Player profile

Willie Stevenson

Willie Stevenson

Birthdate: 26 October 1939
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Other clubs: Dalkeith Thistle (1956-57), Rangers (1957-62), Stoke City (1967-73), Hellenic (1971), Tranmere Rovers (1973-74), Vancouver Whitecaps (1974), Limerick (1974), Macclesfield Town (1974-75)
Bought from: Rangers
Signed for LFC: £20,000, 19.10.1962
Liverpool debut: 03.11.1962
Last appearance: 28.11.1967
Debut goal: 17.11.1962
Last goal: 25.11.1967
Contract expiry: December 1967
Win ratio: 52.7% W:127 D:55 L:59
Honours: League Championship 1963/64, 1965/66; FA Cup 1965
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 4 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 188 / 15
Total LFC games/goals: 241 / 18

Player profile

Willie Stevenson had been ousted out of Rangers by the signing of legend Jim Baxter and spent a few months in Australia, but didn’t get clearance to play down under. When he returned to Glasgow Shankly outbid Preston for his services. He was the dressing room joker and a big favourite with the fans. When Kenny Dalglish went on trial at Liverpool at 15 years of age he became the victim of Stevenson’s humour. Dalglish asked for Stevenson’s autograph when the players were relaxing in the changing room. “I went to Billy Stevenson and said: ‘Would you please sign this, Billy? He said: ‘No’. As I walked away all the players burst out laughing. Billy was only kidding.” Stevenson arrived on Merseyside in October 1962 and took over the left-half spot from Tommy Leishman. Liverpool consolidated their first division status after eight years away by finishing eighth and then, with one of the most settled sides in the club’s history, took the Championship a year later.

Liverpool had reached the semi-final in the FA Cup in 1965 and were leading 1-0 with just over ten minutes to go when the Reds were awarded a penalty. Liverpool had missed six penalties in a row, Tommy Smith and Gordon Milne being the latest culprits, and it would need a brave soul to step forward. “Suddenly Billy Stevenson stepped forward. Casually he picked up the ball and placed it on the spot,” said Ian St John who was impressed by his compatriot’s courageousness. “No one said anything despite the fact that he had never taken a penalty before. With his belief that he was a little bit better than the rest of us, propped up by his liking for fine suits and the best cognac, he might have been saying, ‘Step aside, you peasants and let me do the job.’ No one complained or challenged his decision. It came to him that he couldn’t really miss and nor did he.” Liverpool reached the final and the FA Cup finally made its way into Liverpool’s trophy cabinet for the first time.

Stevenson was a skilful midfielder with an eye for a sensational pass. He won a second League Championship medal in 1966 but suffered great disappointment when Liverpool lost to Borussia Dortmund in the final of European Cup Winners’ Cup at Hampden. “We should have won that game but on the night we were awful. All us Scots had all our families and friends there,” Stevenson said. “I was so disappointed that in the shower room I picked up my medal and hurled it through the window. It must have fallen somewhere in the car park below.” LFChistory.net asked St John about this incident to which the Saint replied quick as a flash: “He spent years looking for that medal!” Stevenson was also a regular member of the side in the first few exciting years of European club competition which complemented his passing style and poise. When the 1967/68 season opened it was Emlyn Hughes who had taken his place. Stevenson was only picked once more for the first team, in a home fixture with Wolves on 25 November 1967 in which he scored with a late and decisive penalty. Still only 28-years-old, he was far too good a player to be languishing in a reserve team and he accepted Stoke City’s offer in December 1967. Stevenson made 82 League appearances for Stoke before returning to Merseyside with Tranmere.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 188 24 0 26 3 241
1962-1963 28 6 0 0 0 34
1963-1964 38 5 0 0 0 43
1964-1965 39 8 0 9 1 57
1965-1966 41 1 0 9 1 52
1966-1967 41 4 0 5 1 51
1967-1968 1 0 0 3 0 4

