Let’s share one with the neighbours – A brief guide to Liverpool football programmes

Posted: 31st July 2014


Bill Shankly.

A Liverpool Football Club icon, seen above on the front cover of a home programme which celebrated the 40th anniversary of his first match in charge of the team back in 1959.

But while so much of what we will go through below was achieved not only by Shankly but on the back of the foundations he created at the club through the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the story of the programmes of the club has to start with a fascinating arrangement established in the early 1900’s between the two great Merseyside rivals.

Liverpool and Everton.

Reds v Toffees.

The Merseyside Derby, one of the fiercest local football rivalries in the country.

But an interesting aspect of the relationship between the 2 clubs occurred after they became 2 clubs with Liverpool forming out of Everton in 1892.

While the Reds established their base at Anfield and the Toffess set up home a short distance away at Goodison Park,  between 1904 and 1935, the clubs shared a programme for all their home games, both 1st and reserve teams.

As the clubs’ 1st teams would never play at home at the same time, each week’s programme would be for the home games of one club’s 1st team and the other’s reserves.

So while Liverpool initially issued its’ own match cards and then programmes, for a significant chunk of time at the start of the 20th century, the club came together with it’s neighbour for 30 years as far producing match programmes.

As the rivalry between the 2 great clubs developed, on match days, fans would read about their team in a programme with the name and information about their nearest rivals very much in view as part of the design of that very same programme.

After the 1934/35 season, the clubs began to produce their own programmes and with Liverpool, as they entered the 1960’s those programmes became a record of many years of tremendous success firstly under the driving leadership of Bill Shankly and then the quieter stewardship of Shankly’s staff, especially Bob Paisley and Jo Fagan, who won many titles.

In the early days of their existence, like many other clubs, Liverpool produced match cards like this one for the game against Barrow in 1892 (thanks to Barry Swash of www. southstaffsprogrammes.com);


By the end of the decade, a programme was being issued.

Here is the one for the 1898 match against Sheffield Wednesday (thanks again to Barry Swash);


Into a new century and a new and very different initiative was born.

From the start of the 1904/05 season, Everton and Liverpool began issuing a joint programme for all their home games.

The very first one was for the match in Division 2 between Liverpool and Burton United as seen here (thanks to Chris Williams at http://www.sportingold.co.uk/2005/ );


Again thanks to Barry Swash, here is another of the joint issues from the 1909/10 season;


It looks like the colour of the football in the front cover design was changed to match the colours of the home club, red for Liverpool and blue for Everton as seen here on this edition from 1933/34 (thanks to PompeyPete on the Football Programme Centre programme forum);


For the 1935/36 season, the clubs stopped the production of a joint programme and produced their own.

The first issue of the new programme was for the opening match of that  season against Manchester City.

There is a nice image of the programme on the excellent Liverpool F.C. history site; http://www.lfchistory.net/Articles/Article/502

By 1938/39, we see a more modern look to the front cover with photographs included.

A slightly slimmer size was used after 1945 where the image of Archibald Leitch’s main stand with it’s roof gable can be seen on the front cover graphic.

By the end of the 1950’s, the programme was changed to a small size with a simple but striking front cover.

Here are issues from 1959/60 and 1960/61 the games against Scunthorpe United (left) and Sheffield United (right);


Bill Shankly’s arrival the the club in 1959 began the start of a new era and as far as the home programmes went, a new era also began in 1962/63 with a change from the small format above to a C5 issue with various different covers through the 1960’s and the 1970’s.

The new look can be seen here from the 1962/63 season match against Aston Villa;


The image of the player on the front cover stayed until half way through the 1965/66 season when a design change took place.

Issues from January showed an image with a graphic from a photograph of what looks like right half Gordon Milne, alongside an acknowledgement of the Reds’ FA Cup win against Leeds United in the 1965 Final.

Here is that new design on the front of the programme for the home game against Sheffield Wednesday, a match that was postponed a few hours before kick off due to the pitch being deemed to be unfit for play;


The following season’s front cover design again acknowledged a triumph.

This time the success noted was the club’s 1st Division Championship win in the 1965/66 season as seen here for the F.A. Cup 3rd Round match against Watford;


Also in this 1965/66 an interesting development took place almost going back to the old days of  a shared programme with the issuing of a ‘home’ programme for the away game across Stanley Park against Everton in the 5th Round of the FA Cup as the match was shown on a large TV screen at Anfield;


For 1967/69 and 1968/69, the front cover design remained the same with a graphic of a goalkeeper although while I’m pretty sure about the earlier image being Gordon Milne, I’m not sure who this keeper is.

