YNWA: The Story of Liverpool Football Club is a reminder for everyone involved with Liverpool of where it came from and what it stands for.
“From JK Houlding to Jurgen Klopp, Rome to Istanbul, this show will tell you an unrivalled soccer story. The Official History of Liverpool Football Club.”
It’s not quite a wake up call, but it’s close. It’s a look at the bigger picture surrounding the club’s history, which can sometimes get lost amid the latest petty social media argument or heated discussion about the Reds in the ground or at the pub.
The dialogue in the show itself contains the odd good humoured argument, or back and forth about the club, and the characters show a passion that still exists for what Liverpool stands for and the ongoing desire for it to be successful.
The club wasn’t always successful, and fans nowadays would do well to remember that the club was once in the second tier of English football, not just for one anomalous season, but for eight whole years.
It was revived, then rebuilt by Bill Shankly and the rest is history. The show’s history takes us right from the start up until the present day where success may be less common, but is still engrained in the fabric of the club and is still part of its reason for being.
It’s a show which should also be required viewing for any current players and staff who haven’t seen it, or future new arrivals at the club who want to get a feel for who they play for.
We spoke to the show’s creator, Nicky Allt, about its background, production, stories, and aims.
Were there any particular influences or moments, beyond the obvious subject matter, that inspired the transformation of Liverpool’s story into a stage show?
After the Istanbul final, followed by the Hicks-Gillett takeover, it felt like the club had climbed Everest by being back in the biggest final of all in 2005. Then after it was sold to the wrong buyers/owners, like we had fallen off the cliff on the other side.
I was the Union’s (Spirit of Shankly) first Chairman and got heavily involved with fighting for the club not to be bankrupted, and after the club was then sold again, to the present day owners, it just felt like the right time.
Though, I must add, we’re now at the stage where a trophy or trophies have become paramount to the show on-going, as that’s what the club used to exist for – and should always do in my humble opinion.
A good trophy winning habit will make Liverpool FC a good business, but a good business model does not necessarily mean trophies are on their way.
In my life, as a lapsed fanatic, who now gets to 15-20 games as opposed to 38 plus cup ties, it was just the right time to write this in 2011. I also, on my own journey, felt more capable as a writer.
There are a couple of very emotional subjects from the clubs history which are dealt with well in the show, how difficult were these scenes to produce?
Heysel and Hillsborough were extremely difficult to produce, and all of us; cast, writer, director, all worked hard to find the solutions – a right balance.
The night it first showed at The Royal Court we were all really nervous (like a present day Anfield crowd when things don’t run smoothly) but luckily, and largely due to the talent working on and in the show, we pulled it off.
I’ll be grateful to this bunch of people forever for that alone. People have said many times that the show feels genuine, honest, written and acted from the heart, and… it is.
Have the current players and manager been to see the show?
No, and we’re not happy about it in truth as it was a prime objective, an absolute plan from the beginning to show a lot of current players at the club exactly who they play for and why the club means so much to the people of this city.
Why it is part of our cultural identity, and not just any old football club. We’re still fighting to get them and Jurgen Klopp in, and we live in hope.
The cast are perfect for their various roles, are they all Reds?
Nearly all. Our Elisha Scott character/drummer is big Leicester City fan, Francis Tucker.
Adam Keast doesn’t care for football allegiance and neither does Emily Linden our lead guitarist.
Jake Abraham is a supporter of the city, and likes to see Liverpool and Everton do well.
The rest, especially the Kelly family, Tommy, Pauline, daughter Tia (This is Anfield) and son Kenny (after The King) are all Liverpool daft.
I would add that a main reason for writing this show was to bring the history and story of the club to all our foreign signings (youth and first team), and to the millions of new supporters the club acquired after Istanbul in 2005.
- The LFC History Show runs at The Royal Court Liverpool until October 28th. Get tickets here.