“Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.” – John Milton, Paradise Lost
Don’t go jumping to any conclusions. Liverpool Football Club still has work to do. However, the light is becoming clearer and stronger for the faithful supporters of the Anfield club.
It has been ages since Liverpool FC were under the leadership of chairman David Moores. Prior to Moores’ tenure, Liverpool was the most successful club in the history of English football. They had won the Football League First Division eighteen times, the FA Cup four times and the European Cup four times. They were the shining example of English football across Europe.
Since then, Manchester United have surpassed Liverpool’s domestic cup haul by winning 20 top flight titles while also becoming the global symbol of English football.
Over the past 22 years, Liverpool has failed to win the league and has won the FA Cup three times and the EFA Champions League trophy once. Liverpool has won a host of other competitions. But the dominance they once had over English and European football has been non-existent recently.
The club’s fall from grace started under the leadership of Graeme Souness. In April 1991, Moores appointed Souness who took over a Liverpool side that sat top of the First Division and hadn’t finished outside the top two places in ten seasons. But in his first full season in charge the following year Liverpool finished 6th – the club’s lowest finish in 28 years.
The downfall increased in severity after Moores sold the club to American owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks in 2007. Moores later admitted that he “hugely regretted” selling the club to the Americans, but the damage had already been done. The new owners saddled the club with huge debts that were incurred during its purchase.
Liverpool needed to increase the capacity of Anfield to compete with other top clubs, but weren’t able to make the necessary changes due to the club’s poor finances. The new owners proclaimed that a new stadium was their priority and that work would begin immediately. However the pair failed to secure funding and plans for a new home ground. The plans for the ground at Stanley Park were shelved.
Despite the financial concerns, Liverpool were able to capture their fifth Champions League title in 2005 when they battled from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Italian giant, AC Milan. They made another Champions League final appearance in 2007 and finished second in the Premier League to Manchester United in 2009. But in 2010, the club lost in the group stages of the Champions League and hasn’t made a return to the competition.