Anthony Walker’s future was taken away in a senseless racist attack in 2005. So why is Joey Barton ‘rewriting history’?
‘It is worth noting that Michael Barton did not lose 17 years of his life, the only life lost that day was Anthony’s’
Dear readers — last week, ex-footballer Joey Barton evoked outrage after describing the unprovoked racist murder of Anthony Walker in Huyton in 2005 — one that his own brother was involved in — as a "scrap". The comments were branded highly insensitive by the Anthony Walker Foundation — the charity set up in Walker’s memory. In today’s big story, we look at why it’s so important that history isn’t rewritten about Walker’s murder.
At the weekend Sophie went to see The Depot’s Macbeth — featuring buckets of blood, a helicopter soundtrack and the Academy Award-nominated Ralph Fiennes — but found a play that was… surprisingly quiet? But while the play generated mixed emotions, the piece garnered the ravest of rave reviews.
Here’s a run-down of some of the lovely comments it received:
“Very evocative with some phrases and words bringing the play and its actors to life on the page. A true wordsmith on top of your craft.”
“What a well crafted, fascinating and thorough critique! You don't get a lot of those, these days”
“Critique — engrossing as a good play. Well done”
Last week Post members received two tip-top pieces of journalism. On Tuesday Ophira Gottlieb (who you may remember from her wonderful piece about The Liverpool Poets) paid a visit to one of the city’s strangest and — in its own way — most profound festivals: a celebration of all things death. Then on Thursday Abi and Lisa joined forces to delve into the finances of Liverpool’s annual Christmas markets. Why are they so expensive? And is anyone to blame?
🎁 Starting to worry about your Christmas shopping? You can tick one special person off the list in seconds by buying them a heavily discounted Post subscription — currently discounted by 20% for annual gift subs (£52). Not only is it the most thoughtful present you could buy for your discerning friend but it’s also local, extremely sustainable and supports the rebirth of quality journalism. Just click that button below before the offer runs out and thanks for shopping with The Post.
Patagonia, Tony's Chocolonely and Faith in Nature join line up for Better Business Summit
From today’s sponsor: Following a sell-out conference last year, the Better Business Summit is coming back to Manchester in January (Wednesday 17th – Friday 19th). Hundreds of purpose-driven individuals, change-makers, and innovators will be joining the two-day conference on the theme of Radical Utopia — exploring how businesses can be part of building a truly sustainable future. The final day will put words into action, with a choice of nature-based activities.
As well as the big name businesses above, the keynote speakers will include Dr Brett Staniland (slow fashion advocate and ex-Love Island contestant) and Yvonne Cobb (BBC chef, who will be speaking about food waste and demonstrating cooking in British Sign Language). And the best part? Post readers can get a 20% discount. Buy your tickets here and use the code POST20 at the checkout.
This week’s weather
Tuesday 🌧️ Light rain and a gentle breeze with highs of 5°C
Wednesday 🌨️ Sleet and a moderate breeze with highs of 2°C
Thursday 🌧️ Light rain and a fresh breeze with highs of 7°C
Friday 🌧️ Light rain and a moderate breeze with highs of 8°C
Weekend 🌧️ Light rain and a gentle breeze with highs of 9°C
This week’s weather forecast is sourced from BBC Weather and it’s for Liverpool.
The big story: Anthony Walker’s future was taken away in a senseless racist attack. So why is Joey Barton ‘rewriting history’?
Top line: Former footballer Joey Barton was widely condemned last week after describing the racist murder of Anthony Walker as a “scrap” in a podcast with controversial host James English.
Context: In 2005,18-year-old A-level student Anthony Walker was murdered with an ice axe in an unprovoked racist attack in Huyton.
His killers, Michael Barton and Paul Taylor, are the brother and cousin of the former footballer Joey Barton.
After Anthony’s murder, Barton and Taylor, who had racially abused the teenager prior to ambushing him, went on the run, with Joey Barton making a public appeal for their return.
