A Footballing Christmas, 1914
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All long term fans know football can bring out the best and worst in people.

Examples of the best are Everton's Blue Crimbo Programme, Everton in the Community and similar efforts by other professional clubs. All of them help to relegate extreme chauvinism to its proper place at the tail of human evolution.

A couple of days ago came another example of the best.

A sculpture named All Together Now was unveiled in "The Bombedy" or "The Bombed Out Church" at the top of Bold Street in the city centre. It is Saint Luke's Church, a burned-out victim of the May 1941 Nazi blitzkrieg on the city, retained as a permanent memorial of the affects of war and remembrance that the city's civilian casualty rate was the highest in the country at that time. It was built in 1831. The walls and gates are Grade II listed.

The sculpture was designed by Andy Edwards and shows a British soldier and a German soldier reaching out to shake hands over a football. Their hands do not touch. Their faces are expressionless. This is a reference to a spontaneous hours long truce on Christmas Day 1914 in some places in No Man's Land. The sculpture is surrounded by football scarves from around the world.

There are stories some of the soldiers had a short kick around. But it never happened again after the Colonel Blimps (the notorious donkeys who led lions) on both sides threatened the men with courts martial and even charges of treason unless they got back to the business of killing each other. The war went on for another four years with estimated total casualties of thirty-eight million.

If only the men had been allowed to carry on playing footy...........


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