In a region with a proud history of sporting achievements, Everton’s place, not only as a founding member of the Football League, but as a certified mainstay of top-flight football (featuring in the first division of 121 of English football’s 125 total seasons) ranks as one the most impressive.
The modern game may be rife with sportswashing, transfer hyperinflation and an unsteady embrace to technology, our region’s football clubs have felt like lodestars among the gloom; institutions offering a link with tradition, whose value goes beyond numbers on a spreadsheet.
These clubs are far more than businesses and football is far more than a sport. Football is like a local religion, their stadia cathedrals where young and old worship with fervour on a weekly basis. And like a church these institutions are anchors of their communities, symbols of pride and central to our local identity.
Anybody fortunate enough to ‘own’ one of these clubs is a temporary custodian with a responsibility to not just to protect its legacy but to burnish it. I’ve been watching the unfolding situation at Goodison Park, not with partisan interest but as the Mayor of the region, with a mixture of concern and trepidation.
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Nobody would ever mistake me for being a Blue but, on the other side of Stanley Park, we know better than most what happens when our beloved football club falls into irresponsible and predatory hands. Recent years have seen Everton’s struggles on the pitch overshadowed by events off it.
Throughout it all, despite our natural supporter rivalry, I have not wanted to seeRead on liverpoolecho.co.uk