Player profile

Ronnie Moran

Ronnie Moran

Birthdate: 28 February 1934
Birthplace: Crosby, Liverpool, England
Date of death: 22 March 2017
Other clubs: None
Bought from: Local
Signed for LFC: Joined 1949 - Professional 07.01.1952
Liverpool debut: 22.11.1952
Last appearance: 12.05.1965
Debut goal: 29.08.1959
Last goal: 22.02.1964
Contract expiry: 1998
Win ratio: 49.34% W:187 D:79 L:113
Honours: League Championship 1963/64; Second Division 1961/62
LFC league games/goals: 342 / 15
Total LFC games/goals: 379 / 17

Player profile

Ronnie Moran joined Liverpool as a fresh faced 15-year-old having been recommended by the postman who used to deliver letters to Liverpool's chairman. Moran started playing for Crosby Boys until he got a scholarship to go to Bootle Technical college that offered a better playing environment for him to blossom. He played for the school as well as Lancashire Boys. He got noticed by an Everton scout, who invited Moran to train with the Blues, but the Crosby lad had signed for Liverpool just the previous week when the postman, who was a good friend of Ronnie's brother, paid an unexpected visit to Ronnie's home with Liverpool manager, George Kay, and chairman, Samuel Williams, in tow. Moran began his amateur playing career at Liverpool as an apprentice electrician playing 'C' team football. He signed professional forms for his hometown club shortly before his eighteenth birthday in January 1952. Moran made his first-team debut as a left-back at Derby in November of the same year but had played just 13 times by the end of the 1953/54 season, by which time Liverpool had been relegated to the Second Division. Eddie Spicer's unfortunate leg-break allowed Moran to establish himself as the team's left-back the following season and he would miss only six League matches over the next five years as he played regularly through the whole of Phil Taylor's reign as manager in the last part of the decade.

Moran was club captain when Bill Shankly arrived in 1959. In Shankly's full debut season, 1960/61, Moran got injured on 1 October, and apart from a brief one-game unsuccessful return in January 1961, he was out injured for 14 months. Moran played in enough fixtures to qualify for a second division championship medal in 1962 and only missed seven games when the first division title was won two years later. Moran, who took over spot-kick duties in 1960, had scored eight out of ten penalties when he missed four penalties in a row, the last of which in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 1964 proved costly. Swansea City were leading 2-1 when Moran squandered his spot-kick in the eightieth minute. It was a harrowing experience for Moran who despaired: “I don’t think I’ll ever forget it." During the 1964/65 season, Chris Lawler became established as the club's right-back as Moran lost his place in the side. Moran did return at the end of this historic campaign playing in both legs against Inter Milan in the European Cup semi-finals but missed out on a place in Liverpool's cup-winning team at Wembley against Leeds as Gerry Byrne returned to the side. A successful playing career had come to an end, but a new career at the club was ahead.

Moran's qualities as a player ensured a longer stay for him at Liverpool. His enthusiasm for the game had always spread around his team. He was totally committed in every game, a quality that prompted Shankly to offer him the chance to join the training staff. Moran recalled the moment his life took a new turn during the 1966/67 pre-season. "Shanks called me to one side. I thought, this is it, he's going to tell me another club's come in for me and he said to me 'Ronnie, how would you like to join the backroom staff?,'" Moran told LFChistory.net. "I went off and discussed it with my wife. We are both from Liverpool and didn't want to leave, and the next day I told Bill, 'Yes.' We never really discussed specific roles, I guess Shanks and Bob had seen me shouting and talking a lot when I was playing and liked what they'd seen. They just let me get on with it." Moran's appointment didn't surprise Ian Callaghan. "I don't know how I would have managed without him. It was a big step up playing in the first team, and I don't know how I would have coped without someone keeping an eye on me and helping me out of difficult situations," Cally said. "I soon learned that at Liverpool, we were essentially part of a team and depended on each other."

The sergeant major of Melwood was well-known for keeping strict discipline at the club and despite Tommy Smith's quote that Moran "could moan for England" he was a vital part of the Boot Room and the club's success. Robbie Fowler was one of many players that were inspired by Moran. "At Liverpool we are all taught to keep our feet on the ground and I, for one, have reason to remember that no-one subscribed to that theory more than Ronnie," Fowler remembers. "After playing against Fulham and scoring five goals I was feeling well pleased with myself when Ronnie came in the dressing room and said: 'I don't know what you`re looking so smug about. You should have scored seven.' Those words will live with me forever and I think they sum up the greatness of the man." 

