1 EAGLETON NOTES: Liverpool Won. Or Did It?

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Sunday, 2 June 2019

Liverpool Won. Or Did It?

I grew up in Liverpool. As it happens although my brother is a Liverpool FC supporter (Dad supported Tranmere)  I ended up supporting Everton. Why? Because my class at Quarry Bank was split 12:13 with me being unaligned with friends on both sides (which is a metaphor for my life really). So a friend who was an Evertonian dragooned me into making it 13:13.

Not that, to be honest, I was a particularly enthusiastic follower of the professional game but anyone brought up in the City was, of course, touched by football one way or another.

Liverpool had a very active amateur game and that interested me much more. For one thing if you played for a team you had to have a genuine connection with the team. So the NALGO team was made up entirely of NALGO members. To me this connection was all-important. You had to be eligible to play for the team.

I wasn't good enough to play in the team for which I was eligible however I was good enough to be a linesman (which is what today's assistant referees were called) so I used to be a linesman in the amateur game. I was considering taking my ref's ticket when life got a bit crowded with other things. 

I was also getting rather disillusioned by the professional game as gradually money and marketing started taking over from the game itself and fewer and fewer people actually represented the area which the club represented.

In 1959/60 when I was following Liverpool 15 of the squad of 27 were from Liverpool and its environs, 3 were born elsewhere in England, 2 in Wales, 4 in Scotland and 1 in South Africa.

Today's squad of 54 (exactly twice the size of the '59/60 squad) is made up of 3 Liverpudlians included in the 19 English players with the remaining 35 coming from all over the world.

What made me think of this?

Someone asked how many of the four English teams in the Champions Cup semi-finals were English. The answer was 9.

The wonderful irony of this in my mind is that the English think that an English team won the Champions League Final. It did in name but in reality it was an international team owned by an American company.

Let's face it: no individual and no country can operate in the global economy we live in without thinking internationally.

But that's all okay. Boris is going to make Britain Great Again.

33 comments:

  1. No professional sports has ever interested me enough to become a follower; I have occasionally been watching the footie when England or Germany were playing, but was never particularly sad or elated when "my" team lost or won.
    But I do understand that it does mean a lot to a great many people, and that is finy by me, as long as I am not expected to take part (or sides!) in it.
    As you say, in today's world, in many areas we can only be successful as part of an international team. Didn't a wise person once write "No man is an island"? The same is true for any nation, even if geographically that nation is an island.

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    1. Meike, I used to enjoy cricket many decades ago and rugby too. Indeed I still sometimes watch rugby if Scotland or the All Blacks are playing. However I am not enthusiastic enough to actually attend a match.

      The quote is from a very apposite poem by John Donne
      No man is an island entire of itself; every man
      is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
      if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
      is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
      well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
      own were; any man's death diminishes me,
      because I am involved in mankind.
      And therefore never send to know for whom
      the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

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  2. I don't know much or follow soccer aka football. I think the love for a team belongs to the place the team is from, creating a community all its own.

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    1. Maywyn, I agree with you in that it's what the team is perceived to represent rather that by whom it is made up, that is what people follow.

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  3. I don't think I've ever in my life watched a whole game of football, no matter who was playing... I guess I support it as an alternative to more brutal ways of fighting, though! :)

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    1. Monica, that's a very interesting way of looking at it!

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  4. I'm afraid I have never had the slightest interest in football. I lived in Liverpool for many years and I remember horrifying my then sister in law with my description of foot ball as '22 idiots kicking a pig's bladder round a field'. I don't think she ever forgave me!

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    1. Jenny, I do think that calling the players idiots was a trifle harsh. Anyway you did escape from Liverpool so you couldn't have said it very loudly. You reminded me of a retired teacher friend who, not that long ago, said in the presence of another friend (female) who is an ardent sports follower that only morons watched football. He is still alive. Strangely in all other respects his views coincide with one of my usual readers who was also a teacher.

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  5. I am football fan and, indeed, often write commentaries of matches on my blog. In fact I almost did this one last night and thought I was going to regret not starting to write when I didn't. However, the game turned out to be rather disappointing from a footballing point of view and did not excite me at all. It had a big build up as two British sides from the great Premier League and unfortunately it was often sloppy and not a good example of how good football should be played.

