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"You'll Never Walk Alone" - Story Of Liverpool Football Club
Liverpool Football Club is an English football team situated in Liverpool, England. The town is based in the northwestern part of England called Merseyside, named by the river Mersey which ends at Liverpool Bay and flows into the Irish Sea. Liverpool F.C. was founded on the 15th of March 1892 by John Houlding, owner of Anfield, the stadium Liverpool plays on 'till this day. Club's original name was "Everton and Athletic Grounds Ltd" because Houlding was, at first, financing Everton, Liverpool's inner - city rival, but when he raised the wages for Anfield, Everton decided to play their home games at Goodison Park. On the 3rd of June 1892 club changed it's name to Liverpool F.C. because the English Football Association didn't want to recognize the club as Everton.
Liverpool's main rivals are Manchester United and Everton.
Official Anthem Of Liverpool F.C.
1892 - 1959
Liverpool played it's first game versus Rotherham Town on Anfield. The game ended 7-1 with Liverpool winning and the club's captain at the time, Malcolm McVean, scored the first ever goal in Liverpool's history. During that time, the team was nicknamed "The Mc's" because the surnames of the majority of players began with the prefix Mc.
Lancashire League was the club's first competition. Liverpool won it in it's debut season, progressing through to the English Second Division, which Liverpool also won in it's debut season. 2 years after it's founding, Liverpool F.C. was already playing in the First Division of English league football. First top division title was won in 1900 - 01 season finishing ahead of Sunderland and Notts County. For the second league title, the fans had to wait 5 years with Liverpool winning it in 1905 - 06 season.
After those two league titles, Liverpool was trophyless for 16 years. In 1921 - 22 and 1922 - 23 seasons, Liverpool won consecutive league titles. Liverpool didn't add another trophy to it's cabinet until 1946 - 47 season, when a fifth league trophy was won. After that league title, the club suffered one of the darkest periods in it's history with eventually being relegated to the Second Division in 1953 - 54 season. After losing to Worcester City in 1958 - 59 FA Cup, Bill Shankly was appointed as a manager and started to build the Liverpool Football Club as we know it today.
1959 - 1974 Bill Shankly Era
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that" - Bill Shankly
Bill Shankly is the greatest manager in Liverpool's history. From the moment he was appointed as a manager, he started to reshape the club. His most famous innovation was "The Boot room". "The Boot room" was a room at Anfield where coaches of the club gathered to discuss Liverpool's tactics while they were cleaning and repairing player's boots. His coaching staff consisted of Bob Paisley (Shankly's successor), Joe Fagan (Paisley's successor) and Reuben Bennet. They were very loyal to the club and to each other. Many believe that "The Boot room", and the unique connection between it's members, was the main reason of Liverpool's success in the coming years.
When Bill arrived, he described Liverpool's squad as "not good enough" and he got rid of 24 players. His major signings were two Scottish players.Ron Yeats, a defender, and Ian St John, a striker. Shankly also relied on the Liverpool's Academy. He "produced" Lawrence, Byrne, Moran, Callaghan, Smith... All these players played for Liverpool for a long period and are considered legends. After three seasons of reshaping the club, Shankly managed to return Liverpool to the First Division in 1961 - 62 season.
First success for Liverpool in their return to the top-flight came shortly. In 1963 - 64 season, Liverpool won the league for sixth time. Not long after that, in 1965, Liverpool won it's first cup trophy, winning the FA Cup vs Leeds at Wembley with a 2 - 1 win. Next season was marginal for Liverpool. It was their first season in any of the European Cups. Liverpool finished their first European campaign in a semi-final loss vs Internazionale (game finished 4 - 3 on aggregate for Inter). 1965 - 66 season was successful for Liverpool. The club won the league and featured in a European Cup Winner's Cup final, losing to Borussia Dortmund after extra time. Next few years were tough for Liverpool, with only adding one trophy to their cabinet - FA Charity Shield won against Everton. Shankly considered Everton as Liverpool's main rival. One of his well-known quotes was: "If Everton were playing at the bottom of the garden, I'd pull the curtains".
