My Favourite Derby Day Memory

I think it’s safe to say that you Reds enjoy the derby more than us. Regardless of the recent Arsenal result, I’m not looking forward to Monday. 

Even in some super-charged Farhad Moshiri fantasy, where Everton have spent trillions on players and Liverpool are in the same league as Dover Athletic, I’d still expect us to get beat. 

Not only are you our deepest and darkest rivals, you’re also a bogey team. I’ll be 28 next year and I’ve seen Everton beat Liverpool 10 times in about 50 encounters.

I suppose I’m slightly more protected than others. I don’t live in the City and the bulk of the Liverpool fans that I know have never even been to Anfield, so I don’t have to withstand the ferocious piss-taking that some of my other Scouse-blue-brothers must get when Everton lose. 

Anyway, my best derby was my first: Everton 2-0 Liverpool in October 1997. That Everton side, like a few others in the 1990s, was the epitome of shite.

However, it did possess a decent work rate, aggression, and a few individuals who could cause the odd issue for the opposition. 

A rather hefty Neville Southall was in the sticks, the likes of Short, Watson and Hincliffe at the back with Stuart, Speed and Ferguson further forward. Danny Cadamarteri also played but more about him in a second. 

That Liverpool team contained men like McAteer, Mcmanaman, Berger and Fowler. I vaguely recall a young Michael Owen was involved as well.

The atmosphere at Goodison during a derby is stunning. There really is nowhere else like it. 

That feeling when Z-Cars begins and the players appear is like nothing else. On this particular day, I’d travelled to Liverpool with my dad and his friend.

We’re talking just under 20 years ago here, so a lot of it is a blur. However, I do recall standing on the corner of the Bullens Road before the match eating chips and gravy with One-to-One plastered across my Everton shirt.

Now I’m a lot more tense, and I sometimes wonder why I actually put myself through it because these games normally result in pain. 

I ponder if it would be better for my health if I just turned everything off and sat in silence for a few hours when Everton play Liverpool.

You don’t really take everything into consideration when you’re a young lad. It was all new to me. 

Of course, I understood that we were playing Liverpool and that beating Liverpool was a BIG deal, but the derby didn’t come with the weight it does now.

I remember that the game was pretty scrappy (surprise) and then before the half, Tony Hinchcliffe swung a ball in from the corner and David James flapped at it. 

The ball hit mega-athlete Neil Ruddock and somehow it ended up in the back of the net right in front of the Gwladys Street…

Then in the second half, Cadamarteri (who had been causing issues all day) chased down Kvarme who completely bottled it and lost the ball deep inside Liverpool territory. 

Not for the first time, Cadamateri jinked past Ruddock and smashed it into the bottom corner. 

From the Street End to the Park End – the place exploded. I think I properly fell in love with Everton on that day.

I remember my Dad saying “we’ve still got twenty minutes for something to go wrong here” and a scouser behind him said “those twenty minutes will feel like twenty years, lad.”

I think a Liverpool fan ran the length of the pitch to hurl abuse at Roy Evans at some point.

There have been other decent encounters since. That day when Andy Johnson terrorised Pepe Reina was great, as was the Dan Gosling goal and the derby in 2010 when Hodgson was the manager – but 1997 ranks highest for me.

Passion, pride and commitment, that’s all Evertonians really ask for. We got it on that day.

Written by @PartAdam

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