Moran twice filled in as caretaker manager, initially after Dalglish's resignation in 1991 as he shared with LFChistory.net: "I Innocently answered the phone at home in the early spring of 1991. It was Kenny Dalglish. Me and the wife were just on our way out and I asked him what he wanted. 'I've packed in,' he said. 'I've had enough.' I thought he was joking, as he was a great practical joker and I told him to stop messing around. He must have filled up because he put the phone down and the line went dead." The next call Moran took was from Liverpool Chairman Noel White, who confirmed Dalglish's resignation and promptly offered the vacated manager's job to the scarcely believing assistant. "Of course I accepted, but becoming manager was not something I'd ever envisaged, but then again, neither had Bob nor Joe before me," Moran said. The 56-year-old Moran was the obvious candidate to come to the rescue in a crisis until a permanent successor to Dalglish could be named. After all he had been involved at Anfield in one capacity or another since the early 1950’s and knew the club inside out. He inherited a team that was top of the table and still very much involved in the race for the championship with Arsenal. Moran’s first task was to lift the gloom around the club and prepare the first team for a visit to Luton the following Saturday. The whole club still seemed to be in shock after Dalglish’s departure, although that can’t be used as an excuse for a tame 3-1 defeat at Kenilworth Road. The next two matches were lost as well, the FA Cup second replay at Goodison and more crucially, the home League fixture with title rivals Arsenal, decided by Paul Merson’s second-half goal.

But, three defeats were followed by three victories, the third of which was a stunning 7-1 triumph at the Baseball Ground against soon-to-be-relegated Derby County on a day when the Reds went back to the top of the table because of Arsenal’s failure to win at Norwich. But the two Easter fixtures ended in disappointing defeats, at home to QPR and away to Southampton, and those results put Arsenal firmly in charge of the championship’s destiny. Ronnie Moran would stay in charge for only two more matches, an uninspiring 1-1 home draw with Coventry and an astonishing game at Elland Road against Leeds, which Liverpool won 5-4 after holding a 4-0 lead with less than a third of the match played. There had been constant rumours about who was going to succeed Dalglish as manager and most of those rumours seemed to centre on Graeme Souness at Glasgow Rangers. It looked as if the club’s former skipper would be unveiled as the new manager at the end of the season but as media interest escalated it made his position at Ibrox almost untenable and he eventually moved south just before Liverpool were due to play Norwich City at Anfield on 20 April 1991. Ronnie Moran had been a willing deputy for a few weeks but his record was modest; four victories, one draw, five defeats. According to Phil Thompson, who calls Moran his mentor, Moran had wanted, contrary to popular opinion, the manager's job on a full-time basis. "Kenny left and Ronnie took over. I was with the reserves. I stepped up and helped Ronnie and Roy," Thompson told LFChistory.net. "It was the three of us. Ronnie straight away said: 'I don't want this. I can't handle the press. I can do all the things on the training field, but dealing with the media, signings and everything I don't think.' After a few good weeks Ronnie decided that: 'I can handle this.' He went to see Peter Robinson and Sir John Smith and he said: 'I can do this. If you want to offer me the job again I'll take it.' They went: 'Ronnie, I wish you had come last week because we've got a new manager. It's Graeme Souness!' Ronnie's chance of being manager at Liverpool ended then and there."

When Souness was recovering from his triple by-pass heart surgery in 1992 Moran was happy to deputise again. He was in charge for the final seven League matches of that 1991/92 season plus the FA Cup semi-final replay with Portsmouth before Souness returned for the cup final, closely watched by a doctor, with Moran having the honour of leading the Liverpool team out on this successful day at Wembley. Moran retired in 1998 after 49 years at the club and was rewarded with a well-attended testimonial match against Glasgow Celtic on 16 May 2000.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 342 32 0 4 1 379
1952-1953 11 1 0 0 0 12
1953-1954 1 0 0 0 0 1
1954-1955 17 4 0 0 0 21
1955-1956 39 5 0 0 0 44
1956-1957 42 1 0 0 0 43
1957-1958 41 5 0 0 0 46
1958-1959 40 1 0 0 0 41
1959-1960 42 2 0 0 0 44
1960-1961 12 0 0 0 0 12
1961-1962 16 3 0 0 0 19
1962-1963 33 6 0 0 0 39
1963-1964 35 4 0 0 0 39
1964-1965 13 0 0 4 1 18

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
16 Stoke City
13 Lincoln City
13 Fulham
12 Leyton Orient
12 Blackburn Rovers
12 West Ham United
12 Ipswich Town
12 Middlesbrough
12 Swansea City
11 Derby
11 Sheffield United
11 Rotherham United
10 Huddersfield Town
10 Bristol City
9 Bristol Rovers
9 Leicester City
8 Arsenal
8 Sheffield Wednesday
8 Barnsley
8 Nottingham Forest
7 Charlton Athletic
7 Scunthorpe United
7 Brighton & Hove Albion
7 Port Vale
7 Burnley
7 Notts County
6 Grimsby Town
6 Doncaster Rovers
6 Manchester United
6 Blackpool
6 Leeds United
6 Cardiff City
6 Bury
5 Manchester City
5 Preston North End
5 Everton
5 Wolves
5 Plymouth Argyle
5 Hull City
4 Sunderland
4 Aston Villa
4 Luton Town
4 Tottenham
4 Birmingham City
3 WBA
3 Southend
3 Southampton
3 Bolton Wanderers
3 Chelsea
3 Portsmouth
2 KR Reykjavík
2 Inter Milan
1 Northampton Town
1 Wrexham
1 Worcester City
1 Accrington Stanley
1 Gateshead
1 Walsall
Total Started/substitutions
379 Started
0 On the bench
0 Substitute
0 Substituted
Total Competition
342 League
32 FA Cup
4 European Cup
1 Charity Shield

