A NEW book that takes a look at Liverpool’s sporting history through the eyes of the communities that shaped it was launched yesterday.
Played in Liverpool owes as much to the city’s turn-of-the-century baseball players, long- established bowling greens, and an exclusive club of twelve quoits players, as it does to Dixie Dean or the Kop.
The book is the latest release in a series from English Heritage looking at sport around Britain, and the first of a number of books about Liverpool it plans to publish this year with the Capital of Culture Company.
Author Ray Physick uncovered artefacts that were thought lost, including the foundation stone of Liverpool Stadium, missing since its demolition in 1987, and the once-celebrated Liverpool Gymnasium Shield, which as a result will be placed in the new Museum of Liverpool.
Mr Physick, 55, a lecturer at John Moores University, had been researching Played in Liverpool for two years.
He said: “As a passionate Scouser and Liverpool fan all my life, it’s been a privilege to write this book.
“What has amazed me is the diversity of sport in the city, from baseball back in the 19th century to the opening of the first municipal baths in 1828, it has an enormous heritage – not just football, and in many ways Liverpool is a microcosm of the greatness of British sport.”
Celebrating yesterday’s launch at Liverpool Cricket Club, which features in the book and itself is marking its bicentenary this year, series editor Simon Inglis said: “The Played In series all started in Manchester for the Commonwealth Games, with English Heritage looking at ways to celebrate sporting heritage.
“It was a pilot project, designed to see if sports heritage was significantly valued.
“It was a subject that had been ignored for years. It makes up such a vast amount of this country’s heritage that it needed professional documentation.”
Henry Owen-John, North West director of planning and development director for English Heritage said: “The community engagement factor was very important, with people bringing amazing amounts of knowledge on football, cricket, tennis – it really attracted public interest.
“Liverpool was really self-selected as the next in the series, in terms of the sheer recognition and diversity of its sport.
“The book is specifically English Heritage’s contribution to the city’s 800th birthday celebrations.
“There is so much going on and so much to record, and we have been really delighted with the quality of research Ray has undertaken.”