Video of the Day: Liverpool vs Swansea City, October 1981
It is, of course, a complete coincidence, but this afternoon at The Liberty Stadium Liverpool will play Swansea City shortly after a highly emotional time for the time, and it’s not the first time that this has happened. When the Swans were last in the First Division, the newly-promoted and high flying Swans were the team that were making the trip to Anfield for the first home match since the death of legendary manager Bill Shankly. Shankly had died following a heart attack on the twenty-sixth of September 1981 at the age of sixty-eight, and his funeral came the day before the match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield.
Swansea were at the time managed by John Toshack, who had played under Shankly at Liverpool, and the manager raised some eyebrows by pulling off his Swansea tracksuit top to reveal a Liverpool shirt underneath it. This act certainly made Toshack popular on the Kop, but not all Swansea supporters were quite as impressed and it was even suggested, with Liverpool having finished the previous season in a somewhat disappointing sixth place in the First Division, that Toshack might have been making a play for the Liverpool manager’s job, which was held at the time by Bob Paisley. Graeme Souness, who was lining up for Liverpool that day, subsequently commented that, “I thought nothing of it at the time, but I understand it didn’t go down too well with some of the people who matter at Anfield.”
The match itself finished in a lively, if somewhat bad-tempered two-all draw. John Toshack, as the more observant amongst you may already have noted by now, never did get a chance at managing Liverpool, though Swansea City would go on to end their first ever season in the top flight in sixth place in the First Division table.