Not really a ‘Magic Moment’ this one, but it was certainly a memorable one. Drawing Leicester in the FA Cup in the 60s left Liverpool fans feeling like a vampire looking at a bottle of holy water; nervously worried about an upset.
So when the 5th round draw sent us to Filbert Street memories of the 1963 semi-final it was regarded as a difficult assignment. However, when the initial game was drawn, optimism abounded that the Reds would win through. After all, we’d thumped Leicester 4-0 at home earlier in the season. What could possibly go wrong?
In front of a 55,000 crowd the Reds failed to repeat the rocket-like start of the league game, when they’d been 4-0 up in 12 minutes. Indeed, it was Leicester who took the lead in the 34th minute through Andy Lochhead, a big bruiser of a centre-forward. Just 6 minutes later, Liverpool were awarded a penalty kick in front of the Kop. Up stepped Tommy Smith and away dived Peter Shilton to pull off a great save.
Bill Shankly used to watch games from the director’s box so, when a game was going wrong, people had one eye on the pitch and one eye on the player’s tunnel to see if Shanks would come down to order a change be made. With 20 minutes to go, Shankly appeared by the dugout and Bobby Graham was prepared to come on. With no electronic boards then, substitutions were made by some magic process of hand signals, and to Anfield’s astonishment it became clear that Roger Hunt was going to come off.
Hunt was leading scorer, a club legend and had never been subbed before. He was clearly furious and threw his shirt down on the pitch before storming off to the dressing room. A stunned crowd watched the game die out into a tame defeat but all talk afterwards was about ‘Sir Roger’. Opinion was mixed. Many thought that Hunt was a club legend who deserved to be treated with more respect but there were those who thought that the manager’s decision had to be respected and that Hunt had set a terrible example.
Shankly and Hunt quickly patched up their differences but it was clear that his time at Anfield was limited and that the great 60s team was on the verge of break up.
Team: Lawrence, Lawler, Strong, Smith, Yeats, Hughes, Callagahan, Hunt (Graham), Evans, St John, Thompson: