After the dramatics of the victories over Arsenal and Fulham in the league, we go into today’s encounter hanging onto coat-tails of the top three. Who would have thought it? Hopefully Sunderland, Stoke or our neighbours down the road caused an upset yesterday to enable us to climb even higher in this crazy league campaign. With Gary Monk’s Swansea side sandwiched between Europa League encounters against Rafas Napoli, today is a great chance to put more points on the board. We faced Swansea in not to dissimilar circumstances last season. As they prepared for the League Cup Final, the reds showed no mercy to run out easy 5-0 winners at Anfield, it was ample revenge for the reds as Swansea defeated the reds on route to their first domestic trophy. Same today please, but can’t be greedy all the time, 1-0 would do! Be just 11 league games left then. Exciting times.
Swans fans don’t need reminding it was the current reds supremo Brendan Rodgers who finally guided them back to the promised land back in 2011, and the captain on that historic day, Gary Monk is now in the opposite dug-out after the rather surprising dismissal of Brian Laudrup. But aside from that there is a special bond between the two clubs – for it was Swansea who provided the opposition at Anfield the day after Bill Shanklys funeral in October 1981.
Managed by one of Shanklys great players, John Toshack, Swansea had climbed from 4th to 1st division in four years. On route he had enlisted the help of European Cup winners, Tommy Smith and Ian Callaghan in what was an unbelievable journey for the Welsh side. On this particular match day, Tosh would pay his own personal tribute to Shanks. During an emotional minute’s silence before the match started; he proudly wore the red shirt of Liverpool with his famous number 10 on the back. Looking back on the game itself, Swansea went two goals in front before a brace from the penalty spot by Terry McDermott levelled the game at 2-2. Terry might find himself a tad lucky to be awarded the second spot-kick. Dai Davies in the Swansea goal took exception to Terry’s second pen by casually flinging McDermott into the net after he levelled. The media would have field day today, have a look on http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/13843449. After that game the reds were lying in 13th position, 10 places behind their opponents. Come the end of that season, normal service had been resumed with the reds on top but Swansea finishing a very creditable 6th position in the top flight.
The excellent relationship between the sides grew over the years, Ray Kennedy lining out for the Welsh side and the likes of Jan Molby, who went on to play for and manage the Swans in the mid-1990s, reaching a play-off final at Wembley in 1997 but losing to Northampton Town.
And amongst the playing staff today we have Joe Allen on the red side and injury permitting we welcome back Jonjo Shelvey to Anfield. Jonjo divided opinion amongst the reds fan-base, but was never shy in the challenge, and hey he got up Fergies purple nose as well. Whatever happened to that side he managed anyway?
It’s not too often Everton gets a mention in this publication without some sort of witty punch-line but here goes:
Just a few weeks back Everton Football Club held a ceremony at Anfield Cemetery to rededicate the grave of one Will Cuff. In the role of Everton FC secretary and chairman, Cuff served the club for 60 years, overseeing four league titles and two FA Cups – but he also played a huge role in bringing together Liverpool and Everton after the bitter spilt in 1892.
Speaking at the graveside, author of the book ‘Across the Park’ and football historian, Peter Lupson, said; “You all know that in 1892 there was a terrible split, out of which Liverpool emerged as a separate club. It was a bitter split. It began to slightly thaw by the time John Houlding had died and in 1902 three Everton and three Liverpool players carried his coffin, which was something of a breakthrough.”
But it was the result of Will Cuff’s friendship with a man who had a similar status and stature at Liverpool called John McKenna that enabled the clubs to continue to heal the rift. Lupson explains; “These two men together, through their deep friendship, brought about a unity between Everton and Liverpool that was remarkable when you think about the depth of the split. Within two years of Houlding’s death they’d arranged for joint match programmes to be published from 1904 to 1935 – that’s 1,100 joint match programmes. In 1906 Everton won the FA Cup, knocking out Liverpool in the semi-final 2-0, but when Everton came back with the trophy, McKenna and all the Liverpool directors were at the station to welcome them home and congratulate them. “
When McKenna died in 1936 it was Cuff who led the tributes saying “I think the greatest man in football has gone” he continued “He will live long in the memory of all who had anything to do with the governing of football. Fearless, outspoken, and absolutely honest, he was well named Honest John”. The following year, Cuff unveiled a plaque at Anfield in memory of his friend John McKenna where it is still displayed.
And when Will Cuff died in 1949 his service was conducted by former Liverpool captain Parson Jackson where the Liverpool chairman stated ‘Will Cuff was a man who set a grand example to everyone in football’.
It’s refreshing to see clubs honouring their past stalwarts whilst also acknowledging the role of other clubs also. Which brings us to Tom Watson, the first great English manager, Watson won the league title three times with Sunderland and a further two times with Liverpool. To date he is still the longest serving Liverpool manager in the clubs history. In a previous issue we highlighted the embarrassment that Watson now lies in an unmarked grave in Anfield Cemetery. Thankfully both Liverpool and Sunderland intend to mark his achievements. Black Cats historian Rob Mason and Liverpool FC museum curator Stephen Done have been in discussions with various interested parties to agree on the wording and it is hoped the memorial will be in place before the clubs meet on March 10th. However this may change due to possible FA Cup action, so check the clubs website or Red All Over The Land on facebook where we will post up any details of the event. davidmoenblog.wordpress.com
Just before Christmas Norwegian based Liverpool FC historian, Jonny Stokkeland and local man George Rowlands unveiled a headstone in memory of the man who suggested the name Liverpool FC to John Houlding. That man was W.E. Barclay. Barclay also had the unique distinction of managing both Everton and Liverpool. It was the end of a long journey for Stookeland and Rowlands to finally see the Dublin born Barclay’s name finally displayed in Anfield Cemetery, fittingly in the shadow of both the Anfield Road and Goodison Park stadiums. We at RAOTL wanted to get to know a bit more about Jonny and he kindly answered our questions below.
The Scandinavian support for Liverpool FC is legendary, who were your heroes in red growing up?
Kevin Keegan. No doubt about that!! And I was so lucky to meet him in Academy in Kirkby, about 5 years ago. A meeting I will never forget!
Your first trip to Liverpool and memories?
August 1992. It was a dream come true to see Anfield – And it was in time to stand on The Kop as well. I was in Istanbul in 2005 and have visited Liverpool 41 times now. I try to visit Liverpool 3-4 times a year. I end up staying for up to two weeks as I continue my research. I will be back in April and May.
Your heavily involved with gathering information of past players/managers – what got you involved in this type of research and how much time do you spend researching?
I was born in 1968 and have been a LFC supporter as long as I can remember. I started collecting information about Liverpool FC and all ex-players in 1980 when the Norwegian Supporters Club was founded. It was not easy to find much information then. All I had was Brian Peads book the first Complete record book which came out in 1986 and then Doug Lammings Who`s Who in 1989. That was a revelation. Then I met Eric Doig, the grandson of the great Liverpool goalkeeper Ned Doig in early 90s and we have been friends since then. He took me to the central library in Liverpool. Nowadays I use most of my time in other libraries in England. Crosby, Birkenhead, Bolton, Stoke, Rochdale, Heywood, Bury, Nelson, Accrington, Burnley, Blackpool, Blackburn, Darwen, Preston, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Birmingham have all been visited. We have also used several weeks in The Football League Museum in Preston + visit Lancashire FA, Lancashire Record Office and Liverpool County FA.2 years ago I went to London and used 1 week in the Collindale Library for my research.
A headstone for W.E. Barclay in Anfield Cemetery has now come to pass; can you tell us the process you had to go through to bring this project to it’s conclusion?
After a lot of talk, me and George Rowlands got It put up when I last visit Liverpool in December. At last Liverpools first secretary (manager) got what he deserved. Very little had been written about him in history books. George found his birth details in Ireland and his sad demise in Liverpool. He was the forgotten man in clubs history.
Have you any more LFC projects lined up in the future?
Well, Sveinung Egeland put together a fantastic PC programme some years ago. We have more than 4800 names and more than 12 000 matches in our archives. We try to find all match facts for all matches played by first team, reserves and junior teams – And we try to follow all players from birth to death, all their clubs and other work. We buy birth and death certificates to get everything as correct as possible.
I met George Rowlands five years ago, and he is an expert on ancestry. He has been of great help. So has Kjell Hanssen with his excellent newspaper archives. And we also have contacts in South Africa, USA, Norway and England.
We signed a long term contract with Liverpool FC a few years ago in which our collection is part of the LFC Official Archives. We get questions from ex-players, families of ex-players and supporters all the time. So I am always a busy man! I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if somebody needs any information or maybe can help us.
Oh what a night it was at our last home game – any win against the blue half of the city is to be savoured but a 4-0 drubbing in what was described as the ‘most important derby in 30 years’ was much more than we had hoped for. And it could have been more. At the time of going to press we don’t know the WBA result but let’s hope we are going into today’s first of two games V Arsenal in a week in good nick.
There does seem to be a trend with the reds taking on the Gunners in different competitions so close together. As recent as April 2008, the two clubs clashed three times within a week, a league encounter sandwiched between two Champions league quarter-final ties (remember that competition). It was a trilogy in which Liverpool came out unbeaten. The Champions League tie at the Emirates ended all square. A scorer of many important goals for the reds, Dirk Kuyt cancelled out Adeboyer’s opener thus leaving it all to play for in the second leg the following week. In the meantime the two sides had to play a league encounter the following Saturday morning – Once more it finished level, an impressive Liverpool which included Damien Plessis making his debut took the lead through Peter Crouch with Nicholas Bendtner grabbing a equaliser as thoughts turned to the next game of the trilogy at Anfield – an unforgettable evening.
