Liverpool Football Club is one of the biggest football clubs on the planet. In terms of sides that are able to compete with them globally, there are only really Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid that fit into that category. Despite Manchester City’s bizarre claims of global appeal, we all know that the Cityzens barely appeal to people living in Manchester, let alone beyond the city’s borders. Other teams, such as Arsenal, do have some appeal outside of London, but they still can’t come close to what the Reds offer, which is why they aren’t included in the above list.
As a result of Liverpool’s global popularity, there are more than a few people who are happy to celebrate wins that the club manages to achieve. If the win is a big one, such as the Champions League, even more people will turn out, coming from far and wide in order to be there and celebrate what the Reds have done. There is a good chance that you might have been at one of Liverpool’s parades over the years, owing to the fact that they don’t happen all that often and are therefore as much about people showing their appreciation to the manager and team as what has been won.
1965 – The First FA Cup
To the modern football fan, there might not be all that much to celebrate about winning an FA Cup. It is the trophy that has dropped down the pecking order, with the Premier League, Champions League and even a top four finish all being considered as much more important than it. Back in 1965, however, it was still considered to be an important trophy and was one that the Reds had failed to win during Bill Shankly’s time in charge of the club. Having won the First Division the year before, Shanks was keen to right the FA Cup wrong the following season.
On the way to the final, Liverpool defeated West Bromwich Albion, Stockport County, Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City and Chelsea before taking on Leeds United. A 2-1 win saw Shankly land his great white whale, which the people of Liverpool understandably wanted to celebrate. Around half a million people turned up to welcome the Reds as an open-top bus paraded through the city, finishing up at the town hall. It was a moment that proved Shankly’s desire to turn the Reds into a team for the people to proud of was complete, with hundreds of thousands showing their appreciation.
1971 – Losing Finalists
It isn’t usual for teams to get parades having lost in a final. There is also an argument that 1971 wasn’t a parade. Yet what we do know is that Liverpool’s hopes of winning another FA Cup under Bill Shankly were dashed by Bertie Lee’s Arsenal on the eighth of May that year, with the Gunners winning 2-1. Steve Highway scored early in extra-time to give Liverpool hope, only for George Graham to equalise and Charlie George to get the winner in the 101st and 111th minute respectively. The game itself was played in good spirit and considered to be one of the best FA Cup finals ever.
Perhaps that was why around 100,000 people turned up in Liverpool to welcome the team home the day after the final. The manager didn’t allow the defeat to cause him or his players any kind of upset and, in typical style, actually turned the whole thing into a moment of pride between his players and the supporters that had turned up to celebrate them in defeat. Shankly took to the microphone and said,
“Since I came here to Liverpool, and to Anfield, I have drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you. And if they didn’t believe me, they believe me now.”
1977 – The First European Cup
On the 25th of May 1977, Star Wars was released in the cinema. Also, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Liverpool took on Borussia Monchengladbach in the European Cup final. The German team might not be particularly well thought of in the modern era, but back then they were one of the giants of the game.
When the Reds beat them 3-1, it was the first time that the club had won Ol’ Big Ears, having been cheated out of it thanks to a controversial defeat to Inter Milan in 1965. Tommy Smith, a Liverpool local, had scored the decisive goal to send Liverpool on the way to their first European Cup in a move that dreams are made of.
When the players and management team returned home, the streets were adored with flags and there was red as far as the eye could see. Bob Paisley and his team had conquered Europe and were given the sort of reception back in Liverpool that such an achievement deserved. Unlike Shankly, Paisley was always a much quieter and more reserved character, so he didn’t pick up the microphone to make a speech to the people.
Instead, he allowed his players to bask in the glory of winning the most prestigious trophy that there is to win in club football alongside the league title.
1986 – Double Winners
During the 1970s and 1980s, Liverpool were a winning machine. More European Cups were added to the first one that the team had won in 1978, 1981 and 1984, with the latter also being another double to go alongside the First Division title. In 1986, Kenny Dalglish had not just managed to win the club a First Division and FA Cup double, but had also done so at the expense of Liverpool’s fiercest rivals in Everton.
In 1985, the Blues had won the top-flight and it looked like they were going to repeat the trick the following year, only for the Reds to steam in and pip them to the title by two points.
To add insult to injury, Liverpool also managed to beat Everton in the FA Cup final, with a brace from Ian Rush and a goal from Craig Johnston sending the Reds to ecstasy in front of 90,000 people. The two clubs were widely considered to be the best in the country, but it was the Red half of Merseyside that got to celebrate and the supporters came out in style to do so when an open-top bus parade went around the city.
Winning might have become commonplace for Liverpool in the 1980s, but getting one over on the Evertonians was never too good an opportunity to turn down.
