Watch: Gerry Marsden's spine-tingling rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone with 60,000 Celtic and Liverpool fans
It was the moment that very briefly brought two of Britain’s most fiercely passionate sets of football supporters together and there was only one man to lead the charge – the late Gerry Marsden.
Following the sad news that Mr Marsden, famous as the frontman of 1960s Merseybeat masters Gerry And The Pacemakers, has died at the age of 78, we recall the time the musician donned a half green, half red scarf at Parkhead and cut the tape on one of the most riveting two-legged footballing affairs in recent memory.
The mouthwatering all-British UEFA Cup quarter final between Celtic and Liverpool in 2003 attracted interest far beyond the G40 postcode.
Long seen as kindred spirits and from large, proudly working class cities sharing a similar industrial heritage, Hoops and Reds supporters famously share a terrace anthem in the song You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Written for the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, You’ll Never Walk Alone is a heartfelt and sorrowful ballad recognisable the world over, but it is the 1963 version of the song, covered by Merseybeat cracks Gerry And The Pacemakers, that is arguably best known in the UK.
The song quickly became adopted as the unofficial anthem of Gerry’s native Liverpool FC and later spread northwards to be included in the footballing hymn sheets at Celtic, where it is traditionally sung by fans before and during matches – especially home European ties.
But it was on March 13, 2003, that Parkhead witnessed the relatively rare phenomenon of home and away supporters belting out the song in unison.
Naturally, the man chosen to act as the bridge between the Celtic and Liverpool fans before the likes of Henrik Larsson and Steven Gerrard took to the field was Gerry Marsden himself.
Then aged 60, Marsden led 60,000 supporters in a rousing rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone that those in attendance and watching on television will likely never forget.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com in 2013 about what the song means to fans, Marsden said: “I talk to players [at other football clubs] and they say they wish they had a song to go out to like that.
"Celtic nicked it off us actually - but I'll let them off because I like Celtic. I think it's the best, not because I did it, but for the players in the tunnel it inspires them.
“When we played Celtic in Europe a few years ago , I sung it on the pitch and it was amazing. I sang it at Anfield for the Queen which was a great feeling, and I did it at Bradford after the terrible fire disaster. I've had quite a few great moments with the song.”
Toxteth-born Marsden died at home aged 78 following a heart infection, a friend, broadcaster Pete Price, confirmed on Sunday.
Mr Price wrote on Instagram: "It's with a very heavy heart after speaking to the family that I have to tell you the legendary Gerry Marsden MBE, after a short illness which was an infection in his heart, has sadly passed away.
"I'm sending all the love in the world to Pauline and his family. You'll Never Walk Alone."
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