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Liverpool FC History

In 1974 Bob Paisley took over the helm at Liverpool and saw the start of the greatest ever period in the clubs history as far as trophies went.  The first season saw only a charity shield win but his second season in charge saw a double of the UEFA cup and the league championship which was to be retained the following year.  This second title was coupled together with the first of what turned out to be two consecutive European cups.  The European Super cup was also won in 1977 and English club football was pushed to the top of Europe.  Two more league titles saw the decade finish before Paisley guided the team to their worst finish under his reign in 1981 when the team finished 5th.  However he made up for it by regaining the European cup and paired it with the first of four consecutive league cups.  Paisley retrired in 1983 and fittingly became the first ever manager to walk up the wembley steps to collect a trophy.

Joe Fagan took over in 1983-84 and it was business as usual for the reds.  In his first season Joe Fagan won a unique treble of the league, league cup and European cup.  The league win was the third in a row whilst the other two trophies were won for a fourth time in each case.  Joe Fagan’s second year saw him win no trophies and announce his retirement.  He announced his intentions prior to the end of the season and hoped to go out on a high by winning the European cup for a club fifth time.  Events however turned sour that night at Heysel where 39 football fans died when a supporting wall collapsed.  The blame was placed at Liverpool fans door and English clubs were banned from Europe.  The truth however behind this goes further and although the Liverpool fans shamefully attributed to the disaster this was most certainly not the only reason the tragedy happened.  UEFA ignored calls from Liverpool about the grounds state and segregation procedures which were at best, poor.  They also ignored what went on the year before in Rome when Liverpool had beaten Roma in Rome when masses of Liverpool fans were stoned.

The following season saw Kenny Dalglish take over as player-manager with some assistance given to him by Bob Paisley.  The reds stormed to a league and cup double, the first since 1971.  The FA Cup final saw the first FA final between Liverpool and Everton and the reds won 3-1.  The following few years saw the development of a great side which like other English clubs suffered from the lack of a European stage to test themselves on.  In 1988-89 Liverpool were again to be looking for a double.  Again tragic events happened which stunned the whole world of football.  On April 15 1989 Liverpool Football Club lost 96 fans of its fans in a tragedy at Hillsborough that should never have happened.  To this day, more than ten years on the families and fans are still fighting for the JUSTICE that they deserve.  Private prosecutions took place against two officers from South Yorkshire Police.  Despite calls from Liverpool, the FA gave Liverpool the smaller end of the ground.  The movement of fans was not restricted in 1989 as it was the previous year and the main route into the ground pointed all fans in the same direction unless they knew the ground well.  This went to the main central pens where a crush formed.  No calls were answered from the fans to relieve the pressure at the front and the Police thought at first it was a pitch invasion and forced fans back into the pens.  The tragedy unfolded in front of the Police and the voices that mattered in the control box remained silent.

More than ten years on the fight goes on for people to learn the truth about Hillsborough.  The same truth that the Taylor report attempted to show but it was ignored in crucial areas and newspapers like the Sun printed lies about Liverpool fans of which they have never publically apologised.  Rightly so the Sun is heavily boycotted nowadays from Liverpool fans.  It is only now that Sheffield Wednesday have erected a memorial for OUR 96.  It is ten years late. 

To the 96 - YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE.

After the tragedy Liverpool went on to claim the FA Cup against Everton and lost the league on goal difference to Arsenal.  After Liverpool won the 1990 league trophy the team has gone into decline.  Kenny Dalglish under much strain left the club with an ageing side which Graeme Souness tried to change in one fell swoop.  The changes didn't all work at once and also saw the demolition of the bootroom at Anfield.  His reign as manager saw himgain on FA Cup final win in 1992 over Sunderland after heart sugery.  However he also sold his story to a newspaper not worthy of naming, suffice is to say they peddled lies about the Hillsborough disaster.  After some time though he failed to progress the team upwards and after defeat to Bristol City in the 1994 FA Cup he resigned.

Roy Evans took over for what was seen as a return to the old bootroom days but only had one League Cup win to show for his work in 1995.  Roy was a nice man but just couldn’t move the reds to their former glories.  After some time in charge and coming close to restoring the former glories a dual partnership was setup between himself and Gerrd Houlier.  This was done in time for the 1998-99 season but after just 12 games and four wins Evans resigned to leave Houllier in sole charge.  Since taking over sole control Houllier has made moves to change the philospohy at the club. After a disappointing finish to the 99-00 season he has brought more players to the club and he was rewarded with a cup treble in 2001. The club managed to oversee the first cup treble in the English game. Wins in the Worthington Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup saw the reds lift the three trophies. Coupled with this was the third placed finish in the league which has ensured they get a chance to qualify for the Champions league next season.  Following the qualifying round the reds entered the Champions League proper and progressed to the quarter finals before losing out.  However season 2001-02 will also be remembered for the illness to Houllier.  Following the Leeds game at Anfield he was given major heart surgery and didn't return until the game against Roma at home.  In the interim period Phil Thompson took charge of the team.  At the end of the season the reds had done nothing to retain their two domestic cups but did make progress in the league.  They finished with more points than ever before in the premiership and made second place which brought about automatic qualification for the Champions League.

The Champions League exploits of the 2002-03 season saw the Reds drop out at the ed of te group stage and go into the UEFA Cup where Celtic knocked them out. The season also saw the Reds fail to make the grade in the league. Expensive imports such as El Hadji Diouf was brought in and simply never lived up to his price tag. Despite poor form the Reds were left in line for a Champions League place but a last day loss at Chelsea saw the London side finish fourth instead of the Reds. The Reds did however win the Worthington Cup at Cardiff again. It all meant UEFA cup football the followingterm but again poor form followed the Reds with poor management. Gerard Houllier was visibly suffering torment in the game and despite taking the fourth Champions League slot the Reds were left even further adrift from the top three. Big changes were needed.

Rafael Benitez now manages the Reds for the 2004-05 season following the sacking of Gerard Houllier at the end of the 03-04 season. Djibril Cisse was brought in for a record £14 million as a lasting legacy of Houllier whilst Benitez brought in Garcia and Alonso whilst discarding the likes of Owen and Murphy.

Liverweb - August 2004