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The "Ruby Red" Anniversary

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Dickie Sam Cratchet:
One I copied from LFC.TV.From LFC.TV.

On Monday August 17, 1964, Liverpool played their first-ever game in European competition. It was in Iceland against the part-timers of KR Reykjavik and Shankly's Reds strolled to a comfortable 5-0 success.

Bright sunshine and bitterly cold temperatures greeted the Reds party when they arrived in Iceland but they quickly adapted and set about their task in a typically professional manner.

The Icelandic champions set their stall out to defend from the start in the hope of keeping the score respectable but within three minutes their best-laid plans backfired on them. Roger Hunt crossed from the right and Gordon Wallace rifled home to open the scoring.

Liverpool were far superior in all departments and their part-time hosts were totally outclassed. Peter Thompson was the main protagonist, weaving his way through the Reykjavik defence like a hot knife through butter.

Tommy Lawrence in the Reds goal was a mere spectator but it took until a minute after the restart before Liverpool increased their advantage. Wallace had a shot blocked and Roger Hunt was on hand to convert the rebound.

In the 52nd minute the hosts forced their first corner of the match but it was only a brief respite from the Liverpool onslaught. Four minutes later a Callaghan centre was pushed out by the Reykjavik keeper, the ball fell straight to Phil Chisnall and he found the back of the net to make it 3-0.

Wallace scored his fourth goal in two games with a header on 63 minutes and two minutes from time Hunt completed the rout. Afterwards the Reykjavik players were unanimous in their praise of the Reds, with many rating them side to ever visit Iceland.

To commemorate this special anniversary in the club's history, catch up with three key payers from that day to reminisce...

Ron Yeats, Roger Hunt & Gordon Wallace

Ron Yeats (LFC captain): Most of us didnt even know where Reykjavik was. We flew from Manchester to London, then from London to Prestwick in Scotland and finally caught a flight from there to Iceland.

Roger Hunt (two goal marksman): These days you'd get a chartered plane, but I'll always remember we had to fly from Glasgow and then wait in Glasgow for a few hours for the flight to Reykjavik. I remember Shankly saying that we'd organise a trip to Butlins to save the boredom to kill a few hours. We get to Butlins and the coach driver pulls up and Shankly gets to the front of the bus and says to the bloke, "We're Liverpool Football Club and we're on our way to Europe, we've qualified for the European Cup." The bloke said, "Well this isn't the way to there!"

Gordon Wallace (scorer of LFC's opening goal): It really was a trip into the unknown and everything was new to us. On the flight over there I remember looking out of the place at a volcano in the sea and the pilot telling us all about it.

Yeats: They were very nice people, I remember that. They were only part-timers and to be honest it was an easy game for us.

Wallace: I remember Roger Hunt going to the by-line and squaring it back to me. I was only six-yards out and to be honest I miss-hit it. I shouldn't really say that but it's the truth. The ball went in between the goalkeeper and the near post.

Hunt: It was an eventful trip, we won 5-0 and it was an experience to score there.

Wallace: Obviously they were only amateurs and we were expected to win but the Icelandic people were lovely people. It was, and still is, a beautiful country. I enjoyed the trip so much I went back there on holiday years later. In 1964 we were only there to play the match so we didn't get the chance to see it all so I made a promise to myself at the time that one day I would return and I did.

Yeats: I must admit that we really enjoyed it and I think the Liverpool supporters enjoyed it. It was something different. They knew the first division players, they knew the international players from England, Ireland and Scotland, but they didn't know Europe and it was a smashing experience. I think those early experiences we had in Europe took the club further on that when they won the European Cup.


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