The Little Red Book of Liverpool FC

The Little Red Book of Liverpool FC

by Darren Phillips


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To find the record crowd for a home game, the record appearance holder, or longest-serving manager look no further than this book on the Reds, packed with facts, stats, trivia, stories, and legends

Liverpool, the most prolific trophy-winning club in the history of domestic and European football, has a rich and varied history. Players such as Elisha Scott, Billy Liddell, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, and Steven Gerrard are synonymous with the club's success and their achievements, along with all those who have worn the red shirt, are envied throughout the world.  This book charts the club's history in an intriguing format which will appeal to all fans, covering the players and characters that have represented Liverpool over the years and the events that have shaped the club. All the well-known events are covered, as are many priceless trivia gems—how else will fans know that a former world heavyweight champion boxer was once on the club's books, or that one trophy win may be down to a Romany curse on the opposition?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780752454412
Publisher: The History Press
Publication date: 07/01/2011
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Darren Phillips is a sports journalist.

Read an Excerpt

The Little Red Book of Liverpool FC

By Darren Phillips

The History Press

Copyright © 2013 Darren Phillips
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7509-5398-6



Although Liverpool Football Club and Anfield are names inextricably linked with each other, Everton were the first team to call the stadium home. Only when a row over the rental costs and unease about some of the business interests of landowner (and their president) John Houlding came to a head in 1892 did the club move away. As a consequence, Anfield no longer had a team to occupy it, so Houlding formed his own club.

It cost £6,000 to buy the land. The rental charge at the beginning of the tenancy in 1884 had more than doubled within five years to reach £250 per annum. The majority of the Everton board wanted to offer no more than £180 each year. Though this issue was key in the exit, so too was Houlding's desire to sell his own ales at the ground. Some of his boardroom colleagues were Methodists who saw temperance as a virtue. Other factors included an insistence that the players change at his Sandon Hotel public house on Oakfield Road despite it being the best part of 100 metres away from the pitch and meaning players would have to make their way through crowds before each home game.

Brewing was a huge part of Houlding's business empire and the Sandon, which still stands, for many years acted as an administrative headquarters for the club as well as a trophy room. Meetings were held in the bowls pavilion at the back of the establishment and many team photographs were posed for in front of the same building.

The stadium's first competitive game saw Everton beat Earlestown 5–0 on 28 September 1884. Liverpool's debut came in a friendly with Rotherham United on 1 September 1892, the Yorkshiremen finding themselves on the wrong end of a 7–1 scoreline. Two days later Higher Walton were thrashed 8–0 in the Lancashire League. Liverpool's first Football League game at Anfield came on 9 September 1893 when Lincoln City were soundly beaten 4–0.


At present Liverpool are tied with Manchester United on 18 league titles; a mark they set in 1990 and the Red Devils equalled in 2009. However, Liverpool Football Club have won one more championship than is officially accepted. When Everton left Anfield they could only do so by setting up a fresh company with a new board, directors and officials, plus the issue of 5,000 shares. The Football League allowed this entity to take the name and retain League membership. John Houlding, who after all was known as 'King John of Everton', wanted his new club to inherit all those privileges, but once this was denied he changed the club's name.

He registered 'Everton F.C. and Athletic Grounds Ltd' on 15 March 1892 while the soon-to-be old tenants remained in residence. Once that plan was thwarted the new name – intended to be Liverpool F.C. until the city's rugby team objected – Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Ltd was adopted. Towards the end of March, just two weeks after the board split, Houlding's committee passed a resolution giving effect to the suggestion. During the summer the Board of Trade, a government department, accepted the change of name from Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company Ltd – who finished top of the league in 1891 – to Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company Ltd.

The record books reflect that Everton FC hold that title and no Liverpool fan will want to claim the accolade but strictly speaking the Reds have won 19 English titles and are looking to reach 20 before their rivals.


Anfield was used for an England v Republic of Ireland 'B' International and then a Euro '96 qualifier involving the Republic and Holland in 1995. With England as hosts, Anfield also staged finals matches. Three group games involving Italy, the Czech Republic and Russia were played plus a quarter-final tie between France and Holland. Italy returned in September 1998 to take on Wales in a European Championships qualifier. Nine months later the Welsh were using it as a temporary home to play Denmark. Both games were staged in Liverpool under directives from UEFA as, with the old Cardiff Arms Park being transformed into the Millennium Stadium, each visiting federation suggested all stadiums in the principality were unable to cater for the large number of visiting fans. Wales lost 2–0 on each occasion and went down by the same scoreline when the ground was used as a neutral venue for a controversial World Cup finals eliminator in October 1977 between Scotland and Wales. Kenny Dalglish opened the scoring with a flicked header but the tie was made safe for the Tartan Army with a penalty awarded for hand ball. However, TV replays afterwards seemed to suggest that the hand making contact was that of Scottish striker Joe Jordan.

