It is not uncommon for football players from different teams to hang out with each other. All hatred and bitterness of 90 minutes on the football pitch are often forgotten and even forgiven the moment the players leave the pitch and enter the outside world.
It is, though, slightly iffy when players of direct local rivals meet and fraternize. It is irritating for fans to see and often causes discontent.
But it is unrealistic to think that footballers will not meet their friends, companions or countrymen just because the clubs that employ them do not see eye to eye.
One such instance occurred recently when Anthony Gordon, a former Everton player now turning out at St. James’ Park, and Curtis Jones, a Liverpool player, met each other on the former’s birthday.
Curtis posted a story on Instagram of the two players together celebrating Anthony’s birthday, along with the caption “Happy birthday my brother”.
Everton and Liverpool, the two clubs in the Merseyside region of England, are arch rivals and the fans absolutely despise the other club.
And even though Gordon is no longer an Evertonian, he was at the club since he was 11, so it is ever-so-slightly surprising for both sets of fans to see this connection with someone from the other half of the city.
But dig deeper and we’ll see why the duo are not just mere acquaintances, but actually friends.
Gordon and Jones were both born in Liverpool in 2001 and less than a month apart from each other.
The duo joined Liverpool FC before even becoming teenagers and played at the club together for some time before Gordon was released by the club aged 11, after which he was snapped up by Everton.
The pair has also represented the national team together in various age brackets and are both awaiting their first senior cap.
In fact, one of the U21 games was another example of how the two of them bonded together over a common cause.
In a match against Albania U21, both Jones and Gordon refused to sing the pre-game national anthem, in this case, God Save The Queen.
The reason is that Liverpudlians, or people from Liverpool, often feel neglected and not part of the country due to the treatment of the government over several decades. They, therefore, boo the anthem so as to showcase their dissent and as a protest.
This was definitely not the first time the duo joined hands for a common goal.
Gordon and Jones were in Los Angeles this summer and trained together, as can be seen in the video below –
Considering the two have shared the locker room on multiple occasions and come from the same city, it is now no longer an eyebrow-raising incident that Jones wished Gordon on his birthday.
And while it may upset some fans, it is worth noting that even Everton and Liverpool legends have fraternized with each other. Dixie Dean and Elisha Scott have been two of the greats who have graced the Merseyside Derby. And their mutual respect is well documented in the history books.
Plus, Gordon is no longer an Everton player anyway, after moving to Newcastle United in the winter window, so he maybe does not feel the need to hide his friendship with Curtis Jones any longer, something he may have done out of respect and fear earlier.
Newcastle will be competing with Manchester United tonight to get their hands on the Carabao Cup trophy. And since Gordon will not be able to feature on account of playing for Everton earlier, maybe he and Jones can watch the match together and cheer for the Magpies.