A new oldest debutant

It hurts me a little to report this but Ned Doig is no longer the oldest debutant for Liverpool Football Club. Well, I found an old-timer that made his Liverpool debut during the First World War, so some will argue that was not an official match. Nevertheless, he was older than Doig – so I think he is worth an article. Let me present to you Jimmy Ashcroft.

Let me first tell you about Ned Doig. He was born in 1866 in Arbroath in Scotland and made his debut for Liverpool in 1904. More accurate he was 37 years, 10 months and four days old when he went between the sticks in a 2nd Division match against Burton United at Anfield.

Now, Jimmy Ashcroft was also a goalkeeper. And he was local. Born in Liverpool in 1878 he made his first step in the football world as an amateur with Everton in the late 1890s. Without a chance of first team football at Goodison he was transferred to Gravesend in 1899, and was almost immediately spotted by Woolwich Arsenal.

He signed professional for the Gunners in the summer of 1900 and made his debut against Burton Swifts in September of the same year. Ashcroft went on to play 273 League games for Arsenal before being transferred to Blackburn Rovers during the close season of 1908. At Ewood Park he went on to play another 114 League games before he ended his career with Tranmere Rovers when the war broke out.

But Ashcroft made a few more matches for a top team. In November 1916 Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper could not make it back to Anfield in time for a match against Stoke and the directors of Liverpool contacted Jimmy Ashcroft who stepped in to cover for Campbell. Jimmy was 38 years, 1 months and 24 days old when making his debut for the Reds. He went on to play three matches before Campbell resumed his position.

Jimmy Ashcroft

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