Season preview 1955-56: Liverpool F.C. (Liverpool Echo)


August 27, 1955
Last year Liverpool’s motto was “Promotion in one season.” Unfortunately that was not realised, and never really looked likely to be. Indeed, at one period the more pessimistic of the club’s followers were gloomily reflecting on the possible dangers of further relegation.

There was never any real danger of that dreadful fate befalling the club, even after a poor start had brought only three points from the first seven matches. The switching of Liddell to centre forward had an immediately improvement, so that although promotion remained far off – and Birmingham and Doncaster once put 13 goals past Rudham in eight days – the Anfielders finished with a reasonably satisfactory record – 42 points from as many games and a final position of eleventh.

The main fly in the ointment was that the defence was prone to concede too any goals. For an ex-First Division side to have 96 against them in its first season below caused worry to those concerned, players as well as directors and manager.

It is all very well to say, “It doesn’t matter about goals against provided the forwards can get one more than the opposition.” When the forwards start to fail in their task the defence must carry the greater part of the burden, and then defensive shortcomings appear in too strong a light.

Hopes of Hughes
One factor which had considerable bearing on this was the absence of Laurie Hughes from early March to the season’s end. Neither South nor Fred Tomley filled the bill as his deputy. The former was something of a disappointment after his excellent showing in the Cup replay with Lincoln. On top of that the moving of Twentyman to the pivotal berth after his highly successful conversion to wing-half meant that the forwards did not always have the necessary constructive passes plied them from behind.

Now, however, Hughes is back to fitness, and all followers of the club will hope most fervently that the ill-luck which has so often dogged this gallant player has at last come to an end. Hughes has been more unfortunate than the majority of players. He has had several long spells out of action. But he is by no means a veteran in years, and his freedom from further injury can have a most beneficial effect on the team as a whole, and the rearguard in particular.

Injuries to other players were rather too frequent, leading to the problem of adequate replacement. Liverpool still have only a fairly small professional staff and not all the reserves are ready step into the senior side.

Liddell, who is 34 in January, is likely to be as big a thorn as ever in the side of opponents. So much has been written about Liddell that repetition tends to become monotonous. Yet the fact must again be stated that without him the Liverpool side would be severely handicapped.

Apart from his personal playing skill, he has the knack of bringing out the best in his colleagues. Evans could readily testify to Liddell’s share in the many goals the former Charlton man obtained last season.

Rudham’s courage
The former long series of away reverses which contributed to materially to Liverpool’s relegation and held them back last winter, now appears to be at an end.

The last ten engagements on foreign soil, including last week’s trip to Nottingham, have brought six wins, three defeats and one draw. If this form can be maintained the picture should have a more rosy hue.

Unfortunately the fine home record on the earlier part of last season was not maintained in the closing weeks, none of the last seven Anfield matches being won. It will need a return to the earlier home dominance if promotion is to materialise as a possibility.

That prospect might become a reality if the forwards can again show last season’s striking power – only Rotherham United and Blackburn Rovers of the other Second Division sides scored more goals than the Reds – and the rearguard is tightened up compared with last season.

Goalkeepers’ errors early last term took their toll, and Rudham has not been blameless since taking over. It is to be hoped greater experience will remedy that. Certainly the big South African is not lacking in courage and agility.

Lambert, the “hardy annual,” gets no younger, but his years in the game have taught him to use his head to save his legs whenever possible. Moran, is now out of the Army and can be confidentially expected to improve still further on the good form he has always shown.

Molyneux imported from Chester during the summer, is a splendid physical specimen who stood out well above Third Division class last winter. Whether he is sufficiently above it to make a name for himself in Liverpool’s senior side remains to be seen.

Price, too, is said to be a worthwhile prospect.

At right half, Liverpool may find a choice hard to make if Wilkinson can regain the form of his early days. National Service in the RAF has not had a beneficial effect on the young North-Easterner. His football skill is obvious, however, and return to civilian life may see him making a strong challenge for regular inclusion.

Had Saunders more of Wilkinson’s ability in parting with the ball his worth would be increased. When it comes to gaining possession the little Mancunian has few superiors, but his distribution sometimes lets him down. He is, however, gradually mastering that, and if he succeeds will be another in the Bob Paisley mould. He was tip-toe in every respect on Wednesday.

Should Twentyman go on improving as he did last season representative honours may eventually come his way. Liverpool bought better than many expected when signing this burly Carlisle centre half, whose conversion to the flank has proved as good a move as Liddell’s to centre forward.

The two Campbells, Bobby and Don, hold the reserve wing half positions. The former, once a youth international, has yet to figure in the seniors. His namesake, without doing anything to set the Mersey alight has never let the side down.

