Ian Ross’s Anfield schooling is paying off


December 3, 1977
Former Liverpool player Ian Ross, now player-coach of Third Division Peterborough, has never forgotten the lessons he learnt at the Anfield school of soccer. And he admits that the doctrine preached by Bill Shankly figures largely in his work with the Posh, who have quietly crept into a challenging place near the top of the table, despite a bad start.

Said Ian during a break from training at the London Road ground: “We’ve built things up slowly and surely and the Liverpool tactics are paying off.

“We had a shocking start, but I remember Bill Shankly saying it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and that’s especially true of the Third Division where we play more games.

“I do use a lot of Shanks’ philosophy, because that’s where I learnt my job. I grew up there in a regime now carried on by Bob Paisley. They prove it works and we will try and make it work here.”

Ian certainly has a mountain of experience to call upon. During his six years at Liverpool, he became their “Mr Dependable,” a reliable player for any defensive position. He was the automatic selection in case of need to cover Tommy Smith, Larry Lloyd and Alec Lindsay and says cheerfully: “I reckon I wore nearly every shirt for Liverpool.”

Then five years ago he left for Aston Villa and helped them fight their way out of the Third Division, back to the First.

Last summer, he was one of the seven British players who joined Ron Yeats on an ill-fated trip to America to play for Santa Barbara Condors. The club eventually collapsed and the players were paid only one month’s wages during their four months there. But philosophically, Ian says: “We had a great holiday there and it was good experience.”

On his return, Ian was appointed player-coach of Peterborough, working with new manager John Barnwell, the former Arsenal and Nottingham Forest player, who had been a trainer with the club.
“I’d like to go into football management eventually, so this was a great opportunity to learn the other side of football, while still playing,” he said. “It’s very interesting, because it’s John’s first job as manager and we get on well together.

“I’m really enjoying myself. The lads are super. I think we will do well with our squad, which includes big, strong experienced players.

“I look forward to playing every Saturday. Every game I enjoy. As soon as I stop enjoying it, I’ll pack it in and aim to be a manager.”

Last Saturday, he was playing against ex-England forward Jimmy Greaves in an FA Cup tie with Barnet, which Peterborough win 2-1.
“To be honest, we were a wee bit fortunate to win,” he said. “And Jimmy Greaves was far better than I imagined.”

Ian and his Liverpool born wife Rona – they are expecting their second child next March – have recently settled in a new home in Peterborough with their two-year-old daughter Vicky.

Rona’s father, Mr. George Watson, of Old Roan, travels to matches to watch his son-in-law as often as possible, just as he did when he was with Villa. “He’s very loyal to me,” said Ian, “But he’s still a Liverpudlian first!”

Of the Third Division promotion race, he said: “We’ve not scored a lot of goals but we are not giving many away, either, and that’s what matters. We are slowly getting there and we have every chance. It would be great to get promotion in my first season here.

“And the standard of Third Division football, I have noticed, is improving all the time.”

And Liverpool?
“I’m hoping they do well” he said. “They are still my big love.”
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 3, 1977; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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