A Brief History of Liverpool FC

Liverpool FC History

Liverpool FC is one of the most successful football teams in the UK – by their history, at least. With over 200 supporters clubs in more than 50 countries all over the world, Liverpool is one of the most popular clubs too. 

No matter what you think of the side, it’s undeniable that Liverpool FC has helped shape the modern game into what it is today.

The first steps to Liverpool FC 

Founded in 1892, Liverpool FC was set up by John Houlding. Houlding broke away from Everton’s board to form a new club that was formally recognised by the Board of Trade on 3rd June 1892. 

By September, the club played its first competitive match: an 8-0 victory over Higher Walton and almost a year to the day after, Liverpool played their first Football League match against Middlesbrough Ironopolis. Another year and the club was promoted to the First Division (that’s what we call the Premier League today). 

The Reds were crowned champions of the league for the first time in 1901 – just eight years after they started playing in the Football League. Their second win would come in 1906, with a third following in 1922 and another in 1923.

Post WWII Success 

Despite players dedicating themselves to the same when they joined in the armed forces, Liverpool FC showed that their side was as strong as ever when they came back to be crowned champions in the 1947 season. 

With a dip in form following their win (including a relegation to the Second Division in 1954), things started looking up for Liverpool in the 1959 season with the signing of Bill Shankly as manager. Under Shankly’s tutelage, the Reds got a promotion back to the top flight and turned out a League Championship-winning side by 1964.

A Continuing Streak 

By 1964, Liverpool were sporting their now-iconic ball red kit. Foregoing the white socks for all red too, Shankly set out to intimidate other teams – and it worked, with the team winning their first ever FA Cup in 1965. 

Continuing to build their reputation as the team to beat, the Reds claimed the First Division title in 1966. Shankly might have suffered an FA Cup defeat in 1972, but the show of loyalty to the fans upon his return to Liverpool made him a club icon. The Reds also went on to win the League the next year and continue their good fortune. 

After winning the UEFA Cup in 1973 to add their first piece of European silverware to the cabinet, Liverpool then won the FA Cup in 1974 and Shankly decided to resign as Liverpool manager, ending an era. 

The Bob Paisley Era 

Proving that having a squad with talent is key, the switchover of manager didn’t hamper the additions to the trophy cabinet. 

Over the next nine years, the club won the League six times and the League Cup three. Even when Paisley retired himself in 1983, his assistant Joe Fagan took over and led the team to a Treble in his first season. 

The Heysel and Hillsborough Tragedies 

In 1985, Liverpool and Juventus played in the European Cup final. The match would go down in history due to the Heysel disaster, wherein 39 fans, mostly Italians, were killed and 600 were injured when a wall collapsed at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. Fourteen Liverpool fans were found guilty of manslaughter later on. The disaster also led to a ban on all English teams from European competitions for five years. 

Liverpool held their domestic form, winning League titles in 1986 and 1988. Unfortunately, another disaster would besmirch the integrity of the game. 

The Hillsborough disaster is a sad chapter in footballing history. Just six minutes after the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, 94 fans died in a crowd crush. Investigations and justice for those who lost their lives is still being sought today, with the police being found to be grossly negligent in 2016. 

Back At The Top 

Following a ninth League title win in 1990, Liverpool had a tumultuous few years into the early 00s. After winning the Champions League in 2005, it seemed the Reds were on for a glorious return to the top, but it was never to be. 

The club’s promised rise was blighted by a period of mediocrity and the team wouldn’t win a League title again until 2020 when Jürgen Klopp led the team to a resounding victory and a return to top form.

Welcome to Liverpool Today!

So, where does that leave the team of today? It would appear that the return to League-winning form isn’t completely over. Liverpool finished third in the 2020/21 season and are currently in second position. But it will take a fair amount of work to replicate the incredible rise to success the past has told us Liverpool are capable of – perhaps a return to the all-red kits of the past will intimidate their foes like before. 

For all your retro Liverpool shirt needs (or any other team), have a look at our range of vintage football shirts.