The Historical Impact of Football on Liverpool

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Liverpool, situated in the Northwest of England, has had a very storied history. It’s a place known for its people who are warm and welcoming, hardworking and passionate. It was the birthplace of one of the world’s most influential and much-loved bands. Also, it’s the home of two of English football’s most famous clubs.

The Beatles, Everton Football Club and Liverpool Football Club will forever be on the tip of people’s tongues when thinking of the city, alongside its heritage as one of England’s most culturally significant places. Transatlantic import and exports steamed in and out of the city’s docks before any other, instantly making it one of the country’s most diverse and interesting places, and residents were proud of their city because of it. That pride still flows through the city as powerfully as the water from the Irish Sea that makes its way through the heart of Liverpool via the River Mersey.

Some may be surprised to hear that Liverpool FC was the second club of the city when they were formed back in 1892. They introduced themselves to the city by taking over Anfield from the established club, Everton, and they played their first game with a team full of players who had travelled south from Scotland to the city to take on Rotherham Town. As well as utilising the city’s links as a destination for travellers, the club aligned themselves as a symbol of Liverpool by adopting the city’s liver bird symbol and the colour synonymous with the city, red, further highlighting their links with the people.

As football continued into the mid 20th century, industry in the city declined. The docks were becoming less important to the country with the advent of more reliable and cost-effective means of transport. By the 70s, the recession began to take hold, but while one element of the city’s heritage withered, music brought people together. The Beatles were flying high and brought a new focus on Liverpool from music lovers across the world. Within a few years, Liverpool FC attracted attention, too, as they dominated English and European football into the eighties, raising the city’s profile even further. Ever since, The Reds have been one of the most prominent clubs in world football and are constantly one of the favourites for the Premier League, as they are this season in the Premier League odds with Coral. However, despite their insane success through the eighties, they have only once won England’s top-flight since 1990; that coming in 2020. Meanwhile, across Stanley Park, the first professional club formed in Liverpool could only look on.

In 1878, the congregation of St Domingo Methodist Chapel created a football team to keep the people together and play a sport in winter following the end of the cricket season. It was a time when a new sense of community was developing, there was a growing feeling of independence, a yearning for identity, and the football club helped this.

Within a year, St Domingo FC became Everton Football Club, playing their first game in the bosom of the community, in the corner of Stanley Park, before moving to neighbouring Priory Road. Within ten years, they were proud founding members of the Football League and became tenants at nearby Anfield. In 1892 they moved across Stanley Park to their current home, Goodison Park, which is notable because it was the first purpose-built stadium for football in the country. Goodison has been a happy home for Everton, as fans have seen them win the top division in England nine times. Now over 130 years later, they are preparing to move to a new stadium on the famous Mersey dockside, a decision that has been shaped by the people for the good of the city, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.

Inspired by history, the area around the once-bustling dockside has seen a massive regeneration over the past decade or so, with a number of museums opening celebrating the city’s past. The Maritime Museum, Tate Liverpool, and the Beatles Museum, are just two current cultural symbols with links to the past. But with Everton moving to Bramley Dock within the next few years, football will continue to play a part in the continued redevelopment of the city, which is prouder than ever and brimming with life.

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I am a Chartered Environmentalist from the Royal Society for the Environment, UK and co-owner of DoLocal Digital Marketing Agency Ltd, with a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, an MBA in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. I am passionate about science, history and environment and love to create content on these topics.

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