It doesn’t look like Tommy Lawrence but rather just a generic image of a goalie;


For the 1969/70 season, the programmes took on a new form of branding with a  new name, The Anfield Review – Two Reviews for the price of one.

This new name reflected the fact that the programmes had included the Football League Review for at least a season and it was this review which was the 2nd one in the title in addition to the programme itself.

This new design is on this issue for the match against Wolves;


Into the 1970’s and for the whole decade, The Anfield Review was retained.

Here we see editions from 1970/71 and 1971/72 for the matches against West Ham United (left) and the League Cup tie against Hull City (right);


For 1971/72 and 1972/73, here are the matches against West Ham United again (left) and Tottenham Hotspur (right);


Moving on to 1973/74 and 1974/75, here we see  the matches against Leicester City (left) and Arsenal (right);


Onto 1976/77 and 1977/78 for the matches against Coventry City (left) and Newcastle United (right);


The last 2 years of the decade and the programme in this size, we see editions for 1978/79 and 1979/80 for the matches against Bolton Wanderers (left) and Manchester City (right);


From the 1980/81 season, things changed with the programme getting larger and thicker as seen here for the home game against Crystal Palace;


On the front cover of this edition for the Birmingham City match from 1983/84, we see many of the Reds’ stars of that era, including (clockwise from top right), Phil Neal, Kenny Dalglish, Bruce Grobbelaar and Ian Rush with Graeme Souness (centre);


The programme design changed every year and by 1987/88, Ronnie Whelan was on the front cover for the Charlton Athletic issue at the start of the campaign (with Jan Molby in the background);


At the start of 1990/91, a new larger size and look was revealed as seen here for the Nottingham Forest game;


But a bit later in the season, the programme appears to have reverted to the former size as we see here for the late November home game against Manchester City.

There is a note inside the programme explaining that production problems were the reason for this change back to the former size and style;


The change to the Premier League in 1992/93 did not affect the club’s commitment to The Anfield Review programme branding.

Here is an early season issue from 1993/94, the 2nd season of the League, for the home game against Leeds United with Steve McManamon on the ball;


As was the way with most clubs’ programmes, as time passed, the number of pages increased and the production quality became glossier and glossier.

This Sheffield Wednesday home issue from 1997/98, showing Michael Owen on the front cover was now 48 pages long while squad numbers had also risen, to 26;


As shown at the top of this brief guide, the issue for the 1999/2000 home game against Coventry City marked the 40th anniversary celebration of Bill Shankly’s first match as manager of the club.

The 60 page programme included a replica version of the programme from the Cardiff City match back in 1959 stapled inside.

You can see the replica programme shown on the front cover of the 1999 issue, bottom left;


Another replica programme (for the 1965/66 home game against Chelsea) was included inside this 2003/04 Barclaycard Premiership home game against the Blues, showing Harry Kewell on the front cover;


This Champions League Group stage match, also against Chelsea, from the start of the 2005/06 season, shows a very serious looking Rafa Benitez (reflecting the strain of the Hicks and Gillett years?) on the front cover;


With the overseas involvement on the Premier League now significant whether it be through owners, managers, players or fans, the home game issue of the Manchester United game in the 2008/09 season not only now stretched to 84 pages but showed the tough tackling Argentinian star, Javier Mascherano on the front cover, a player who would do so well in the recent 2014 World Cup Finals;


Home programmes for recent seasons have continued to be thick, glossy editions with front covers focusing on top players.

Programmes for European matches is an interesting area of Liverpool’s programme history and we will have a look as we review the programmes for the Red’s big games.

While as would be expected pre War home issues command higher values, it is the away games from European competitions between the mid 1960’s and the mid 1980’s which are some of the rarest issues for collectors and the ones which command the higher prices (see list of recent Ebay sales below).

Big games and especially finals were plentiful during and then after the Shankly years.

Let’s have a look at the programmes for the finals with a selection of the issues for semi-finals too.

What follows is a chronological list of the big games and where I have a programme or a decent scan for the programme, I will show it. For matches where where is no image, I hope to add one as I get the appropriate reference.

