Everton to play Everton in historic friendly
The Goodison Park faithful may need to re-think some of their songs of support on Wednesday as Everton play Everton, the English club's namesakes from Chile, in a friendly.
The two teams are meeting for the first time to celebrate a shared history now dating back more than a century. The Chilean club was founded in 1909 shortly after the English Everton made a huge impression in a series of exhibition games in South America.
The Toffees had made a pioneering visit across the Atlantic with Tottenham to face teams from Argentina and Uruguay and their England forward Bert Freeman stole the show with 14 goals in five games. Within weeks, a group of Anglo-Chilean teenagers from the port of Valparaiso had formed a club and called it Everton. The new club soon established itself and, after moving to nearby Vina del Mar, went on to become one of the mainstays of the Chilean domestic scene.
The two Evertons have communicated fitfully over the years and congratulated each other on their successes but a game has not been arranged until now, as part of the Chilean side's continuing centenary celebrations. Efforts to stage a match were stepped up eight years ago when the Ruleteros Society - taking its name from the Chile club's nickname meaning 'Roulette Players' - was set up by supporters to forge greater links between the two Evertons. The result of their lobbying will be seen on Wednesday night as the two clubs play for the newly-created Brotherhood Cup.
Aside from historical interest, the game should also provide English Everton with a good test ahead of the start of the Premier League season on August 14. Chilean champions as recently as 2008, and with football in their country on a high after a good World Cup showing, the visitors are expected to give a good account of themselves.
Toffees captain Phil Neville told evertontv: "It is quite a unique fixture. We saw Chile in the World Cup and they are a much-improved footballing nation.''
The match is also the Toffees' only home friendly during pre-season. After it they have just one more game at Wolfsburg before facing Blackburn in their league opener.
"We want to win the game, winning brings confidence and every player in the squad is back training now,'' said Neville. "The boys are looking forward to being at Goodison and these next two games are the final pieces of our preparation.''