Liverpool Football Club - Greatest Sports Franchises
Liverpool Football Club - Greatest Sports Franchises

Liverpool Football Club - Greatest Sports Franchises

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Originally founded in 1892 by John Houlding, Liverpool Football Club is today one of the most admired and storied teams around. There were struggles in the team's early years, and the club bounced back and forth between First and Second Division. But eventually, they hit their stride and in the 1970s and '80s Liverpool had a true golden era. Though the team has struggled near bankruptcy in recent years, the team's greatness will never be forgotten. And just remember: with the Reds you'll never walk alone. In this video, continues our series on the Greatest Sports Franchises of All Time with a look at the Liverpool Football Club.

History of Liverpool F.C.

With the Reds, “you’ll never walk alone.” Welcome to, and today we’ll be continuing our series of the most successful sports franchises with a look at the Liverpool Football Club.

John Houlding

Liverpool F.C. was originally formed by businessman and politician John Houlding in 1892, after he split with Everton F.C. The following year, Liverpool was admitted to the Football League. Ever since, they’ve played their home games at Anfield.

First Football League Championships

By 1901, they adopted the familiar red and white in time to win their first Football League championship. Soon, they were relegated to the Second Division, but quickly returned to First and won another League championship in 1906.

Back-to-Back Wins

By 1914, Liverpool made its first showing in the FA Cup Final, and was beaten 1-0 by Burnley. After some players were banned due to a betting controversy, Liverpool recovered and claimed back-to-back League championships in 1922 and 1923.

Back to the Second Division

The club returned to form after World War II during 1946-47 and won the First Division for a fifth time. 1950 saw them make it to the FA Cup Final, but again they were on the losing side. Then, after over fifty years in the First Division, Liverpool was relegated to the Second in 1954.

Bill Shankly

Following another FA Cup Finals loss in 1959, the club hired Scotsman Bill Shankly as manager. His 15-year tenure returned the squad to greatness. By 1962, Liverpool clawed its way back to the First Division, and won it in 1964. The next year, Liverpool won the FA Cup for the first time in team history.

The Golden Years

Then came the golden era of the 1970s and ‘80s. This period was highlighted by numerous honors both domestically and in Europe, including a League win and a UEFA Cup during 1972-73, and the FA Cup the subsequent year.

Bob Paisley

After Shankly retired in 1974, his assistant Bob Paisley replaced him. Paisley’s tenure surpassed his predecessor: Liverpool brought home 21 trophies in nine years, including three European Cups, a UEFA Cup, six League titles and three consecutive League Cups. In fact, Paisley’s Liverpool squad only failed to capture the FA Cup.

Joe Fagan

In 1983, Paisley’s assistant Joe Fagan took over. In his first season, Liverpool became the first English team to win three trophies in one year by taking the League, League Cup and the European Cup.


However it wasn’t all success: Liverpool also experienced tragedy. In 1985, 39 Juventus fans died when Liverpool devotees caused a wall to collapse in the Heysel Stadium disaster. Four years later, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death against perimeter fencing in the Hillsborough disaster.

Kenny Daiglish

The Heysel incident accelerated Fagan’s departure. Then came the six-year-long Kenny Daiglish era, which resulted in a better winning percentage than Shankly’s, Paisley’s and Fagan’s. Under Daiglish’s leadership, Liverpool won more trophies and capped off their best years.

The Treble

By the end of the sluggish 1990s, Frenchman Gerard Houllier became manager when Roy Evans resigned. In 2001, during Houllier’s second full season as manager, Liverpool scored a “Treble:” they won the UEFA Cup, the FA Cup and the League Cup. The Frenchman was replaced by Spaniard Rafael Benítez at the tail-end of the 2003-04 season.

Recent Wins

In 2004-05, Liverpool triumphed over A.C. Milan to win the UEFA Champions League, despite their fifth place finish. The next year they won the FA Cup Final by beating West Ham United in a penalty shootout, and finished third in the Premiership.

American Ownership

During the 2006-07 season, American businessmen and sports owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks purchased the club in a deal that valued the franchise and its debts at £218.9 million.

Verge of Bankruptcy

However, by 2010, the club was close to bankruptcy. Against the wishes of Gillett and Hicks, Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry acquired Liverpool in the hopes of restoring its greatness.


When all’s said and done: with a roster that boasts such names as Steven Gerrard, Kevin Keegan, Michael Owen and Ian Rush, an impressive history and ultra-passionate fans, Liverpool F.C. is no doubt one of the greatest franchises of all-time.