The Reds were involved in their first FA Cup Final all the way back to the last one held before the Great War, in 1914, a defeat to Burnley at Crystal Palace.

This version of the programme sold for £6,000 at Graham Budd Auctions back in 2007;


W.H.Smith also produced a match card-style programme available in their shops;


The club had to wait until 1950 before appearing again in a final, this time against Arsenal at Wembley where the Gunners won 2-0;


Bill Shankly’s arrival at the club saw a promotion out of Division 2 in 1961/62.

The 1st Division title soon followed in 1963/64 and lead to the club’s first appearance in the Charity Shield where the Reds beat West Ham United at Anfield.

The programme was a standard home issue of the time with the player front cover;


After another wait of 15 years, the Reds made a successful visit to Wembley beating Leeds United 2-1 in the 1965 Final (a match I watched live on TV as a 9 year-old boy);


There are at least two versions of the programme for this match (and possibly three).

The difference is a coloured line border to the centre pages.

There is a green version;


Also, here is a red version;


On the back of the FA Cup success, Liverpool appeared in another Charity Shield at the start of the 1965/66 season, a 2-2 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The programme issued for this match was a Manchester United home programme with the design used for special games as was the practice of the time;


The Reds also entered the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965/66 where they reached the final, losing 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund at Hampden Park, Glasgow;


In 1965/66, the First Division title was achieved and this lead to another Charity Shield appearance at the start of the 1966/67 season, this time against Merseyside rivals Everton at Goodison Park.

Liverpool won 1-0.

A standard home issue Everton programme was used for the match;


In 1971, the FA Cup Final was reached again but Arsenal won the match 2-1 as part of their double winning success;


Again, the Reds faced Borussia Monchengladbach in a European final, this time over two legs, in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup.

The Reds won 3-0 in the 1st leg at Anfield and although Gladbach won 2-0 in the 2nd leg but Liverpool took the trophy.

The following season, the FA Cup was won with a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United at Wembley in May 1974;


That Cup success lead to an appearance against Leeds United (managed briefly by Brian Clough) in the 1974 Charity Shield, a game remembered for the sending off of both Kevin Keegan and Billy Bremner.

By now, Bob Paisley had taken over from Bill Shankly and was about to lead the team through the most successful period in the club’s history.

Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties after the game ended 1-1;


1975/76 was another successful season with a victory in the UEFA Cup against Club Brugges over 2 legs, 4-3.

Another First Division title lead to a Charity Shield appearance at the start of the 1976/77 season, a 1-0 defeat of Cup winners Southampton;


The 1976/77 season ended with another First Division title but a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup Final;


But that Cup defeat was followed by a major success, the club’s first European Cup victory against Borussia Monchengladbach, a 3-1 win in Rome.

A programme was issued at the game but many editions seen on sale for this issue are actually reprints, like this one (originals apparently have wear marks down the front cover left hand spine edge);


As 1977/78 began, Liverpool shared the Charity Shield with Manchester United;


In November, the European Super Cup was won with a 6-1 victory over two legs against Hamburg.

Here is the programme for the 2nd leg at Anfield;


At the end of the season, the Reds reached the League Cup Final where they drew 0-0 with Nottingham Forest at Wembley;


Forest won the replay at Old Trafford 1-0;


But that defeat was put to one side as the team achieved another European Cup victory, this time against Club Brugge at Wembley where a Kenny Dalglish goal decided the result;


In 1978/79, another First Division title was achieved but the European Super Cup was lost to Anderlecht.

At the start of the 1979/80 season, this league title lead to another Charity Shield appearance and victory with a 3-1 win over Arsenal;


A 12th League title lead to a Charity Shield appearance at the start of the 1980/81 season where the Reds beat West Ham United 1-0;


This season saw the first of four consecutive League Cup wins, the first, against West Ham United again after a replay.

The Wembley game was a 1-1 draw.

Terry McDermott, sporting his fine perm, can be seen on the front cover in an action shot taken probably from the Charity Shield match above;


The replay, at Villa Park, was won by the Reds 2-1;


The 1980/81 season ended with another European Cup victory against Real Madrid in Paris where an Alan Kennedy goal secured the victory.

1981/82 would see a 13th League title and in November, a 3-0 defeat out in Tokyo to Flamengo in the World Club Championships.

