It is a well-worn cliché but Goodison Park last night staged a game that was only ever going to produce one winner – Everton v Everton.
David Moyes's team faced their namesakes from Chile in a friendly where the winning side collected, fittingly, the Brotherhood Cup and which the South American club's president, Antonio Bloise, has described as a homecoming. "Everton is an institution created by people of English descent, and so this journey is a sort of return home for us," he said.
The other Everton were founded in the port of Valparaiso in 1909 by a group of Anglo-Chilean youths inspired by the Merseysiders' tour of Argentina and Uruguay in June that year. Everton, together with Tottenham Hotspur, had travelled to South America for a tour comprising friendlies against local clubs as well as two exhibition matches against each other.
The founding members of "el Everton" were led by David Foxley, whose grandparents emigrated from Liverpool to set up a flour mill, and included Frank Boundy and Malcolm Fraser, who would die at the Somme. Foxley confirmed the link to Goodison during the club's 10th anniversary celebrations in 1919 and his nephew Juan was among the visiting party on Merseyside.
The Chilean Everton moved from Valparaiso to the coastal resort of Viña del Mar in the 1940s and began to receive backing from the local casino, earning their nickname Los Ruleteros (The Roulette Players). In 1950 they won their first league title.
In some ways the match was a realisation of one man's dream. As a 20-year-old student, John Shearon was moved to travel to Viña del Mar by an article in a 1977 Everton match programme about their Chilean equivalents. In 2002 he established the Ruleteros society in Liverpool to forge links between the clubs. This led to reciprocal visits to mark the Chilean club's 2009 centenary with the ultimate goal an Everton v Everton game.
"We've basically been planning it since 2002 when we formed the Ruleteros society," said Shearon."
The match was broadcast live in Chile and Bloise said that press coverage at home was enormous. "It is the first time a Chilean team has come to play a game here at club level. This is very important," he said.
Even before the game the Chileans were already talking about a return fixture in Viña del Mar. Shearon said: "That's just a dream but this was just a dream, so who knows?"Reuse content