Undercover Chix - Liverpool - Snippits
Chix continues his undercover operation and unveils some startling, not too politically correct, tongue-in-cheek facts about the team and location of our opposition. This week it's Liverpool with a subtle ghostly twist
Conscious that my fake bushy eyebrows, plastic nose and dark glasses were beginning to become conspicuous after Davilla investigations a fortnight ago, I was forced to re-think my disguise ahead of my Liverpool adventure. Obviously the shell suit and curly perm of the late eighties was no longer in vogue so that was out and despite the recent Mod revival there was no way I could ever wear my Beatle wig again. Well not since my dog, the devil, mistook it for next door's Chihuahua and decided 'she was having it!'
My only option was to play on the fact that it was Halloween week, so I ironed my cloak, greased my hair back, polished my false fangs and as Dracula took the train to Liverpool Lime Street.
Ay! are kid! yew alrite?
Within seconds of boarding the train I heard what can only be described as the most annoying accent in the British Isles, Pseudo-Scouse. Now don't get me wrong 'Scouse' when spoken by 'Scousers' is fine, but why is it that whenever you mention Liverpool to a non-Scouser they have to break into an impression of Stan Boardman or Joey from Bread or worse still, bore the pants off you with a rendition of Cilla's Surprise! Surprise! Phrases such as "are Jack-eez goh aknew werk sher-t an itz grate" or in this case "ay, mate are you sum kinda Count" spill out of their mouths as if it's the funniest thing they, or even you have ever heard.
Well all you pseudo Liverpudlians out there I've got news for you. 'Scouse' the word used to describe the accent and dialect of those actually from Liverpool derives from the word lobscouse. Lobscouse is a type of garlic laced mutton stew (with a hint of pumpkin) that merchant seamen used to eat back in the day and although there are a number of variations in recipe it is still a popular dish and a staple of local pub and cafe menus. A bit like Fish and Chips in Pompey, Yorkshire Puddings in Sheffield or Chicken Balti in Birmingham! So next time you feel inclined to be funny just remember you are about as humourous as a pot of lamb broth and keep your impressions to yourself.
Cough up or you get Lawro!
Anyway, enough talk of food and train journeys let's talk football, let's talk stadiums, let's talk Anfield, the original home of Everton Football Club!
Yep it's true, the couldron which is Anfield was indeed the original ground of The Reds nearest and dearest, Everton. The story goes that an argument between some bloke called John Houlding, the (then) owner of Anfield, and the Everton board over a rent increase led to the blues upping (broom) sticks and moving across Stanley Park to Goodison. Having a stadium without a team was no good to Houlding so he set about establishing one and so it was that Liverpool FC came into existence. Just imagine, had the Everton board just accepted the rent rise, Liverpool FC would have never have existed and I wouldn't have to suffer 'bloody' Lawro & 'bloody' Hansen every Saturday night before I retire to my coffin!
Red Shirts. Red Jackets more like !
As we know Anfield is famous for 'The Kop' and as such those who once stood and now, post-Taylor, sit there refer to themselves as 'Kopites'. An obvious deduction some might say but after a little digging I found that 'The Kop' is actually named The Spion Kop Stand. 'Spion Kop' being a hill in South Africa which was the scene of a battle during the Boer War. The story goes that the hill was defended by the Lancashire Regiment's Liverpool Battalion who of course wore red jackets!
Whose Song is it Anyway?
If Liverpool is Anfield and Anfield is The Kop, then surely The Kop is 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. Even if you've never been to Anfield I'm sure you've seen the pictures on the TV where the entire stadium carefully put down their mutton stew and sing the words to the Gerry & The Pacemakers song of the early '60's. It`s a scene that warms the blood of any true football fan and even if you can't stand Liverpool you have to admit it's pretty impressive. Unless you are a Celtic fan.
Believe it or not many a Celtic fan will stake a claim that they sung it first and as such they 'own' it. It even features on a CD entitled 'Green & White Anthems'. Now correct me if I`m wrong but weren't Gerry & The Pacemakers from Liverpool? Furthermore, I even found evidence from 1964 where a BBC camera crew captured 'The Kop' singing it on film. Commentary from the 1965 FA Cup final between Liverpool and Leeds where Kenneth Wolstenholme refers to it as 'Liverpool's signature tune" also backs up my view. Considering the song wasn't actually recorded until late 1963 I think Celtic have a fair way to go before convincing me that it's theirs. Whatever next ? 'Liverbird Upon My Chest' being sung by United fans or 'Play Up Pompey' being bellowed out at White Heart Lane. It's enough to make my blood curdle.
Now any trip to the 'red' side of Liverpool would not be complete without a chat or two with a few fans in 'blue'. One Evertonian gave me the religious history of the City making nonsense of the supposed Catholic-Protestant split. Another informed me that the Merseyside derby had seen more red cards than any other fixture in Premiership history, but the conversation I'll remember the most went as follows;
4 Charity Shields, 3 League Titles, 2 FA Cups - He's a blue.
The first British player to win the Champions League twice - He's a blue.
One of their longest-serving players of all time and current Vice-Captain - He's a blue.
120 League goals for Liverpool and the fourth-highest goalscorer in the history of the Premier League - He's a blue.
England's fourth highest scorer of all time and over 100 League Goals for Liverpool - He's a blue.
Second highest FA Cup scorer of all time, record Merseyside derby goalscorer with 25 goals and record Liverpool goalscorer of all time with 346 goals - He's a blue.too!
It seems that although Liverpool claim to be the bigger, better, stronger team on Merseyside it's only because they nick all of Everton's young players. I bet it makes them cross !
I'll leave you with one last snippit about Liverpool. No, it`s not that Meccano model trains and Dinky Toys were invented there! Did you know that Liverpool FC can claim to have had a Pope as a fan, it's true. Former goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek a compatriate of Pope John Paul II was invited to the Vatican when on duty for Poland against Italy. Apparently when they met, Dudek found that the Pope knew all about Liverpool and considered himself a supporter. Now to me, that is impressive. The most famous supporter we've ever had was that bloke whose name I can never remember, but who died last year!
Well I'm done here, but before I change costume and head off to Sunderland (I'm gonna need a translator for that trip !) Does anybody wanna buy a 'This is Anfield' sign? I just happened to have a screwdriver in my back pocket as I was passing. I hope I don't get it in the neck for nicking it!