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 15 2 0 0 0 17
1952-1953 0 0 0 0 0 0
1953-1954 0 0 0 0 0 0
1954-1955 0 0 0 0 0 0
1955-1956 0 0 0 0 0 0
1956-1957 0 0 0 0 0 0
1957-1958 0 0 0 0 0 0
1958-1959 0 0 0 0 0 0
1959-1960 5 0 0 0 0 5
1960-1961 2 0 0 0 0 2
1961-1962 1 0 0 0 0 1
1962-1963 5 2 0 0 0 7
1963-1964 2 0 0 0 0 2
1964-1965 0 0 0 0 0 0

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Started/substitutions
17 Started
0 Substitute
Total Competition
15 League
2 FA Cup
Total Goal minute period
3 1-15 minutes
2 16-30 minutes
1 31-45 minutes
4 61-75 minutes
4 76-90 minutes
1 91-120 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
9 Open play
8 Penalty

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 22.11.1952 Derby Baseball Ground League
50 03.12.1955 Port Vale Vale Park League
100 22.12.1956 Bury Anfield League
150 18.01.1958 Middlesbrough Anfield League
200 20.03.1959 Stoke City Anfield League
250 19.04.1960 Rotherham United Millmoor League
300 24.11.1962 Birmingham City St Andrews League
350 07.03.1964 Ipswich Town Anfield League

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 65 29.08.1959 Hull City Anfield League

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Related Quotes

"At Liverpool we are all taught to keep our feet on the ground and I, for one, have reason to remember that no-one subscribed to that theory more than Ronnie. After playing against Fulham and scoring five goals I was feeling well pleased with myself when Ronnie came in the dressing room and said: `I don`t know what you`re looking so smug about. You should have scored seven.` Those words will live with me forever and I think they sum up the greatness of the man."

Robbie Fowler

"Shanks always preached that we had eleven captains. He wanted to see players think things out and rectify things if they were going wrong. You never got shouted at for trying to change something out on the pitch. You were always taught to work things out for yourself. Mind you if you tried something stupid and it didn't come off we had a saying that we would 'hit you on the head with a big stick from the touchline'. I remember Steve Nicol getting a hat-trick once at Newcastle. Nobody told him where he had to go and what to do, he just worked it out himself. He got the match ball and I told him it was probably the only one he'd ever get ! but nobody told him off for joining in the attack."

Ronnie Moran in an interview on ronniemoran.com

"I don't know how I would have managed without him. It was a big step up playing in the first team, and I don't know how I would have coped without someone keeping an eye on me and helping me out of difficult situations. I soon learned that at Liverpool, we were essentially part of a team and depended on each other."

Ian Callaghan on Ronnie Moran when Cally was starting out

"When we arrived at Carrow Road for my first game, we filed into the away dressing room. I asked Ronnie Moran, ‘What do we do now?’ ‘Just get changed’, growled Ronnie. ‘Get yourself ready for the game, son.’ ‘What time do we go out to warm up?’ I asked. ‘You don’t have time to warm up, save your energy.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At Ajax, we spent about 25 minutes warming up.

As I started to get changed, a couple of the lads said the staff liked the players to have a massage before a game. I should ask Ronnie if he’d give me one. So that’s precisely what I did. ‘Er… Ronnie. Can I have a massage?’ ‘Fuck off!’, shouted Ronnie. ‘You earn the fucking right to have a massage. Go out and play some games and then I might consider it.’ I’d only been at the club for a couple of games and I started to wonder what what I’d let myself in for. Then I saw all the lads pissing themselves. That was my introduction to the Liverpool dressing room humour."

Mølby taught a lesson by his new Liverpool teammates

"I cannot think of anyone in the game more deserving of a testimonial than Ronnie Moran. A true professional, a loyal servant to Liverpool FC and a nice guy. I know his links with Liverpool go back to the days of the late, great Bill Shankly and the other famous members of the Anfield "Bootroom", but his place in history is down to much more than longevity.

"As long as I have known him he has always been 110 per cent Liverpool. Anything asked of him in forwarding the club's cause would be done without further enquiry. It is fair to say that Manchester United and Liverpool have had their moments over the years. The rivalry between our two clubs is well documented and I wouldn't have had it any other way whilst the game is on. But that is where it ends as far as coaches, managers and players are concerned. Ronnie Moran has always been one of the first to shake the hand of an opponent, whether that be following a win or defeat. I wish that I'd had 1 pound for every argument I've had with Ronnie, but after the game he was always the first to offer you a drink. There is no question Ronnie Moran is one of Liverpool's all-time greats."

Alex Ferguson paid a glowing tribute to Ronnie Moran before Moran's testimonial in 2000

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