History of the IrishKop banner


Some may have seen the new banner in the Kop featuring Jurgen Klopp, Rafa Benitez, Kenny Dalglish, Joe Fagan, Bob Paisley & Bill Shankly and it has created a lot of discussion online from why certain managers are not included to what exactly is the meaning behind the banner.

So we sat down with IrishKops own Paul Larkin to discuss the history and meaning behind this great banner, We hope you enjoy the interview and thanks to Paul for agreeing to do this.

How did the banner first come about ?

Irishkop would have a big match going membership. So the lads (and girls) have always got involved in things over the years and don’t just go to watch a game as a bit of a treat. We as a group try to help were we can, be this helping support the Spirit Of Shankly supporters group, charity football games, legends nights, 10k runs. This would extend to on match day not just going to the game but helping support the team and creating an atmosphere that Anfield is known for.
A good friend of ours from Liverpool Ian Graves (who was telling me only the other day at the match that it was the start of his 50th season going to Anfield) is or should I say was he has stepped back a bit the last few years into helping make and sort out the banners on the Kop. I was telling Ian that we as a group were interesting in getting a new banner done for the Kop, this would involve us sorting out the cash for it and the people needed to help on match days.
Ian right away knew the perfect project for us, he had been working on one and it was going to be a big one so with the size of our membership it was a perfect  match. Ian was working for some time with an artist called Dave Neve, Dave has done a few banners but this was his biggest and was on the back burner for a while partly due to its size. Its  6m wide by 2.5m high and takes 4 people to hold up.
So we crowed funded between ourselves and had the cash in no time.

I love the new banner that is on the Kop, I did notice online that some folks are wondering why managers like Houllier after his treble season is not on it and others say it just for European cup winners, could you clear this up ?

This is a question thats asked loads on social media for the last 10 years, so I am glad to help clear it up. As I explained above we did not design the banner we just financed it and got it made and we display it. But a few points Dave Neve the brilliant artist who did the design made at the time.
The inspiration behind it is the style of communist leaders posters from the 60’s, Chairman Moa and all that. This also fits with the very left wing fan base the club has. Liverpool as a fan base has always held its managers up on a pedestal more so than most clubs. Not many fans of other clubs have this obsession with the managers who have gone before but we do, its one of the things that make us stand out. Dave tried all manner of wording and combinations of stars (including of course 5) and Liverbirds, but nothing really had the visual impact of the single star, particularly from a distance. Also using anything else Inevitably meant losing the “communist” look of the flag which after all was the inspiration for the whole design.
One of the big criticisms of the banner is why no Houllier. I can understand that, but the original painting wasn’t an attempt to honour every manager who has contributed something to the club; it was just Dave wanting to do a painting in the style of the old communist flag with our acknowledged 4 greatest managers, and then he decided to add the present incumbent to show support for him. It really as simple as that, I mean you have to draw the line somewhere. 

I heard somewhere that Rafa has a copy of old banner is this true and ever thought about presenting Jurgen with a copy of new one ?

Yeah thats true. The story behind that was after Rafa got sacked we decided to get a canvas painting done of the banner and get it to Rafa. It was all done very fast, again the Irishkop members came out and supported us. So we got it done and sent to  Ian Graves in Liverpool and he went around to Rafa’s house, I have no idea how he knew were the house was I must ask him that the next time I am talking to him. Anyway Rafa was not in but his wife was. So we have a great pic of Ian standing in Rafa’s driveway handing over the painting to his wife.
A couple of years latter I think it was when he was with Madrid he was doing an interview in his office with a Spanish newspaper and one of our members spotted the painting in the background. So it must mean something to him. We had the banner out when he came to play us as Chelsea manager, I think it was a lovely moment.
We have a little left in the fund, so my plan is to get a canvas painting done of the new banner and get it to Klopp. 

Irishkop banner rafa benitez

What now happens with the old banner ?

I was trying to get in contact with someone in the museum to see if they wanted it. If not LFCTV have said they would love it for one of there studios. To be honest my preference would be to give it to the museum as more people would get to see it that way. Hopefuly we will find a home for it soon as its doing no good in my spare room.

Favorite Photo of the Banner

There are so many of these its hard to pick one. But if I was pushed. There are many great ones but my favourite was actuality taken away from a football ground. Myself and a group of the lads were over at Udinese away in the bad old days of the Europa League. There was only flights home every secound day so the day after the game we headed to Venice for the night. We stud out a big group of 20 plus lads in Venice. 

While we were walking around trying to find a normal priced bar that would take a big group of lads we stumbled on the famous Rialto Bridge. One of the lads had a great idea, he said he would stay across from the bridge and a few of us went onto the bridge and hung the banner from it. So we have a great pic of an iconic bit of European Architecture with our banner hanging from it.

Irishkop banner italy

Finally anything else you would like to add that you may think would be of interest ?

As I said earlier the members on Irishkop are great at supporting us anytime we done anything. They were so good in fact for this that it gave me a problem, I put the funding request up online on a Sunday night then went to bed. When I got up the next morning I had near double what I estimated we needed. I was able to get extra supply’s for it just to have as backup but it still left a bit of cash left. One of the lads suggested that as the banner is so big why dont we get another one for away games and cup finals etc. 

So I got onto the company making it and ordered a smaller one. A few days later I got an email from the owner of the company in Australia and he said he loves the banner and loves the media exposure it gets. He said he would throw us in a free banner. So we now actually have 3, the main big one and a small and medium one. So expect to see it a lot more. On that note, if anybody ever wants to help holding it up on the kop we have a dedicated thread over on Irishkop.com just pop on a put your name down, All thats required is you need a kop ticket and to be in the ground 45 min before kick off.

If I may I would also like to thank Murray Benson who was instrument  in helping with the graphic work on getting klopp added to the new banner, I needed help here big time as art work would not be high up my skill set. You should checkout his twitter @MuzzDesigns he has some great Liverpool stuff. He will have nice posters of the new banner ready to go soon.