With Liverpool struggling, Shankly realized that it was time for some major changes. In 1970, he brought players like Toshack, Clemence, Heighway etc. that were key points to Liverpool's success over the coming years. But, the best Shankly's signing was Kevin Keegan. Keegan is, arguably, one of the best players that wore the famous red shirt with a Liverbird on it's chest. Next Liverpool's trophy was 1972 - 73 season's First Division league title. In the same season, Liverpool won it's first European trophy by winning UEFA Cup in a two-legged final against Borussia Monchengladbach. Shankly won only one more trophy before retiring - 1974 FA Cup against Newcastle United, which was Shankly's last game.
Bill Shankly was famous for his speeches, which still remain sacred for any player that wears the Liverpool shirt. He also introduced the famous "This is Anfield" plaque which Liverpool's players and managers touch before entering the pitch at Anfield.
“Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say, 'We're Liverpool'.”
1974 - 1984 The Glory Days
"Mind you, I've been here during the bad times too - one year we came second." - Bob Paisley
After Shankly's retirement in July 1976, directors of Liverpool F.C. decided that his successor will be his assistant, Bob Paisley. Paisley was Shankly's assistant from day 1 in his Liverpool managerial career. Some people considered Shankly a motivator and Paisley as his main tactician.
Paisley's first year at Liverpool was unsuccessful (the team finished 2nd in the league), but the future was astonishing. Liverpool became a force in English and European football under Paisley's guidance. During his 9-year reign as a Liverpool's manager, the club won six league titles, 3 European Cups, 3 League Cups and 1 UEFA Cup.
Liverpool's first European Cup title was won against Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome in 1977. 3 - 1 was the final score. Liverpool were the reigning UEFA Cup champions at the time. McDermott was the first to strike for Liverpool on 28', assisted by Steve Heighway. Borussia applied the pressure until the half-time but couldn't capitalize on it. At the early stages of the 2nd half, Borussia equalized with Simonsen being the scorer. That's when Liverpool's dominant "pass and move" game started to work and it resulted in two more goals by, at first, Tommy Smith and later on Phil Neal's strike from the penalty spot.
Liverpool didn't have to wait long for another European Cup title. It came a year after the first one. Liverpool played Club Brugge at Wembley in London and the game finished with a score of 1 - 0 for Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish, probably the best player that played for Liverpool, scored the only goal of the match at the 64 minute mark. After that win, Liverpool became the first English club which retained the European Cup title.
Third European title was won 3 years later, in 1981. Liverpool won a hard - fought battle against Real Madrid in Paris. Liverpool won 1 - 0 with a strike by Alan Kennedy. Kennedy, Liverpool's left back at the time, ran into the Real Madrid's box after Liverpool's throw-in and fired a volley that Madrid's goalkeeper was unable to save. That trophy meant that Paisley was the first manager to win three European Cup titles, a record which is unbeaten 'till this day.
Paisley retired in 1983 and he was also replaced by his assistant - Joe Fagan. In Fagan's first season as Liverpool's manager, the club went on to win a treble - European Cup, League title and League Cup. Liverpool was the first English club that won the treble. That season's European title was won by a famous victory over Roma in Rome. Liverpool opened the scoreline by a 13th minute strike by Phil Neal. Just before the halftime whistle, Roma equalized. Pruzzo's header leveled the score. It was scoreless for the remainder of the game and the game went into extra time, and after the ET, into the penalties. First to shoot was Liverpool, and Steve Nicol stepped up to take the penalty. He missed it. Eventually, Conti missed his penalty for Roma too, and after 3 series of penalties, the score was level with two converted penalties a piece. Next one to shoot was Ian Rush, Liverpool's record goalscorer. He put the ball in the net. Next one on the line for Roma was Francesco Graziani. Liverpool's goalkeeper at the time, Bruce Grobbelaar, did something that remains one of the greatest moments in Liverpool's history - he started to dance on the goal line to distract Graziani! And it worked! Roma player shot over the bar, and Alan Kennedy scored for a 4 - 3 Liverpool win, after the penalty shootout.
