March 1, 1947
Better for the break-in
Liverpool did not vary their method of preparation for to-day’s Cup-tie, and spent the earlier part of the week doing their usual training before going to Birkdale to relax on Thursday and Friday.
The Reds trainers, Albert Shelley and Jimmy Seddon, have had years of playing experience which helps them considerably in knowing when the players are fit without being overtrained.
At team headquarters in Birkdale the Reds spent part of the time playing table tennis, Bill Jones being a useful performer at the game.
For Ray Minshull the Birkdale trip is scarcely a change of air, as Ray lives there, travelling to Liverpool every day.
Ray Lambert, who lives at Chester, also travels to do his training, and at present is spending a lot of time breaking in new football boots, always an unpopular task with players.
It is a wise policy to spend some time in wearing new boots a few times before actually playing in them and during the summer some players wear new boots at home in order to get them ready for the start of the season.
Football boots have been difficult to obtain since 1939, and in war-time Soccer, players often wore boots which were a wrong size or falling to pieces, a marked contrast to pre-war days when a player could have them made to measure.
When the Reds were at ball practice last week, an unknown player dashed up and had a shot at goal. On closer investigation it proved to be Stan Hawthorne, the brilliant North East lightweight, who does his training at Anfield. Stan does his track work the same as the players, apart from the fact that he occasionally stops to put in a spell of shadow boxing.
The icy grounds on which we have played lately have not deterred Bernard Ramsden, who regularly played on bone hard surfaces when in the Forces overseas.
While most of us were gloomily contemplating the glassy state of the pitch on Tuesday Barney ran a few yards, and pivoted gracefully – “Nothing wrong with the ground – it’s lovely,” he grinned.
Birmingham City have nothing if not confidence with regard to their chances of promotion. I remember meeting some of the Birmingham team on the boat coming back from Sweden, where Newcastle United made a close season tour.
Players and officials of both clubs were talking about their respective chances of reaching Division 1, and the Birmingham players expressed no doubt whatever about winning the Second Division this season – they said what was puzzling them was who else would go up!
The number of players who can score from penalty kicks in practice and yet fail during a game is remarkable.
The Reds were rehearsing penalty kicks recently and almost everyone scored repeatedly. I think the importance of the occasion during an actual match is often responsible for “spot” misses, despite the fact that many fans aver there can be no excuse for the culprits.
The late Bill Imrie, formerly of Blackburn and Newcastle United, was reported to have missed but one penalty during his career. Bill’s reply to anyone who asked him how it was done was – “I just him ‘em hard – and they go in.”
(Source: Liverpool Echo: March 1, 1947)