No. 12 – The 1965 FA Cup Final
It became one of the most defining moments in Liverpools history – 73 years had passed and the FA Cup trophy had eluded them. Between 1892 and 1965, Liverpool had saw the arrival of no less than six First Division titles but were yet to taste FA Cup success.
Shanklys team had endured a disappointing campaign in the League in 1965 and ended the season trailing in a disappointing 7th, but enjoyed a successful European Cup debut season, beating FC Cologne on the toss of a coin in a quarter final play off, and were preparing for the Inter Milan clash at Anfield which was scheduled three days after the FA Cup final….
Prior to the game fans expecatations were rising and Liverpool glimpsed the beckoning vision of their first ever FA Cup. Shanklys speech to the team prior to kick off has become legendary around Anfield… “Leeds are honoured to be on the same field as you. AND you’re not going to disappoint the greatest supporters in the world. If necessary – and it won’t be – you should be prepared to die for them.”
Just six minutes into the game, Gerry Byrne sustained an injury that was to become part of Liverpool folklore. Before the days of substitute, it was confirmed (minutes later) that Byrne had fractured his collar bone.
Not only did Byrne continue in agony for 90 minutes, he also had to endure extra time as the match had ended with both clubs failing to yield a goal, it was the first time in eighteen years that an FA Cup Final had progressed to extra time.
With Leeds defending in depth, Liverpool opened the scoring just three minutes into extra time. Willie Stevenson beat a couple of Leeds players before striking the ball forward to where Gerry Byrne was out on the left, the injured Byrne became Liverpools hero as his delightful cross was met by Roger Hunt who headed home.
However, Liverpool were shocked a few minutes later when Billy Bremner struck a spectacular equaliser for Leeds United. Liverpool continued to push forward and were rewarded nine minutes from time. Ian Callaghans floated cross into the six yard box was met perfectly by Ian St John with a diving header that nestled into the bottom of Gary Sprake’s net.
Liverpool saw out the remaining minutes comfortably to earn the FA Cup for their first time in their long 73 year history.
Liverpools Team : Tommy Lawrence, Chris Lawler, Gerry Byrne, Geoff Strong, Ron Yeats, Willie Stevenson, Ian Callaghan, Roger Hunt, Ian St John, Tommy Smith, Peter Thompson.