• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 2:06am
Column
PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 8:28pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 8:28pm

City of Liverpool owes much of its success to its two key football teams

Legends from Anfield and Goodison Park have contributed as much to Merseyside legacy as the four mop-topped musicians

BIO

Peter Simpson is a China-UK based journalist and the SCMP’s former Beijing 2008 Olympics news editor. He has covered major international news and sporting events, most recently the London 2012 Olympics and Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Peter is a Premier League season ticket holder at newly promoted Southampton FC.
 

No matter the outcome of this enthralling season, the Premier League title trophy will be paraded on Merseyside. Come July, Liverpool will host the International Festival of Business and CEOs and entrepreneurs will flock to what is officially declared the UK's friendliest city.

Sponsor Barclays will loan the iconic silverware as a centrepiece for the suits' gala dinner. There it will stand, in front of the head table - a glittering symbol of what awaits the ambitious, talented and hard-working.

On the festival's website a description of the host city reads: "Liverpool is a city like no other. From world famous architecture, magnificent museums, to music legends revolutionising popular culture, Liverpool has always been a hub of creativity."

Delegates are offered "stories from the city - its people and passions", plus an "exploration of Liverpool by its fine eateries", the city's ultimate music guide and links to contemporary art and culture.

Of course, we take for granted the mop-topped quartet of working-class chaps who put Liverpool on the map half a century ago.

But Beatles, shmeatles. What about football? Arguably the most important local commodity is not worthy of mention.

Clearly the website's editors failed to realise that Liverpool is among the few world cities that can link their economic and social well-being to the success of their football clubs.

They were, however, correct in noting "Liverpool has always been a hub of creativity". This has been evident during every game at Anfield and on the road this season courtesy of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, or over at Goodison where Roberto Martinez has transformed Everton's fortunes.

Liverpool is on the up thanks to various rejuvenation initiatives and recent upticks in the economy after six risible years. But the city's legendary football teams have been playing their part in the success.

Both are vying with unstoppable intent to join the European elite and not since the last visits by a Champions League team six years ago - a time also when the city was the European Capital of Culture - has the silt-carrying Mersey sparkled with so many feel-good-factor crystals.

The director of international trade for Liverpool's Chamber of Commerce, Andy Snell, said the vibrancy and ambitions of the managers at Anfield and Goodison are reflective of a changing mood.

Much credit to Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group and Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, then. Both clubs are seeking extensions to their ground and need inward investment. The owners know sustainability can only be achieved by matching success off the pitch as much as on it.

So they should be lauded for their human resource talent. Both have appointed men of vision and dynamism.

Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers and Everton's Martinez speak in the same quiet, assured and optimistic tones not heard since the likes of Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Howard Kendall and Kenny Dalglish spoke the language of success in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Granted, Manchester City with their games in hand over Rodgers' team and a relatively easy run over the coming weeks, remain favourites to top the pile on May 11.

Granted, Manchester City with their games in hand over Rodgers' team and a relatively easy run over the coming weeks, remain favourites to top the pile on May 11
Peter Simpson

Yet even if the blue and white colours of Manuel Pellegrini's team are tied on to the EPL trophy during July's business gathering, the talk over the tables will be the fast-track revival of Merseyside football.

This time 12 months ago both Manchester teams were alone in duelling for the crown. Liverpool and Everton were mere blips on the outer edges of the radar, lying by season's end seventh and sixth respectively.

This weekend, with six games remaining, Liverpool and Everton are within touching distance of the holy grail - Champions League football next season. A profitable tale of urban as much as sporting renaissance.

Great rivals they are, congenial business partners they are not, however.

But the way the remaining fixtures play out, the clubs will likely assist each other to reach their respective - and their city's - targets.

If Everton claim one or rob Arsenal of all three points during tomorrow's fourth-place showdown, Martinez's team will lay one hand on a pass into Europe's exclusive club.

Liverpool face a tough encounter tomorrow against West Ham on the road, but if they are title holders in-waiting, then a win should be expected.

Needless to mention that positive results from both sets of Merseysiders will set up Rodgers' team for what looks like the game of season next week against Manchester City.

The business suits will use unfathomable jargon to describe the paradoxical mutual success of two fiercely rival enterprises; "harmonious adversarial synergy" or some such gobbledygook.

Scousers will be more economic with their vernacular and call it a miracle.

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