Anfield held the first of eight England International matches as far back as 1889 when the national team beat Ireland 6–1. The same opponents returned in 1926. Further games took place against Wales in 1905, 1922 and 1931. Finland, who had a World Cup qualifier in L4, are the only visitors to play a competitive fixture at Anfield outside the Home Championships. South American opponents came for friendlies while Wembley was being rebuilt with Paraguay welcomed in 2002, then Uruguay four years later.


It isn't often that a Manchester United side walks out at Anfield and receives a roaring ovation from the Kop. However, at the beginning of the 1971/72 season that's exactly what happened. Fans on the terrace clad in red and white were not Liverpudlians, though. United were banned from playing their first two home games either at their own ground or their next preference Maine Road as the previous term hooligans had hurled knives into the Old Trafford away section.

At the FA's direction those matches were played at Stoke City's Victoria Ground and Anfield – which would host the first of those fixtures against Arsenal. On Friday 20 August, 27,649 fans were in attendance with Liverpool taking 15 per cent of the gate. As the numbers were less than would be expected for a true home game, Arsenal received compensation for the expected shortfall in their share of receipts. Everton gained too, as attendance at their match a day later dropped below 46,000.


Anfield has hosted its fair share of other sporting events; indeed the Liverpool Marathon had its finishing line in front of the Kop during the mid-1920s. Both rugby codes have been staged at the venue and boxing bouts were regular sights for many years. Perhaps the most talked about was Nel Tarleton's fight with Freddie Miller for the World Featherweight crown in 1934. Tarleton had already won and lost British titles at Anfield but failed to beat Miller, who was the holder.

A sport involving nets rather than knockouts – tennis – was played prior to the war years at which time the legendary Fred Perry, three-times winner of the All England Championship, graced the field. Boards were laid out on the pitch to create the playing area – the hallowed turf was not used. Stockport-born Perry decided that too little of his game was seen outside the plush environs of places like Wimbledon and set up exhibitions at various points around the country. Liverpool played host to the 1937 International Lawn Tennis Contest where Perry played American Ellsworth Vines who was ranked as the world's number one for a lengthy spell. Another US player to take on Britain's finest racquet man was Bill Tilden.


In 2002, after 110 years of calling Anfield home, the Liverpool board mooted the possibility of moving from their famous stadium and building a new ground just 400 yards away on a site used by Everton over the first three years of their existence. Almost a decade on that has failed to transpire. Though the club remain committed to the development, they have only been able to carry out basic enabling works.

However, a move to another part of the city could have taken place in the late 1960s if one of Bill Shankly's ideas had been adopted. It may also have seen the Reds share with Everton. Both thoughts were certainly something Shanks was open to when suggesting that a purpose-built facility could be built in the Aintree district. Despite the renovations he had managed to push through, he felt neither Anfield nor Goodison were worthy of the fans who congregated there.


When Liverpool kicked off their debut season, they did so with no less than 13 Scots in a 19-man squad. The first 11 men to take the field only had 3 players from south of the border. Many stayed beyond that season and played League football. Among their number were Bill and Joe McQue from Celtic, Malcolm McVean who joined from Third Lanark, Matt and Hugh McQueen once of Leith Athletic, John McCartney who came via St Mirren, plus Duncan McLean and John McBride of Renton. The distinctive prefix from their surnames plus that Scottish bent meant Liverpool became known as 'The Team of Macs'.


Not everyone has taken a route into football which involves playing their way through the grades. Years ago many young professionals, not to mention experienced ones, had to take jobs outside the game to make ends meet. Liverpool's roster includes a number of intriguing professions.

Ray Clemence deck chair attendant
Billy Liddell accountant
Ron Yeats slaughterman
Jimmy Case electrician
Matt Busby miner
Sam English shipyard worker
Brian Hall bus conductor


Liverpool have won 43 major trophies but the very first pieces of silverware lifted – the 1893 Lancashire League and Liverpool Senior Cup captured at the end of the club's inaugural campaign – were stolen. They were displayed in a pawnshop owned by Charles Gibson in the Paddington area of the city. Presumably sold for scrap and melted down, they were never recovered leaving Liverpool with a £130 bill for replacements.


Wembley earned the nickname Anfield South among the Reds faithful due to the sheer number of visits paid there. Including both domestic cups, Charity Shields and the 1978 European Cup final, Liverpool had appeared at the national stadium 30 times before its closure in 2000. After Wembley threw open its doors again in 2007 it took the Reds five full seasons to make a debut appearance – though their debut in the 2012 Carling Cup final marked the first of three appearnces in a little over two months.


1 Gordon Wallace v KR Reykjavík 17 August 1964
100 Steve Heighway v Dynamo Berlin 13 December 1972
200 Emlyn Hughes v Anderlecht 19 December 1978
300 Dean Saunders v Swarowski Tirol 11 December 1992
400 Emile Heskey v Spartak Moscow 2 October 2002
500 Yossi Benayoun v Besiktas 6 November 2007


Liverpool have opened campaigns with wins more times than any other club. When the Reds beat Sunderland in the first game of the 2008/09 season it meant that from 108 League campaigns (including the 2011/12 season) Liverpool had tasted victory on 62 occasions.