Walker was of Jamaican descent and the judge at the trial called it a “racist attack of a type poisonous to any civilised society”.
Michael Barton was released from prison in September last year, having served 17 years.
So what was actually said? : In the podcast Anything Goes with James English released last week, Joey Barton appeared to downplay Anthony’s horrific murder, calling it a “scrap”. He blamed Taylor (who delivered the fatal blow) and spoke of his brother losing 17 years of his life because of Taylor’s actions.
Barton has spoken previously about how he could not “forget or forgive” the pair for the senseless murder, asking whether he could have done more to prevent their actions. In the aftermath, the Anthony Walker Foundation was set up by Anthony’s family to tackle racism and hate crime in Merseyside and beyond.
The reaction: The foundation’s CEO Kaushik Mistry, condemned Barton’s comments as “factually incorrect” and “lacking in any sensitivity given the serious nature of the incident.” He continued:
“It is worth noting that Michael Barton did not lose 17 years of his life, the only life lost that day was Anthony’s and not for 17 years, but forever.”
Backlash: When English tweeted out the podcast episode (in a now deleted post) it also sparked a huge backlash on X with many condemning Barton’s comments. Presenter Jay Motty called it a “gross rewriting of history” while others focused on the podcaster’s decision to publish the podcast including Barton’s comments in the first place.
In one private exchange on Instagram (which was later shared publicly on X) English defended the podcast. Responding to musician MC Nelson, he wrote: “F***k off it’s a four and a half hour podcast, maybe listen to it first before talking s***t”. MC Nelson, who had previously worked for the Anthony Walker Foundation said he “could not let it slide” how the footballer had downplayed the horrific attack “like it was some drunken fight in town.”
Meanwhile, anti-racism campaigner Sonia Bassey also called out Barton, who was sacked as League One side Bristol Rovers’ manager in October, demanding he apologise. He responded by denying attempting to “trivialise” the murder and accused Bassey of failing to listen to what he had said: “You know what, Sonia, I didn’t kill anybody. It had nothing to do with me”.
Bottom line: While Barton’s insensitive remarks have caused understandable anger, it brings into focus the importance of the work carried out by Anthony’s family. Earlier this year, Anthony’s mum Gee Walker, was awarded an MBE in recognition of her relentless work to tackle racism, while the foundation named in his honour goes from strength to strength, ensuring the work carried out in his name, Anthony’s legacy, will never be forgotten.
Your Post briefing
A multi-billion pound tidal barrage scheme to power one million homes and reduce carbon emissions could provide a new link across the Mersey, should it come to fruition. The plans for a Mersey barrage date back to the 1980s, but metro mayor Steve Rotheram revived them as part of his election campaign in 2017. High-end estimates of the scheme’s cost put it at over £6 billion, which sceptics claim make it highly unlikely to be approved by any government (even if Labour win, they will want to position themselves as a party of fiscal prudence). Nonetheless, a recent Liverpool City Region Combined Authority report said the barrage would provide a crossing between Liverpool and Wirral for walkers and cyclists. Speaking to The Post in February, Rotheram accepted the project wasn’t simple but said the £6 billion estimate was for the “Rolls Royce” version and that they also had plans for a “Ford Escort” version at roughly half the cost. He also told us he was in near-daily talks about the project, many of which involve Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves.
Former Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson was seemingly announced dead at last week’s Covid inquiries by former health secretary Matt Hancock. Hancock — perhaps not a man famed for careful attention to detail — was praising Anderson for helping him to put together an “effective” support package during the pandemic, before bizarrely referring to the deposed mayor as “sadly no longer with us”. Keen to dispel any rumours of his demise, Anderson jumped on X to confirm he is indeed still alive and kicking: “Just took my pulse and I seem to still be here and I feel ok,” he wrote. Keen to hear more from the (not dead) former mayor? Revisit our profile of Anderson from the start of the year.
