The City of Liverpool’s world-famous Liver Birds have been lit up in Everton blue for Christmas, triggering a spectacular firework display above the River Mersey.
The iconic statues were flooded with light to launch the Football Club’s Blue Crimbo campaign on Thursday evening and are set to remain a fixture of the city’s skyline throughout the next month.
Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright and X Factor finalist Anthony Russell pulled the lever that covered the top of the Royal Liver Building – Everton’s new operating headquarters – in the Club’s colours, with hundreds of fireworks immediately shooting skywards to mark the occasion.
First-team stars Yerry Mina and Michael Keane, Director of Football Marcel Brands and former WBC cruiserweight boxing champion Tony Bellew were also on stage, along with Ambassadors Ian Snodin and Graham Stuart, joining 350 invited supporters and guests in attending the high-profile waterfront event.
“We’ve got a wonderful community programme and we’ve established Blue Crimbo over the last seven years but tonight was something for everyone, a feeling of Liverpool, the best place in the world,” said Mr Kenwright.
“It’s the start of Christmas and, of course, we all want Anthony to do well for us this weekend.
“He’s a real Blue, a typical Scouser. He’s up against two extraordinary vocal talents but it’s called the X Factor and he’s got it.”
The event also saw fans Sophie and Ben presented with shirts on stage after they were nominated by family and friends as deserving recipients of a Blue Crimbo surprise.
Everton Season Ticket, Lounge and We Are Everton Members were invited to apply for tickets to the launch, with the winners selected at random.
“It’s been fantastic,” said Everton Chief Executive Officer Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale. “Despite the wind and rain, Evertonians have collected outside to come and support Anthony and to see the start of our Blue Crimbo campaign.
“It [lighting up the Liver Birds] has been a terribly hard secret to keep – we’ve been so excited here at Everton waiting to be able to do that.
“I hope the fans have appreciated it and see it as a grand way of setting off our campaign – another chance to get out into our community and make a difference.
X Factor star Russell, who will take on Dalton Harris and Scarlett Lee in this weekend’s final, sang Eye of the Tiger and Don’t Look Back In Anger as he returned to his home city.
The 28-year-old, from Bootle, wowed the crowd, who held up posters wishing him luck as he aims to win the popular ITV show and its prize of a lucrative recording contract.
“To perform in front of all the Blues, I’m so happy,” said the singer, who is mentored by former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson. “I’m a Blue, I’m from the city of Liverpool and I love it.
“Everywhere I go the Blues are with me and I can feel the spirit of Everton.”
Blue Crimbo, now in its seventh year, takes place every December and sees Everton reward loyal and deserving fans with memorable experiences and surprises.
This year’s campaign will see more Blues recognised, with the full first-team squad also set to pay their annual festive visit to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital alongside manager Marco Silva and his backroom staff.
“It’s a great thing and brilliant for the fans to come along this evening, enjoy this event and meet a few players and members of staff as well,” said defender Keane. “It’s great the fan are here, especially Sophie and Ben who were up on stage, and that we can make them happy.”
As part of Blue Crimbo 2018, Everton had already cut ticket prices for its December home fixtures against Newcastle United (Wednesday, December 5, 7.45pm) and Watford (Monday, December 10, 8pm), with admission only £25 for adults, £12.50 for over 65s and £5 for under 18s.
Tickets for the visit of Newcastle United have now sold out but can be purchased from Season Ticket Members unable to attend the match via StubHub here. To secure your seat for the visit of Watford, visit evertonfc.com or call 0151 556 1878.
Look out for more information about Everton’s Blue Crimbo campaign on evertonfc.com and across our social media channels in the coming weeks.
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