The forgotten Liverpool hero who was so good they named the club after him


Eight hundred and forty footballers represented the Liverpool Football Club.

But three stand out above all the rest.

Dalglish, Gerrard and Liddell – The Three Kings of Liverpool.

Numerous books have been written on the life and career of Kenny Dalglish – including at least three by his own, My Liverpool Home, My Autobiography and Kenny Dalglish: My Life.

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Even more has been written about Steven Gerrard – with at least four autobiographical volumes, My Story, My Autobiography, My Liverpool Story and My Captains’ Book.

But until this month, only two have celebrated the life and achievements of Billy Liddell, the last of which was released almost 20 years ago.

Liverpool fan, historian and writer Peter Kenny Jones restored that balance with his’Billy Liddell at 100: a family portrait. ‘

Peter earned a master’s degree in history almost 60 years after the legendary Liddell’s last kick for the Reds.

But his connection to – and his motivation to dedicate his first book to the club’s first modern superstar, is unique.

“My father’s sister, my aunt, is a good friend with Billy Liddell’s sister, Rena,” he explained. “They both did Scottish dancing together – and with Billy, so that family bond started.

“It’s her 100th birthday in January and the time was right.”

Liddell’s status as one of Liverpool’s greatest players is unquestionable.

Ian Callaghan, himself an Anfield idol, said: “Great man – he was a god in Liverpool.” As Bill Shankly once said, “Liddell was a player… he had it all. He was fast, powerful, fired with both feet and his heads were like rifle shots. On top of all that, he was as hard as granite. What a player! He was so strong – and he took a nineteen inch collared shirt! “

These testimonies are already in the public domain. But Peter has become a detective, reaching out to – and in his own words stalking! – as many people as possible to unearth breathtaking views of the legendary Liddell.

“I knocked on Jamie Carragher’s door and handed a letter to his wife and he called me a few days later,” he said.

“I managed to find Ian Callaghan’s address and mailed him a letter and he replied.

“I spoke to Gordon Wallace, Gordon Milne, Johnny Morrissey, Jimmy Melia, Keith Burkinshaw, George Scott, Alex South and Alan Banks.

“Alan Hansen was another one I tracked down and knocked on his door and his wife let me in!

Author and historian Peter Kenny Jones

“Not all of them are known. Some have only played a handful of games. But Billy has played with 120 players in his career, only 10 are alive today and only six are good enough to speak. to people and keeping that legacy alive was brilliant. “

It’s quite a legacy. Liddell’s influence on the club was such that Liverpool were commonly referred to as ‘Liddellpool’ in the years leading up to Bill Shankly’s arrival as manager.

He signed a professional contract in 1939, but the outbreak of war forced him to wait almost seven years to make his Liverpool debut. Yet he still managed 534 appearances and scored 228 goals in his nearly 23-year career at the club.

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“He was there for so long,” added Peter. “He arrived at 16 but had to wait to make his debut at 24.

“He was the club’s top scorer for seven of the nine seasons – on the wing – before Mo Salah and Sadio Mane did that sort of thing.

“And no one had a hard time saying about him. There is literally not a bad story, everyone loved him. He was excellent at football and so dedicated off the pitch. After the end of his career, he did his bookkeeping, continued to work at Liverpool United and became a justice of the peace,

“He played at the age of 38, which made him the oldest post-war player, and only resigned because Bill Shankly needed to cut payroll or he would have continued because he was so fit and so dedicated. “

Liddell at One Hundred: a family portrait of a Liverpool icon hit the shelves on November 8.

You can pre-order now:

Or the book will be available on Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith, and many other vendors.


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