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Reviews

Book Review - Red Odyssey - Liverpool FC 1892 - 2017

Wednesday 30th May 2018
Red Odyssey is an affectionate and often moving history of one of the greatest sporting institutions in the world.
Red Odyssey is an affectionate and often moving history of one of the greatest sporting institutions in the world.

In June 2017 Liverpool FC turned 125 years old. From humble beginnings, as the cities third club, to the global footballing institution that it is today, life-long fan Jeff Goulding celebrates the clubs incredible journey through the eyes of the red-half of Merseyside, recounting tales and memories that tell of friendships, rivalries and of course trophies.

Red Odyssey invites us into the history of one of the world’s great clubs.
Title: Red Odyssey – Liverpool FC 1892 - 2017
Author: Jeff Goulding
Publisher: Pitch Publishing
Date Published: 2018
Price: £18.99

Many football fans believe that Liverpool’s rise to the top of domestic and European football began with Bill Shankly and the red machine that blew away all before them during the 1970’s and 80’s. But, as Goulding explores, Liverpool’s history is as rich as it is long. For every Steven Gerrard, there is an Alex Raisbeck, for Bill Shankly read David Ashworth and for Ian Rush, there was Gordon Hodgson. All superstars of their day that had Liverpool winning major honours almost from the club’s birth through to ‘the untouchables’ of the 1920’s.

Goulding dedicates a good portion of his book to honour these men and their role in the evolution of Liverpool FC from its formation to the club that we recognise today. He brings to life this pre-war era using his extensive knowledge of the club’s history tallied with reports in local media and club folklore - tales that have passed down from generation to generation.

Of course, Goulding is fortunate in that the club he loves has won so many League titles, cup finals and enjoyed European success. There seem to be classic games every season and you can’t help but read, with a mixture of envy, admiration and amazement, the number of thrilling games and big occasions, some of the biggest in English football, in which his Liverpool FC have been involved in.

But Red Odyssey goes much deeper than purely recounting a long list of honours. Goulding looks at the many key players who have contributed in one form or another to Liverpool. Players who are very much part of the clubs fabric and who epitomise the spirit that exists at Anfield.

Goulding also focuses on the fans, the many thousands that created the legacy of the Kop. He makes a lot of effort, and does so brilliantly, to capture the passion, atmosphere, wit and spirit that was generated during those big nights at Anfield and beyond. It is through relaying the supporter’s feelings and the memories that they have following Liverpool that gives his book a personable touch. It is an emotive read that sets it apart from more fact-based books on the market.

Goulding provides a complete picture of Liverpool’s colourful history. In addition to players, games and winning silverware, he talks about how the ground has developed over the years and also about the clubs ownership and some of the controversies that have come with new owners. He also talks with dignity and respect when covering some of the darker moments such as Heysel and particularly Hillsborough, where he honours those involved in the Hillsborough campaign.

As Goulding brings down the curtain at the end of the 2016/17 season, Liverpool continues to serve up epic games and generate memories that will live long in the fans hearts. Who can forget the 4-3 beating of the invincible Manchester City or the stirring cup run in the Champions League that would take them to Kiev and an eighth appearance in Europe’s showcase final.

They may have succumbed to Real Madrid and Gareth Bale’s wonder goal but the club moves on. New stars will emerge, great games will continue and more cups will follow.

Here’s looking forward to Red Odyssey part 2.   

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