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"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

Season: 1972/73
Opposition: Leeds United
Result: 2-0
Scorers: Peter Cormack, Kevin Keegan
Venue: Anfield


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5 Comments

And the UEFA cup to follow.....

 

What a fantastic looking trophy that was that the league champions got in those days.

It's a crying shame it has been replaced by that god awful looking Sky influenced premier league thing...(would be nice to win it mind), but the one consolation is Man U never got their grubby hands on it again.

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The winners of the second division the Championship get that today. A couple of years ago I saw a picture of QPR with it and that was just wrong.

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The winners of the second division the Championship get that today. A couple of years ago I saw a picture of QPR with it and that was just wrong.

 

That wrong was almost ratified in 1975/76, Frank.

Thankfully not, at the very end.

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Was I glad about that, Skaro. I went to work in Shepherds Bush in 1976 and my life would have been made a misery had we not got that win at Wolves.

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Was I glad about that, Skaro. I went to work in Shepherds Bush in 1976 and my life would have been made a misery had we not got that win at Wolves.

 

We left it awfully late.

And we sweated through the EUFA over two legs with Bruges as well.

It was a tough prelude to the majesty of 1976/77

 

Just by the by, the very first Liverpool game I ever saw in person was at Loftus Rd... a 3-2 defeat in 1989... Mark Falco got a double for them... Barnes almost hauled us back, but it wasn't to be.

I quite liked the tight, atmospheric (in those days) pockets of Loftus Rd.

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