The only player truly loved by both Everton and Liverpool fans

Generally speaking, Everton supporters don’t like Liverpool players. And vice versa.

Although most Toffees would admit they have a quiet respect for the likes of Steven Gerrard, they wouldn’t claim to be fans of the great Liverpool midfielder.

But it goes both ways. Such is the ferocity of the local rivalry on Merseyside, that Liverpool fans would hardly be queuing up to shake hands with Wayne Rooney or Duncan Ferguson any time soon.

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Everton v Liverpool - Premier League
Everton fans giving Steven Gerrard a bit of grief during a Merseyside derby

But there are a few players who have dared to play for both, like Nick Barmby and Peter Beardsley. And even fewer of them have held on to the respect and adoration of both sets of supporters.

But one player captured the imagination of the city, and is loved by all on Merseyside, both red and blue.

Gary Ablett spent nine years at Liverpool, winning the FA Cup and a couple of titles, before joining Everton in 1992.

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Ablett remains the only player to have won the FA Cup with both Merseyside clubs, and his industry and talent was appreciated and revered in the city, even after Graeme Souness opted to sell him to Everton for £750,000.

But Ablett, who retired with Long Island Rough Riders in 2001, would tragically die at the young age of 46 after a 16-month battle with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, an aggressive blood cancer.

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In a touching display of unity, Ablett’s former team-mates from both Liverpool and Everton and the current managers of each club (and members of the squad) attended his funeral in 2012.

A true legend of Merseyside.

mjmaxwell

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