Two Tribes: Liverpool, Everton and a City on the Brink by Tony Evans

two tribes

Really interesting read. Dives into the social, cultural and political climate of the time and illustrates how football made life bearable for so many people, in particularly, young working class men.

As the two best teams in English football at the time, the focus of the book is on Everton and Liverpool in the 1985-86 season. Evans evokes Liverpool’s reputation as a city apart, a strange “other” inside of Britain’s borders and evokes the myriad challenges the city faced in the 70s and 80s against the backdrop of rampant Thatcherism. In public discourse at the time, Liverpool was spoken about as “the enemy within”, as the city coucil resisted all attempts at freemarket capitalism eviscerating decades of social housing between citizen and state. Alongside this is the underlying racial tensions within Britain. Liverpool was struck with massive waves of irish immigration during the famine, and British antagonism towards these destitute irish emigrants has matured over the decades into a strong suspicion of scousers.

Along with Thatcher, Liverpool, and wider English football, had Heysel to deal with and the total ban on entering European club competitions that came with it. With delcining attendances, hooliganism on the rise and the TV executives circling, football faced nearly as many challenges as did Britain.

Amidst all this, Liverpool the city was still playing by far the best football in the country. The race to the finish in April and May and the climactic FA cup final between both clubs united Merseyside in pride and showed a different side of Liverpool to the rest of the Enlgish public and the football world.

Great read for football fans and amateur sociologists.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries catalogue here.

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