Liverpool F.C. players report for training

July 21, 1952
With only a month to go before the start of another football season, preparations behind the scenes of the Football League clubs are going ahead at increased tempo.

Managers have plenty to do just now. Many are still seeking to remedy old or prospective weaknesses which have not yet been strengthened by close-season signings, of which there have been fewer than in any previous post war season. They are also sifting their big list of young trialists, to whom the glamorous life of a professional footballer seems most attractive. They learn of the snags later. There are plenty for the men who don’t get right to the top of the tree. It is not all milk and honey.

Players everywhere are now winding up their summer holiday period, and will gradually be getting down, by easy stages, to a spell of intensive training in readiness for the opening games on August 23.

This is not the hard work it used to be a generation or two ago. Most modern professionals keep themselves almost as fit during the summer as in the winter. Few have more than a few rounds of superfluous flesh to shed. On present day rations it is beyond the ingenuity of most housewives to feed anybody to the extent that fat supplants muscle, even with those who, like myself, are suffering middle-age spread. In the old days it was very different. The early weeks of pre-season training then were a pretty tough business for those who had passed the summer indolently and indulged too heartily with knife and fork.

Generally speaking, the line-up of the majority of teams for the opening matches of next season will show comparatively few changes. Transfers of importance have been almost nil, and most clubs will rely, at least in the early stages of the campaign on those who carried the banner last winter.

Anfielders report.
Albert Stubbins was the only senior player not present when Liverpool’s staff reported at Anfield this morning. Stubbins is still doing his training in the North East, though he will probably come down for a few days before the public practice game on August 16. He has recently opened a show-room in Newcastle in connection with his business there.

Stubbins apart, everybody else reported as expected. Taylor and Hughes have been doing remedial training throughout the summer to get them right for senior duty again following their lay-off after cartilage operations. Both have made good progress and should be thoroughly fit before the campaign opens.

Paisley has shed the plaster from his injured wrist, and though it still requires care, so far as playing is concerned he will be ready with the rest at the right time.

Jack Balmer, who is now to coach the younger members of the Anfield staff, was also present to-day. He is looking forward to his new task in which his long playing experience should be of great value. Not all star players make good coaches, but Balmer has the ability to put his stuff over to the lads who come under him. If they are willing to learn, as most of them are, they will benefit from the lessons and examples this loyal Liverpool servant can give them. The rest is in the hands – or rather feet – of the boys themselves.

The only new full-time professionals at Anfield this season are Jimmy Rolfe, a 21-years-old local outside right, and inside forward Bill Pringle, same age and also a Liverpool native. Both were on the club’s books as amateurs before leaving to do their National Service, which has now been completed.

Among the part-time professionals are three 18-years-olds of much promise in Laurie Bretland (centre forward), Eddie Green (inside left), and Joe Dickson (forward).

Chairman’s welcome.
Mr. George Alfred Richards (chairman) welcoming the players, said he hoped they would foster that esprit de corps which was so essential to success in team games. In football the motto should be “each for all and all for each.” If they adopted that, success was assured.

Addressing the younger members of the staff, he said they had joined one of the best clubs in the country, a statement which present and former players would confirm. They should not do themselves full justice at the start. Every opportunity would be given them to make the grade if they had the ability and the determination to succeed.

“There are many setbacks in this game,” he added. “You can be on top of the world one day and down in the depths the next. Don’t be unduly elated by praise, too despondent if you are not having a good time, or upset if you come into the first team in an emergency and then have to return to the second or even third team. Your patience and industry will eventually be rewarded.

Wishing the players freedom from injury during the months ahead, and a very successful season. Mr. Roberts finally expressed the hope that they would all maintain the prestige and good name of Liverpool, on and off he field.

“Do it with a grin.”
Mr. Don Welsh (manager), said no player could do his best on the field unless he was fully fit and able to make complete use of his ability. The next month’s training is going to be hard. We are going to be tired, worn, and perhaps a little weary, but let us bear it with a grin. It is all for your own little ultimate benefit.”

Within half an hour of reporting the 30 full-time professionals who constitute the staff, apart from Stubbins, were in track suits and had set out at jog trot for the Melwood training ground accompanied by Manager Welsh, who defied superstition by wearing a suit numbered 13.
(Liverpool Echo, 21-07-1952)

1952 training 21 July 52

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