Outside the Box: Bootle's on the other foot for Everton but the Bucks stopped here

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The Independent Football

The original Merseyside derby will be contested again on Wednesday: Everton visiting, er, Bootle at the splendidly named Delta Taxi Stadium in a Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final. Bootle, known as "The Bucks", now play in the North West Counties League, but in the early days of football they had a fierce rivalry with Everton, whom they first met in 1880. In the following decade Bootle hosted Queen's Park and Corinthians, the great amateur clubs from Glasgow and London, whereas Everton were evicted from their ground after problems with the rent. Their meetings were often heated, with mass brawls between players, and on one occasion Bootle decided not to concede defeat after Everton beat them with a fiercely disputed goal. The Bucks were also bitter when the Football League rejected their application to be one of the founding clubs in 1888 yet accepted Everton. They did get into the Second Division in 1892, but left after one season because of financial difficulties (the first club to resign from the League) and were replaced by a new, upstart club named Liverpool. The Delta Taxi ground now hopes to break the attendance record of 1,078, which was set against Everton in the same competition.

Keeper's orange slice of luck

Readers of The Independent on Sunday will know from Ian Holloway's regular column that Blackpool are a club with their heart in the right place, and we are happy to report another example. The regulation that any clothing worn underneath shirts and shorts must be the same colour has caused particular problems for teams, or goalkeepers, who wear orange or tangerine, since under-armour is not widely generally available in those shades. Blackpool's head of retail, Richard Wild, was one of the officials at an Evostik Northern Premier League game on a bitter day in December in which the Vauxhall Motors goalkeeper was refused permission to wear black under his orange kit. Wild promised he would find the unfortunate keeper one of Blackpool's, and has subsequently helped supply clubs all over the country at a modest cost.

Abridged history for Baggies fans

There was a special piquancy in West Bromwich Albion finally managing a victory over Stoke City (only the second in 29 meetings) on the day that their fans commemorated the 10th anniversary of the death of their 1968 FA Cup final match-winner Jeff Astle (pictured). The former England centre-forward has long been revered in the Black Country, where a fan once painted "Astle is the King" on a canal bridge near Netherton. It took the local authority the best part of two decades to remove it, but the same message was then daubed again almost immediately, bearing the addition: "Please take note, Dudley Council". The graffiti is no longer there but "Astle's Bridge" still stands. Sensitive Albion followers attending last weekend's game were all the more delighted with the last-minute goal by Graham Dorrans after reading in the match programme that their club had won the Cup three times. Since Astle's winner 44 years ago, the correctfigure is in fact five.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

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