As we welcome Trinity Football Club to St Peter’s this afternoon it seems appropriate to look at the influence Liverpudlians, more popularly known as ‘Scousers’, have had on the local football scene in recent years. Much of their recent success has been down to the enthusiasm, inspiration and down to earth leadership of their long serving coach, Joe Morley, who, although now retired from the top job, was hugely influential in bringing such stars as David Lloyd, Peter Edwards, the Beatson Brothers, Daryl Wilson, and the current first team Coach/Manager, Peter Jones into the local game. During their halcyon days with these players Trinity won their only League Championship and followed that up by winning the Upton Park Trophy, always playing in a style that was easy on the eye, forever seeking players with good touch, quick feet and making every clearance a pass. Of course, part of their success was integrated with a dose of hardness, which any team needs, and although they were not always a bunch of angels, they were not the bunch of thugs that they were sometimes painted. Indeed, such was their flow of continued talent it was said that Joe Morley used to go down to the harbour to meet every incoming boat from the U.K. to see if there were any arriving ‘Scousers’ who intended to work in the Island, who could kick a ball! If they could, they were soon whisked up to Trinity for a trial!
It is therefore impossible to separate the style of play of Trinity to that of their great City Clubs. Liverpool and Everton, who, for a place of their size, have won more top honours on a relative basis than any other City in England, Manchester, Birmingham and London included. Pride of place must surely go to the fact that Liverpool have won the European Cup/ Champions League five times, the most memorable of which was the most recent, that historic night in Istanbul, when they were thoroughly outplayed in the first half by a brilliant AC Milan side to be 0-3 down at the interval, but rallied in the second half, thanks to an inspired Steven Gerrard performance, to finish the 90 mins at 3-3. Extra time provided no goals but Liverpool won the penalty shootout 3-2, thanks to some unusual antics by Polish Goalkeeper, Jerzy Dudek.
Of all their European Cup finals, the only one I have been lucky enough to see, was the 1-0 win over FC Bruges at Wembley when a glorious chip from the best ever player, Kenny Dalglish, won them the final. Running King Kenny close as Liverpool’s best ever player must certainly be Stevie G and Louis Suarez, who between them almost brought the League title to Anfield in 2014. Apart from their unprecedented and unparalleled success in Europe’s foremost competition, Liverpool have also won 18 League titles, 7 F.A. Cups, 8 League Cups, 3 UEFA Cups and 2 World Championships.
While Everton, or any other English Clubs for that matter, cannot compete with Liverpool in the honours stakes, they were founder members of the Football League in 1888 and since that time have only been out of the top flight of English Football for four seasons, an incredible record, that even their great rivals cannot match. Not only that, they have won the League Championship nine times, the last two times of which, 1984/85 and 1986/87, they were prevented from entering the European Cup because of a ban on English Clubs following the tragedy at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels in 1984, before the Juventus v Liverpool Final. This was really unfortunate, because Everton boasted some great players at the time, Neville Southall in goal, Ratcliffe and Mountfield in central defence, Peter Reid and Kevin Sheedy in midfield, Andy Gray, Graham Sharp and then Gary Lineker up front. Since that time Everton have never achieved the same heights again, but going back to the mid sixties, and the era of Harvey, Ball and Kendall, and before, Everton have always had a reputation for good football.
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