Boyhood Evertonian-turned-Liverpool player Jamie Carragher spoke about how Goodison’s icons supplanted those of the England national team growing up, explaining how the current Three Lions team changed their perspective.
“Mike Trebilcock came into the squad and scored two,” he explained, visualizing his 12-year-old self celebrating. “The woman across the road who supported Liverpool was running down the street laughing when we were down 2-0, but we won 3-2. “
For those who don’t know, Everton won the FA Cup that year.
The World Cup final between England and West Germany took place two months later. I never heard a word about Geoff Hurst or a Russian linesman in our house.
Loving my club more than the national team was not a choice. It happened that way because I grew up in a community where everything was seen through the lens of a club.
At Bootle we had two great, performing football teams within walking distance, so the only idea to go to Wembley was for the cup finals. England felt like a team for people from another part of the country, and we were too obsessed with what we already had on our doorstep to care so passionately about someone else.
I remember very well that I wanted England to win the World Cup in Mexico in 1986 because Peter Reid, Gary Lineker, Gary Stevens and Trevor Steven of Everton were on the squad. When Diego Maradona knocked out England in the quarter-finals, I wasn’t upset. The reaction was to pick up a soccer ball and head to the park to try and recreate his second goal.
Whenever the international breaks came up I wore a Scottish jersey with Graeme Sharp’s number on and supported Wales when Neville Southall and Kevin Ratcliffe were involved. I wanted the Republic of Ireland to win because they had Kevin Sheedy.
It was like that for everyone I knew in Liverpool. We saw our favorite players, not international rivalries. And we never thought about why it was like that. I’ve read many theories since, attributing it to a ‘Scouse not English’ attitude that has evolved due to regional and national political divide. It wasn’t like that at all when I was young in the 1980s.
We have never been anti-English, and I can assure you that party politics was not on my mind when I was six. It was easier. My emotional attachment was to Everton and worrying about England’s upcoming games never made me lose sleep in the same way.