"The Greatest European Story Ever Told" is an epic undertaking started by the brilliant Wooltonian to raise money for The Hillsborough Justice Campaign. It is no longer available in book-form and not hosted anywhere for free access but Wooltonian sent it to us to share with Reds all over the world at LFChistory.net. The Greatest European Story Ever Told (GESET) stands at over 100 pages and covers every match the Reds have played in Europe since Liverpool's first game against KR Reykjavik in August 1964. It tells the stories of the games and interweaves many humorous fan recollections regarding their adventures away from home.
Oldkopite's story from Rome 1977
Couldn't afford to go. One toddler with another one on the way. Then me Grandma coughs up £50 each for me and our kid and me dad lends us £50 each. we are on our way, me, Fred and Pop. Skelhorn Street for the Ribble bus to Manchester Airport. No alcohol of course. Check in, wander into the international departure lounge. Lots of noise - full of Liverpool supporters and the bar is open! Lots of people going to sunny Spain for their holidays and there's 200+ Scousers singing there hearts out all bevied and very well behaved. Flight gets called and off we go in a giant conga, out of the lounge and down the corridor singing 'If your all scared of flying clap your hands'
On to the plane, stewardess stands in the aisle going through the safety procedure - cue the strippers tune - but all in the best possible taste. Take off, seat belt sign goes off, everyone gets up to go to the toilet at the rear of the plane. Pilot asks everyone to go back to their seats as he cannot reach his appointed height cos we're all at the middle/back of the plane waiting to get rid of some of that ale!
Gets into Rome, checks into hotel. Following day, match day, off to see the sights - Vatican, etc. Coliseum turned into Anfield - 'Kopites are gobshites' rings out from one side. Kop responds in kind. No trouble in Rome all day.
Off to the ground early - one supporter unconscious by a marble statue outside the ground - brought on by a slight excess of alcohol. All that way and he didn't see the game??!!
Brilliant in the ground - thousands of us and a little pocket of green down the far end. LFC come out to have a look around - noise is tremendous. Players are visibly moved by the sight and sound of so many supporters. Joey Jones arm starts to pump and 20000 supporters arms return the salute (there were still 6000 fans outside).
Joey's banner gets one of the best cheers of the night and there are thousands of red and white chequered flags waving.
The game was brilliant, the best of the three ECF's that I was privileged to attend. Terry Mac, Smithy and Phil Neal - what more could a fan ask for?!
Back to the hotel - one or two drinks and off to bed.
Get up the next morning and we are told that the team are staying in the hotel over the road. Yes - we missed the buffet!! We went over there - got our picture taken with Em, autographs galore, Keegan's black eye was spotted. Shanks sitting there talking to anyone who would listen to him! Chat with Joey - he ran from one end of the ground to the other after the game and hurdled an advertising board. We both agreed we didn't think he was going to make it! Cheered the team off, back to the hotel and off we went. No arrests and 26000 of us.
I've been married for 31 years and I love my wife - but those three days in Rome were the best three days of my life!
(It took me a year to pay my dad back that £50!!)
Sitting there on the plane home when this guy appears with a hat and starts a collection for the pilot - priceless!!
We gave generously because despite the fact that we were now champions of Europe we were all still shit scared of flying ! What better way to ensure our safe return to the UK than to keep on the right side of the driver? We also included a couple of choruses of ‘The Captain is our king’ which were well received. The plane’s crew were both touched and amused and said that they would donate the collection to charity.
If you look back at the history books, they will tell you that when Liverpool retained the European cup in 1978, they only had to play seven matches (having got a bye as holders in the first round) and that they had the advantage of playing the final at Wembley. But that shouldn’t detract from the achievement of winning the giant cup again or the way they reached it by thrashing Dynamo Dresden (5-1) and Benfica (4-1) at Anfield on their way to the semi-final.
Copyright - Wooltonian