Billy Liddell

 

Born:               Dunfermline, 10.1. 1922
Died:                3.7.2001
Transfer Fee:    500 (from Lochgelly, July 1938. He then joined the staff;
                       and signed professional first nine months later).
Games:            537
Goals:              229
Honours:          First Division 46/47
                       Hall of Fame 99
                       Scotland Caps: 28
Other clubs:     Lochgelly

 


Both on the field and off it, Billy Liddell lived up to the very highest of standards and was an example and inspiration to all. A supreme athlet, he was one of the most complete players of his day and to many seasoned observers is still the greatest performer the club has seen.

Away from the game he did a vast amount of voluntary work for local boys' clubs and after his retirement he became a magistrate, a lay preacher and bursar of Liverpool University. The selflessness and sense of duty that guided his life outside football was as central to his approach as his vocation itself, and he was never anything less than a model proffesional.

It was his misfortune that,  for the greater part of his two decades at Anfield, there were too few other players of his ability at the club. The most modest of men, Liddell would deny  that he was forced to carry the team by himself for long periods of his career, but the fact that his side was universally known by the nickname "Liddellpool" provides the most telling measure of his influence.

Liddell won 28 peacetime caps for Scotland, a figure that does little justice to his dashing skills. A fairer indicator of his standing on the international stage is his status as one of only two players - Stanley Matthews being the other - chosen to appear in both Great Britain sides that faced the Rest of Europe and the Rest of the World in 1947.

Billy's modest international career was handsomely compensated for by the adulation  he earned in front of the Kop. Once the war was over, a full debut hat-trick showed that the powerful outside-left intended wasting little time in making his presence felt and although Albert Stubbins scored the goals that won the 1946-47 Championship, he never hid the fact that the vast majority of his chances were carved out for him by Liddell.

During 1950, Liddell's goals put Liverpool into the semifinal and then the final of the FA Cup, but at Wembley he was unable to add to his medal collection as the Reds went down 2-0 to Arsenal. After that defeat, the team began to go into decline and even Billy's individual brilliance and bravery could not prevent them from dropping out of the top flight.

With each succeeding season the task of trying to haul the Reds to promotion grew tougher and tougher, and when Billy finally decided to hang up his boots in 1960 the Anfield side were still stranded in the Second Division.
It took another Scot, Bill Shankly, to restore them to the top flight, but the exploits of Billy Liddell throughout the 21 years that he devoted to Liverpool Football Club show that greatness should not always be measured by the contents of a player's trophy cabinet.
(From "Liverpool's Greatest Players" by David Walmsley

3.7. 2001: Billy Liddell died aged 79 after losing his long battle against Alzheimer's disease.


Thor Zakariassen