Alan A' Court
Birthdate: 30 September 1934
Birthplace: Rainhill, England
Other clubs: Prescot Cables, Tranmere Rovers (1964-66)
Bought from: Prescot Cables
Signed for LFC: 24.09.1952 (Professional)
International debut: 06.11.1957 vs. Northern Ireland
International caps: 5/1 - 26.11.1958
Liverpool debut: 07.02.1953
Last appearance: 14.09.1964
Debut goal: 14.03.1953
Last goal: 01.12.1962
Contract expiry: October 1964
Win ratio: 47.24% W: 180 D: 81 L: 120
Games/goals ratio: 6.05
LFC league games/goals: 354 / 61
Total LFC games/goals: 381 / 63
Rainhill-born A'Court gave Liverpool outstanding service from the day he made his debut against Middlesbrough as an 18-year-old on 7 February 1953 until his last appearance on 14 September 1964. Leslie Edwards at the Liverpool Echo saw A'Court's fantastic potential when watching him in only his fourth game for Liverpool against Bolton at Anfield on 4 March 1953: "With A'Court showing unmistakable signs of football genius - on this first look at him I rate him as outstanding of the new boys, both for courage and ability - the Liverpool attack must continue to succeed." A'Court's reputation had grown bit by bit and he was chosen to represent Merseyside grammar schools, then Lancashire county and finally the England grammar schools' side. He played amateur football at Prescot Cables ten miles from Liverpool as scouts from the Reds, Bolton, Wolves and Everton were watching with interest but he accepted Don Welsh's offer of a £10 signing-on fee to become a professional at Liverpool.
A'Court got an early opportunity in the first team but unfortunately when he was establishing himself at Anfield the club was relegated in 1954. He was held in such high regard that the great Billy Liddell was moved to centre-forward to make room for A'Court on the left flank as the club's first second division campaign for 49 years got underway. A'Court was a regular in the side for seven years and a crucial part of the Liverpool side that finally made its way out of the Second Division in the 1961/62 season, being the only player beside Ronnie Moran who had been relegated with the side eight years earlier. A'Court was strong and direct with awesome power in his boots and impressed sufficiently for the England selectors to include him in their World Cup squad in Sweden 1958 while he was a second division player. No mean feat! He replaced the injured legend Tom Finney after England's opening game, a 2-2 draw against USSR. He featured in a goalless draw with eventual world champions Brazil and in a 2-2 draw against Austria. USSR and England were equal on points in their group so a play-off was required which A'Court and his teammates lost 1-0. LFCHistory.net was lucky to interview Alan in 2004 and ask him about the incredible loyalty he showed by sticking with the club in the Second Division despite being an England international at the peak of his powers: "I played just under 400 games for the club and I was happy at Liverpool. Arsenal were interested and offered £12,000. I didn’t want to move house, I was happy at home and I had good mates in Liverpool."
A'Court missed half of his debut season in the First Division due to niggles and strains and the papers speculated that he would soon be replaced by Peter Thompson, who had scored Preston North End's winning goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup in the previous season. As predicted Thompson was brought in to fill the left-wing role that A'Court had made his own for so long. After not having featured in the first team for 16 months he made his farewell appearance for Liverpool in the club's first-ever European tie at Anfield, against KR Reykjavik in September 1964. A'Court had passed his thirtieth birthday by a few days when he moved to Tranmere and he was perhaps unlucky to just miss out on the glory days which were around the corner, having to settle for a Second Division Championship medal as his only major honour at Liverpool. He later became coach at Norwich, Crewe and Stoke.
It is a dirty job but somebody has to do it.
Here with Billy Bingham and Liverpool teammate Willie Stevenson as judge in the Miss Ireland competition 1963.
According to Bill Shankly A'Court wasn't only important on the field but an inspiration off the field as well: "Jovial Alan A’Court is a wit and worth his weight in gold in the dressing room with his practical jokes." Ian Callaghan said it was made easy for him to sign for Liverpool as his heroes Billy Liddell and A'Court played for the club. Cally paid this tribute to A'Court after Alan's passing on 14 December 2009: "He had this ability to cross a fantastic ball and he was an inspiration to me when I was coming through the ranks as a raw 17-year-old. He was one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet and he took me under his wing and he took me out on social trips. He had this fantastic car which was a Sunbeam Rapier Convertible and it was fantastic to go in that with him."
Alan A'Court had fantastic memories of his time at Anfield. "The crowd had helped me enormously in settling into the side but then they backed every member of the team that gave everything to the cause. Those fans on the Kop gave me extra support that was even more valuable than just lifting my confidence. They were in the habit in those days of catching me on those occasions when I crashed over the line after a run down the wing. My best asset was my pace but Anfield is a very confined playing space and, if you were racing for the corner, it was impossible to pull up if you really wanted to reach the ball in time. I lost count of the number of times I went flying off the pitch, ending up in the arms of the spectators, before being pushed on again. They weren't nearly so helpful to visiting wingers, who were allowed to crash in the concrete surrounds, often with painful consequences."