"Ending the drought (1972-73)" by Frank Dacey
by Frank Dacey
By the early 1970s Liverpool fans were getting concerned about a trophy drought that had lasted since 1966. The History of the club showed a pattern of feast followed by famine (two titles in the first decade of the century, two in the 20s, one in the 40s and two in the 60s, plus the never to be forgotten first FA Cup win).
We’d lost out on the league by 1 point the previous season, so as the 72-73 season came to a climax, nerves were jangling. On Easter Saturday a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle only served to make even more crucial the Easter Monday game against Leeds, who were 6 points behind, but with 2 games in hand (2 points for a win in those days).
Strangely to modern eyes this was not an all-ticket match so I was queuing up outside the Anfield Road end at midday. The gates opened at 1 o’clock and eventually closed on a full house of 56,000 expectant fans. Leeds were not at full strength but were still a powerful combination and the Reds had only three players with title-winning experience in their side, Ian Callaghan, Chris Lawler and Tommy Smith. Ray Clemence came to the rescue a couple of times in the first half but overall the Reds dominated without being able to get their noses in front, despite the presence of Phil Thompson in the team.
The breakthrough came after 47 minutes. A goalmouth scramble ended with Peter Cormack hitting home in front of a jubilant Kop, appropriately enough as it was his guile and goals that had made such a difference to the team. Could we hang on for the remaining time? The game was agonisingly tense for the fans. With about 10 minutes to go, the ground almost seemed silent, from the rapt attention on the struggle unfolding on the pitch.
Then, someone started up on ‘We Shall Not be Moved’ and, almost as a relief from the tension, the whole ground started belting it out. In the midst of the racket, a defensive calamity presented Kevin Keegan with the second goal on a plate. The rest of the game was played out to a thunderous rendition of YNWA.
The game ended with us all but certainly champions and a point in the final game at home to Leicester (a nervy 0-0 draw the following Saturday) would make certain. The drought was over, the pattern had been broken and to glory we would go.
Liverpool: Clemence; Lawler, Smith, Thompson, Lindsay; Hall, Hughes, Cormack, Callaghan; Keegan, Heighway