But in the League Cup, there was another victory with a 3-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley;


In 1982/83, the season began with a Charity Shield win over Tottenham Hotspur again, by 1-0;


The Reds went on to win their 14th League title and reached a Wembley League Cup Final again, where they beat Manchester United 2-1;


1983/84 began with another match against Manchester United in the Charity Shield, a game United won 2-0;


But the season would end in fine style for the Reds after a 15th League title, a League Cup win and another European Cup, all in Joe Fagan’s first year as manager.

The League Cup against Everton was won after a replay.

The first game at Wembley game was drawn 0-0;


The replay at Maine Road was won by the Reds 1-0.

Managers Howard Kendall (left) and Joe Fagan (right) can bee seen smiling out at us;


The European Cup against Roma in Rome, was won on penalties and there were three programmes for this match; an official Italian version; an English version issued by UEFA with a photograph of the Coliseum on the front cover; and finally, a VIP ‘Black’ version (images to follow).

The 1984/85 season opened with a 1-0 defeat to Everton in the Charity Shield;


The Reds would fall short of another league title ending up runners-up to Everton.

The team would also end up defeated in the Intercontinental Cup (1-0 to Independiente), the European Super Cup (2-0 to Juventus) but the whole season would be overshadowed by the European Cup Final defeat to Juventus at Heysell Stadium where crowd trouble lead to the deaths of 39 fans (images to follow).

In 1985/86 with Kenny Dalglish as manager, the team won their 16th League title and completed a League and Cup double with a 3-1 win over Everton at Wembley.


With a post Heysel European competition ban on all English clubs, the FA created the Screen Sport Super Cup for the 6 English clubs who had qualified for Europe but would not be playing in those competitions.

The final of this short lived tournament was actually played at the start of the following season, 1986/87 with 2 legs against local rivals Everton in September. Liverpool won 7-2 on aggregate (image to follow).

Before these games in the season opening Charity Shield, the Merseyside rivals had already played against each other with Liverpool again beating Everton, 1-0;


At the end of the season, in which Liverpool would end up as runners-up in the League, again to Everton, also saw them reach the League Cup Final but they lost at Wembley 2-1 to Arsenal;


In 1987/88, it was business as usual when the team won their 17th League title but there was a surprise defeat to Wimbledon in the FA Cup Final;


As League Champions, they faced Wimbledon again at the start of the 1988/89 season in the Charity Shield match at Wembley, a game the Reds won 2-1;


But sadly, although this season would see it’s usual dose of success for the Reds as they achieved runners-up spot in the League and won the FA Cup, everything was overshadowed by the events which would unfold at Hillsborough on April 15th just as the FA Cup Semi-Final against Nottingham Forest was about to get underway.

The programme for that ill-fated day is here (with John Aldridge on the front cover);


The replayed match was at Old Trafford on May 7th with captains Ronnie Whelan and Stuart Pearce shaking hands on the front cover;


Liverpool progressed to the final where they played and beat rivals Everton again, 3-2 after extra time;


Having been pipped literally at the post by Arsenal for the league title, the Reds faced the Gunners again in the 1989 Charity Shield;


Following their 18th League title, the 1989/90 began with the 1990 Charity Shield, a 1-1 draw with Manchester United;


The 1991/92 ended with an FA Cup Final success against Sunderland, 2-0;


In 1994/95 a 2-1 League Cup Final win against Bolton Wanderers gave manager Roy Evans his 1st title;


Eric Cantona’s goal defeated the Reds in the 1995/96 FA Cup Final.

The programme for this match against Manchester United is always talked about as being quite scare / rare and sells for much higher amounts than other finals of this era, although prices have come down recently;


A penalty shoot out was needed to secure the 2000/01 League Cup Final victory against Birmingham City;


Soon afterwards, Arsenal were defeated  2-1 in the FA Cup Final with a photograph of Steven Gerrard battling in midfield against Patrick Viera on the front cover;


A third title was achieved by Gerard Houllier and his players beat CD Alaves 5-4 in an exciting UEFA Cup Final game;


A Charity Shield appearance at the start of the 2001/02 season was achieved on the basis of the previous season’s F.A. Cup win.

Premier League winners Manchester United were beaten 2-1;


At the end of that 2001/02 season, the Reds were runners-up in the Premier League.