Your favourite Liverpool manager?
Heysel and Hillsborough Disasters
A year after winning the fourth European Cup, Liverpool reached the final again. Liverpool's rival was another Italian club - Juventus. The game was played at the Heysel stadium in Brussels, the capitol of Belgium. Stadium was in a horrible state, and both teams appealed to UEFA for a change of a venue, but it was declined. The tension was felt all around the stadium. Liverpool fans hated the Italians because a number of fans were attacked in Rome during the last year's final and they started to provoke Juventus' fans an hour before the kick-off. Eventually, both sides started to throw rocks, which were falling off the stands, at each other. The battle become more immense come the kick-off time and a number of fans tried to escape by jumping over the walls of the stadium. Walls couldn't stand that much force and weight and started to collapse, killing 39 people and injuring over 600. The match was played, despite the protests of both clubs. Juventus went on to win the game by 1 - 0. The aftermath of investigation was that the blame was put solely on Liverpool fans and all English clubs were handed a 5-year international match ban, with Liverpool serving an 8-year suspension (eventually, it was cut down to a 6-year ban). Joe Fagan resigned as a Liverpool manager after that game.
Fagan was replaced by Kenny "King" Dalglish who became a player - manager. During King Kenny's time as a Liverpool manager, the club won three league titles (last one in the 1989 - 90, which is still the last league title for Liverpool F.C.) and two FA Cups. And it was a FA Cup match that shook the club. On the 15th of April 1989, Liverpool played in a semi-final versus Nottingham Forest. The match was meant to be played at the Hillsborough stadium, home of Sheffield Wednesday. Liverpool fans arrived at the stadium 20 minutes before the start, later than expected. They were placed on the "Leppings Lane" side of the stadium and, with the delayed arrival, they started rushing just to get to the stadium. "Leppings Lane" had a standing terrace which capacity was around 14 000 people. Many, many more people entered it. Fans, who were in the first rows of the stand, started to press on the fence and on each other. Police did nothing about it, for a reason not yet unveiled, and even more people were entering the stand because the match was starting and no one wanted to miss it. You could hear the screams of people being crushed around the stadium, and at that time it was already too late for any police intervention. The terrace collapsed and the game was suspended on the 6th minute. The collapse resulted in 96 deaths of Liverpool supporters and over 700 injured. No one payed for this disaster, and the justice for the 96 was never done, despite the protests, petitions, lawsuits... Biggest shot at the tragedy was done by the English newspaper The Sun. On the 19th April edition of that newspaper, the main page said that some Liverpool fans urinated on policemen and that some of them pickpocketed the dead people. Those were lies, which were confirmed as such. Since that day, Liverpool supporters boycott those newspaper. After the Hillsborough disaster, standing terraces were banned in England. The Hillsborough memorial is held every year at Anfield and Shankly's gates, where fans come to place flowers and light the candles, is consisted with an eternal flame, representing that the people who died that day will never be forgot.
"Beside the Hillsborough flame,
I heard a Kopite mourning
Why so many taken on that day?
Justice has never been done,
But the memory will carry on
There'll be glory 'round the fields of Anfield Road!"
JUSTICE FOR THE 96!
