By Chris Rowland.
The second season under the spotlight was the one in which Liverpool Football Club at last got its illustrious name on the FA Cup.
This may be very difficult to imagine for many fans today, including many on TTT, who regard the FA Cup as at best a mildly desirable diversion, and at worst a season-derailing irritant meriting little attention or focus and not worth risking a first team player on.
But once – and not so long ago – it really was The Big One, held in such esteem that it was regarded as being on at least an equal footing with the Division 1 title and certainly ahead of it for glamour.
For confirmation, look at these Liverpool attendances from the 1960s; the FA Cup ones were consistently and conspicuously higher than those in the league.
Average home attendance in the previous (title-winning) season – 45, 031.
FA Cup Round 3 v Derby County – over 46,000
Round 4 v lower league Port Vale – over 53,000
In this 1964-5 season:
Average home league attendance – 41,036,
FA Cup Round 4 v Div.4 Stockport County – 51,851
Quarter final replay v Leicester City – 53, 324
Of course there was a special reason for Liverpool to be obsessed with the FA Cup back then. Despite having just been crowned champions for the sixth time the previous season (link to Season to Remember 1963-4), the club had still never won the elusive damn thing. They’d only reached the final twice in 64 attempts, losing to Burnley in 1914 and Arsenal in 1950. That’s why Bill Shankly regarded May 1st 1965 as the most important date so far in the club’s 73 year history. And why he rested seven first-teamers for the final league game of the season, at Wolves, for which he received an FA reprimand.
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