Tuesday, February 1 – 1944
Matt Busby, Liverpool’s club captain and one of Scotland’s war-time captain’s, is of the considered opinion that Liverpool will prove one of the sensation clubs of football when we get back to peacetime conditions. “No club will get away to a better start,” said Matt.
I had a long talk with Busby when he was here during the week-end, and although he had not seen much of his colleagues for about two years he is convinced that the club has the material to form a magnificent blend of youth and experience. Nos, Busby is one of the shrewdest judges besides being a superlative player, and I have the utmost respect for his views. Matt took a peep into the future of the club.
“All the pre-war youngsters are developing just as we thought they would,” said Matt. “The news comes through from Northern Ireland that all the boys are doing well, and I know that this is so for I played against a lot of them when I went to Brighton with Reading.
“One of the outstanding of the Reds that day was Jack Easdale, who played centre half. Take it from me Jack (*) Easdale is a brilliant player. With young Laurie Hughes, who impressed me so at Goodison Park, and Tom Bush, as well as Easdale we shall not have any centre half worries.
“Playing with me at Reading has been Bill Jones, and at right back I haven’t seen a better in years. Honestly, Bill is a smasher in every respect. I cannot help thinking how lucky we were to have such a player.”
I assured Matt that we were all enamoured of Jones when he came up last season for the Blackpool cup-ties, and now it seems that our opinion is shared everywhere.
“I haven’t seen a lot of Young Harry Kaye,” continued Matt, “but apparently he is the goods. I assured him that Kaye was one of the best war-time discoveries, and that the youngster was as good on the left as on the right. Incidentally, Kaye has been discharged from hospital without undergoing the cartilage operation. That old septic wound has re-asserted itself, and so George (*) will have to wait a week or so before getting his knee put right.
“What impressed you most about the Goodison game from the Liverpool point of view?” I asked Matt.
“That is easy,” he replied. “To my mind the thing which stood out a mile was the brilliance of Jack Balmer. Jack was always a grand player, but in the past season or so he seems to have even improved on his previous best. Jack seems to be stronger and quicker to get the ball, and he has a remarkable knack of moving both ways and changing direction in a flash, whether it be an individual burst-through or pass.
“I doubt whether there is a better inside-forward playing football today, and in my opinion it is a pity that England cannot find a place for him. It was a treat playing behind Jack and ‘Nivvy’.”
Before we parted I asked Matt what he thought of Everton, and he said: “Well, Tommy Lawton is better than ever he was, and the Blues seem to have found a winner in little Jackie Grant. If ever I saw a worker, he is the lad. Both the Liverpool clubs look to be in for a nice time when normal days return.”
(Evening Express, 01-02-1944)
** Matt Busby referred to player names a little different: Jack Easdale, George Kaye, Berry Nieuwenhuys (Nivvy).
Matt Busby (centre) with Joe Mercer and Don Welsh.