Saturday, 26 January 2008

BILLY LIDDELL - another Flying Scotsman

I went to school with 'The Twins' - Billy Liddell's boys - and so it was only natural that this, combined with my being a Liverpool supporter, should make this phenomenal goalscorer an early hero. He played in the first matches I ever saw - all in the second division - and I seem to recall he scored against Swansea in my very first match when Uncle JPD took me to Anfield and instantly created another Liverpool supporter. Although I rarely saw him play I used to see him regularly as he picked the twins up from school - unlike most parents he came for them in his car! A giant of a man - or so it seemed at the time - he was nevertheless gentle and gentlemanly and very friendly to everyone. His was the first Liverpool autograph I ever got.

Born 10th January 1922 - Dunfermline
Games 537 Goals 229
Honours - 1 League Championship, 28 Scotland Caps
Billy Liddell was perhaps one of the greatest players the club has ever had and in a different era would have won far more medals than he actually did. The greatest compliment ever paid to him was when the crowd nicknamed the club 'Liddellpool'.
Liddell joined the reds prior to the second world war and remained at the club until the sixties. He could play as an out and out striker or more commonly down the wing. He would have played far more games for the reds had he not lost the first six to the war. Serving in the RAF he did find it possible to play some one hundred and fifty games throughout the war years and showed the reds what a great talent they had invested in. However his official debut for the club came in 1946 when he was just short of his twenty fourth birthday. He scored a goal that day in the FA Cup against Chester City.
His first full season with the reds, 1946-47 was a great success as the reds won the league. Sadly though as Liddell improved as an individual, the team around him failed to do so and eventually in 1954 they were relegated. He had by this time though become a Scotland regular as well as being selected to play for a Great Britain side. He tried extremely hard though to rescue the reds from the second division but despite his phenomenal scoring rate promotion never came. Towards the end of the fifties, and his reds career his pace eased off and he took up a position in the centre of midfield where his eye for the defence splitting ball was still apparent. He slowly became more injury prone in his later thirties but his presence on the pitch was still enough to scare opposition players. Liddell was extremely loyal and probably one of the reds greatest ever players and it's a shame he wasn't born twenty years later to play in the days of Shankly who would surely have loved the gifted man.

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