Red or Blue-what does it mean for you?

The number one question any Scouser gets asked when outside Liverpool.

Football and The Beatles are Liverpool’s claim to fame internationally and the tourist industry in the city is a combination of these draws. It might seem strange but the two things were rarely combined in real life. Until preparing for this post I had no idea of the affinities of any of the Beatles. Apparently, they or their management were very conscious from early on not to annoy either side by having John, Paul, George or Ringo declare their allegiances. The following is from the local paper The Echo;

‘Paul is an Everton fan, though he likes Liverpool as well, he leans more to Everton as his dad was the fan of the club and a local boy (Everton borough resident). George was a Liverpool fan, whilst John was not a big fan of football and Ringo Starr didn’t publicly declare his allegiance.’

Here’s part of an interview Paul gave to the Observer Sports Monthly magazine after noting his support for Everton he continued;

“But after a concert at Wembley Arena I got a bit of a friendship with Kenny Dalglish, who had been to the gig and I thought ‘You know what? I am just going to support them both because it’s all Liverpool and I don’t have that Catholic-Protestant thing.

The ‘Catholic-Protestant’ thing- unlike Protestant Rangers and Catholic Celtic in Glasgow, things have never been so polarised for the two Liverpool teams, most supporters know the two teams share a common heritage. Along the way, there is no question that Liverpool became more identified with Protestantism, while Everton’s relationship was with the catholic community and they were renowned for importing Irish players.

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Growing up it was the same for me. I had one brother who was an Everton fanatic, another a committed Liverpudlian, while my dad who was from Wicklow was a blue. I was neither, like lots of people from Liverpool football wasn’t the centre of my life.

There is a myth that football is working-class culture, it isn’t, it’s a business run by billionaires in the interests of those billionaires. Of course, millions of working-class people follow football- working-class culture doesn’t exist. The culture beamed into our homes, or through our headphones is the product of the morals and values of capitalism. At times there is cultural resistance of various degrees from within the working class and oppressed people, for me Bob Marley, or The Specials, The Beat, add your own favourite here ………………. and lots of other examples. From within the Beatles, no doubt John Lennon was the most radical. So the original question red or blue has a more fundamental application, not the album, or the football team but as Pete Seeger asks; Which side are you on?

Published by jackbyrnewriter

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