July 2, 1977
Just three years ago Liverpool’s capable full back Phil Neal was a virtual unknown with Northampton Town and thinking about giving up football. Today he has nearly 200 first team appearances with Liverpool under his belt plus a UEFA Cup, European Cup and two League Championship medals and a full England cap. No wonder he is glad he made the decision to stay in soccer.
Liverpool paid £60,000 for him in October, 1974, and certainly got a bargain. He has matured steadily to become an extremely competent full-back able to operate on either flanks, but happier in the role of right back which he now enjoys for Liverpool.
He has also become the club’s penalty king, a nerve-racking job he volunteered to take on.
Phil went to Spurs and Nottingham Forest before leaving school but when he decided to stay on to take his O-levels – he got five – they lost interest. Liverpool’s chief scout Geoff Twentyman first watched him with Northampton in a League Cup replay against Blackburn when he was playing left-back.
When he came to Anfield he had played over 200 games for Northampton, scoring about 35 goals. Within a month he was facing the Goodison crowd in place of the injured Alec Lindsay on the left flank and, shortly after, he was deputising for the injured Tommy Smith on the right. He proved very quickly how ell he could adapt from Fourth to First Division football.
Highlights of his career have been the penalty kick he coolly slotted home against David Lawson to put Liverpool one up against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final replay at Maine Road this season and playing for England.
He is married with two young children.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: July 2, 1977; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited