Tuesday, July 3, 2012

3 July 2001 - Farewell, Billy Liddell

On 3 July 2001, former Liverpool winger Billy Liddell passed away at the age of 79.

A Scottish international, he spent his entire career at Anfield, joining the youth team in 1938 when he was sixteen, then signing a professional contract in 1939. But the FA's suspension of league play for the duration of World War II limited his appearances to unofficial regional competitions, internationals, and friendlies until the end of the war.

His official debut came against Chester City in the third round of the FA Cup in January 1946, with Liddell scoring in the 2-0 victory. His league debut came the following September as he scored twice in a win over Chelsea and he went on to help Liverpool to the league title--their fifth--that season.

Liddell remained with Liverpool until his retirement in 1961, making a total of 534 appearances in all competitions and scoring 228 goals which, at the time, ranked him second on the club's all-time scoring chart (behind Gordon Hodgson at 241). He has since fallen to fourth behind Roger Hunt (286) and Ian Rush (346). In the nine seasons from 1949 to 1958, he was Liverpool's leading scorer eight times.

After his retirement, he remained in Liverpool and later became president of the Supporters Club. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the early 1990s and died in 2001.

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