Liverpool is known for two things: The Beatles and football. So after visiting Penny Lane and laying your head at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel, the world’s only Beatles-themed hotel, grab a pint of bitters at a local pub and cheer on one of the city’s football clubs, Liverpool or Everton. But choose your team wisely — Liverpudlians take their football very seriously.
Guests can tour Liverpool Football Club's Anfield Stadium with a legendary player as a tour guide. // (c) 2014 VisitBritain
There’s a playful competition between fans of Everton and Liverpool, whose stadiums are located only a mile away from each other. The rivalry runs deep, and its roots can be traced back to the late 19th century when Everton originally played its games on the current site of the Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Stadium. The Liverpool Football Club was essentially created in response to disputes over ownership of Everton and disagreements about the stadium and club management. Granted that was generations ago. So how do locals pick sides nowadays, exactly?
“You’re born into it,” Catherine Pears of Marketing Liverpool told me during an Everton vs. Cardiff match at Goodison Park.
And so it goes: If your father was an Everton fan, that means you are an Everton fan … and that your children will be dressed in royal blue, too.
There was a sea of royal blue and a patch of red (Cardiff away-game fans) at Goodison Park last month. Cardiff followers chanted and sang taunting songs directed at their opponents for almost the entire 90 minutes of the match. The cheering felt incessant, even when Cardiff was losing.
Honestly, I expected the Everton crowd to show a bit more enthusiasm, but all we got on the Everton side was a single, tongue-in-cheek chant after Everton scored its first goal: “We only sing when we’re winning.”
Whether a local match is on or not, visitors can get a sense of English football culture with a guided tour of either football club’s stadium. For about $75, Liverpool football legends, including Phil Thompson, Phil Neal or John Aldridge, give guests a behind-the-scenes tour of Anfield Stadium. They share personal stories and secrets about the good old days. But be warned — they might just make a Liverpool fan out of you.