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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, January 01, 2003
    Sons of St Domingo's - genuine community / corporate colony?
     
    Culture shifts constantly, especially where football is concerned. This afternoon's new joke at Goodison was about Gerard Houllier's OBE - One Below Everton. But it's two now, after todayÕs results.

    And culture shifts in other ways too. In the Megastore before the game I was most attracted to a t-shirt in the 'centenary' range which carries an understated logo, "St Domingo's 1878". It's one which speaks to those Ôin the knowÕ, a coded reference to the club's roots as a Methodist church youth team.

    I like it because it's timeless - unlike the equally classy Rooney shirts which will date far sooner. And because on me it'd carry a certain irony - those without the code might wonder if that's my new parish, for instance. Or thereÕd be jokes about new style clerical wear for a 21st century C of E.

    But I've not (yet) bought it (EFC's January sales start on Saturday), and may not, because of a feeling of slight revulsion at the branding of the club's history. What was once a substantial movement of local people, with its heart in the muscular Christianity of local Methodists led by a Revd B.S. Chambers, is now a corporate logo.

    Of course, the club began to drift away from its roots early, becoming Everton FC in 1879, and the church ain't there any more, so why get upset, why not celebrate the origins and move on? I guess thatÕs right, but if IÕm carrying the logo IÕd like to wear it with a sense that it means something substantial, something involving but also greater than mere football. Something about an active, genuine, community rather than a corporate colony. And I wonder if thatÕs possible around a Premiership club in 2003. And would pulling on the St Domingo shirt be a step towards achieving it?????

    (Historical notes with the help of Toffee Web - Everton History)