Red Men, by John Williams

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The Independent Culture

The proposed purchase of a football club does not normally dominate the front pages, but then Liverpool are different. The "second team" of many fans, they have inspired more affection among the uncommitted than any other English club.

Their fractious formation in a breakaway from Everton in 1892 and the many glorious seasons from the mid-Sixties onwards are well known, but John Williams has unfashionably chosen to concentrate on the years in between.

Tellingly he calls it a biography rather than a history as he draws the early years from the shadows through largely forgotten heroes such as Elisha Scott, Billy Liddell and their first great manager, Tom Watson. This could be dry fare but Williams brings the social and sporting heritage of the club, and the city, to vivid life.

We cannot know what the future holds for Liverpool but thanks to this admirably impartial, impressively researched account we know much more about their past.

Published in hardback by Mainstream, £16.99