August 1, 1939
In camp with the “terriers”
It’s grand training for football.
Liverpool Football Club will hold their first practice match this week – for the benefit of Britain’s Territorials. Arrangements have been completed for the players to have a match at Langrove Camp, Park Mill, Swansea, where 24 of the Reds are in camp with 9th Bn. King’s Liverpool Regiment.
Mr. George Kay, manager of the club, went to camp with the players and spent the first night under canvas. He had a conference with the authorities, and permission was given for the players to have facilities for football training. Immediately Mr. Kay telegraphed for Albert Shelley, the Liverpool head-trainer, to go to Langrove and join the players in camp.
Although Shelley is not in the Territorial Army, he is being accommodated in the camp, and each day, as soon as the players have completed their military training and had a rest, they go through their soccer preparation, just as if they were at home. This includes gymnasium work, sprinting, and ball practice. Naturally, they are experts at this part of their work, but they are also shaping splendidly as soldiers.
Mr. George Kay said to me today that everyone was delighted with them. The lads were proving really smart soldiers.
“Good old reds.”
Matt Busby, the club captain, who is in camp, has written me about the experiences.
“No sooner had we arrived here,” he writes, “then up went the cry ‘Good old Reds!’ We were not surprised when those shouts were followed by ‘Come on the Blues!’
“When we got to the camp we found that the pitch had been well watered! It was one sea of mud, but we are used to this and it did not bother us much.
“Tom moves, all move.”
“After a good meal we went off to bed, and I was one of ten in one tent! It was a bit of a squeeze. As a matter of fact, whenever anyone wanted to move we had to wait for Tommy Cooper to give the signal. Then we all moved at once!
“Trying to find places for our clothes was a scream. Jack Easdale kept on asking where he could hang his coat, and Willie Fagan at last said, ‘Put it in the wardrobe in the corner.’
“The first morning we were up at six o’clock, as soon as the bugle went. We had to shave in cold water!
“Still, all the boys are revelling in it and are full of beans. We were given physical training at 6.45 a.m. and then had a good breakfast of liver and bacon.
“Afterwards the rest of the battalion went off on parade, but we were taken out and ut through marching order and gun drill. I wish you could have seen the antics of some of us with the rifles. Still, we are willing to learn. More later.”
(Evening Express: August 1, 1939, by ‘Pilot’)
George Kay, Liverpool F.C. manager.