May 6, 1943
The most gratifying feature of Liverpool’s success in the season now drawing to a close has been not the winning of the Championship No. 2, nor the Liverpool Senior Cup, but the fact that two players who have never yet figured in a real Football League game have risen from Reserve team status to the gain their places in their national teams. I refer to Billy Liddell, the winger who was first chosen for Scotland last season, and to Ray Lambert, the left back, who plays for Wales against England on Saturday.
That must constitute almost a record, for both players are purely wartime discoveries, and with Harry Kaye certainly heading for the game’s biggest honours, Liverpool while enjoying the glory of their success in the trophy seeking – not at an end yet, for the Lancashire Cup is their for the winning – must feel intense satisfaction that Liddell and Lambert have gained their “caps.” It emphasises the value of the junior “school” which has been a feature of secretary-manager Mr. George Kay’s campaign.
Like the majority of other clubs Liverpool have had weekly team worries – worries which have not cleared some weeks until just before the kick-off – but they have been fortunate in having so many grand “guest” players to help them. And whenever the “guests” have been lost to them the Reds have unhesitatingly, and successfully, given their juniors the chance to make good.
From the early days when Eric Keen proved such a strong captain Liverpool have had stars galore, while the majority of their own players have been out for long periods. Look at this list and you will appreciate what a wealth of talent has been at the disposal of the club: Eric Keen, Roy Guttridge, George Mills, George Jackson, Jack Westby, Dick Dorsett, Fred Haycock, Frank Rist, Stan Charlesworth, Maurice Edelston, Arthur Woodruffe, Harry Mather, Archie Livingstone, Tommy Pearson, Don Welsh, Fred Williams, and some others whose names escape me for the moment.
Value of Fagan.
The members of the pre-war team have made occasional appearances – and valued appearances at that – while of the youngsters who have stepped into the breach and stood the test one recalls the value of such as Michael Hulligan, Jack Campbell, Billy Hall, Arthur Shepherd, Kenneth Seddon, Fred Finney, Willis and Stan Palk. Hulligan has proved a sensation since he took over after Liddell’s departure for the RAF.
Stalwarts during the season have been Alf Hobson, goalkeeper “guest” from Chester until last week, when his transfer back to Liverpool was completed, and Cyril Done, the club’s leading goalscorer and 13 stone of menace to any defence. Done has fallen right into the Reds’ famous switch scheme, and to equip him for this move is the reason Done is often played at inside-left. It gives him extra experience. Then there is Jack Pilling, the left half who helped South Liverpool to Welsh Cup honours before the wat and who has become a second Jimmy McInnes.
And one of the secrets of success has been their captaincy of Willie Fagan, who took over after the first or so from Eric Keen, and who has been a real skipper in very sense. That Fagan has not received his Scottish cap is Scotland’s loss. Fagan has typified the team spirit of Liverpool which has led them to their triumphs, spurred on by that inherent driving force of manager Mr. Kay, ably aided by Trainers Mr. Albert Shelley and Mr. Jimmy Seddon, and one must not forget Chairman Mr. R. Lawson Martindale and his directors.
As Mr. Kay said to me. “We set out to give our followers attractive football and to give encouragement to the youth of the district, and I think we have succeeded.”
Agreed – and at the same time Liverpool are certain to show a remarkable credit balance for a war season.
(Evening Express: May 6, 1943)