Emlyn dies of brain tumour - 9.11.04
Click here to read about one of the real Anfield legends.
Emlyn Hughes' record of both honours and appearances for Liverpool has few equals, and the success of his inspirational captaincy still stands almost unrivaled. But it was the heart, gusto and boisterous passion which he played the game he loved that secured him his place in the history books as an extraordinary player in style as well as deed.
Hughes was a born winner who possessed both the commitment and strength to run through brick walls in pursuit of victory, but he rarely let that single-mindedness of purpose obscure the child's joy of simply kicking a ball that illuminated his almost permanently grin-split features.
Bill Shankly had spotted those qualities, which bore a striking resemblance to his own attitude towards the game, as early as the strapping youngster's teenaged debut for Blackpool, a performance that had the Reds' boss bursting into the seaside team's dressing room straight after the final whistle to make a bid for their full-back's services.
His initial approach was rebuffed but after ignoring protocol by phoning Hughes every Sunday for a progress report and to check that he was looking after himself, he finally got his man for £65.000 midway through the 66-67 season
Hughes proved throughout his career that he was the last person to be overawed by any situation and was such an instant success that he went through his entire 12 years at Anfield without ever being asked to play in a reserve game.
Emlyn Hughes's strapping physique made him one of the toughest defenders to play against. It also protected him from the injuries his position attracted, allowing him to miss just three games in his first nine years at Anfield.
That stand testimony to his reliability and resilience, but the wear and tear that he accumulated along the way ended his time with the Reds by causing early arthritis in his right knee.
His love of the game earned him another five years playing at the lower levels following his departure from Merseyside in 1979, and he gave his final clubs the same enthusiasm that made him such a hero of the Kop.
Whatever the match, Emlyn Hughes led by example. His was a standard that inspired the men around him to the greatest of Liverpool's glories.
(Taken from "Liverpool's Greatest Players" by David Walmsley)
Thor Zakariassen ©