Liverpool have achieved many feats in front of television cameras – in fact the two have gone hand-in-hand for decades. Anfield hosted the first ever Match of the Day programme when the BBC brought highlights of the topflight game against Arsenal on 22 August 1964. The Reds ran out 3–2 winners courtesy of a late Gordon Wallace goal. However, not everyone was able to see the game as it was screened on BBC2, a channel launched in April 1964 and not available throughout the UK for a number of years. When colour broadcasts were stepped up during the latter part of that decade, Liverpool led the way once more as Anfield hosted another first – a match with West Ham United not being shown in black and white! It allowed commentators to indicate that the team playing in red was Liverpool rather than just refer to directions of play.

In addition the Kop was the subject of a Panorama special which examined its history, effect on the Liverpool team and their opposition. Further documentaries charting the adventures of the club and its fans were made. These include The Kop Flies East – when a first trip was made behind the Iron Curtain to face Honved of Hungary.

At the time of the Premiership's foundation in 1992, the opening round of games was played on 15 August – except one. Kept back for live broadcast 24 hours later by the rights holder Sky TV was Nottingham Forest against Liverpool. Teddy Sheringham got the only goal seen at the City Ground that afternoon and the first witnessed by a new breed of spectator.

Away from factual programming the club or its players have featured in a host of other broadcasts. Scully, penned by Alan Bleasdale and shown on Channel 4, was the story of a Kenny Dalglish-obsessed teenager desperate to earn a trial and hear the Kop chant his name. Dalglish made a number of guest appearances during the series. The Liverpool writer's breakthrough work as far as TV audiences were concerned, Boys from the Black Stuff, also aired during the 1980s. In one of the programmes Sammy Lee and Graeme Souness were present at a charity night during which the infamous character Yosser Hughes decided to introduce himself to the then Liverpool captain.

A well loved and at the same time often loathed character, Alf Garnett from the sitcom In Sickness and in Health attended a game between his beloved West Ham United and Liverpool at Anfield. The actor portraying him, Warren Mitchell, accompanied by the son-in-law he referred to as 'The Scouse Git' – Liverpool-born actor Tony Booth – featured in scenes shot during the game with players in the background as the two exchange banter.


When Derby County played Liverpool in December 1979 they earned a penalty just 20 seconds in. The Rams were top-flight strugglers and knew they were unlikely to hold off Bob Paisley's rampant side until the end, so with little more than a minute gone, they decided to wind the clock down. Roy McFarland took it on himself to make the first of many efforts to waste time and attempted to find 'row Z' with a boot into the stands. The referee issued a yellow card which the England man sat on for roughly 88 minutes.


Despite beating the best England and Europe had to offer for many years, there were always teams the Reds could not seem to conquer. In the 1960s it was Leicester City. The Foxes were firmly established in the top flight when Liverpool achieved promotion in 1962. Of the first six League meetings after that, the Reds won just once. Leicester claimed the 1963 FA Cup semi-final tie between the two clubs when Gordon Banks was in great form. The Midlanders' fortunes slid soon after as they fell to the lower echelons of the League structure. However, they returned in 1981 and ended Liverpool's unbeaten home run of 85 matches.

Brighton have proved to be a thorn in the Reds' side especially in cup competitions. They met Liverpool in successive seasons: 1982/83 and 1983/84. Former player Jimmy Melia was managing the south-coast side who made it all the way to Wembley after the first meeting when another Liverpool old boy, Jimmy Case, sealed a 2–1 fifth-round win at Anfield. A year later and one round earlier only the venue changed as Brighton cruised to a 2–0 home win. Liverpool have met the Seagulls, who have experienced substantially straitened times, since and secured easy wins.


In the year of the club's acceptance to the Football League, Liverpool claimed the Second Division crown, remaining unbeaten for the entire 28- game season. That record remained unparalleled by the club for almost 100 years. The 1987/88 term saw the club equal Leeds United's achievement of remaining without a League defeat from the start of a season. 15 years earlier the Yorkshire outfit went on a 29-match streak. Alan Clarke, an integral member of Leeds' squad then, saw his younger brother halt Liverpool's attempts to claim the mark as their own. Wayne Clarke scored the only goal of that 30th game – away at Everton.

An 85-match unbeaten run at home included 65 league ties, 9 in the League Cup, 7 European matches and 6 FA Cup games. All were played between 21 January 1978 and 31 January 1981.


Transfer rumours are often rife in the media. Amid the speculation it attracts in a 24-hour media culture was the story of Liverpool's interest in a French defender, Didier Baptiste, back in November 1999. As the Reds were then managed by a native of that country there may have been nothing unusual about this reported interest – at least at face value. Except that the little known under-21 international speculated about didn't play for AS Monaco as was thought, or indeed any other Ligue 1 club.


Excerpted from The Little Red Book of Liverpool FC by Darren Phillips. Copyright © 2013 Darren Phillips. Excerpted by permission of The History Press.
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