You’ll Never Walk Alone

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Shankly Gate outside Anfield

My love, Liverpool Football Club, was born in the March of 1892 after a disaccord between John Houlding, the owner of Anfield and Everton Football Club.John Houlding went on to become the first chairman of Liverpool.

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John Houlding

Fun fact: Liverpool was originally named Everton F.C & Athletic Grounds Ltd. (Everton Athletic in short) but had to change this name as the Football Association refused to register this one.

Liverpool won the Lancashire League in its first season as a club.It was promoted to the second tier of English football and from there went on to the first tier.Liverpool won its first title in division one of English football in 1901.These were followed by successes in 1906,1922 and 1923.In between, LFC had reached the final of FA cup in 1914 only to be beaten by Burnley by a solitary goal.It had to wait 23 years for another trophy as it won its fifth league title under George Kay.Kay had been a centre-half for West Ham United back in his playing days.

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Bill Shankly

The club saw its performance decline and was relegated to division two in 1953.Fast forward to 1958, Bill Shankly was appointed the manager and he brought his own vision.A total of 24 players were moved on.He converted the boot storage room into a place where he would discuss strategies with other coaches of the club.This room was popularly known as the “boot room”.His boot members included Bob Paisley,  Joe Fagan, and Reuben Bennett.The club was promoted back to division one in 1962.LFC won its sixth league title in 1964.Shankly was replaced by Paisley in 1974, the assistant coach during the time of Shankly.

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Bob Paisley

Paisley’s time at the club was to be more glorious than Shankly’s; the club would go on to conquer Europe.LFC won the European Cup for the first time in 1977.During Paisley’s time, the club won 21 titles which included 3 European cups.The only domestic title Paisley did not win was the FA cup.

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Heysel Stadium, 1983

Paisley retired in 1983 and was replaced by Joe Fagan, another one of the boot members.In 1985, tragedy struck European football.Liverpool was to play Juventus at Heysel Stadium in Belgium.Before kickoff, Liverpool’s supporters charged towards the fence separating them Juventus’ supporters.The pressure of the charge led to the fall of the retaining wall, resulting in the death of 39 people, mostly Italian.The incident led to banning of English clubs from European competitions for five years; LFC was banned for six.Many Liverpool fans were also convicted in the incident.The match went on even after the incident.Both managers had protested against the match going on.LFC was beaten by Juventus by a goal.

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Kenny Dalglish

The reign of the club was passed on to Kenny Dalglish, who had become a crowd favorite due to his performances on the field as an LFC player.King Kenny, as he was popularly known, became the player-manager for the club.Like his predecessors, he too won trophies.But his tenure was also punctuated by a tragedy, the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

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Hillsborough Stadium,1989

It was the semi-final of the FA cup between Sheffield United and Liverpool.Several Liverpool fans, a total of 96 in number, were crushed to death against the perimeter fencing.Overcrowding of the stand was cited as the reason for the demise of so many people.This led to security review of football stadiums by the British government.The Taylor committee formed to work on the matter suggested that all top tier stadiums in the country were to have all-seater stadiums.

The season of 1988-89 was the most closely contested regarding the league title.Arsenal and Liverpool finished level on points but Arsenal won the title on the number of goals scored.

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 Arsenal, after scoring the second goal against Liverpool, 1989

 

Fun fact: They scored the differentiating goal in the last minute of the last match of the season against LFC, at Anfield.

Dalglish retired in 1991, to be followed by a series of managers- Graeme Souness, Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier and then Rafael Benitez.Benitez is remembered at the club for the 2005 UEFA champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Liverpool in Istanbul, 2005

 

LFC was down by three goals at the end of first half.Goals in the second half by Steven Gerrard, Smicer, and Xabi Alonso lead to penalties.Liverpool would go on to win their 5 European title in penalties.The day was to be remembered as The Miracle of Istanbul.A movie has also been made recently on the same subject.

Benitez left in 2010; he was replaced by Roy Hodgson.At the same time, the club was in financial woes.The club’s creditors, which included the Royal Bank of Scotland, asked the High Court to allow the sale of the club.The High Court overruled the wishes of the owners, Gillet and Hicks and authorized the sale of the club.The club was bought by John W.Henry, owner of the Fenway Sports Group, which also owned the Boston Red Sox in the USA.Hodgson left by mutual consent after a series of poor results; he was replaced by King Kenny, who returned for a second inning.Dalglish’s second time was not as successful as his first; he won the League Cup but the Club slumped to the eighth position in the league.

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Jurgen Klopp, Manager of LFC

 

Out went Dalglish, in came Brendan Rodgers.Rodgers did not do much expect the team finishing second in the second season of his tenure.During that season, 2013-14, LFC scored a record number of goals and qualified for the Champions League.Brendan was shown the door in October of 2015.In came the charismatic Jurgen Klopp.LFC reached the finals of FA Cup and Europa League Cup, only to finish as runners-up.

Currently, Liverpool is 2nd in the league and may give Chelsea a fight for the title.

 

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