South, a possible eventual replacement for Hughes should further disasters befall, is young enough to improve and show that his early form was no flash in the pan. Manager Don Welsh think very highly of this former Brighton lad, and it is up to South to justify that confidence.

Outside right was one of the chief problems last season neither Jackson nor Payne showing their best form except in odd flashes.

Payne is more popular with the crowd than Jackson, who was barracked a bit on Wednesday. Payne is recalled for to-day’s game, and thus gets another chance to regain the place which was his alone for so long.

Inside right will be disputed mainly between Anderson and Rowley. Arnell is also likely to be a strong contender for a senior berth. He has filled out well and improved a lot, and comes into the side against Hull through the mishap to Evans.

A’Court has his occasional critics, but his young shoulders support an old head, and if that head’s proportions grow no larger A’Court has it in his power to rattle almost any defence and put his name in the headlines often.

Robson’s worth to Darlington was rated highly, yet it looks as if injury is the only way in which he can make an entry into Second Division fare at the moment.

The whole-hearted Bimpson is a useful man to have in emergencies and young Melia is worth noting for the future.

If Liddell, in his first year as captain, can imbue his colleagues with his own superb fighting spirit and will to win, Liverpool will be easy meat for no team. Confidence in their own ability and a fair share of fortune in the important matters of injuries and the run of the ball can play a large part in their fortunes this term.

Now that the club has found its Second Division feet it may not be too long shaking the dust of this sphere from them. Nobody will be more please than I if 1955-56 sees the culmination of the promotion ambitions. But the loss of Evans is a great blow. I hope the repercussions of it will not be too severe. They will not if Wedneday’s grand fighting spirit is maintained throughout the season.

Liverpool F.C. staff list for 1955-56:
Alan A’Court.
Signed as professional: September 24, 1952;
Height: 174 cm. (5ft. 8½in.);
Weight: 65 kilos (10st. 4lb.);
Birthplace: Rainhill;
Previous club: Prescot Cables.

Eric Anderson.
Signed as professional: January 8, 1952;
Height: 174 cm. (5ft. 8½in.);
Weight: 63 kilos (9st. 12lb.);
Birthplace: Manchester;
Previous club: Army football.

Alan Arnell.
Signed as professional: March 22, 1954;
Height: 185 cm. (6ft. 1in.);
Weight: 80 kilos (12st. 8lb.);
Birthplace: Chichester;
Previous club: Sussex Youths.

John Arkwright.
Signed as professional: September 4, 1954;
Height: 183 cm. (6ft.);
Weight: 76 kilos (12st.);
Birthplace: St. Helens;
Previous club: St. Helens.

Louis Bimpson.
Signed as professional: January 28, 1953;
Height: 183 cm. (6ft.);
Weight: 78 kilos (12st. 4lb.);
Birthplace: Rainford;
Previous club: Burscough.

Keith Burkinshaw.
Signed as professional: November 16, 1953;
Height: 181 cm. (5ft. 11¼in.);
Weight: 74 kilos (11st. 10lb.);
Birthplace: Higham;
Previous club: Denaby United.

Don Campbell.
Signed as professional: November 27, 1950;
Height: 172 cm. (5ft. 7½in.);
Weight: 68 kilos (10st. 10lb.);
Birthplace: Bootle;
Previous club: Bootle schools.

Bobby Campbell.
Signed as professional: May 11, 1954;
Height: 173 cm. (5ft. 8¼in.);
Weight: 75 kilos (11st. 11lb).;
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Liverpool schools.

Arthur Daly.
Signed as professional: October 8, 1954;
Height: 180 cm. (5ft. 11in.);
Weight: 70 kilos (11st.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Liverpool schools.

Tom Derbyshire.
Signed as professional: July 26, 1955;
Height: 173 cm. (5ft. 8in.);
Weight: 70 kilos (11st.);
Birthplace: Manchester;
Previous club: Hyde United.

Joe Dickson.
Signed as professional: June 3, 1952;
Height: 170 cm. (5ft. 7in.);
Weight: 73 kilos (11st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Liverpool schools.

John Evans.
Signed as professional: December 26, 1953;
Height: 178 cm. (5ft. 10in.);
Weight: 67 kilos (10st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: London;
Previous club: Charlton Athletic.

Ray Hamblett.
Signed as professional: October 27, 1952;
Height: 170 cm. (5ft. 7in.);
Weight: 64 kilos (10st.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Liverpool schools.

Laurie Hughes.
Signed as professional: February 19, 1943;
Height: 183 cm. (6ft.);
Weight: 79 kilos (12st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Tranmere Rovers.

Brian Jackson.
Signed as professional: November 4, 1951;
Height: 172 cm. (5ft. 7¾in.);
Weight: 66 kilos (10st. 6lb.);
Birthplace: Walton on Thames;
Previous club: Leyton Orient.

