Video of the Day: Liverpool vs Derby County, January 1973
The easiest thing, they say, is not winning a trophy, but holding onto it. Over the years, a number of clubs have put a decent run of form together at the right time and lifted a title, but successfully defending it can be a significantly greater challenge. None of this, of course, is to detract from the achievement of Derby County in getting to be the champions of England in the first place. The following season, with added expectation brought about as a result of having been champions and fighting on two fronts – the club’s European Cup run would only come to an end at the semi-final stage when beaten by Juventus in a match prior to which Juventus officials were later established to ave bribed match officials – they were unable to challenge for the title again, finishing the 1972/73 season in seventh place in the table.
It is, meanwhile, one of the more extraordinary factoids of English football that Liverpool have not finished below eighth position in whichever division they have been competing in since 1955. Bill Shankly took over as manager of the club in 1959 when it was still in the Second Division. He took Liverpool to promotion two seasons later, and then to league title wins in 1964 and 1966 with an FA Cup win sandwiched between them in 1965, but the club had then gone six years without a major trophy going into the 1972/73 season. By January 1973, however, his team was challenging for the title when Derby arrived at a snowbound Anfield. They would end the season winning both the league title and the UEFA Cup, but greater success would come to Liverpool under the stewardship of Bob Paisley, who took over the running of the club upon Shankly’s retirement in the summer of 1974. Commentary comes from Granada TV’s Gerald Sinstadt.
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