January 18, 1945
In this age of youth it is still the men of experience who are setting the seal on success in the football field. This was never more clearly emphasised than in the case of Liverpool this season. At the moment Liverpool lead the list of 60 northern clubs battling for North Cup qualification, and while Liverpool have brought to prominence as many brilliant youngsters as other clubs – and more than most – they realise that it is the experience in the side which has paved the way for success.
Two years ago Liverpool decided that the best policy to adopt was to play as many own players as possible, but with a sprinkling of attractive guest players to give the side additional glamour. The policy paid a handsome dividend, for Liverpool were runners-up in Championship No. 1 of the 1942-43 season, and champions of the No. 2 Championship before finishing third in both the championships last season.
The Reds have had many famous guest players- including England’s captain, Stan Cullis – but two of the most successful have been Don Welsh, of England and Charlton Athletic, and Jeff Gulliver, of Reading, who are such important factors in the Reds’ current successes.
As a matter of fact, I doubt whether Liverpool have ever found a more loyal servant than Welsh, one of football’s most versatile players, who is now in his second season at Anfield. Welsh, in my opinion, is the man England should play at inside left against Scotland on February 3, and that opinion is shared by Tommy Lawton, who will lead the England attack. Tommy does not forget that when he and Don linked up at Chester once they scored 15 goals between them.
They wanted him.
Away back in 1934 Liverpool took a strong fancy to Welsh. The present chairman and vice-chairman – Messrs. William McConnell and Stanley Ronald Williams – were “scouting” Torquay way at that time with eyes on Ralph Birkett and Welsh, but Arsenal secured Birkett after Liverpool’s bid, and Welsh eventually went to Charlton.
As a matter of fact, Don was missed by Manchester United for whom he played at inside left as a boy, and joined the Royal Navy, being bought out by Torquay. It was in 1935 that Don left Plainmoor for Charlton, and about six seasons ago he crashed into the limelight as an international proposition, being deputy for Cliff Britton, Joe Mercer and Lawton.
Since his arrival at Anfield he has had a wonderful influence on the young players. Welsh has always been ready with sound advice and his method of play – how he can attract attention to himself, leaving the way for others, is amazing – has helped materially in developing the youngsters at Anfield.
Withal Welsh has proved a great drawing card, and when Don eventually leaves us, as I suppose he will when peace returns, we shall be much in his debt.
So with Gulliver, the unobtrusive left-back, and a grand ball-user. Gulliver is a player who would do Liverpool well in post-war days, for he is a quick intervener, and a defender of the straightforward but reliable type. Gulliver is Welsh born, and may one day receive the Ted Robbins “call.”
Referring to experience, one must not forget the inspiration of Berry Nieuwenhuys, the captain, who has accommodated himself to the inside right position to prove such a provider for the ever-improving Jack Campbell, and cover for Harry Kaye. Berry has an astonishing aptitude for getting the best out of his colleagues and himself.
Phil Taylor is another who has had tremendous influence on this good Liverpool team: in fact, players who played with Phil in representative games agree with me that the Bristol lad is one of the most potent inside-rights in football at the moment. Liverpool, blessed with players like these and their many good juniors, cannot miss.
(Evening Express: January 18, 1945)