In July this year, Everton opened a new club shop in Liverpool city centre. They already had one at the ground, so they called that Everton One, and the one in the middle of town, Everton Two. It means the address of the new shop is, wait for it . . . Everton Two, Liverpool One.
Good joke, but an affectionate one, for the clubs are quite good friends, though not as close as they once were. From 1902 into the 1930s, each week they shared a programme. When Liverpool was at home, most of it concerned Liverpool, with a small proportion about Everton and their reserves. The following week, it would be reversed, with Everton getting most space. The same programme would be on sale
at Goodison and Anfield.
I have several examples of this and always show them to visitors when I am displaying my treasures - along with the Arsenal-Moscow Dynamo programme of 21 November 1945, a game watched by 54,600, which ended 4-3 to the Russians. Why do I show off that one? Because it took place at White Hart Lane. Do concentrate. During the war, Highbury had been turned into an air-raid centre.
It demonstrates how deadly rival clubs can be friends. In these hard economic times, with Everton £40m in debt and Liverpool hardly much better off, and neither doing very well, and both having old-fashioned grounds that need rebuilding, and each holding about half of Old Trafford and two-thirds of the Emirates stadium, why on earth can't they do the logical thing and share a big new ground? They'd have a much bigger income each week, shared running costs, could make some money by selling the naming rights, and if Liverpool fans insist on seeing red all around and Evertonians demand blue, then modern technology could easily ring the changes.
They used to say that a pitch couldn't survive being played on every week, back when they were all mudbaths at this time of year and you didn't see green till about May. Those days have gone.
So what's the problem? Dunno. For some reason, they can't agree. They've had discussions, but it's all off, once again. I also don't understand why Fifa won't allow video evidence when it comes to disputed goals, such as Henry's handball against Ireland. No fan in the whole world understands that. It works well in rugby and it doesn't slow the game down, as some Fifa officials maintain, no more than a normal penalty kick slows the game down. In fact, in rugby, it's quite exciting, seeing the replay, then waiting for the official decision. Why can't we have it in football, in time for
the World Cup - save all the rows ahead?
It is so sensible, like Liverpool and Everton sharing, that I am forced to think, hold on, they are not stupid, they want the best for their clubs, the best for the game, it must be me being dumb, I have missed something, which is, er, no, still can't think what the obstacle might be.
Got it. All football administrators are farties, old blazers, don't like change, they feel they have to keep the old ways going, regardless of life having moved on. Remember, in 1921, how the FA banned women from playing football? That is what it does, that is what it is for.
Hunter Davies's latest book is "Confessions of a Collector" (Quercus, £20)