Is it time for Everton and Liverpool fans to swallow their pride?

Football
FanCast columnist
Joe Jennings wonders if the time has come for both Liverpool and Everton fans to
swallow their pride and embrace the possibility of a groundshare.

It is a debate that will always be dictated by the heart and not the
head, emotion over practicality, passion over perspective. But if you bear in
the mind the stadium issues faced by both Everton and Liverpool currently, is
the idea of a groundshare a proposal that could soon resurface as a feasible
option?

Some will argue that in today's economic and environmental climate how can
having two stadiums that are mainly untouched for over 300 days a year be
warranted when just one would be sufficient. Many would suggest to take an end
each, build on the neutral Stanley Park in the heart of the two time-honoured
areas and agree to major public payment from the council and North West
Development Agency and construct something of real intercontinental worth in terms
of design and facilities that would make the City of Liverpool proud.

The debate around groundsharing in Liverpool often focuses on the enmity
between supporters being the stumbling block. Without doubt this is a chief
issue with neither die hard Blues or Reds really wanting it. Yet there is also
a no-nonsense issue to be measured; markedly the upshot of English weather.
European clubs have conveyed to a certain degree that sharing a stadium can
work, though a drier climate makes certain that the pitch does not suffer too
much. Our climate would simply not allow two games a week being played over the
season without substantial turf damage – period.

Are we as supporters both guilty of small mindedness, do we never look at the
bigger picture? Liverpool supporters like to scorn us on many levels, but do
they remember who sold Anfield to them? Or, more importantly, who was the first
football club in the city of Liverpool?

Neutrals would struggle to see where the complexity of it all stems from. In
Merseyside you are not dealing with a run of the mill local sporting rivalry;
you are dealing with a full continuum of emotion, assorting from intense
passion and, from time to time, blind hatred, to familial love, friendship and
camaraderie passed down and built upon through the generations for way over a
century.

But maybe, just maybe, deep down, the two bands of supporters still remain as
proud of how the collective achievements of the respective clubs have made
Liverpool the most successful city in English football – in spite of the
obvious challenges that have weighed down the Merseyside area since the rapid
decline of Britain's primary industries – as they are of the clubs' individual
achievements at the expense of each other.

Liverpool have always dismissed the theory, as have Everton. But is now the
time to swallow the pride and really showcase to the world where we both want
to go. Is now the time to attempt to reclaim Merseyside's place as the cream of
the country? Is now the time to pursue a stadium dream we can be truly proud
of, in spite of the sour feeling that sharing with Liverpool would provide?