1990 - present
Two years after the Hillsborough disaster, Kenny Dalglish resigned as a Liverpool manager. He stated that the main reason for that was the disaster itself. He was replaced by a former Liverpool player - Graeme Souness. Souness led the team for 3 years, and he only won one trophy - 1992 FA Cup. He was sacked in January of 1994, and he was replaced by Roy Evans, also a former Liverpool player and a long - time coach at Anfield. He was appointed as a coach in 1974 when Bill Shankly decided he would be better used as a coach. Liverpool didn't shine under Roy's leadership, and the club won just one trophy during his reign - 1995 League Cup title. Liverpool started declining and changes had to be done. At the start of the 1998 - 99 season, a Frenchman Gerard Houllier was appointed as a co-manager with Evans, with, eventually, becoming a sole manager in November of 1998. Houllier started to rebuild and, in his first full season as a manager, he sold 8 players and bought 9. Under Houllier's spell, one of the best and the most influential players, Steven Gerrard, debuted. He came through Liverpool academy ranks and he still plays for Liverpool. Gerard Houllier's rebuilding plan started to work in the 2000 - 01 season when Liverpool won a treble - League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup (after a 5 - 4 thriller vs Alaves). Liverpool also won a UEFA Super Cup that season, and it looked like Houllier was a right man to put Liverpool back on it's famous tracks. But, in the coming years, a bad transfer policy and a one - dimensional play were criticized by the fans and the owners and Houllier left by a mutual consent at the end of a 2003 - 04 season. Former Valencia manager, Rafael "Rafa" Benitez, was appointed to replace him. In Rafa's first season, he won something that even the most optimistic Liverpool fan didn't think he'd do - he won the Champions League!
The 2005 Champions League final was played in Istanbul, and Liverpool's opponents were the Italians, A.C. Milan. Liverpool fans traveled all across Europe, and they were in for a shock. The match had just started, and Milan had already struck. It was a 12 - meter volley by their captain Paolo Maldini. Liverpool tried to immediately reply, but Hyppia's header was saved by Dida. For the remainder of the half, Milan were dominant. And, they managed to capitalize that dominance before the half - time whistle. Hernan Crespo, Milan's striker, scored two goals and the score at the half - time was : Milan 3 - Liverpool 0. At the half - time break, Liverpool fans sang their hearts out and for full 15 minutes, "You'll Never Walk Alone" was roaring through Ataturk Stadium. And, at the 54th minute mark, Liverpool replied to A.C. Milan. John Arne Riise's cross from the left side was met by a header from Steven Gerrard and it had beaten Dida. Just two minutes after that goal, Liverpool scored again. Vladimir Smicer shot the ball from 20 meters in Dida's lower right - hand corner and Liverpool were back in the game. In the 60th minute, Milan Baros chipped the ball in the box to Steven Gerrard with a lovely heel pass and Gerrard was fouled in the penalty area. Xabi Alonso stepped up to take the penalty. Dida saved it, but Xabi bounced on the rebound to put Liverpool level. In just 15 minutes of the second half, Liverpool were even. For the rest of the game, Milan were dominant but weren't able to score and the game went to extra time. Milan continued their dominance, but Liverpool played amazing at the back. The most notable moment of the extra time was an amazing save by Jerzy Dudek. He managed to save a 5 - meter shot by Andriy Shevchenko. Extra time remained scoreless and it was up to the penalties. After 4 series of penalties, the scoreline was 3 - 2 for Liverpool and Shevchenko had to score to leave Milan in the game. Dudek kissed the ball and started to dance at the goal line, in the memory of the famous Bruce Grobbelaar. He saved Shevchenko's penalty and Liverpool were champions of Europe for the 5th time! That game is, probably, the best football game ever.
After the success in Istanbul, Liverpool also won the UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup a year later. But, after the takeover by the American owners Gillett and Hicks, Liverpool started to fall down in results and in economics. Benitez was sacked at the end of 2009 - 10 season and he was replaced by Roy Hodgson, who was unsuccessful and had terrible results. During the 2010 - 11 season, Liverpool was bought by the new owners called NESV (New England Sports Ventures). The club's finances were stabilized and Kenny Dalglish was appointed as a manager once again. During his first full season at the club, Liverpool won the League Cup, but Kenny Dalglish was sacked at the end of the season because of a really bad form in the League. On the 1st June 2012, former Swansea manager, Brendan Rodgers was appointed as Liverpool manager and I hope I'll shortly be writing about his successes as a Liverpool manager. But, as hard as it gets, there will always be a golden sky after the storm, just like "You'll Never Walk Alone" says.