Ray Lambert.
Signed as professional: July 18, 1939;
Height: 178 cm. (5ft. 10in.);
Weight: 90 kilos (14st. 3lb.);
Birthplace: Bagilt;
Previous club: Flint schools.

Billy Liddell.
Signed as professional: April 17, 1939;
Height: 179 cm. (5ft. 10¾in.);
Weight: 84 kilos (13st. 3lb.);
Birthplace: Dunfermline;
Previous club: Lochgelly Violets.

Tom McNulty.
Signed as professional: February 22, 1954;
Height: 170 cm. (5ft. 7in.);
Weight: 86 kilos (13st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: Salford;
Previous club: Manchester United.

Jimmy Melia.
Signed as professional: November 1, 1954;
Height: 170 cm. (5ft. 7in.);
Weight: 65 kilos (10st. 4lb.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Liverpool schools.

John Molyneux.
Signed as professional: June 23, 1955;
Height: 170 cm. (5ft. 7in.);
Weight: 76 kilos (12st.);
Birthplace: Warrington;
Previous club: Chester.

Ronnie Moran.
Signed as professional: January 7, 1952;
Height: 177 cm. (5ft. 9½in.);
Weight: 83 kilos (13st. 2lb.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Crosby schools.

Bill Parker.
Signed as professional: April 15, 1953;
Height: 183 cm. (6ft. 0½in.);
Weight: 82 kilos (12st. 12lb.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Burscough.

Jimmy Payne.
Signed as professional: November 3, 1944;
Height: 172 cm. (5ft. 7½in.);
Weight: 68 kilos (10st. 9lb.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Bootle ATC.

Fred Perry.
Signed as professional: July 19, 1954;
Height: 180 cm. (5ft. 11in.);
Weight: 72 kilos (11st. 5lb.);
Birthplace: Cheltenham;
Previous club: Worthing.

Con Phillips.
Signed as professional: June 1, 1955;
Height: 170 cm. (5ft. 7in.);
Weight: 70 kilos (11st.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Liverpool schools.

John Price.
Signed as professional: October 7, 1954;
Height: 178 cm. (5ft. 10in.);
Weight: 73 kilos (11st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: Wolverhampton;
Previous club: Stafford Rangers.

Les Robson.
Signed as professional: July 1, 1955;
Height: 175 cm. (5ft. 9in.);
Weight: 73 kilos (11st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: South Shields;
Previous club: Darlington.

Tony Rowley.
Signed as professional: October 17, 1953;
Height: 183 cm. (6ft.);
Weight: 78 kilos (12st. 3lb.);
Birthplace: Porth;
Previous club: Stourbridge.

Roy Saunders.
Signed as professional: May 19, 1948;
Height: 168 cm. (5ft. 6in.);
Weight: 68 kilos (10st. 9lb.);
Birthplace: Salford;
Previous club: Hull City.

Tom Scogings.
Signed as professional: January 13, 1955;
Height: 175 cm. (5ft. 9in.);
Weight: 67 kilos (10st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: Liverpool;
Previous club: Formby.

Alex South.
Signed as professional: December 10, 1954;
Height: 181 cm. (5ft. 11½in.);
Weight: 68 kilos (10st. 10lb.);
Birthplace: Brighton;
Previous club: Brighton and Hove.

Geoff Twentyman.
Signed as professional: December 17, 1953;
Height: 179 cm. (5ft. 10¾in.);
Weight: 77 kilos (12st. 1lb.);
Birthplace: Carlisle;
Previous club: Carlisle United.

Dave Underwood.
Signed as professional: December 16, 1953;
Height: 183 cm. (6ft. 0½in.);
Weight: 85 kilos (13st. 5lb.);
Birthplace: London;
Previous club: Watford.

Barry Wilkinson.
Signed as professional: June 1, 1954;
Height: 178 cm. (5ft. 10in.);
Weight: 78 kilos (12st. 4lb.);
Birthplace: Bishop Auckland;
Previous club: Bishop Auckland.

Graham Wood.
Signed as professional: November 25, 1954;
Height: 172 cm. (5ft. 7½in.);
Weight: 67 kilos (10st. 7lb.);
Birthplace: Wolverhampton;
Previous club: Stafford Rangers.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: August 27, 1955; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

Liverpool F.C. season 1955-56 (from lfchistory.net).

Back (left to right): Alan Arnell, John Molyneux, Dave Underwood, Geoff Twentyman, Ronnie Moran.
Middle row (left to right): Ray Lambert, Roy Saunders, Laurie Hughes, Bobby Campbell, Alex South, Don Campbell, Albert Shelley (trainer).
Front row (left to right): Jimmy Payne, Louis Bimpson, Billy Liddell, John Evans, Alan A’Court.
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