January 21, 1956
A coal-lorry cargo tells the world around Anfield when Eric Anderson is on duty for the reds
One can always tell when inside right Eric Anderson is playing at Anfield. The secret is to watch for a coal hauliers lorry carrying not coal but a cargo of Eric’s brothers who never fail to make the trip from their Manchester homes when the next to youngest member of the family is wearing the red of Liverpool.
Nothing less than a lorry would suffice for this particular family on their week-ends jaunts, for there are seven sons, Eric, Arthur, Jack, Charlie, Allan, Cornelius and Tommy and two sisters, Jean and Joan. All are married with the exception of our medium to-day – Eric – and Jack and Arthur.
You may wonder where the coal lorry enter into things. Well Cornelius (he prefers Con for short), has a coal merchant’s business and not only has it helped to solve the transport problem but it is so flourishing as to be able to provide employment for all the brothers, making it a real family concern.
All like football.
It is not surprising that such a large family of boys found football their chief hobby and apart from Eric all have played the game with varying degree of success, Charlie and Allan having assisted Bury, while the youngest brother, Arthur, has twice had trials with Liverpool.
Eric, who has lived in Manchester all his life, has no sterner critics than his own brothers, while in addition, as an uncle to four lively youngsters in Tommy (8), Lewis, Leonard and Dennis (all aged seven), he now finds himself even more heavily outnumbered. “Not that I ever get anything, but constructive criticism,” said Eric.
Liverpool’s slightly-built inside forward lives at home with his parents in Copper Street, Collyhurst, Manchester 9, though his mother and father both know Merseyside quite well, having been residents at West Kirby some years ago.
The Andersons now have “Billy” a budgie as their only family pet, though in actual fact they are a great dog lovers, and for several years had as their hobby the breeding of wire-haired terriers.
Plays all sports.
Eric’s personal hobbies centre chiefly around sports of all description. He plays gold (without aspiring to handicap status), likes table-tennis and snooker especially, though like the rest of the Anfield playing staff he usually finds himself on the losing side when he comes up against John Evans, the club champion.
In the summer, Eric likes nothing better than to go swimming. He has enjoyed this sport since an early age for he swam for the Hugh Oldham Youth Club on several occasions. Now, of course, as a professional footballer, he has to forsake this pastime in the winter months.
Obviously, from this, Eric has plenty to occupy him in his moments of leisure, but he still finds time to pay an occasional visit to the cinema. “I like gangster films best,” he told me, “particularly those with Glen Ford and Robert Mitchum. I used to go dancing a lot, but don’t bother much these days.
Boxing at Belle Vue is Eric’s idea of a real night out, while despite the lengthy trip he occasionally makes Liverpool Stadium his objective. His interest in the fistic game dates back to his National Service, which was spent with a Tank Regiment chiefly at Perham Downs, Salisbury Plain. While in the Army he tried his hand at boxing, but now finds the spectatorial role more enjoyable.
Sunday mornings, circumstances permitting, Eric usually goes along with his great friend and team-mate, Roy Saunders, to watch some of the local teams in action. “We each have our own favourites and when they clash, well sometimes the atmosphere is so tense I almost wish I was out there playing rather than arguing it out on the line,” he added with a grin.
The young pair are to get in some extra training by going along to the Anfield club’s new training ground, rented from Manchester Corporation at Belle Vue, where they will assist the amateurs from that district.
Eric, who likes holidays spent touring in the South, is not likely to stay in football once his playing days are over. He may always change his mind, of course, but at the moment his idea is to get a small business, probably a newsagents and tobacconists.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: January 21, 1956)