The Saturday Movie Club: Liverpool – Six Of The Best From The 80s
Well, friends, after 25 episodes it’s time for The Saturday Movie Club to close its shutters. There are only so many curios out there, so it’s time to change tack. This means that from next Saturday morning we’ll be doing something different in this video slot. But I reckon that 25 weeks is a good run. We’ve seen kids shows and quiz shows, cartoons which give scant regard to the laws of the game, football in the immediate post-war era, and half-forgotten shows from the past. Oh, and the absolute worst video game of all time.
We’re going out with a bang, though. Liverpool, as you may have noted, are quite good at the moment. Indeed, it’s looking like they could be the only team capable of keeping in touch with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table into the new year. There’s still a long way to go, but over-excitement on the red side of Merseyside could be forgiven, given that Liverpool last won the league title in 1990. That’s a very, very long time if you’re a club like Liverpool, especially when so many of the titles won since have been hoovered up by their arch-rivals. That they’ve been on another mediocre run this season has only added spice to Liverpool’s recent revival.
The Six Of The Best series of videos came out on The Video Collection label in the late 1980s, covering a range of different clubs. This episode sees host Jimmy Greaves seem to fluff his opening lines, but thereafter he’s on the money. This is actually a decent set of matches from Liverpool’s pomp throughout the decade to 1987. First up is a match from The Dell from 1982 between Southampton and Liverpool, and this is followed up by another away match, this time at Aston Villa, which is played on a pitch like a skating rink. We then jump to a Merseyside derby from Anfield in November 1983, a trip to St James Park to play Newcastle United from exactly a year later, another Merseyside derby, this time from Goodison Park in 1985, and finally a trip to Upton Park to play West Ham United in September 1986.
If that sounds like an unusual selection of games, the reason for this is that the footage is taken from the ITV Sport archives. As such, the most familiar Liverpool performances of the era – their 5-0 win at Goodison Park in which Ian Rush scored four goals in 1982 or the similar demolition of Nottingham Forest at Anfield several years later, for example – are missing, because they were broadcast and recorded by the BBC. But that’s fine. There are six matches packed into less than an hour here, so it’s not as though we’d be seeing lengthy highlights of these iconic performances were they available. As such, it’s good to see a selection of half-forgotten performances – and they’re entertaining matches rather than steamrollerings – from those years showcasing the talents of the team that dominated the era. Commentary comes from Gerald Sinstadt, Peter Brackley, Brian Moore and Martin Tyler.