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How football clubs were formed part 3

ShanklyThis week find out how two of United's rivals - Liverpool and Chelsea were formed.  For all the previous articles click here


Liverpool Football Club

Originally, Anfield was the home of Everton Football Club who began playing there in 1884. In 1892 a row over the rent led to the majority of members storming out in protest and moving across Stanley Park to build Goodison. Those who remained in Anfield decided to set up a club of their own - and so Liverpool Football Club was born.

If it wasn't for one man, Liverpool Football Club would never have been born. John Houlding stayed behind along with a handful of supporters and just three first-team players. But he was determined to see football continue at the ground. He formed a new club from scratch, chose the name Liverpool… and created a legend.

Even John Houlding couldn't have predicted how successful it would become. More than 100 years on, no English club can match the Liverpool FC roll of honour; League Champions 18 times, FA Cup winners seven times, League Cup winners seven times, European Cup winners five times and UEFA Cup winners three times.

10 important dates in the history of Liverpool:

1.      1982-Foundation of the Club

2.      1901- First title win

3.      1950- First Wembley Appearance

4.      1959- Shankly appointed manager

5.      1965- Winning the FA Cup for the first time

6.      1977- European Champions

7.      1985- Haysel Disaster

8.      1986- Doing the double

9.      1989- Hillsborough

10.     2001- Clinching the Cup Treble

The Kop

On January 24th 1900, there was a battle in the South African township of Natal, which led to appalling loss of life, especially amongst many Liverpool people. The battle became known as the battle of the Spion Kop. The battle was one of the many disasters at the Boer War and ironically, the battle need never have happened.

In 1960, as Liverpool clinched their 2nd league title, Anfield was reconstructed with the Kop becoming a massive uncovered terraced area holding some 20,000 supporters. The name Spion Kop was coined by a local reporter and many felt it was a fitting memorial for all those poor Liverpudlians who fell at the battle of the Spion Kop.

The Kop

The Kop and Anfield remained largely unchanged and the 1920's and 1930's saw football become the nation's number one sport. A roof was built on the Kop in 1928 and in the 1930's Anfield was also used to hold boxing, with at least one World Title bout being staged. Professional Tennis was also staged as well as various football internationals.

After the Second World War Liverpool won their 5th league title, helped by the likes of Billy Liddell and a young Bob Paisley. In the season 1953-54 Liverpool Football Club were relegated to the old division two but the reign of Bill Shankley was not far away.

Anfield in the 1960's was the birth of the Kop Choir and the city's musical success was soon to be mirrored on the football field. Groups of supporters would meet in local pubs to plan the Saturday afternoon's entertainment. The Albert, next door to the Kop was and still is, a regular haunt and rehearsal hall for the Kop Choir.

In the 1970's Liverpool FC's travels in Europe meant that fans were able to travel extensively and bring back part of the European culture to Anfield. The Kop was awash with foreign scarves, flags and various souvenirs. The Kop was the first terraced area in England to adopt the continental approach of using a mish mash of ideas from the likes of Italian, German and other European supporters.

The 1980's saw Anfield become a victim of it's own success. In 1978-79 only 4 goals were conceded at Anfield and the Kop had quietened somewhat. Unemployment was rife in Liverpool which obviously had some effect on the mood the city as a whole. A lot of support began to come from outside Liverpool, even abroad from Belfast, Dublin, Norway and Denmark in particular.

Then there was Heysel which had a dramatic effect on Liverpool FC. Then there was Hillsborough and the end of an era soon followed.

The 1990's saw Anfield thriving with estimations of up to two thirds of support coming from outside Liverpool. The ground is now an all-seater stadium, despite many fans wishing to retain some terracing on the Kop.


Chelsea Football Club

Chelsea was founded, like Liverpool FC, to fill a stadium that was empty. Gus Mears had an old athletics ground at Stamford Bridge in west London, which he decided to redevelop as a football stadium. After a number of unforeseen problems he received a very lucrative offer for the land and very nearly sold it. This was after failing to persuade Fulham to move to the ground from Craven Cottage. A colleague, who was a supporter of the football stadium project, attempted to dissuade him from selling up one Sunday morning. As the pair walked Mears dog attacked Parker and bit him, drawing blood but only an amused reaction from Parker.

Mears was so impressed with how well Parker took the bite he told him he would now trust his judgement and he threw his weight back behind the football team idea. On 14th March 1905 a meeting was held in a pub opposite the stadium, at this meeting the club was named Chelsea FC after a number of other names, London FC amongst them, were rejected.

Their first manager was a player manager, he was a Scottish international called John Tait Robertson, they also signed a squad or well-respected players – conditional on finding a league to compete in. Their application to join the Southern League was rejected so Chelsea applied to join the, then northern dominated, Football League. On 29th May 1905 at the Football League AGM Chelsea were elected to the 2nd Division, the first club ever to make the league without kicking a ball.

Chelsea’s first ever competitive game was a 1-0 defeat away to Stockport County on the 2nd September 1905. Despite this early setback crowds were good (67,000 against Manchester United on Good Friday of 1906) and in their second season they won promotion to Division One.

Even back then
Chelsea signed star names, which probably went a long way to explaining the high attendances. Their first goalkeeper was an England international called Willie Foulkes, he was nicknamed ‘Fatty’ and weighed over 22 stones.

In May 1952 Ted Drake was appointed manager, he removed the Chelsea Pensioner from the club badge and banished the nickname ‘The Pensioners’. He became the club’s first tracksuit manager getting himself involved in training and also improved the youth and scouting programme.

The new era

On 2nd July 2003 Roman Abramovich ushered in a new era in football as he bought Chelsea, lock, stock and barrel. Just 36 he was a Russian multi-billionaire who, at the time, was completely unknown in England. This led to uncertainty as to his intentions, with many city commentators suggesting he was looking to asset strip the club. Luckily for the club’s fans (though not so for the fans of the rest of the world’s clubs!) Roman was looking to win things, the club was given almost unlimited money to spend, transforming overnight from a team just trying to stay aflost to a team able to afford any player it wanted. .

At the end of that season the club had reached the European Champions League semi-finals and come second in the league but despite this Claudio Ranieri left as manager and Jose Mourinho, manager of the current Champions League winners Porto, was given the post. Brimming with self-confidence (some would say arrogance!) the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ set about spending yet more money, buying three Portugese internationals, Petr Cech, Arjen Robben, Mateja Kezman and Didier Drogba for a new club record fee of £21 million.Roman Abramovich

Mourinho handed the captain’s armband to youth product John Terry and oversaw a League Cup final win (over Liverpool), European Champions League semi-final ( a loss to Liverpool this time) and a League Championship. The London club achieved the best points total and defensive record in English top-flight history and John Terry became the first Chelsea player to win the PFA Player of the Year award. Frank Lampard making it a double with the Footballer of the Year award.

But Mourinho and Chelsea havent finished there and they again broke their transfer record with the £24.4 million purchase of Michael Essien in the summer of 2005. With the club on top of the EPL once again and money no object they are beginning to look almost unbeatable, can they be stopped?


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