Ron Yeats

 

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Born:              Aberdeen 15.11.1937
Transfer Fee:   22,000 (from Dundee United, July 1961)
Games:          451 (1 as sub)
Goals:              15
Honours:         Division One 63/64, 65/66
                      Division Two 61/62
                      FA Cup 64/65
                      Scotland Caps 2 (both with Liverpool).
Other clubs:    Dundee United, Tranmere Rovers, 
                      Staylbridge Celtic, Barrow AFC
As Manager:   Tranmere Rovers

 

 

When Ron Yeats stepped off the train at Lime Street in July 1961 none of the waiting crowd of autograph hunters and well-wishers needed to ask which of the passengers was Liverpool's new centre-half. The Reds had been surprisingly secretive about this transfer from Dundee United, keeping silent about the size of the fee and suggesting that he would be flying into the city after putting pen to paper in Scotland.
But men of Yeats' stature are difficult to hide and even though the fans at the station were thus far unfamiliar with this work, it did not take them long to pick him out on the platform.

At 6ft 2in and 14st 5lb, Shankly was for once not exaggerating when he invited the press to take a walk round his new signing. Yeats was a giant of a man. And in all senses, as Anfield was soon to discover. It wasn't his enormous frame and massive physical presence that earned him the club captaincy within five months of his arrival.

He was a genuinely great leader of men. However, it was the hard outer shell rather than the inner man it protected, which made Ron Yeats' name and by which he is first remembered; understandably so as he did cut the most imposing of figures.
It is no coincidence that almost all the metaphors ever used to characterise him focus solely on his appearance and spring from the language of bricks, mortar and the toughest of masonry. He was his manager's "Colossus" and "the cornerstone of the building up of this club". To his players he was a simpler "big man".

He was variously described as the foundation of Liverpool's success in the 1960s, a tower of strenght in the air and the rock on which many an opposition attack would founder.
He missed only 20 games in his first six years at the club. He and St. John were the men credited as the catalysts for the Reds' successful promotion push and the fans showed their appreciation after the match that clinched the Division Two title, swarming on to the pitch during the player's attempted lap of honour and sweeping the two Scots away with such exuberance that they had to be rescued by the police.

He was the first Liverpool captain to hold aloft the FA Cup (in 1965), a moment that he later described as the proudest of his life.
His Anfield career ended in 1971 after growling back trouble eventually cost him his place, and signalled a move to Tranmere Rovers as player-manager. He returned to Liverpool during the mid-1980s to become Chief Scout. And he still is in that position.
(From "Liverpool's Greatest Players" by David Walmsley)


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