Historic Anfield moments brought to life with stunning results
A fascinating series of photographs telling the story of Liverpool’s rise from Second Division mediocracy to kings of Europe have been brought to life in color for the very first time.
Colorization expert George Chilvers has teamed up with historian and author Mark Platt to collaborate on a project titled ‘Old Liverpool FC In Colour’, in which the two longtime Liverpudlians bring fans back into the eyes of fans from another era to experience the rise of Liverpool Football Club as they would have seen it.
The fascinating story of the Reds’ rise to the top is told through 130 stunning photographs, many never seen before, which have been painstakingly colorized for a new audience who until now could only catch a glimpse of Anfield’s past in black and white.
Thanks to meWith painstaking research completing each image, fans of all ages will not only be treated to the expertly colorized images, but also an education in the Merseyside club’s past.
They include moments such as a cheerful group of traveling Liverpudlians making a brief pit stop in Trafalgar Square as they headed to Highbury for an FA Cup tie in 1927. Center stage is the club’s unofficial mascot at the time, Reg Ellinson. In his self-proclaimed role, he followed Liverpool around the country in the 1920s. At every match, he was dressed for the occasion, head to toe in red and white, and his face painted in similar colours.
Another photo shows a young Bill Shankly chatting on the training ground with future Anfield managers Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. Of all the decisions Shankly made when he took over at Anfield, arguably the most important was retaining the existing backroom team, of which Paisley and Fagan were key figures. Each of the esteemed trios came from similar working-class backgrounds and had played professionally at the highest level. Collectively they shared the same beliefs about how the game should be played. Their philosophy was born out of simplicity; find the nearest red shirt, pass and move. It was a trait that would define the team’s style of play for years to come.
A striking photo captures the celebrations on the pitch for Liverpool after winning the Second Division Championship. Even gray skies and relentless rain could not dampen the mood of euphoria at Anfield on the day Liverpudlians celebrated confirmation of the club’s long-awaited return.
When the final whistle sounded in a 2-0 home win over Southampton in April 1962, it was the moment everyone had been waiting for since relegation eight years before. On a quagmire of a pitch, two first-half goals from Kevin Lewis, playing only because Ian St John was serving a suspension, earned the points needed to end any doubt. Not that there were many.
Liverpool had led the table from the start. Inspired by summer arrivals from St John, for a club record £37,500, and the talismanic man mountain of skipper ‘Rowdy’ Yeats, the season had been a procession from start to finish. As the victorious team left the field, opposing players and match officials stopped to cheer, while a cheering crowd braved the mud to invade the field and refused to return home until what the players come back for a final encore. When they did, Yeats and St John ended up being thrown into the Kop to join in the celebrations. It had been an Easter Saturday to remember and the Liverpudlians were able to hold their heads high again.
Another remarkable image shows the excitement reaching fever pitch as the Liverpool squad prepare to leave Lime Street for their pre-Wembley base, with t he 1950 FA Cup final is just days away.
With hundreds of well-wishers lined up on the platform, Ray Lambert answers some last-minute autograph requests as fellow Welshman Cyril Sidlow settles into his seat for the journey south. Liverpool’s historic first visit to Wembley is the only talking point in the city that the players are fleeing. It’s the club’s second appearance in the final and everyone is praying that the disappointment of the 1914 defeat won’t happen again.
The team’s journey to this final had been impressive. Blackburn, Exeter, Stockport, Blackpool and then neighbors Everton, in the semi-finals at Maine Road, had all been beaten, with Lambert and Sidlow in every game. Full-back Lambert had been a Liverpool player since the age of 13, while Sidlow joined Wolves in 1946. Both were part of the Premier League title-winning side in 1946/47 and now hoped to complete the and.
For the entire Liverpool squad, the biggest game of their careers was just two days away and, laden with messages of good luck, they headed to their Weybridge ‘retirement’ in confidence. Arsenal were waiting at Wembley and whatever the result, it would be a momentous occasion.
Old Liverpool FC In Colour, published by Reach Sport £20, goes on sale April 7. Use code LFC25 to save 25% at reachsportshop.com