By June 1983, the city of Liverpool found itself on a lonely island of red, engulfed on all sides by a steamrolling tide of blue.
During the previous decade, Scousers had seen 80,000 jobs disappear as the docks closed and its manufacturing industry was sliced in half.
Factories were closing, poverty ravaging communities - once the British Empire's great port, Liverpool was now a 'broken city' and fertile breeding ground for a strand of hard left politics determined to lift the city's people out of the mire.
Liverpool and Everton's players pose for an iconic picture after the 1984 Milk Cup final
Nine months earlier Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher secured a second term
But it seemed the rest of the country was in no mood for change.
That summer, prime minister Margaret Thatcher swept back into office with an increased majority, the Conservatives toasting one of the most decisive electoral victories of the 20th Century.
Liverpool was among a pocket of places in the North West to reject her social and economic revolution and nine months later, the people of this proud city came together for another show of defiance.
On March 25 1984, Everton faced Liverpool at Wembley in the Milk Cup final, in the first meeting of Merseyside's two footballing powerhouses at the national stadium.
This time blue and red streamed down the country as one - 100,000 packed on to the terraces, in support of two warring tribes but united by collective suffering.
'Evertonians, Liverpudlians, travelling down together - incredible,' former Blues striker Graeme Sharp remembers in an interview exclusively shared with Sportsmail.
Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar pictured on the Wembley pitch before the final
The match, played in front of 100,000 fans, was a largely forgettable affair which ended 0-0
'The build-up was incredible... of course you want your team to win, but Reds were going with Blues and Blues were going with Reds, coming down sharing the same cars, sharing the same buses and everything else so it was a fantastic atmosphere
In the end, the final was a turgid affair - 'c***... a horrible, dirty day,' in the words of Liverpool centre back Mark Lawrenson.
But its legacy would reverberate for decades. So much so that 35 years on, BT Sport are releasing a film to remember the occasion.
Come the mid-1980s, Joe Fagan's Liverpool were regular visitors to Wembley. They had won the League Cup in each of the previous three seasons and collected the second of their four European Cups in London only six years earlier.
But this was a first. Never before had their neighbours come along for the ride. So as the rain lashed down in London, the streets emptied out on Merseyside, too.
'It was incredible,' remembers Everton's Peter Reid.
'That was the first time I played there. A lot of the Liverpool lads had been there before, but for me to play there and for our lads, it was such a great occasion. And for