"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)
"In 1950 an agent acting on behalf of clubs in Colombia, in South America, approached several English players and influenced them to go out to Bogota, the Colombian capital, to play for leading teams there. The Bogota clubs were supposed to be exceedingly lucrative, because Colombia had broken away from FIFA. Franklin and George Mountford, one of his Stoke City colleagues, were the first to go, and they were followed by several other English and Scottish players. As a matter of fact I was approached myself by the English agent with an offer of £2,000 to sign on, with top wages and hefty bonuses. It was enough to make anyone consider the matter seriously, and I certainly gave it a lot of thought. If my twin boys had been four or five years old, instead of only a few months, I would have had a still harder decision. The fact that they were so young finally decided me against accepting the offer. Later on, after hearing of the conditions in Colombia, I was jolly glad I had stayed at home."
The closest Billy ever came to leaving Liverpool was possibly in 1950 when a Colombian club offered him lucrative terms