However, as Nelson Mandela said in a much, much worse set of circumstances, "If people can be taught to hate they can be taught to love." Okay, perhaps "love" is too much to expect at short notice, but is there any authentic reason why we should accept less than reasonable decency?


At this point I think we can only start with individual behaviour. If some people kick off with sick garbage, ignore them, just don't join in, let them wither on their own. If asked, tell them what you think - you might be surprised how vacuous, empty headed and cowardly they can be. Most of them can only act in crowds anyway. You can take as your example how the club defeated minority organised BNP racism in the early years of the millennium. Thus, the task is far from impossible.


I wanted to gauge opinion before I wrote this so I chatted with some friends on both sides. There was an even division. Some thought it worth the effort, some thought it a waste of time. One line was, "Wait and see what happens if we go a goal down," which seems to me to be the real litmus test. If all we get is a stream of abuse then that will tell us a great deal of where the match is going and what the future is likely to be. Me, I hope the only thing we hear is encouragement. For who knows when we will get another opportunity in a Cup semi-final?


Remember, the whole world will be watching. It's up to us what memory they too are left with.






Comments about Derby Wicked?
If memory serves, I'm sure we sung "Stand up for the 96" at Wembley in the semi 3 years ago. On another note I have never had a problem with a Liverpool fan who is a scouser, it's the Liverpool fans that grow up in other football cultures (like Swansea/Cardiff) that seem to cause the problems. I sat in the home end at Anfield last time we had them in the Cup and there was no bother, everyone just got on well.
Dayne, Swansea, 9:38 AM 5/04/2012
I totally agree as I am a season ticket holder in the Gwladys St I hate the abuse we give to Gerrard and the murderer chants! These only help to spur on the opposition and do not help OUR TEAM. After the bad news in football with Mumaba and Petrov lately wouldn't it be great to show football fans coming together and enjoying the game!
Martin, St Helens, 9:10 AM 5/04/2012
We can gain worldwide accolade by putting our differences aside and join them in singing 'justice for the 96', even the most hardcore red couldnt be failed to be moved by that. Come on blueboys, lets show the world our dignity
Tont, Norris Green, 8:59 AM 5/04/2012
I was fortunate to be one of 7000 at Sunderland last week. Best away support Sunderland had seen in years. Everton fans sang from start till finish and on the coach home not one song, chant about Liverpool FC. Let's get behind our club Everton. Let's sing Everton songs like we did at sunderland. Let's save the stick for the FA.
Steggs, Crosby, 11:42 PM 4/04/2012
Is right and let's make it a great day to remember wherever in the world we are... Whats Our Name?
El Cid, Offshore, 9:29 PM 4/04/2012
Great article and I would urge everyone to stop the hatred and vile songs. Let's be absolutely clear about this - they shame our city and most importantly they bring shame on our club. They do, they really do. Players come and go but the most important ambassadors for our club are us, the fans. That's me and you. It fills me with pride to represent Everton, I tell people what a fantastic football club we are, a proper football club. And most people agree with me. And then they hear what we sing at the Derby and they shake their heads. I am not interested one bit in what other fans are doing, we must accept responsibility for our own actions. Don't let a lucky goal by Liverpool, or a bad ref decision turn you into someone who takes it too far. We are representing our city (yes I am from the city) and most of all representing Everton. Which Evertonian wants to let the club down? Well then.
Phil H, Ipswich, Suffolk, 9:02 PM 4/04/2012
Great piece of writing. I'm an LFC fan who has stood in the Gladwys with my son and my best friend and his son (EFC) and loved the football and the atmosphere. Its true that things get heated in derby matches but I hope more people on both sides put common sense first and just enjoy the occasion!
Jay, Portland Dorset, 6:22 PM 4/04/2012
Spot on stop the hate enough said
Wyn, Wigan, 6:06 PM 4/04/2012
Couldn't agree more. Chants of 'Murderers' with the whole country watching do us no favours. I hope the Blues stay classy on and off the pitch. We can take the piss all next week at work.
Les, Liverpool, 5:55 PM 4/04/2012
Blue 1. I thought that now, after all these years, people would keep there small minded views to themselves! 96 people lost their lives not through bad behaviour of fans but bad behaviour of the authorities! GROW UP!!!!
Macca82, Huyton, 4:15 PM 4/04/2012
Great article. Scouse solidarity over hatred every time.