The 2002/03 season opened with a 1-0 Community Shield defeat to Arsenal who had won the double in the previous season, so Liverpool qualified for the game due to them coming second in the league;


But the season ended with a 2-0 League Cup Final win over Manchester United;


In 2004/05 the League Cup Final was lost to Chelsea, 3-2 after extra time;


A Champions League victory over AC Milan was secured after an amazing comeback from 3-0 down. The score in the penalty shoot-out was 3-2 to Liverpool;


Early in the 2005/06 season, the European Super Cup was won with a 3-1 win against CSKA Moscow;


At the end of the season, another FA Cup win was achieved with a win against West Ham United, 3-1 on penalties after a 3-3 score at the end of extra time;


The 2006/07 Community Shield was won 2-1 against Chelsea with Jaimie Carragher competing with Didier Drogba on the front cover;


But at the season end, a repeat of the 2005 Champions League victory over AC Milan did not happen with the Italian team winning 2-1;


The 2011/12 season saw appearances in both domestic Cup Finals.

In the Carling (League) Cup, Cardiff City were beaten in a penalty shoot-out (3-2) after the game ended 2-2;


But a few weeks later, Chelsea beat the Reds in the FA Cup 2-1 despite a better 2nd half performance and a goal from Andy Carroll;



Testimonial programmes are always popular with collectors.

Again, the excellent Liverpool F.C. History website provides us with a definitive list of all the testimonial games the Reds have been involved in, both for their own players and those of other clubs; http://www.lfchistory.net/SeasonArchive/ListTestimonials

Here are a few of the programmes for testimonial games since the Shankly era began;

Defender and captain Ron Yeats;


Tough tackling defender, Tommy Smith;


Right back, Chris Lawler;



Defender and midfield player, Steve Nichol;


Player, coach and assistant manager, Ronnie Moran;


Collecting, values and prices

As with other clubs, some collectors are keen to collect all categories of home (and in some cases, away issue too) programmes including reserves, youth, friendlies and pre season matches.

Looking at the issues  of accessibility and cost / value,  Liverpool programmes are similar to those of other clubs’ in conforming to a few basic factors.

Always subject to quality, the older they are, the more difficult they will be to find and the more expensive to acquire for buyers.

As you go back into the 1970’s and 1960’s,  there are lots available, although I have found that I usually have to compete with others to win them.

But pre 1960 Reds programmes seem to me to be rarer than with other clubs.

As with other clubs, once you go back to the War years and definitely prior to 1939, issues will be sold individually on websites, at auction and on Ebay and values for these programmes will rise up as time goes further back.

Also, finding programmes without writing and vertical creases is difficult and programmes without these faults will command a premium.

The 1960’s and 1970’s issues are often a bit worn and I’m wondering whether this may be to do with the paper used or the production process?

As far as values are concerned, while most of the big game programmes shown above are available at reasonable prices (a few pounds), a quick look at the recent Ebay sales of Liverpool programmes (at July 2014) sees the European aways from the games played in the Shankly and post Shankly era commanding the highest prices;

–  The 1973/74 away European Cup tie against Jeunesse sold for £235.89.

– A decade later the 1983/84 European Cup against Odense sold for £230.76.

– Back in the 1960’s, the European Cup game against Koln in 1964/54 sold for £201.

– The 1969/70 Fairs Cup away game against Dundalk sold for £199.

– The away Cup Winners’ Cup match against Servette in 1971/72 sold for £184.40.

– The UEFA version of the 1984 European Cup Final from 1983/84 against Roma sold for £170.

Of course, these examples are for rarer or special issues which are much sought after.

Also, even for these particular programmes, there may be websites away from Ebay where the items will cost more than these prices. Equally, collectors may well pay less for any one of the programmes at any particular time.

There are no fixed prices for what people should and shouldn’t pay.

The price for acquiring most post 1960 programmes is much less and those from 1970 onwards can usually be bought for around £1-£2.

As with most programmes and collectables in general, as stated above, the older items get, the greater will be their value.


Final word

As ever, for Liverpool supporters and programme collectors, the club’s programmes provide a marvellous record of the club’s history whether it’s the early days when the shared programme arrangement with Everton was in full swing, the years when Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan took the club to the top of world club football or the recent times when the club has not been able to add to its’ 18 League titles but has won a number of Cups including that memorable day in Istanbul and where a new manager for the 2015 /16 season brings with him high hopes for success in both domestic and European competitions.


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