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    1. I didn't see it Rachel but the general view certainly seems to be that it was lacklustre. Anyway the result was the right one so I'm sure no-one now cares what it was like.

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  6. As long as both brothers are Beatles fans!😊

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    1. Indeed they are, Kay. Well I am. I thought I knew most things about my brother but you've made me wonder. I'd better check.

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  7. I've only lived in two places that had pro Football teams; Chelsea and Brighton. I no longer follow Chelsea after I realised how racist their supporters are, and Brighton are a bit lacklustre. I'll stick with Rugby.

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    1. I'm very sorry to say, Cro, that professional football has often been marred by religion and race bigotry.

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  8. I remember when you had to be born in Yorkshire to be eligible to play cricket for The Team. Many a pregnant woman was hurried back to give birth inside The County!

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    1. I wonder, Potty, if it's still the same today in cricket.

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  9. I like watching football but don't support a particular team. Sometimes while watching a match (only on TV I'm afraid - never been to a match live, perhaps that's something to be remedied) I'll choose a side to support. Sometimes I'll change sides mid-way. When it's a good match, it's just great to watch the speed, the skill, the beauty. Almost like ballet. And I like the singing and the chanting and the razz-a-mat-azz too.

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    1. Lucy, I haven't watched a soccer match for many years.

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  10. Stopping by to wish you a very happy birthday! HUGS!!

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    1. thank you so much Marcheline: very much appreciated.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. I have loved the Donne quotation and often repeated it out loud to someone. While it is true that no man is an island, I think some people are definitely peninsulas. I myself may be one of them. Though not a contrarian, when all the world is advocating "A" I consider the merits of "B". This is probably the result of having parents who said stuff to me like, "If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you jump off it too?"

    Ah, strolling down memory lane is a wonderful thing. Mine includes Texas but not Liverpool.

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    1. I'm sure, Bob, that peninsulas are quite acceptable. We are, however, all affected to some extent by those and by the world around us. Memory lane can be a wonderful place to stroll - especially if one choses the 'right' lane down which to stroll.

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  13. I prefer to call him Johnson. I wouldn't wish to contribute to the solidification of his chummy first name presence in national thought. No - to me he's just Johnson - a blimp as empty as the Trump blimp that flew over Parliament Square.


    I applaud what you had to say about international ingredients in top football teams. I think there should be quotas that ensured each top team had to field four or five British nationals.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts YP. Can you tell me whether, in order to play for Yorkshire (or any county for that matter) one has to have been born in that county (whatever it was given the local government boundary changes)?

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    2. No longer it's an almost free market. There used to be a maximum of overseas players per County side, I dont know if it still is but the idea was that the O/S wouldnt get to 'come over here' and learn all about our conditions and then be able to join their Country teams and know all our secrets!

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    3. Thanks for that information Potty.

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  14. I'm not a follower of the game, preferring Rugby League. I don't watch many games of the latter these days...only our State of Origin matches...three Origin matches per League season...between Queensland (The Maroons) and New South Wales (The Blues).

    Naturally, it should go without saying, I'm a Maroons' supporter! :)

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    1. Lee, if I watch anything theses days it's usually rugby union and only if the All Blacks or Scotland are playing.

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  15. Don't even mention Boris making Britain great again please or he will dress up as King Edward VIII and give a spiffing speech that makes those EU rotters jolly sorry they ever tangled with our great country. (Sorry, do I sound cynical?) :)

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    1. When it comes to Boris, Jenny, you can sound as cynical as you want on this blog. My cynical remark was mild compared with my thoughts on the subject.

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  16. Im a Liverpool fan from HK. Good day. I am researching on diversity in football clubs (Specifically Liverpool) for my research paper and I stumbled on this article. I find what you say accurate where most of the clubs nowadays have little players from where the club originates. In my opinion, the act of importing players from other countries/cities is an important one. I find that with the challenge from other parts of the world in local clubs, the locals would have to work harder to compete. This would bring to a win-win situation. I guess worldcup is where this theory is finally tested :-) . Just my 2 cents.

    Regards,
    A Liverpool Ultra

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    1. Liverpool Fan, I think you make very important points. Internationalism is a very Good Thing in itself because anything at all which helps integration and understanding of other nations is to be welcomed. However, I still have a hankering for the idea that a football club from a city should be comprised of people who live locally (and in many UK cities that can include many nationalities of origin).

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