Emlyn Hughes: At last real recognition

May 2, 1974
Anfield, in the middle of a week that ends with the FA Cup Final at Wembley, is organized bedlam. Fans who have forced their way into the main reception area in the search for tickets bear the look of people waiting for a miracle they know is unlikely to happened.

At midday, a coach draws up to the edge of the car park. It is the players, returning from their morning’s work at the nearby Melwood training ground. They run a gauntlet of “Good lucks,” “Got any spares?” and requests for autographs on the way to the safety of the dressing-rooms.

Manager Bill Shankly has called a team meeting for 1.30. There is a lot to cram in before that. There is the Daily Mirror Footballer of the Month award – to skipper Emlyn Hughes by Footballer of the Year Ian Callaghan. Hughes receives the congratulations of his team-mates and walks out with Callaghan on to the Anfield pitch for the presentation.

It has been a month in which Hughes had won the admiration and votes of Mirror readers for his inspiring leadership as Liverpool fought to keep their grip on the League championship they finally lost to Leeds. Hughes is now confident he will be getting his hands on the FA Cup next Saturday to compensate.

With the Mirror statuette and £100 cheque that goes with it in his hands he says: “This trophy means a heck of a lot to me.
“Coming so soon after the announcement that Cally had won the annual award that is every player’s dream, the Footballer of the Year. Liverpool are at last getting the recognition we deserve.
“I don’t regard the honour I’ve been given as recognition of my efforts only … but those of the whole Liverpool team.”

Back inside Anfield, the legendary Shankly walks through from the dressing-rooms to be confronted by a portly Liverpudlian pressing for a Wembley ticket. “I’ve watched every match, reserves as well, for years,” pleads the fan. Shanks says he can’t help, adding: “I’ve been hearing tales like that for weeks.”

In Shankly’s office as well as the one occupied by club secretary Peter Robinson, desks are piled high with ticket applications.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney has sent a telegram. A Government Minister has written. Two Australians have travelled all the way from Sydney to put their cases personally.

Across the corridor Larry Lloyd stands alone and almost unnoticed. Injury has put him out of the Final – and the pain shows.
“I’ve been given the choice of going down to Wembley with the wives or the apprentices,” he says.
“Some choice.
“It’s nobody’s fault, but I feel like the forgotten man of Anfield.”
(Source: Daily Mirror: May 2, 1974)

Liverpool’s Emlyn Hughes holds the Daily Mirror “Footballer of the Month Trophy” aloft after the presentation by team-mate Ian Callaghan on the Anfield pitch yesterday. “I regard it as an honour for the whole team,” said Hughes. “At last Liverpool are getting the recognition we deserve.”
(Picture copyright ©: Charles Owen).


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