On the March with Kenny's Army
Summer 1985 and the very future of English football is in question. With hooliganism rampant and depressing and devastating tragedies at Birmingham, Bradford and Heysel, the sport had reached a pitiful and deplorable nadir; English sides banned from Europe; grounds old and decaying; racism on the terraces; attendances in freefall; and a petty and fractious TV dispute meaning no televised games until January. The beautiful game appeared to be destroying itself from within.
Outside of football, the country was doing the same; unprecedented levels of unemployment, rising crime, and serious disturbances in Tottenham, Brixton and Toxteth, were signs of Thatcher’s new non-society. Britain seemed increasingly polarized around class, money and geography. In Liverpool the far-left Militant Tendency was in the process of setting an illegal budget – for the second year in a row.
Amidst this social and sporting chaos Liverpool FC – trophyless for the first time in 10 years and with a new, inexperienced manager in charge of what many saw as an ageing and failing side – had ended the 1984/85 season with its reputation at home and abroad in tatters. City rivals Everton had won the previous season’s Championship at a canter and they, rather than Liverpool, were viewed as the side of the future.
AVAILABLE NOW (published 1st December 2011)
When the new season ended however, it was Kenny Dalglish’s men who were crowned champions, beating Everton to the league on the last day of the season, and defeating them in the first all-Merseyside FA Cup final just a week later. How was this possible? How did Dalglish sculpt a supposedly waning side into one that won not only the League, but also the FA Cup, becoming only the fifth side at the time to do so?
Placing Liverpool’s title triumph in its wider social context, with match-by-match analysis, fan and player recollections and profiles. On the March With Kenny’s Army tells the in-depth story of this incredible feat for the very first time; the key signings, the new tactics, the TV dispute, Manchester United’s 10 game winning start to the season, surprise package West Ham and the sensational and enthralling finish. Few seasons were as riveting as this, and didn’t football need it?
"Any season that concludes with Liverpool relegating Everton to the runners-up spot in the League has to be special, so for that to also happen in the FA Cup makes it truly remarkable, and that makes this book a more than welcome and long overdue addition to the Liverpool library."- Tony Barrett, The Times