New Anfield talent

1940"Liverpool have made three wartime discoveries, players young enough to make the grade once normal times are reached again. This was proved at Anfield yesterday in a Western Regional game packing many thrills and much good football.

The star performer was Liddell, a wing forward, not yet 18. Liddell was secured from Lochgelly Violet, a Dunfermilne junior club, and played at outside-left to give a most promising display, his ball control and sense of positioning being features."

Billy scored his debut goal after only two minutes, the pick of the bunch being Matt Busby's goal (later of Man Utd fame) where he beat four men, passed to Leadbetter, received the ball again, diving headlong to place the ball into the far corner.

Billy went on to play further 15 games, scoring a total of 9 goals in the 1939-40 season. Before he made his Football League debut after World War II on 7th September 1946 he had already made 152 appearances in wartime football for Liverpool where he scored 82 goals.

Certainly if the Second World War hadn't intervened Liddell wouldn't be "only" 11th on Liverpool's list of players who have made most appearances. He could have gone as far as 2nd place, above Ray Clemence and Emlyn Hughes with 665 appearances. But who really knows? He could have got seriously injured, even though it's difficult to imagine such a strong man being vulnerable to injuries. Anyway a food for thought.

(Click on the match report for a bigger image)

 

 

King Billy quote

"The match-winner who became king. Behind a paper-strewn desk high in Student's Union building, two famous feet twitched. Feet that belonged to the original, uncrowned king of football lore - Billy Liddell. Feet of power and romance that longed for the old days as their owner reflected on past affairs of plunder. Now he spends his days signing the accounts, checking figures and helping run the financial side of the Guild of Undergraduates.

It is said that when Liddell called at the Anfield ground one day last year, five years after the close of his career - work stopped on the new stand that was being built. 'There's Billy Liddell', a navvy gasped. To a man they removed their industrial helmets, clutched them reverently to their waists and bowed their heads. The old master was passing through."

From Sunday Express on 30th November 1966

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