Never Forget Where You’ve Come From
The release of the new fixture list always makes you feel like a child at the start of the Christmas season. It’s a time where the possibilities are endless for every team. A chance to redeem yourself from a poor season, or to build on dominating performances. You can’t help but to look forward to the big weekends, the tough stretches, and debate where the turning points may lie. A proverbial clean slate that brings with it endless possibilities. But what about Liverpool’s cleanest slate, the founding of our great club?
One Door Closes, Another Opens
The story begins in the worst way imaginable for Koppites, with Everton playing at Anfield. Everton, founded in 1878, called Anfield home from 1884 to 1892. Their move away was catalyzed by their landlord and president, John Houlding. Houlding had been steadily increasing Everton’s rent in an attempt to get them to purchase the land outright. The cost was became too much for the Toffees and they pushed for a move into nearby Goodison Park. The decision was made final at a shareholders meeting on March 15th 1892 and they removed Houlding from his position. Just proof that Anfield has always been too rich for Everton to play at.
Sent to lick his wounds at home, Houlding called his close friend and Everton’s first club secretary, William Barclay who demanded they start fresh. The pair, along with John McKenna, created a tenant for their vacant stadium and named it Liverpool FC that very night. Although it was March, the club wouldn’t be recognized by the Board of Trade until June of that year. If Everton thought they’d removed a problem, they were wrong. Instead, all they managed to do was create the biggest eternal thorn in their side.
The First Season
The newly founded LFC Board applied for England’s First Division in their inaugural season. Unfortunately, the league denied their application and slotted them into the Lancashire League. Liverpool’s first ever game was actually a friendly set up in preparation of the new season against Rotherham Town. It was a rather easy affair, with the Reds rolling over their opponents 7-1. To intertwine the Merseyside clubs even more, their first ever hat-trick was scored by a former Everton striker Tom Wyllie.
A few days later in September 1982, Liverpool played their first meaningful game. The boys would win comfortably again, beating Higher Walton 8-0, after a late start due to Walton’s tardiness. Prior to kick-off their opponents turned up to Goodison, thinking they were playing Everton. Houlding’s new team would continue their winning way and go on to win the Lancashire League, earning the nickname “The Team of the Macs” due to ten of their Starting XI being Scottish. After their commanding performance that year, the club’s Division Two application was promptly accepted.
Winning Was the Liverpool Way
If taking their first season as champions was impressive, Liverpool’s campaign in England’s newly formed Second Division was other worldly. Perpetuated by local rival, Bootle FC’s financial collapse, Liverpool’s fan base grew with their tantalizing play. The Reds would go all of 1983/84 undefeated winning 22 and drawing 6. Fortress Anfield isn’t a new phenomenon, it has been a daunting away fixture from the very beginning. Locals witnessed the team win all 14 matches in front of the home crowd, scoring 46 goal and conceding a measly 6. Despite their dominance in the league, promotion wasn’t guaranteed in those days. If they wanted to compete in England’s highest league, Liverpool would have to play a one match playoff against the First Division’s last place team. Their form was unwavering against Newton Heath at Ewood Park and they walked away with a 2-0 win.
The victory and promotion started a long and historical rivalry with Newton Heath, who, in 1902, would change their name to Manchester United. And the rest is history.