In Red Men, a unique and exhaustively researched history of Liverpool Football Club, John Williams explores the origins and divisive politics of football in the city of Liverpool, and profiles the key men behind the emergence of the club and its early successes.
The first great Liverpool manager, Tom Watson, piloted the club to its first league championships in 1901 and 1906 before taking the club to the FA Cup final in 1914. Watson and the key members of those early Liverpool teams are analysed in depth, as is the role of the club and its fans in the city as Merseyside balanced self-improvement and cosmopolitanism with almost unimaginable problems of poverty.
Liverpool secured consecutive league titles in 1922 and 1923 with the incomparable goalkeeper Elisha Scott as its totemic star and the darling of the Kop. In the '20s, Liverpool was also the first British club to internationalise its playing staff.
The club's next league title came in 1947, but, in the bleak '50s, the Liverpool board ruled with an iron fist and controlled the purse strings - until Bill Shankly arrived and won that elusive first FA Cup in 1965. The recent tragedies that have shaped the club's contemporary identity are also covered here, as are the new Continental influences at Liverpool and, of course, the glory of Istanbul in 2005.
Red Men is the definitive history of a remarkable football club from its formation in 1892 to the present day, told in the wider context of the social and cultural development of the city of Liverpool and its people.