Roger Hunt

 

Born:               Golborne, Lancashire, 20.7. 1938
Signed:            May 1959
Games:            484 (5)
Goals:              285
Honours:          First Division 63/64, 65/66
                       Second Division 61/62
                       FA Cup 64/65
                       NBE 99
                       England Caps: 34
Other clubs:     Bolton Wanderers 69/70-71/72

 

Of all the great players to parade their skills on the Anfield turf, only one of them was ever knighted by the Kop. The recipient of that honour was of course "Sir" Roger Hunt, as the fans on the famous terrace christened him to recognise his outstanding goalscoring contribution to the Liverpool cause.

Roger's goalscoring record was phenomenal and stands comparison with the best that any other striker has offered. No one has scored more League goals for the club or reached the 50 mark in fewer games than Hunt.
Furthermore, he hit his 285 Liverpool goals in just over 200 more matches, struck a record 41 times in 41 games during the promotion campaign og 1961-62, returned hauls of 31 and 30 League goals in the Championchip season og 1963-64 and 1965-66, and was top scorer in nine of his ten full seasons at the club.

His favoured tools of the trade were blistering pace, kick-started by a jolting burst of acceleration, the physical strength that bought him extra time and space in the congested penalty box, a rocket of a shot and the seemingly inexhaustible stamina which fuelled his selfless working and chasing when not in possession.

The 1965-66 season should have been even more memorable. Although victory in the League was followed by defeat in the European Cup-Winners' Cup final, Roger still had a World Cup to look foreward to with England. But although he enjoyed playing his full part in helping lift the Jules Rimet trophy that summer, the tournament marked the beginning of what became a sad, unfitting end to his international career.
Despite scoring vital goals in the early rounds, Roger remains the least honoured of that England side and afterwards became the victim of a torrent of unfair criticism that bordered on a vendetta simply because he had been perceived as the man who deprived the then national hero Jimmy Greaves of a place in the side.
Ironically, Hunt and Greaves had begun the tournament playing alongside each other and so it was actually Geoff Hurst who replaced the Londoner when injury forced him to drop out. Alf Ramsey kept faith with the new pairing for the final against West Germany, and while Hunt's unselfish workaholic performance delighted his manager it did not find any favour with the wider public who had demanded the return of Greaves.
Eventually, Roger felt able to end his persecution only by making himself unavailable for selection a couple of years later.

Fortunately, Merseyside has never cared very much about what the rest of the country thinks and his beloved Anfield Hunt was always guaranteed a hero's welcome. So much so that after he had moved to Bolton in 1969 at the age of 31 a 56.000 full house turned out for his testimonial game in 1972.
The service that Roger Hunt gave the club made him a worthy recipient of that tribute, and the salute that the Anfield crowd afforded him that night was not merely a recognition of the volume of goals that he recorded in their colours, but also of the proportion of those strikes that were scored when the pressure was greatest and the stakes were highest.
(From "Liverpool's Greatest Players" by David Walmsley)


7.3.00:  Roger Hunt, along with all the other surviving members of England's World Cup winning squad of 1966, receives his MBE at Buckingham Palace today. Congratulations, Roger !!!!!

Thor Zakariassen