Tony, New Mexico, 3:12 PM 4/04/2012
blue1 #24 -did you read the article? Did ya miss the point somewhat? "They started it" ain't a good enough excuse. I don't believe that anyone here hasn't got some family who support the "wrong" side, even if very distant relations. Definately we've all got red mates somewhere. Lets save our ire and outrage for the FA and all them who've really given us the sh177y end of the stick over the years. COYB -let's be the PRIDE OF MERSEYSIDE
Stringy Bob, Chatteris, 2:07 PM 4/04/2012
I am a red (or one of the 'redshite' as I understand we are collectively referred to from time to time). A link to this article is being circulated on Twitter at the moment by a not-insignificant number of prominent reds and many of your average fans. I think this post and the sentiment behind it is to be applauded. Why tie the shoe laces on a boot that the establishment want to kick us with? In the words of Lennon, I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. We can't let the actions of a few dickheads - from both sides of the divide - tarnish the reputation of not only two great football clubs, but also our city. We all know both of our clubs have nobs who shout or sing about topics that in normal everday life, would be totally repugnant and in-human. But somehow, when these people pull on their respective colours, all sense and sensebility seems to be left behind. On the eve of the 23rd anniversay of Hillsborough, and just a few weeks after the passing of Gary Ablett, wouldn't it be a great tribute to be able to talk about what happened on the field rather than what happened off it? It would certainly disapoint a few people at News International who will almost have the headlines already written on trouble between fans - and I for one would not be sad about that. We are scousers. We are different. #Merseypride
@Scouser_Andy, London via Breck Road, 1:45 PM 4/04/2012
Blue eyes. Let us not forget that our chants of murderers etc are borne out of the reds bad behaviour. So why always berate your own. Why not send a message to their websites asking them to refrain from bad behaviour and maybe we'll have nowt to sing about!
blue1, thealehouse, 12:36 PM 4/04/2012
Great read, let's hope it stands true. All we need to do is get behind our team and surge them forward. If we play like we did at Sunderland were on our way to the final. COYB. NSNO x
Debbie, Kirkby, 12:28 PM 4/04/2012
Fantastic read. I'm going with my Kopite brother and father, I can't wait! Would like to see 80,000 Merseysiders stand up together and sing for the 96 too.
Paulie, Oxfordshire, 12:24 PM 4/04/2012
There would have to be something wrong with anyone singing songs about Gerrard. What more motivation would he need to rub our noses further in the brown stuff? Let's face it we're still smarting from the recent mauling we took from them so please le'ts leave that alone and concentrate on getting behind our own side. The last time I was this nervous about a semi I was watching 'Brokeback Mountain.'
Andy , Huyton , 11:24 AM 4/04/2012
Excellent Lets hope The Day And The Result Match Such A Great Piece Of Writing. C.O.Y.B.s
John , Souy, 9:26 AM 4/04/2012
First we are all human beings, Second we are all scousers, Third we all support our own clubs.... Just lets have a fund day or two out! and then laugh or cry all the way home again, hold your heads up high and let the rest of the world see how proud we all are, and how we can get on as neighbours.... I wonder how things will go in the other semi, two London Rivals...Cat and Dog????
Richy Styles, Kirkdale, 1:42 AM 4/04/2012
As a red I applaud your stance. When I first went to the derby I went on the Gwladys street & the kop, and I never had a problem at Goodison. Clearly I hope we win at Wembley, but if we don't, as I fear we won't, I will be supporting Everton in the final, regardless of the opposition. Let's all make it an occasion to show Merseyside as the proud region it is, as you rightly say, the world will be watching, more so thaN for Harry v Rent Boys on the sunday!
RK Red, Merseyside, 11:32 PM 3/04/2012
I hate the Shite as much as the next Blue and I do find find myself turning into a crazy person on derby days. However, it is time to move on and get back to the way it was in the early 80's. Pending sensible refereeing decisions (which will make me lose it!) lets just enjoy the game and what will be will be. COYB
Karlos, Sydney, 10:46 PM 3/04/2012
Yeah just get right behind the lads and spur them on. They will thrive off it. We should at least have a song for each of them they way we used to when they were warming up before the game in the 90's. I like that new Jelavic one and the Fellani and Bainsey ones should ring out to drown that shower out.
Az, Wavo, 9:41 PM 3/04/2012
Interesting to see all the comments about the 70s/80s and the current lack of songs. I remember going to all 3 League Cup Finals in 1977 and our most often sung song then has not been heard at Goodison in years. It was almost a war cry. Every text and e-mail these days is signed off with it, even the old scoreboard used to display it, accompanied by a pair of clapping hands. It's about time it was resurrected. What was it ? ...... "Come on you Blues" !
