Manchester v. Liverpool

When a game has to be scheduled midday to discourage rampant alcohol abuse, you know you’ve got a rivalry. Tomorrow marks the next meeting between two of the fiercest rivals in any sport, Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC. It is difficult, as an American, to imagine just how intense it must be. We speak of great rivalries in this country–Yankees vs. Red Sox, Duke vs. North Carolina, Ohio State vs. Michigan, etc–but none of them have reached such heightened levels of animus.

Here are some of the historical highlights of this volatile rivalry via News of the World:

  • Players have been pelted with coins and cell phones.
  • After a Manchester United player, Alan Smith, broke his leg, his ambulance was pelted with bottles and stones en route to the hospital.
  • A United player, Gary Neville, stuck in traffic while in Liverpool, was mobbed. Liverpool fans attempted to overturn Neville’s car.
  • The following year, Neville ran 60 yards to taunt Liverpool supporters following a go-ahead goal. Some wanted him to be charged criminally with attempting to incite a riot.
  • One Liverpool player broke both legs of former Manchester striker Andy Cole in a furious tackle on the six-yard line.
  • In 1973, hundreds of United supporters ran onto the pitch at Old Trafford, attacking Liverpool fans.

I have heard rumors of supporters throwing cups of feces at opposition fans. I don’t know that Yankee Stadium ever takes that tone, even in October. This is a rivalry of unhealthy proportions, but it makes for very compelling television. With that said, I have to get to bed. Midday in England is 8:30 a.m. Eastern. But I will leave you with two chants:

In The Liverpool Slums In the Liverpool slums,
They knock on the door when they want something to eat,
They find a dead rat and they think it’s a treat,
In the Liverpool slums…

In the Liverpool slums,
Your Mum’s on the beat and your Dad’s in the nick,
You can’t find a job ‘coz you’re too f*ckin’ thick,
In the Liverpool slums…

And…

In your Manchester scrubs,

You speak with accent that know one can stand,
You’re ugly fat b*stards with sh*t on yer hands,
In your manchester scrubs.

If I had the wings of a sparrow,
If I had the arse of a crow,
Id fly over man U tomorrow,
And sh*t on the b*stards below.

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