September 7, 1956
When Johnny Wheeler, Bolton Wanderers’ England wing half-back, signed for Liverpool yesterday, he completed a reversal of normal procedure. He had got himself a house before a transfer. Yesterday morning, Wheeler, born at Crosby, Liverpool, asked Bolton manager Bill Ridding for permission to go to see the house, which, with the club’s sanction, he had bought in Liverpool.
“Right,” said Ridding, “but stay close to the telephone. I might want to talk to you later.” At lunchtime he told Wheeler to go over to the Anfield ground because Liverpool were keen to sign him.
Liverpool’s manager, Phil Taylor, having heard that Wheeler was moving back “home,” had asked Bolton for an opinion on the player. Yesterday morning he renewed his interest at the right moment. The fee is around £15,000.
So the man who was Bill Ridding first signing for Bolton (from Tranmere Rovers in 1951) figures in the first big deal of Taylor, who was appointed manager of Liverpool only a few months ago.
Taylor, himself a former Liverpool and England wing half of the Wheeler type, told me last night: “I played against Johnny a number of times, and was always impressed by his forceful personality and fine club spirit. He is a man who will play anywhere.”
Wheeler has not played this season because of an ankle injury, but is expected to be fit for Liverpool’s home match with Stoke next Saturday.
Liverpool’s writing of the transfer cheque ended an almost complete close-down in the big fee transfer market since the desperation deals last March.
(Source: Daily Mail: September 8, 1956)