Passing Rhythms: Liverpool FC and the Transformation of Football

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John Williams, Cathy Long, Stephen Hopkins
Bloomsbury Academic, Mar 1, 2001 - Social Science - 241 pages
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Liverpool Football Club, in stark contrast to its competitors, remains locally owned, not a conglomerate or media business. Unlike its main rivals, the Liverpool club has been loathe to pursue global markets for merchandizing - though it attracts a huge fandom around the world - and its ambitions remain resolutely fixed on footballing success. No football club has ever had such an extended period of dominance in the English game, nor extended that dominance to Europe so effectively.

Many of the current crop of top young players are locally born and are a central feature of the city's nightlife, as well as national icons in pop/football/youth culture. But there are fears that the Club's great days have now passed. At the height of its powers in the 1980s, Liverpool FC was the site of two catastrophic crowd disasters, which effectively transformed the sport and added to wounding perceptions about the city's alleged sentimentality, fatalism and irreversible decline. The legacy of the Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies continues to shape the self-image of the Club and those who support it. A seething rivalry with nearby corporate giant Manchester United is a constant reminder of football's new order.

Addressing all of these concerns, as well as Liverpool's global reputation as the home of the Beatles and the 'Mersey sound', this book takes an original approach to the study of football by examining its links with other important popular culture forms, especially pop music, but also television and youth styles. In particular, however, it looks at the very special meaning of football in Liverpool.

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The book covers the story of Liverpool football club from its origins through Shankly and Paisley; Heysel and Hillsborough; Dalglish and stops at Houllier. The content is brilliant. The book also explores the modernization of football and how television changed the economics of the sport. Brilliant read. 

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About the author (2001)

Mr. John Williams is the Director of the Sir Norman Chester Centre for Football Research, at the University of Leicester.

Cathy Long is a Research and Information Executive, for the FA Premier League.

Stephen Hopkins is an Associate Member at the Sir Norman Chester Centre for Football Research and Lecturer in Politics,at the University of Leicester.

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