1989 – Another FA Cup
There is no question that 1989 will go down as one of the most memorable years in the history of Liverpool Football Club, but sadly not for good reasons. On the 15th of April 1989, the Reds played Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough. Due to police negligence, 97 supporters lost their lives, leading to a three-decade search for justice.
Liverpool should’ve won the league that season but Michael Thomas’ goal for Arsenal at Anfield meant that that didn’t happen, which added even more pressure to the FA Cup final to ensure that fans had something to celebrate.
It was once again Everton that the Reds had to defeat in their chase for silverware, with both sets of supporters observing a minute’s silence before kick-off. Liverpool took an early lead and Everton got a late equaliser, meaning extra-time was needed. Two goals from Ian Rush either side of one from Stuart McCall meant Liverpool won 3-2.
The parade back in Liverpool was a curious mix of celebration and mourning, with the city turning out to congratulate the players even whilst everyone was still reeling from the events of the month before. Of all of the parades the Reds have enjoyed over the years, this might have been the oddest and the saddest.
2001 – The Treble Winners
When it comes to trophies, it is always worth bearing in mind that most teams don’t manage to win one during the course or a season. It is why Doubles are so noteworthy. When Gerrard Houllier’s Liverpool team won not one, not two but three trophies in the 2000-2001 season, therefore, you can understand why the city was awash with red for the open-top bus parade. Having beaten Birmingham City in the League Cup, largely thanks to a brilliant goal from Robbie Fowler, the Reds then took on Arsenal in the FA Cup final, with both games played at the Millennium Stadium.
Despite Arsenal being much the better side, taking the lead, Michael Owen scored two goals in quick succession to hand Liverpool an unlikely cup double. Things didn’t stop there, though, with a match against Alaves in the UEFA Cup still to come. This time it was to be a Golden Goal that would hand the Reds victory at the home of Borussia Dortmund.
The players and management team toured the city in a ‘Triple Decker Tour Bus’, with around half a million people turning up to celebrate a phenomenal season that lasted for 63 games. Wherever people could get themselves to see the bus, they did.
2019 – Let’s Talk About Six
When Jürgen Klopp arrived at Anfield, it felt like the atmosphere shifted completely. The Reds had come so close to winning the title under Brendan Rodgers, but when Luis Suarez and then Steven Gerrard departed the club, it seemed like it was all downhill for a once great team. The arrival of the German after he’d taken a break from management in the wake of his departure from Borussia Dortmund gave fresh life to everything and the Reds nearly won trophies in his first season in charge. When we lost the Champions League final in 2018, it seemed as though he would forever be the nearly man.
Even the 2018-2019 campaign was fraught with disappointment. The Reds missed out on the title by a single point against a Manchester City team that would later have 115 charges levelled against it by the Premier League, whilst a 3-0 first-leg of the Champions League semi-final loss to Barcelona meant that it looked like the team would once again miss out.
They had other ideas, however, defeating the Spanish side 4-0 at Anfield before going on to win 2-0 against Tottenham Hotspur in the final and win the club’s sixth European Cup. When the parade came to Liverpool the day after, around 750,000 people turned up to celebrate a phenomenal season.
2022 – So Close To Winning It All
Whatever else people can say about the 2021-2022 campaign, the one thing that they won’t be able to take away from Liverpool is that the club came closer than any other side has ever managed to winning the Quadruple. The first trophy was nailed when the Reds defeated Chelsea in the League Cup final at Wembley, with a 0-0 draw leading to a penalty shoot-out that was won thanks to a penalty taken by reserve goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher. The FA Cup was next a few months later and it was once again a penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea to give Liverpool the domestic cup double.
It was Manchester City that spoilt the party yet again for the Reds as far as the league was concerned, with Liverpool getting 92 points and missing out to City’s 93. The 115 charges levied against the Manchester club seemed to loom even larger in the minds of many Liverpool fans. Still, there was hope that the season could yet see a major trophy being won, only for Real Madrid to defeat the Reds 1-0 in the Champions League final after a Man of the Match performance from Thibaut Courtois. It was what happened off the pitch that overshadowed the game, however.
Horrendous disorganisation from French police meant that fans of both clubs feared for their lives before kick-off, with family and friends of the players caught up in the nightmare scenes. It led to UEFA promising that it would improve the way that finals were organised in the future and it was only thanks to the work of the Liverpool supporters that no lives were lost. Back in Liverpool the day after, supporters let the players and management team know exactly how much their efforts for the season had been appreciated, with more than 500,000 people turning up to cheer them on, with the title winning Liverpool Women’s team also getting a bus on the parade.