“He [Shankly] thought the colour scheme would carry psychological impact—red for danger, red for power. He came into the dressing room one day and threw a pair of red shorts to Ronnie Yeats. “Get into those shorts and let’s see how you look”, he said. “Christ, Ronnie, you look awesome, terrifying. You look 7ft tall.” “Why not go the whole hog, boss?” I suggested. “Why not wear red socks? Let’s go out all in red.” Shankly approved and an iconic kit was born.”
Whilst Liverpool football club may not have started out wearing the colour that is now synonymous with English footballing success, by 1894 Liverpool F.C. had adopted the city of Liverpool’s colours and by 1901 they had won their first division one title wearing red shirts.
In this writers opinion there is something in that colour, is it just coincidence that the two most successful teams in English footballing history have both worn red, and that the English national team won the 1966 World Cup final in red shirts?
Possibly it is just that, a coincidence. However, people in the marketing world have long held the belief that the colour red is synonymous with both love, and excitement, two things that would perfectly describe my emotional attachment to Liverpool, and might perhaps help to explain Liverpool’s strength as a global brand.
What is Association Football if not love and excitement?
Now for my confession. I am not local to Liverpool, in fact, I have only been to one match at Anfield, I have watched Liverpool play on numerous occasions but always from the home stands of an opposing side #risky. In 1994 at the age of five I decided that I would support Liverpool when logic, reason and locality should have dictated that I would support Southampton. Why? Because they wore red, that was my only reasoning at the time, they had the best kit and therefore the best football stickers, and, therefore, they must be the best.
Whatever you can say about the rightness or wrongness of my reasoning at age four my support will have helped LFC, I (my parents) brought kit, bootbags, curtains, bed spreads, pencil cases…the list is, sadly, endless. Yet it is all money into Liverpool’s coffers.
My argument is simple, perhaps it is not only LFC’s success throughout the seventies and eighties that has helped to secure Liverpool as a global brand, perhaps brand strength is strengthened by that most famous of colours, red.