Liverpool’s list of guest stars

December 5, 1944
If you feel like a memory test and ten minutes mental fun and games, cover up what appears below and try to answer this question: “How many guest players can you name who have played for Liverpool during the war?”

The query arose in a certain “local” a few days ago and I was asked to settle it. Those present made guesses varying from 30 to 150. Below is the full list, bar one. You remember the laddie who came along purporting to be a League player and gave such a comical exhibition that even George Formby could hardly have beaten it? He’s dropped. Total guests occupying each position is given in brackets.

Goalkeepers (7): Frank Swift (Manchester City), Jack Robinson (Manchester City), Sam Bartram (Charlton Athletic), William Fairhurst (Bury), Billy Teasdale (Tranmere Rovers), Alf Hobson (Chester), Jack Breeze (Chester).

Right backs (11): Roy Guttridge (Aston Villa), Jack Tennant (Stoke), Billy Cook (Everton), Jack Jones (Everton), George Jackson (Everton), Norman Kirby (Dundee), Alf Pope (Heart of Midlothian), Jack Westby (Blackburn Rovers), Fred Williams (Southampton), Bill Gorman (Bury), Sam Thorpe (Tranmere Rovers).

Left backs (6): Robert Stuart (Middlesbrough), Arthur Owen (Tranmere Rovers), Albert Young (Arsenal), Wood (Rochdale), Harry Mather (Burnley), Jeff Gulliver (Reading).

Right halves (9): Cliff Britton (Everton), Bill Shankly (Preston North End), Bob Batey (Preston North End), Tom Grosvenor (Bolton Wanderers), Charles Longden (Brighton and Hove Albion), Frank Rist (Charlton Athletic), Harry Johnston (Blackpool), Arnold Whiteside (Blackburn Rovers), Bert Whalley (Manchester United).

Centre halves (10): Stan Cullis (Wolves), Bert Turner (Charlton Athletic), Alan Brown (Huddersfield Town), Walter Halsall (Birmingham), Bob Pryde (Blackburn Rovers), Arthur Woodruffe (Burnley), Eric Keen (Derby County), Stan Charlesworth (Grimsby Town), Norman Low (Newport County), Steve Hughes (New Brighton).

Left halves (2): James Woodburn (Newcastle United), Arnold Grundy (Newcastle United).

Outside rights (3): Dennis Grainger (Southport), Syd Rawlings (Millwall), Jimmy McCormick (Tottenham Hotspur).

Inside rights (6): George Murphy (Bradford City), Peter Doherty (Manchester City), George Ainsley (Leeds United), Andy McLaren (Preston North End), Ronnie Dix (Tottenham Hotspur), George Farrow (Blackpool).

Centre forwards (7): Don Welsh (Charlton Athletic), Dennis Westcott (Wolves), Frank O’Donnell (Aston Villa), George Hunt (Bolton Wanderers), Billy Cairns (Newcastle United), George Mills (Chelsea), Jack Smith (Manchester United).

Inside lefts (11): George Drury (Arsenal), George Mutch (Preston North End), Robert Beattie (Preston North End), Lloyd Iceton (Preston North End), Dick Dorsett (Wolves), Johnny Carey (Manchester United), Fred Haycock (Aston Villa), Maurice Edelston (Reading), Archie Livingstone (Bury), Andy Black (Heart of Midlothian), Stan Butler (Southport).

Outside lefts (9): Alf Hanson (Chelsea), Jimmy McIntosh (Preston North End), Jimmy Dougal (Preston North End), Jack Wharton (Preston North End), Hugh O’Donnell (Blackpool), Tommy Pearson (Newcastle United), Horace Cumner (Arsenal), Charles Lewis (Everton), Jack Lyon (Everton).

That gives a total of 81 guest players in the past five years. Split up in seasons it reads: 1939-1940, 8; 1940-1941, 21; 1941-1942, 19; 1942-1943, 18; 1943-1944, 11; present season, 4.

Those playing for more than one season are counted once only (in their first year); those appearing in several positions are also counted once only, in the position first occupied. Some guests played only one game, and others fewer than half-a-dozen.

The list includes no fewer than 24 internationals, more than half of them pre-war vintage.

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This lengthy list shows the magnitude of Liverpool’s difficulties during the three years they were minus the services of the majority of their pre-war staff, as well as their enterprise in seeking guest stars, but at the same time it should not detract from the merit of all they have done for their young players. They have never neglected their own. Ray Lambert, Harry Kaye, Billy Liddell, Cyril Done, Stan Palk, Michael Hulligan, Jack Campbell, Eddie Spicer, Dennis Cooke, George Collister and many others were given every possible scope, and many, of course, have graduated successfully, two to the standard of international rank in Liddell and Lambert.

Three guests have made more than 50 appearances in Liverpool’s colours, viz., Westby (53), Gulliver (51) and Guttridge (51). Hobson played 85 games as a guest before Liverpool re-signed him from Chester.

A ticklish business
If there’s any post-war football problem which bristles with more difficulties than the reinstatement of professionals after Service demobilisation, I’ve got to hear of it. The snags stand out like quills on a porcupine. When reinstatement question was raised at the League “annual” even Mr. William Cuff, usually more than equal to any emergency, had to confess that he couldn’t say with certainty what the position would be, though he promised clubs would get official guidance later.

Well, they’ve got it now, but whether they will be much wiser is doubtful. The FA has circulated to all clubs lengthy extracts from an address by the Director-General of Man-Power. It clears the air only to the extent of making ut plainer than ever how full of snags the position is.

It just oozes difficulties. Those who quibbled because the Management Committee couldn’t give “a simple answer” straight away will realise now the reason why. There is no simple answer!

Biggest problem is going to be that of players getting on to the end of their careers when war broke out, and who, when demobilised, will be more or less useless to clubs from the playing point of view. Only a very limited number can be absorbed on ground, coaching, or scouting staffs. The whole business is a tricky one, and looks like causing much heartburning.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 5, 1944)

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