Balcony Blue, Maghull, 9:19 PM 3/04/2012
They will beat us hands down with their songs and chants. We're not really a singin club are we? we have only a few songs like EVERTON EVERTON ! and ITS A GRAND OL TEAM (I HATE that chant now, it so outdated) and then a few about a few players. Even PUT THE CHAMPAGNE ON ICE was origionally theirs. Lets get some new songs eh?
Thommo, 10 years on lower G.Street, 6:06 PM 3/04/2012
Couldn't agree more. The most depressing thing is to hear really young fans sing sick songs about Munich or Heysel or Hillsborough - tragedies which happened before they were born and cut short lives just like their own. Those of us who do remember how Merseyside stood together after Hillsborough need to stand up for the same values now (and then watch the Blues win 4-0!)
David, Liverpool, 4:27 PM 3/04/2012
I imagine there will be a lot of talk about the Hillsborough disaster with it being the same weekend. I am sure there will be a silence to mark that too, 15th of April 1989 when 96 died. We are all scousers and that alone on the weekend of the semi should unite us all. Red or Blue we are all scouse. COYB
Dave, Frodsham, 3:44 PM 3/04/2012
Lets make a start with the song list then ... 1) An Ode to Hibbo - He'll Score When He wants ... What would you give to see that at Wembley?
ToffeeFolk, Leeds, 3:37 PM 3/04/2012
Evertonians who went to the Milk Cup and FA Cup finals against Liverpool in the 80s can't forget the special atmosphere that travelling fans from Merseyside created. The Met police couldn't believe the exceptional behaviour of a virtually unsegregated Wembley. A far different atmosphere to when we played United. Both clubs and the local media need to remind travelling fans of enjoying the day and showing the rest of the UK what a great footballing city of supporters we are.
Nipper, Wallasey, 2:38 PM 3/04/2012
Good read that. The problem is, for a lot Evertonians, part of loving Everton is hating Liverpool. Dont get me wrong, I hate Liverpool as much as the next man. But it shouldn't get in the way of supporting your club, as it does at Anfield every season. The murderer chants are dying down (pardon the pun), the Gerrard baby taunts are pretty much dead too. The semi final should be about cheering the blues on, not goading the opposition whoever it may be. I have no doubt in my mind that the peformance last Tuesday was helped by 6200 screaming, shouting and singing Evertonians.
tashman, L18, 2:36 PM 3/04/2012
I agree and thought the same. Hope it's was like Wembley Semi against Man U just Everton songs. Hopefully singing the Blues! Support the Blues not hate the reds. Still all scousers at the end of the day, even if we are red or blue.
Martin, Stockport, Park End., 2:29 PM 3/04/2012
For the sane amongst us this is a message of hope..Hope that both sets of fans enjoy the day and do Merseyside proud..And hope that, regardless of the result, the only thing Fleet Street gets to write about is an epic game of football..Fingers crossed...
Big H, Birkenhead, 1:49 PM 3/04/2012
Excellent article. I've been contemplating something similar but this puts it across much better than I could. This is a massive occasion and as Evertonians we cannot let ourselves down. COYB
Kev Hollis, PE6, 1:39 PM 3/04/2012
Can we get a roundup of all latest and relevant songs posted somewhere on BK? So I can practice ready for next Saturday...!
Franki, Manchester, 12:49 PM 3/04/2012
Circulating this article to as many friends and foes as possible - last thing we need is to shame the clubs/city. Shall we try and watch a game of football rather than trying to "score points" by resorting to needless and pathetic abuse of fans who may live on your street? Great read.
Rob, Liverpool, 12:49 PM 3/04/2012
Decent and well-meant article, but I can't help but wonder who it is aimed at. Those decent and good supporters will be conducting themselves as befits Evertonians as ambassadors of our club and city. The people who really would benefit from this message, I fear, are wilfully deaf to it and will continue to drag the rest of us down.
Toby, Nottingham, 12:46 PM 3/04/2012
Agree totally . . . lets cut out those songs about "murderers" or Gerrards Parentage and sing Everton songs to support the team. The fans up at Sunderland last week led the way as they sang Everton songs throughout the game. That lifted the players much more than hearing any songs about the opposition. Lets hear more about Nev's medals and our Grand Old Team Please.
Seymok, Kirkby, 12:35 PM 3/04/2012
It will be all smiles and hand in hand stuff until : the consumption of ale and : the final result. All the narks will rear their head, and sadly during the last 5 years or so the biggest narks come from the blue side of the city. That's why I will never sit in the Gwladys St. or Bullens ever again. COYB Let's get our semi on!
Steve, Park End, 11:56 AM 3/04/2012
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