Thursday, October 05, 2006

100 Players Who Shook The Kop Top 10

Of all the stories so far, Billy Liddell's one touched me the most. This is what I meant by sticking through thick and thin. Will you be there when Liverpool relegates?

#6 Billy Liddell

Name: Billy Liddell

Years at Liverpool: 1938 to 1960
Position: Winger

Date-of-birth: 10/1/1921
Birthplace: Townhill (near Dunfermline)

Signed from: Lochgelly Violet (June 1938)

Games: 534
Goals: 229

Honours: First Division Championship (1946/47)

Life as a Liverpudlian in the 1950s was no bed of roses but while Billy Liddell was around there was always a shining light amid the gloom of relegation from the top-flight, humiliating cup exits to lower league opposition and seemingly annual near misses in the quest for promotion.

The mere mention of his name is enough to send ageing Liverpudlians into dewy-eyed reminisces of bygone football age. For them, William Beveridge Liddell is quite simply the greatest player to have ever donned the famous red shirt.

Although his modesty would never have allowed him to admit it, without him the Reds could well have sunk into the murky depths of the old Third Division and if they had who's to say they'd have ever escaped?

To the modern generation of Liverpool fans, who look back in time and can't see beyond the arrival of Bill Shankly, this is a scenario too severe to contemplate but it's no exaggeration and for this reason alone, Liddell's contribution to the success story that followed should never be under-estimated.

Without doubt, 'King Billy of Anfield' was one of the post-war greats of the British game, a thrilling, skilful, two-footed winger - fast, direct and capable of bursting the back of any opposition net with one of his trademark thunderbolt shots.

But the fact that he was twice selected to represent Great Britain during the course of his career – a feat matched only by the legendary Stanley Mathews – is ample proof, if needed, of his immense stature in the game.

On the pitch, Liverpool was a club in decline and in 1954 the unthinkable occurred when the Reds suffered the indignity of relegation to the Second Division. Many players of his ability would have jumped ship at the prospect of dropping into a lower league but Liddell's unswerving loyalty to the Reds ensured that he remained with the club as they strove to regain their top-flight status in the proceeding years.

Ever the gentleman, Liddell didn't complain. During the course of his illustrious career he was never booked and captained the club with distinction. One of the finest role models ever to play the game, he was the perfect club ambassador – a devout Christian who never drank, smoke or swore, he did a lot of work for charity, helped out at local boys clubs and was a qualified Justice of the Peace.

It was unfortunate fact of life that Liddell's prime did not coincide with the Shankly revolution that followed his retirement. Had it done, who knows what he would have gone on to achieve?

The great man is sadly no longer with us but visit Anfield on a quiet day and old-timers will swear they can still hear the once famous roar of 'give it to Billy' ringing around the Kop. Gone but never forgotten, when legendary Liverpool players are discussed you can be sure his name will always figure prominently.

Sold to: Retired (1960)

Claim to fame: Carrying Liverpool through the fifties

Did you know? An accountant by profession, he trained only two days a week and worked at the club accountants office on the other days

Where is he now? Sadly passed away after suffering from Alzheimer's disease in July 2001

John Keith on Billy Liddell: "He was a role model before they had role models. He was a wonderfully exciting, good looking, dark hair, dashing player. Built to athletic perfection, with broad shoulders, tapering body, great speed and great power. He was excitement personified. That's how I would describe Billy Liddell."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes he does deserve it... actually he shood be #1!!!!

Liverpool 4eva!!!