Liverpool and Everton supporters are used to being called insulting names. “Bin dipper” is a common form of abuse. This week it was used by Trevor Sinclair, the former Manchester City and West Ham United winger. He wrote the pejorative term for Scousers in a tweet about City closing the gap at the top of the Premier League to eight points after their 4-1 victory over Burnley. “Bin dippers we’re coming for you,” he said. Sinclair is 46. Old enough to know better. Initially he doubled down, calling those who objected to the insult “so sensitive”. Then, as reality dawned, he apologised, explaining that he is a “working class lad”. The phrase comes from a terrace chant that developed in the 1970s and 80s. Opposing supporters adapted In My Liverpool Home , a well known song, changing the lyrics. “You look in the dustbin for something to eat,” they chorus, “you find a dead rat and you think it’s a treat ...” It alludes to poverty on Merseyside. So much for Sinclair’s class solidarity. The city of Liverpool is no longer an outlier in terms of deprivation in the way it was four decades ago. Back then it was visibly poor. Now it is little different to the rest of the United Kingdom. Homelessness has grown hugely across the nation and the sight of people searching through rubbish in desperation is no longer uncommon. Liverpool and Everton have been at the forefront of football’s attempt to address some of the problems associated with poverty. Both clubs operate food banks where supporters can drop off donations for those who cannot make ends meet. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been especially active in this area and this week the 21-year-old England full back launched Liverpool’s Christmas appeal with a visit to St Andrew’s Community Centre where 25 per cent of the food donated is left before matches at Goodison and Anfield. Even in the multimillion-pound age of the Premier League, football is a force for good on Merseyside. Both clubs work hard with local charities. The Everton In The Community scheme is one of the best in the country and has won numerous awards. Liverpool and Everton have been at the forefront of football’s attempt to address some of the problems associated with poverty No other city in England is demonised the same way as Liverpool. Rival supporters do not generalise about the fans of the Manchester clubs or their city in the same way. There are no equivalents to “bin dipper” for Brummies or Cockneys, even though Birmingham and the east end of London have areas where economic hardship is at least comparable to Liverpool’s. Merseyside is treated differently by the rest of the country. The resentment towards the region finds a focus in football. Liverpool, as the more successful team in recent years are on the receiving end of more of the antagonism and their connection with the Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies makes the situation worse. This feeds Scouse exceptionalism. Kopites sing: “We’re not English, we are Scouse.” There is some basis in that belief. The city’s outsider status developed in the second half of the nineteenth century when mass immigration from Ireland shaped Merseyside’s separate identity. Even now, this part of the northwest is frequently out of step politically, socially and economically with the rest of the nation. “Bin dippers” is an outside expression of this otherness. Can Liverpool ever escape its past? Success breeds scorn as rivals ramp-up stereotypes of the club, and the city Sinclair’s claim that anyone upset by his remark was “sensitive” is another of the tropes that are attached to Scousers. “Offended by everything, ashamed of nothing,” is often thrown at Liverpool fans – sadly, even by Evertonians. It is most often a snide allusion to Heysel, where 39 mainly Italian supporters died at the 1985 European Cup final after a charge from the Liverpool section caused panic and led to a wall collapsing. The tragedy, for which the culpability of some Liverpool fans is undeniable, continues to be weaponised by a large number of people for the purpose of football rivalry and to demonise Merseysiders. It is often juxtaposed against Hillsborough. At this week’s derby the Kop displayed a mural in support of the families of the 96 people who died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final. The relatives are still reeling from the acquittal last week of David Duckenfield, the match commander, on charges of gross negligence manslaughter. No one has been held responsible for the deaths of their loved ones, despite the longest inquest in British history returning a verdict that the victims were unlawfully killed. Liverpool fans won’t make same mistake with Boris Johnson they did with Luis Suarez Everton’s fan base have been overwhelmingly supportive of the fight for justice and displayed a red and blue banner across the divide between the two sets of supporters. However, after the final whistle in the home side’s 5-2 victory, a small number of Evertonians were filmed making a pushing motion with their hands, a gesture that has come to be associated with the wall collapsing at Heysel. Whenever Hillsborough is in the news, the knee-jerk response for too many people on social media is to bring up Heysel as if the two events were comparable. The merest amount of research explains the huge and important differences between the incidents and the way the authorities handled the response to disasters. It feeds an almost instinctive antipathy towards Scousers that goes way beyond football. “Bin dippers” is a manifestation of a widespread anti-Merseyside aversion. Like “Always the victim, it’s never your fault”, a chant that is heard on a weekly basis that references Hillsborough, it has become an accepted phrase to taunt Scousers. It would be nice if it was just about football and could be countered by Kopites singing “Champions of Europe” or “We’re going to win the league”. It cannot. It’s about far more than sport. Liverpool, as a city, is used to that. There is no sign of Sinclair’s mindset going away.