Forget The Ghost Goal, Everton Did Merseyside Proud

Everton and Newcastle played out a game worthy of mention, but it was the tribute to the Liverpool fans prior to kick-off that will forever live in the memories of all those at watching on Monday night...
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Whenever your team is live on television, there’s always a small part of you that hopes, more than winning, you don’t let yourselves down in front of the nation. No embarrassing performances, no shots going out for throws, no cheating or prima donna rolls around the floor. No crowds chanting woeful songs or topless morons showing off their tatts. You know the nation is watching, so you hope that the football is impressive, the ground looks good and that the cameramen pick out the attractive people, not the Jeremy Kyle hopefuls. Last night, Everton can hold their heads up high after an impressive performance against Newcastle United, an electrifying game and a tribute to Liverpool fans that stopped everyone in their tracks.

Post-match reports are often filled with the same things. Possession percentages, goal attempts, right or wrong subs and ultimately what ‘I’ would’ve done differently to win the game. It’s these reasons why I often find such reports hard to read. Of course with hindsight everyone and anyone can be a football expert.

That’s why I am not going to particularly bore you with stats about how Everton had 17 goal attempts and Newcastle 11. Who really cares that possession was 58% in the blue sides favour or that Alan Pardew described his team’s first-half display as the worst he’s known as manager. None of that particularly matters when you look at the score and points come the end of the season.

One thing that won’t go away is the fact that two perfectly good goals were wrongly ruled out by officials. Now, forgive me for saying it, but I’m sick to death of the same old arguments for goal line technology, falling upon deaf ears. In fact, calling them arguments would probably be the incorrect term, that would claim there are ‘for’ and ‘against’ opinions, when in actual fact it’s a ‘for’ and a ‘I’m not listening’. Being a linesman is an impossible job, I would even argue that it defies human ability to be looking in two places at once, but the fact that there is not even a glimmer of a hope for a helping hand from the powers above makes me want to delete Twitter forever after incidents like last nights.

No embarrassing performances, no shots going out for throws, no cheating or prima donna rolls around the floor. No crowds chanting woeful songs or topless morons showing off their tatts

Anybody who watched, listened to or even read about the game will understand how it panned out. Both teams, as expected played fiercely, for the win and used attack as the greatest form of defence. Sky must’ve been rubbing their grubby little hands together as the heat turned up under the Goodison flood lights and as the game panned out you could see a cruel blow from Newcastle was inevitable.

Neither manager was prepared to buckle and their tactics almost complimented each other. The game was fast paced, exciting and excruciating at the same time. Unfortunately the officials made the biggest stars of themselves, for the wrong reasons.

But enough of all that because, for me, the game was always going to be second best to the tribute that was paid before it.

This week has been one of the most emotional weeks on Merseyside for as long as I can remember, as the world was finally let in on the truth that has been known by Merseysider’s for 23 years.

I have restrained myself from writing about Hillsborough before tonight as I wanted to give the time and space to those who matter, those directly involved, and those whose opinions actually count. I wanted to give Everton the chance to fulfil their duty last night, on national television, on behalf of the city. And boy did they do us proud.

As I mentioned, we on Merseyside have known the truth since that fatal day and the bravery and persistence of the families was often mocked and knocked down by others for so many years. Their courage and determination is an inspiration to all and the fact they have finally got there truth is something that makes me happier than I can explain.

It’s a real bittersweet time for most as, although we are happy, they still lost their children, their wives and their husbands. That will never change.

The world was finally let in on the truth that has been known by Merseysider’s for 23 years

For years, as an Everton supporter and a Scouser who was only a child at the time of the incident, I have grown up in a city that was truly hurting and mourning ever since that fatal day. I have grown up arm in arm, hand in hand with Liverpool supporters. It’s something that many football supporters struggle to really understand. Hopefully last night, Everton Football Club gave everybody an insight into what we mean.

Two children leading out the teams, holding hands, wearing a Liverpool and Everton kit with ‘9’ and ‘6’ on their backs said more than anything I could ever possibly write down.

There was plenty of talk of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ being played before the game but instead, a song chosen by chairman Bill Kenwright was played. It was probably the perfect song. And as some of the families of the tragic 96 sat inside Goodison Park, as guests of the club, we watched their loved ones faces appear on the screen, with the words of ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ blasting through the speakers. For that moment in time, football was a million miles away. Not only were Everton and Liverpool one as a City, but football fans across the country were all brought together to mourn a tragedy that could’ve been any of them.

I thank Everton for a fantastic tribute before the match, but also both teams for an excellent game, probably the best tribute for those 96 football fans who sadly lost their lives.

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