Legendary Bill Shankly the last Huddersfield Town manager to taste victory against Liverpool!

IT will not have escaped the attentions of observant Huddersfield Town supporters that Saturday is almost exactly a year to the day since they secured a wonderful milestone against an esteemed team in red on home soil.

Bill Shankly: Moved from Huddersfield Town to Liverpool.
Bill Shankly: Moved from Huddersfield Town to Liverpool.

That, of course, refers to Town’s historic 2-1 success over Manchester United at the John Smith’s Stadium amid exultant scenes in the wind and rain on October 21, 2017.

Fast-forward to the present day and another footballing institution from the North West in Liverpool are the visitors on the first anniversary weekend of that feted triumph – and how Town would relish dusting down the record books again.

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Huddersfield’s victory over the Red Devils – on the pair’s first meeting in the town in 46 years and 12 days – saw them triumph over the red side of Manchester for the first time in 12 outings since March, 1952 with the scenes that followed the final whistle being one of the defining memories of last season for David Wagner’s side.

Their need for another magic moment is even more pressing this year, given Town’s current lowly status after a difficult start to 2018-19. To do so, they must again rewrite history.

Huddersfield have not beaten Liverpool in their past 12 meetings since a 1-0 victory at Leeds Road in November 28, 1959 when a 20th-minute goal from Les Massie earned Town a 1-0 triumph over the managerless Reds, searching for a new chief following the resignation of Phil Taylor.

Three days after Town’s win, Liverpool – then in 10th spot in the old Second Division – appointed their new manager. A certain Bill Shankly, who left Huddersfield after resigning his position at a board meeting on December 1.

As for Huddersfield’s last top-flight win over Liverpool, you have to go back a bit longer and it has also been a long time between drinks since Town’s last goal against the Anfield giants.

Huddersfield’s previous seven winless meetings with Liverpool have not so much as yielded a goal for the West Yorkshire outfit.

The late Chris Balderstone was the scorer on the last occasion that Town struck in a competitive game against the Reds, in a surprise 1-1 draw at Anfield in April, 1962, a season which saw the Merseysiders emerge as runaway Division Two champions under the stewardship of the redoubtable Shankly.

Balderstone put Town in front just after the hour-half mark against a home side whose forwards Roger Hunt and Jimmy Melia had recently been named in England’s provisional 40-man squad for that summer’s World Cup, along with Huddersfield’s classy full-back Ray Wilson.

It was Hunt – who had won his first England cap just three days earlier – who spared Liverpool’s blushes with a 68th-minute equaliser.

It was received with much relief among most of the 38,022 crowd inside Anfield, who saw the hosts drop points on home soil for just the third time that season.

Earlier on in that 1961-62 campaign, Town, under the management of Eddie Boot, had lost 2-1 at home to Liverpool in front of 23,086 fans at Leeds Road on November 18, 1961.

Winger Kevin McHale, who hailed from the Dearne Valley, found the net for the hosts, sandwiched in between first-half goals from Melia and Hunt.

That strike from McHale represents the last time that a Town player has found the net against Liverpool at home.

As for Town’s last top-flight home victory over Liverpool? You have to go back 65 years to an autumnal occasion at Leeds Road on October 17, 1953.

Goals from the revered forward duo of Jimmy Glazzard and Vic Metcalfe gave third-placed Huddersfield, under the command of Shankly’s old friend and former Preston team-mate Andy Beattie, a 2-0 win in front of 30,115 spectators.

How those with blue and white affiliations would love anything resembling an encore this coming weekend. Failing that, a goal or two would be nice.