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
12 Leicester City
12 Arsenal
11 Burnley
11 Aston Villa
11 Manchester United
11 Everton
10 Fulham
10 Sheffield Wednesday
10 Tottenham
9 WBA
9 West Ham United
9 Chelsea
9 Sheffield United
8 Stoke City
8 Blackpool
8 Nottingham Forest
7 Leeds United
6 Sunderland
6 Blackburn Rovers
6 Birmingham City
4 Wolves
4 Bolton Wanderers
4 Newcastle United
3 Ipswich Town
3 Cologne
3 Petrolul Ploiesti
2 Watford
2 Ajax
2 Inter Milan
2 Juventus
2 Northampton Town
2 Standard Liege
2 Honved
2 Celtic
2 Port Vale
2 Anderlecht
2 KR Reykjavík
2 Stockport County
2 Manchester City
2 Southampton
2 Leyton Orient
1 Derby
1 Swansea City
1 Wrexham
1 TSV Munich
1 Ferencvaros
1 Borussia Dortmund
1 Malmo
Total Started/substitutions
240 Started
2 On the bench
1 Substitute
1 Substituted
Total Competition
188 League
24 FA Cup
14 European Cup
9 European Cup Winners Cup
3 European Fairs Cup
3 Charity Shield

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 15 1 0 1 1 18
1962-1963 2 0 0 0 0 2
1963-1964 1 0 0 0 0 1
1964-1965 3 1 0 1 0 5
1965-1966 5 0 0 0 1 6
1966-1967 3 0 0 0 0 3
1967-1968 1 0 0 0 0 1

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Started/substitutions
18 Started
0 Substitute
Total Competition
15 League
1 Charity Shield
1 European Cup
1 FA Cup
Total Goal minute period
5 16-30 minutes
2 31-45 minutes
3 46-60 minutes
4 61-75 minutes
4 76-90 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
10 Open play
8 Penalty

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 03.11.1962 Burnley Anfield League
50 07.12.1963 Arsenal Highbury League
100 05.12.1964 Burnley Turf Moor League
150 30.10.1965 Nottingham Forest Anfield League
200 12.10.1966 Petrolul Ploiesti Ploiesti Stadium Europe

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 35 17.11.1962 Leyton Orient Anfield League

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Related Quotes

"I went to Billy Stevenson and said. 'Would you please sign this, Billy? He said: 'No'. As I walked away all the players burst out laughing. Billy was only kidding."

Dalglish asked for William Stevenson's autograph when he was on trial at Liverpool age 15.

"We should have won that game but on the night we were awful. All us Scots had all our families and friends there. I was so disappointed that in the shower room I picked up my medal and hurled it through the window. It must have fallen somewhere in the car park below."

Willie Stevenson after the 1966 European cup Winners Cup final

"Without a doubt, Peter Thompson. He was awesome and the things he could do, half the time he didn’t know himself what he was doing. He had such pace and ability on the wing."

Willie Stevenson on the best player he ever played with, Peter Thompson.

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Dalkeith Thistle 1956-1957 Edinburgh & District League N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rangers 1958-1959 Scotland Division 1 26 0 29 0
Rangers 1959-1960 Scotland Division 1 34 1 55 1
Rangers 1960-1961 Scotland Division 1 8 0 11 0
Rangers 1961-1962 Scotland Division 1 5 0 8 0
Stoke City 1967-1968 England First Division 18 0 20 1
Stoke City 1968-1969 England First Division 32 3 34 3
Stoke City 1969-1970 England First Division 20 2 23 3
Stoke City 1970-1971 England First Division 5 0 5 0
Hellenic 1971 South Africa 5 0 5 0
Stoke City 1971-1972 England First Division 17 0 18 0
Stoke City 1972-1973 England First Division 2 0 3 0
Tranmere Rovers 1973-1974 England Third Division 20 0 27 0
Vancouver Whitecaps 1974 North American Soccer League 19 0 19 0
Limerick 1974 Ireland 1 4 0 4 0
Macclesfield Town 1974-1975 Northern Premier League 32 0 32 0
Total 247 6 293 8
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