Everton defender Sylvain Distin has spoken about the possibility of handing local rivals Liverpool the Premier League title this season when they meet Manchester City on the penultimate weekend of the season at Goodison Park.
Distin is quoted, saying: “The funny thing is some people would rather we don’t get Champions League as long as they don’t win the league. It’s mad!
“Personally I’d rather be in the Champions League. You can’t miss chance for that. It would be amazing for the city if both the clubs made it. Deep down all the fans would like it if we were both in it.”
There is a story that I have often been told by my dad – something which today's football fan may find strange. My dad is a Liverpool supporter but went to a game between Everton and Manchester United on 5th May 1984, and stood at the Gwladys Street end with all the Blues.
It was a season where Liverpool were locked in a battle with Manchester United and three other clubs for the First Division title: Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers. United sat in second place ahead of the game and were trailing Liverpool by two points. Needless to say on that May afternoon, Liverpool were after a favour from their neighbours.
They got one as Everton got a 1-1 draw against Manchester United – Robbie Wakenshaw got the goal for the Blues and Frank Stapleton equalised for the visitors. Liverpool went on to clinch the title under Joe Fagan, in a season where Liverpool also lifted the League Cup and went on to record their fourth European Cup triumph.
It’s doubtful there will be many Reds flocking to Goodison Park to cheer on their local rivals, even if it’s a case of an Everton win handing the initiative firmly to Liverpool in the title race. Football was different then. My generation is very different in terms of fan culture compared to that of my old man.
Not many Liverpool fans could envisage going to Goodison Park nowadays if the Reds weren’t the visiting side, but they would settle for Everton putting a dent in a Manchester club’s title challenge and helping the Red half of the city.
Can Everton help the Reds out like 30 years ago? We'll have to wait until 3rd May to find out. If it happens, I can just imagine my dad drawing the comparisons.