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Bootle FC 2-1 Everton FC, 1888

Bootle FC 2-1 Everton FC, 1888

Joe Symes16 Feb 2023 - 12:08
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A crowd of 10,000 were packed into Marsh Lane to watch Bootle host Everton.

Before Liverpool FC and the Football League, the first ever Merseyside Derby took place in Marsh Lane when Bootle hosted Everton.

Nowadays, the two sides are separated by 144 league positions, but for the royalty of Merseyside, this was a fixture everyone’s eyes peeled on.

A reported 10,000 people crammed into Marsh Lane, infamous for the births of some famous Bootle people such as Jamie Carragher and eight times Bootle manager John Doran, to watch the ‘Bucks’ play the ‘Toffees’.

Both sides have won a raft of Senior Cups, with Everton the most successful team and Bootle lifting the County Cup on four occasions and once under the new formation of the club.

Bootle and Everton quickly established themselves as the top two sides in the area and became fierce rivals. During one of their meetings in 1881, the game was abandoned after a pitch invasion by fans, with police needing to ascot mobs from the ground.

When they met again the year after the meeting at Marsh Lane, a crowd of 11,000 attended the game at Everton’s home ground, Anfield, now home to Liverpool FC.

This was known as the first Merseyside Derby, as two clubs who founded two years apart met in regional cups since their was no Football League at the time. The Liverpool Senior saw the meeting between Bootle and Everton commence, as many more clashes happened before it all changed.

A formation of a Football League happened, and Everton were founding members in 1888 and years down the line, the Football Alliance was created and Bootle were founding members of the Second Division. Everton would go onto finish a handful of points off winning the Football League, finishing third, with Bootle losing their status after running out of money.

The latest incarnation of Bootle happened in 1953, when Frank Doran and the guys at Langton Dock took over, and have took Bootle to plenty of success in regional leagues and a spot in the non-league pyramid, joining the North West Counties in 1982. Bootle were then kicked out due to ground regulations but then reinstated when a property on Vesty Road was purchased.

Bootle were stuck in the Counties for years but then achieved promotion to the Northern Premier League, with the group Berry Street Garage taking over stellar work done by the Doran’s in the club and took Bootle to new heights, reaching the 8th tier of English football, the highest they’ve been since their new formation.

Bootle and Everton have met recently in the Senior Cup, renewing old rivalries once again in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the competition. Bootle were able to overcome the ‘Toffees’ on penalties, with half of the first team squad sold as a result, and then the ‘Bucks’ unfortunately lost out to Everton a few years from that game.

With Bootle and Everton both in quarter final action this year, a meeting could happen once again if both sides are to make the semi finals, a rich rivalry which dates back over 140 years.

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