WORSHIPPING the Fab Four is part of the Merseyside DNA, a practice long established before Everton produced a quartet of Irishmen who are injecting hope and hype into both club and country.
But if the bringing together of Aiden McGeady, Seamus Coleman, Darron Gibson and James McCarthy is Goodison Park’s equivalent of rock ’n’ roll then spare a thought for Shane Duffy, the Evertonian Irish’s Pete Best.
Being known as ‘the other guy’ is a huge disservice to Duffy, though — a 22-year-old whose decision to leave the comfort zone of Everton’s first team squad for regular football at Yeovil Town has proved the making of him.
With his loan period finishing at the end of this season, the Derry man will return to Goodison Park with the intention of banging on their first team door and demanding entry, just as Coleman did five years ago after his spell on loan to Blackpool.
“This is a challenge I am thriving on,” says Duffy. “There is a huge difference between the two clubs. Being here brings you down a level, makes you humble and makes you want to work harder.
“In the Premier League, you have got everything handed to you on a plate. At Yeovil, the same money and facilities aren’t here. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest by the way. It’s just a fact of life that a Premier League club like Everton do everything bigger and better, simply because they have millions to spend on everything.
"Life at a Premier League club is so good, you don’t want to leave. They can spend millions on a team of video analysts. At Yeovil, there is one guy who does that. Everton have 10, 11 physios, masseurs, Yeovil have one. We take a bus to away games from Yeovil. At Everton, we either fly or go by train.
“Does the difference get to me? Of course not. I love being here, love playing first team football, love the fact that we have a small budget and are written off. As a defender I am in a team where our backs are always against the wall. You have to fight. That is what this club is all about. Fighting.
"It is not Premier League money that players earn. Believe me staying up would make a major difference to fellas and their families. We are all fighting for our lives.”
There was a time when Duffy actually had to fight for his life. It’s four years ago now, when, as an 18-year-old, he was parachuted into the Ireland senior squad by Giovanni Trapattoni and identified as the future.
Then, in a training game against the Ireland amateur team, he attacked a corner and collided with the opposing goalkeeper, Aiden Walsh, and badly damaged his liver. Within hours he was undergoing surgery to save his life.
“My worst moment in football,” a tearful Trapattoni said the next day. “I’m looking there at this young man, a man who has everything going for him and I see him brought to hospital, all because of a game. It’s frightening. I thank God he survived.”
For Duffy, though, the scars took a long time to heal.
“That incident certainly took a lot out of me,” he says. “I wasn’t the same afterwards. I struggled for form and it was only this season when I started to play alright again. I don’t know what was happening to me mentally, but basically when I went onto the pitch, it came down to bravery.
"I was still brave, but not as brave as before. I’d not clatter into a goalkeeper at a corner like I once did. Mentally I was cautious. There was something in my head. And it affected my performances. Now I don’t think about the injury at all whenever I play.
"I’ve had a good few kicks in the same part of my body and they didn’t hurt. I’m back to being me.
“I had to pull myself together. Things were going downhill. I had to work harder, tried to live right, make sacrifices about going on loan to Yeovil — things like that. I’m still young. I can get back to Premier League level.”
He’d love to do it at Everton, having seen the way Roberto Martinez has taken the club onto an even higher level since replacing David Moyes.
“He has changed the way we play,” says Duffy, “bringing players in who have increased the quality and lifted everyone’s standards. I believe I’m good enough to force my way in there. This is the first time I have got a full season in the Championship.
"You always have hope. If it doesn’t work out at Everton, it will happen for me somewhere else. But I want to give it a go, to test myself and if I’m not good enough, I will hold my hands up and step away.”
But he thinks he is good enough.
“I look at Seamus [Coleman]. He is a confidence player. When he first came over, he felt a bit nervous. I could empathise with that because when you first come from Ireland, you do wonder if other players look up to you.
"But with Seamus, from the first game he played, we all knew he had something special going for him. He just had to believe in himself. And that advice applies to me.”
That was something Moyes taught him. While his struggles at Old Trafford have been comprehensively documented, Duffy still rates him highly — and hates to see his one-time mentor go through a tortuous existence.
“I feel sorry for him because he is a good manager. It’s hard to see what he is going through because all the lads at Everton really loved him and were sad to see him go. He is a gentleman. He cares about everything he does. And he can turn it around at United.
"We know what the media don’t — about his quality, his man management, his intelligence, his humility, his sheer decency. I am gutted for him. It is tough what’s happening for him. I have confidence he can turn it around and that things will be better for him. Life has its ups and downs.”
Something Duffy discovered as a teenager.