In a game that ebbed and flowed, the old stadium rocked from start to finish, heck, I didn’t get to sit down and I was in the Anfield Road end, you know it’s special when that happens. All the drama came late in the game, after both sides traded goals in the first half, Fernando Torres looked to have put Liverpool through only for Adebayor to put the Londoners ahead with 6 minutes remaining. We certainly had some roller-coaster times under Rafa and you just knew we could come back, and we did two minutes later. Torres who had tortured the hapless Senderos all night, drew a foul and once more Steven Gerrard saved the day with a faultless spot-kick to put the reds in control even though the game was still in the balance. The crowd could relax just minutes later when Ryan Babel was given the freedom of the Arsenal half to race through and finish the job off. Ring of Fire didn’t stop for ages that night as the reds spilled out onto the surrounding streets dreaming of another tilt at Chelsea in the semi-final of the Champions League. Good times, no, great times.
If we had the upper hand in 2008 it perhaps was a case of revenge for what happened to the redmen two years earlier. This time we were paired against each other in the two domestic cup competitions. The League Cup 5th round tie at Anfield in December was called off due to heavy fog, now it was to be re-fixed just three days after the reds would open their FA Cup defence, also against the Gunners.
The FA Cup clash would be known as ‘Truth Day’, the Reclaim the Kop group organised a mosaic as 12,000 fans in the Kop were given cards to hold up which spelt out the words “The Truth”. It would be a timely reminder to those in power that the fight for justice would not go away. With the mosaic visible while Liverpool supporters chanted “Justice for the 96” for six minutes it was a breath-taking sight that had the desired effect in highlighting once more the long awaited fight for Justice.
The match itself was dominated by the visitors who inspired by Thierry Henry ran out 3-1 winners as both sides locked horns in the League Cup tie three days later. The League Cup match was to be a game to forget for the redmen and one to remember for Arsenal frontman Julio Baptista who netted four times as both sides fielded somewhat understrength teams. A 6-3 reverse was the worst home defeat in 76 years and leaving Anfield that night we were sure we would never see another opposition player score 4 goals against us again, and certainly not an Arsenal player, wishful thinking!
Playing each other three times in a week in 2008 may seem a lot, but back in 1980, the two sides traded blows an incredible five times over a three week period. Both sides had reached the semi-final of the FA Cup and after a scoreless draw at Hillsborough the two met again four days later at Villa Park. No pens in those days. A goal apiece from David Fairclough and Alan Sunderland would not settle the tie – as both sides headed to Anfield for a league clash just a few days later. Predictably enough, the game finished all square with Liverpool remaining in top spot in the race for league honours, just a point ahead of closest rivals Manchester United.
The two clubs had a well-deserved break from each other for a whole nine days before their second replay. With the added bonus of playing second division side West Ham in the final, Liverpool were eyeing up a first League and Cup double. In a dramatic finale at Villa Park Kenny Dalglish popped up on 90 minutes to cancel out a first minute strike from the previous year’s cup final hero, Alan Sunderland. Extra-time wouldn’t separate the two and just three days later at the unusual semi-final venue of Highfield Road Coventry, Brian Talbot scored the only goal of the game to send the Gunners into the final against West Ham, a game they lost 1-0. For Liverpool, they only had to wait another two days to pick up the championship once more.
So onwards to the next installment in the history of these great two clubs. I’m sure the majority of the red army that travelled to Bournemouth were counting the cost and praying for a home tie when who else but Arsenal away gets pulled out of the hat. Not only that, it now means two trips to the capital for the reds within a few days with the league clash against Fulham taking place on the 12th Feb. Quite the expense and I’m sure most can’t afford to attend the two games. After the possibility that ticket prices may hit £93, the pressure for common sense was applied by Jay McKenna and the Spirit of Shankly. The game has now been labelled a CAT B game by Arsenal, thus reducing ticket prices to £54, well done to all involved. Still far too much money for any football match, but small steps.
So it’s been a great week at the time of writing. Libpool Libpool top of the league, Libpool top of the league. Well commercial league at any rate. New sponsorship deals with Dunkin’ Donuts, Vauxhall and most recently the Indonesian firm Garuda Airline who will sponsor the clubs training gear. With the teams above dropping points recently, perhaps we can even dream of snatching the 3rd Champions League spot. After today’s game we might well have a better idea on whether it’ll be the Champions League Logo or the Europa League badge that will appear on next seasons kit.