Wirral Council are being encouraged to give Liscard a “massive facelift” after receiving over £10 million in regeneration funding from the government. Residents have long been pushing for the renovation of its high street, with demands for a wider variety of shops, street cleaning and an end to antisocial behaviour. Liscard's regeneration was one of 55 projects across the country to be awarded funding, with Wirral Council set to deliver improvements by March 2026.
And finally, metro mayor Steve Rotheram will return to the decks in February alongside his Manchester counterpart Andy Burnham. The two mayors will battle it out over music in a bid to raise funds for charities fighting homelessness in the North-West. The event was very popular last year, but whether either metro mayor has updated their wardrobe since last time out remains to be seen. To quote a Vice article reporting from the previous event: "One is pure teacher-at-school-disco (Burnham, in glasses and a dark shirt). The other is more uncle-at-wedding (Rotheram, in a cream blazer-jacket-hybrid and white sweater)."
🎄 If you aren’t paying at least one Christmas visit to the Bombed Out Church then you’re missing out. On Sunday they’ve got a festive pop-up gallery, with lots of local traders involved. There’s a suggested donation of £1 on entry and pets are more than welcome! Have a look.
🦢 Swan Lake meets Cinderella at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Thursday in a Christmas mash-up for the ages. Prices vary and tickets are selling fast.
🍷 On Thursday, We Are SUP hosts a Christmas-themed wine tasting evening presented by the folk over at Inspiring Wines. Tickets cost £15 with a 10% discount on all bottles purchased throughout the evening. Find out more here.
🎶 Not a pick so much as a “must watch”: the residents of abstinence-based recovery centre Damien John Kelly House with a beautiful rendition of Elbow’s One Day Like This (and Elbow singer Guy Garvey thinks so too, calling it “truly remarkable”). The centre does incredible work, and if you’d like to support them this Christmas, maybe take a look at their Amazon wish list, which can be found here.
Home of the week
A Grade II-listed two bedroom cottage in Woolton Village, full of original features. It’s within touching distance of lots of great bars and restaurants (you can’t beat Christmas dinner at The Elephant Pub and Bakehouse) and it has a lovely rear yard too. And that log burner will come in handy this month! It’s on the market for £245,000.
Our favourite reads
A fascinating and upsetting long-read in The Guardian, revealing how voice notes recovered from the phone of murdered 28-year-old Ashley Dale aided police in putting her killers behind bars. Prosecutor Paul Greaney KC warned the jury at the outset of the trial of Dale’s killers — which found four men guilty of her murder — that “listening to the voice notes is upsetting”. The notes included Dale expressing increasing concern that a dispute between her boyfriend and a group of other men from the same area from whom he had allegedly stolen drugs a few years previously would lead to serious violence. In one note to friends days before her death, she said: “I have a bad, bad feeling about everything.”
The BBC meets some of the subjects of Tom Wood’s iconic photos capturing everyday life around Merseyside, decades after he took their pictures. "I never imagined I'd be standing here today with this 50 years on,” said one of the subjects, Antoinette Cosgrove, who Wood invited to a special showing of his work at the Walker Art Gallery. "It's just bizarre to look back at that photograph of me and Jan…we were so young and innocent.” Another, Sharon Ralph, was thankful Wood had been around to document memories that may otherwise have been lost: "It evokes lots of happy memories,” she said.
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Letters from readers
My husband and I have talked openly with our kids about what we want to happen at our funerals pretty much forever. I have heard too many stories of families falling out because 'mum wanted this', 'no she didn't, she wanted that'. My parents have taken all the hard work out of it by prepaying for theirs :) ‘The People’s Day of Death: Liverpool celebrates its own mortality’, Rose Green
What a well crafted, fascinating and thorough critique! You don't get a lot of those, these days. I've seen quite a few Maccers in my time, and personally I don't find the text a confusing read. It's one of (if not the) shortest of Shakespeares and he knows what he's doing when he places the worst of the violence off stage, leaving it up to the audience's imagination, ‘Double, double, toil and rubble: the Depot’s Macbeth transports us into a modern-day war’, Flloyd Kennedy