Never Forget Where You’ve Come From
Jurgen Klopp’s 2018/19 Liverpool team may have packed the streets of the city with fans, but it wasn’t the first time the club painted Merseyside in red. Our first parade made “The Beatles reception look like a vicarage tea party.” according to a police officer in charge of keeping a lid on the festivities. It came after the club’s first FA Cup win in our history. Since then, Liverpool have lifted the cup 6 additional times, the last being “The Gerrard Final” in 2006. How did we come to lift the first, and how was it celebrated?
It took 73 years for Liverpool to lift the FA Cup triumphantly above their heads for their loyal fans. Seventy-three long years in which they endured constant reminding from their Blue neighbors. All of it would end, however, on a rainy afternoon in May of 1965. Liverpool had reached the final versus Leeds United in the sweetest way possible that season. Their fourth round replay against Everton was played, and won in Goodison Park. If it couldn’t get any better, their semi-final replay was won against Manchester United without letting in a goal in either game. Shankly’s men had beaten their opponents by a combined score of 14-4, keeping 4 clean sheets.
Tens of thousands of Liverpudlians headed to Wembley with hopes of obtaining a ticket. Sadly, even in those days, ticket allocations were a joke. Those who couldn’t get their hands on one resorted to finding any TV tuned to the match. For most, that meant a lager in a London pub, but quite a few local TV shops had crowds of Reds standing in front of their shop windows. This was a game no one wanted to miss.
A rather dull affair, mainly due to the wet conditions, couldn’t keep the travelling Kop quiet. The Red army was in full voice and easily drowned out the opposition’s supporters. Besides the atmosphere inside the ground, there wasn’t much to talk about. The only event of note was a crunching tackle by Leeds’s Bobby Collins on left-back Gerry Byrne. The collision left Byrne with a broken collarbone. Since substitutions had not been introduced yet, the defender incredibly soldiered on. A goalless 90 mins saw the teams head to extra time.
Three minutes after the kick-off, Rodger Hunt latched onto a header from a perfect cross placed by none other than Byrne. Liverpool were up 1-0 with 27 mins to go, the place went ballistic. Unfortunately, the lead would only last 9 minutes as Billy Bremner would put Leeds level. The replay (no penalties yet) was imminent and the travelling supporters from both sides looked nervous. Liverpool weren’t done yet though.
With 9 minutes remaining, Ian St. John connected on Ian Callaghan’s right-sided cross. The keeper was no where to be found and the ball effortlessly flew past the defender on the line. Liverpool were champions!
As the boys pulled into Lime Street station the following evening, an estimated 500,000 fans turned up to greet them. Reporters jokingly added, the roar of the crowd traveled down the tracks all the way to Manchester. The streets were packed solid and the team’s open air bus crawled along the streets, making the mile trip to the Town Hall. Much like fans from our recent trophy celebration, some onlookers resorted to climbing all manner of obstacles to get a better glimpse of the cup and their heroes. A reported 604 ambulance rides were taken that day.
Once at the Hall, speeches were given by the President, Chairman, Shankly, and captain Ron Yeats. While holding the cup aloft, Ron shouted, “There will be another proud moment when I show you the European Cup!”. The sound that erupted from his proclamation was deafening. Despite spanking the holding champions Juventus at Anfield 3-1, the Reds would ultimate succumb 3-0 in the Italian leg. That game is still a sore spot in fans memories as two of the three goals should never have been allowed. Regardless, that was the Shankly way; never quit, keep striving to improve, even in moments of victory. That ethos was clearly drilled into the players, and wholeheartedly accepted by the supporters. This is Liverpool, afterall, this means more.
A funny story surround the FA Cup competition and one of the players who played in the 1965 final. In 2015 a BBC reporter was walking around Liverpool asking older folks if they had any memories of the FA Cup Derby of 1967. The match was actually televised at Anfield while the game was played at Goodison. While I’m not 100% sure of what the piece was about, the interviewer got more than he bargained for. Take a look: BBC Interview with Former Liverpool Goalkeeper Tommy Lawrence played for Liverpool from 1957-1971 and made 306 appearances for the club. He’s also affectionately nick-named The Flying Pig for his ability to quickly change positions mid-dive despite being a heavier bloke. Tommy passed away in 2018 at the age of 77.
If you’d like to see highlights for the 1965 FA Cup final, this is the best link for it: