Willie Liddell plays for Dunfermilne

November 1944During war-time, no Football League was on offer, so Liddell had to suffice to play for Liverpool in the regional league and friendlies, but also guest starred for other clubs such as Chelsea, Linfield, Cambridge Town, Toronto Scottish and Dunfermilne. This match report is from Dunfermilne Athletic's game vs East Fife on 22nd November 1944.

"Willie Liddell's presence on Athletic's team at Methil acted like a blood transfusion. Revived, reinvigorated, the East Enders made a fine come-back.

I'ts no reflection on the Athletic when I say the Liverpool and Scottish international player was the driving force behind their victory. His inclusion had a magical effect, and the depression centred over Athletic's recent displays vanished. Taking their cue from the Townhill lad, the team responded in a manner which surprised friend and foe alike...

Willie Liddell had not seen much of the ball, but with six minutes played the Liverpool player came strongly into the picture. Pouncing on a pass, he travelled goalwards with a great burst of speed and released a terrific shot. Niven could only parry the ball out, and Hood, following up, touched it into the net.

[On to second half.]

Hardly had the ball been centred when Athletic were two goals up. Hunter and Liddell interpassed, and the Liverpool flier, racing across to the inside-right position, fastened on and with a right foot drive completely beat Niven."

Part of this match report is missing, but Dunfermilne Athletic eventually went on to win 5-1, the key player being the 22-year-old Liddell.

"Last but by no means least, I come to Willie Liddell. The psychological effect which this player produced on his team-mates, was, in my opinion, an elevating one. His presence at a time when they were "down in the dumps" acted like a tonic, and the response was no half-hearted one. Space will not permit to enumerate all the strong points on Willie's game, and will content myself by saying he had that touch of class which goes to make international players."

(Click on the match report for a bigger image)

King Billy quote

"We went to Birmingham, had a pre match meal of boiled potatoes, chicken and rice pudding. It was the middle of winter, the pitch was frozen, it was hard underneath and wet on top. In those days, there were no rubber boots, so they came out with plimsolls on. They were five up in a quarter of an hour. We could not keep our feet! We lost another four in the second half and Billy Liddell’s one goal was the best of the ten! He cut through the middle and lambasted it right into the top corner of the net past the English goalkeeper Gill Merrick.

He was a very well balanced player, how he kept his balance I don’t know, he was playing centre forward, which is another reason I was able to get in the team, because he was switched from the left wing where he was scoring six goals a season, to up front where he was getting 20-30 goals every year. It was Liddellpool in those days, and while he was doing that, I was getting more experience on the wing."

Alan A'Court - Liverpool 1952-1964 (asked by LFChistory.net on the rather dubious claim to fame of being part of the side that recorded the heaviest loss in Liverpool’s history, a 9-1 defeat to Birmingham)

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