Irchester, Northamptonshire, 29.5. 1951
When Chris Lawler's career was effectively ended by
injury in November 1973, many Reds fans must have wondered if the club
would ever see a right-back of his quality and consistency again. The
wait for a worthy successor lasted just one year, not the lifetime that
most observers had expected.
Bob Paisley saw Neal as a utility player who could
figure throughout the defence, and as the new man had spent the last
two-thirds of the game in goal when chief scout Geoff Twentyman had been
to watch him, that wasn't to far off the mark.
Did you know that Phil Neal is the only man to appear in all five of Liverpool's European Cup finals and is the only player to score in more than one of them ?
By 1985 Phil was beginning to contemplate a move into
management, but the fact that he eventually did so with Bolton rather
than Liverpool heralded a brief falling out with his former colleagues
at Anfield. Neal's belief that he was a clear favourite to succeed Joe
Fagan after Heysel left him severly piqued by the subsequent appointment
of Kenny Dalglish and some illadvised comments in the right-back's
autobiography a year later saw his erstwhile teammate serve him with a
High Court writ.
His years at Liverpool had provided him with more good
memories than any player could ever dare to expect from the game and in
a gesture of thanks to the club and the people of the city for giving
him the happiest days of his professional life he loaned his entire
medal collection to the Red's museum.
Thor Zakariassen ©