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The consensus among sports historians, near universal, is that supporters of Liverpool Football Club were first to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone".

There is solid evidence that Liverpool Football Club supporters were the first to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" en masse. The song was famously covered by Liverpool group Gerry & the Pacemakers in 1963. At the same time, spectators standing on the Spion Kop terrace at Anfield began singing popular chart songs of the day. As Londoner Adrian Thrills, the ex-Editor of "Goal", explains in his 1998 book You're Not Singing Anymore!, Liverpool supporters began the tradition of singing and modifying lyrics:

"Inspired partly by the emerging strains of the beat boom that was sweeping the port's nightclubs, the 28,000 souls who stood on the Kop started to express themselves with passionate versions of pop hits. … The common consensus is that the singing really began in earnest on Merseyside and, particulary, on the legendary Spion Kop at Anfield".

Their "inventive ferocity" was captured on camera by a BBC Panorama crew in 1964. One year later, when Liverpool met Leeds United in the F.A. Cup Final, the anthem was firmly established, when travelling fans performed the song and match commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme commended "the Liverpool signature tune."

Liverpudlians have been singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" since 1963. It was later sung by many different clubs throughout England, most often during important cup matches.

Celtic supporters sang it with discontinuity on a number of occasions during the 1970s, along with Aberdeen and Hibernian, though it was only popularised and formally adopted by the Parkhead faithful in the mid- to late-1980s. Liverpool were invited to play a charity game at Celtic Park following the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster in 1989. Both sets of fans sang it together as a symbol of unity and support. Only in the years that followed, as both clubs repeatedly came together in a series of friendly fixtures, did Celtic begin to sing it on a regular basis, otherwise they have no legitimate claim to the song, nor is there any earlier evidence seriously linking them to it. Liverpool can produce an abundance of written material and video evidence. Celtic not so much.

Manchester United supporter Jane Hardwick said in 2004 that she had performed the song, together with friends from the New Mills Operatic Society, at an unspecified game following the Munich Air Disaster as her own personal tribute, before spontaneously being joined by thousands of fans around her, until the "whole ground" was singing along.

"It gets up my nose when Liverpudlians say it is their song ... I'm sure they won't like what I have to say about that!"

This predates Gerry Marsden's pop cover by five years. However, as researchers have cautioned, the composition and performance of the musical version is vastly different to the popular version.

"The Carousel rendering expresses an intimate operatic moment, an individual reassuring another during a time of grieving and despair. You listen and are moved, but you don't necessarily feel an overwhelming urge to join in. The Gerry & the Pacemakers version is at once more accessible and 'sing-along', the perfect vehicle for thousands voicing their solidarity, for the communal rush of emotion of a football crowd."

Put another way, Hardwick may have been an aspiring teenage Opera singer, but it's highly improbable the Old Trafford faithful joined her in belting out an operatic version of "You'll Never Walk Alone". Furthermore, nothing is recorded on film or in print to support her claim. An emotional occasion such as this would be worth a paragraph or two in most newspapers immediately following the tragedy, which received a great deal of media attention. It would be easy to examine the records around this specific date. Many authors have already done so, recounting public reaction to the disaster in numerous written works, yet no supporting evidence has come to light.

Author Frank Worrall repeated Hardwick's belated revelation in his 2007 book, Celtic United, without attempting to verify its accuracy. He later conceded that the claim was only meant to be "a bit of fun." On the other hand, writing in Soccer History magazine in 2009, writer Graham Phythian considered Hardwick's previous published account to be exaggerated but essentially plausible. He quoted Jane Hardwick now saying, "My friends all sang it probably 2-3 times at home matches, and a few around us joined in." Phythian concludes his piece by remarking indecisively: "Were they [Liverpool] the first to give the song an airing on the terraces? The evidence suggests that, albeit in a comparatively minor, inconsequential way, quite possibly they weren't."

Two separate radio programs tracing the history of the song, including its connection with soccer, found Hardwick's inconsistent account so unreliable and/or unpersuasive as to not even bother mentioning her. Other individuals such as Jim White, author of Manchester United: The Biography, have researched similar anecdotal accounts, including the assertion that "You'll Never Walk Alone" was originally performed at Old Trafford by members of the Chorlton Operatic Society. But finding no record of such a performance, White says "this is unlikely".

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Q: Which soccer club was the first to sing You'll Never Walk Alone?
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