Manchester United and Everton are pals. If you had to pick two clubs who had a friendship in the Premier League, it’s definitely this pair.
Don’t get us wrong, they will hate each other when they meet at Old Trafford on Sunday, but for the rest of the season there is a mutual respect and they really get along.
The Red Devils and Toffees have a decent relationship. It’s like that acquaintance you see down the pub, you give him a nod of the head having been at a few parties and get-togethers with him.
Every time you think to yourself: “Nice fella, him,” and you always buy each other a pint.
It has burgeoned this century.
Of course, neither are fond of Liverpool at all, so there’s that.
‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ says the ancient proverb. Quite.
They’ve also transferred a vast of array players to each other in the Premier League era.
Now it has to be said, the Toffees have had the raw end of the deal. But, like a good friend helping another during hard times, United have been there.
Having won the lot after plucking boyhood Evertonian Wayne Rooney from Goodison, it felt like United thought they still owed the Blues.
Despite agreeing a £27.5m deal with add-ons, they continued to help Everton with players.
Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Louis Saha, Darron Gibson and Tom Cleverley all made the move west down the M62 to join the blue half of Merseyside, and the majority of the group had successful spells in L4.
United had Everton’s back, so grateful were they for Rooney. Think of it as the popular sixth-former looking out for the little downtrodden brother of his girlfriend.
It was Rooney, remember, who helped United trump Liverpool when it came to league titles.
“A Scouser knocks Liverpool off their perch. Haha. An Evertonian as well,” he famously remarked as United eclipsed the Reds’ tally of 18 league championships. He broke Blue hearts when he left, but they appreciated this effort.
In 2013, Toffees boss David Moyes left for United with the blessing of the majority of the fanbase. His relationship with the Blues did become sullied, and it wasn’t long before the same happened with the Red Devils when he failed to impress having been a close ally of Sir Alex Ferguson. But for a short time United were grateful, knowing he had arrived from a good club.
Romelu Lukaku made a similar move. Evertonians were devastated to see him go, especially when he wasn’t replaced, but the general consensus was that there were worse clubs in England he could have joined.
Andrei Kanchelskis, Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini, Jesper Blomqvist... they’ve shared so many stars.
Now the Toffees are financially stable again this under-the-radar quasi-romance will thaw out. But for now, they’re cool.
While it’s Liverpool and Manchester City fostering the newest rivalry, United and Everton will hope to seriously scrap again (something the two sides haven’t done against each other since the eighties). That would be the ultimate sign that they’re both competing once more. In the meantime, the nod of the head and occasional pint will have to suffice.
Manchester vs Merseyside. It’s not always about hate.