Birthdate: 4 November 1982
Birthplace: Sheffield, England
Other clubs: West Ham United (loan 2003-04), Wigan Athletic (loan 2006), Preston North End (2006-12), Sheffield Wednesday (loan 2010-11)
Bought from: Local
Signed for LFC: Joined 1999
Liverpool debut: 04.12.2002
Last appearance: 18.01.2005
Debut goal: 08.01.2003
Last goal: 19.12.2004
Contract expiry: 30.08.2006
Win ratio: 54.55% W:12 D:2 L:8
Games/goals ratio: 3.67
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 1 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 12 / 2
Total LFC games/goals: 22 / 6
Player profileNeil's father, Ian, made his name with Manchester City and his son being on their books dreamt about wearing the blue of City. However, City felt his services were no longer needed and he moved to Liverpool's Academy in the summer of 1999 as he told LFChistory.net. "I was 16 when I went to the Academy and they signed me on a three year scholarship. It was a great experience, great coaches; Steve Heighway, Dave Shannon and Hughie McAuley down there," Mellor said. "The key is to improve your skills and try to become a good person. Even though you don’t make it as a footballer you want to become a decent person. They put as much emphasis on education as well as footballing skills." After struggling with injuries the first year Mellor made rapid progress and became a goalscoring phenomenon. He was top-scorer with eight goals in Liverpool's FA youth cup run in the 2000/01 season. The following campaign he scored no less than 27 goals in 23 games for the u-19 side and 18 goals in 18 games for the reserves. Mellor was rewarded with a new contract in 2003 after making his first-team debut and making three starts in a row in January. Gérard Houllier sent the 20-year-old Mellor on a season-long loan to West Ham in August 2003 but this spell with the Hammers was unsuccessful as he got few chances after boss Glen Roeder was sacked shortly after his arrival. Injuries also contributed to the fact that he only appeared in 21 matches in which he scored two goals. He returned to Liverpool's reserves before the end of the 2003/04 season, not being allowed to play for the first team due to the Football Association's regulations, and scored ten goals in four reserve games, bringing his tally to 45 goals in 44 reserve matches. Mellor's former teammate, Chris Kirkland, commented on his goalscoring prowess: "When he scores in training, he still celebrates as if it's a League game. He runs off on his own to the corner flag with his hand in the air. The lads call him "Shearer" because of his celebrations and he's definitely one to watch."
Mellor's best spell at the club came in November and December 2004 when he scored a dramatic winner against Arsenal in front of the Kop in the closing seconds of the game and played a big part in a dramatic win over Olympiacos, scoring one and setting up another for Gerrard, as Liverpool were promoted from the group stages of the Champions League. Mellor's heroics against Arsenal ensured he was one of LFC.tv’s "100 players who shook the Kop" prompting Jamie Carragher to comment: "Mellor is in here? He's had bad knee injuries but I'm not surprised with the weight he's carrying!" Unfortunately Mellor's season finished by January as he had to have a knee operation. He had no alternative as "there were times when I was in so much pain that I couldn't even run for the ball." Having made such a vital contribution to Liverpool's European adventure he had to follow the Istanbul final from the stands. He did get a medal, but only a runners-up medal discarded by a distraught AC Milan player. He enjoyed the occasion, but missing the homecoming was heartbreaking for him as he revealed to the Echo. "The lads who got changed for the final itself flew back on a separate plane the next day, so we missed the victory parade. "That was a big upset to me and to a lot of the other lads as well. I watched it on telly and I admit I had a tear in my eye. I felt I should have been there celebrating with them, but couldn’t. It was really upsetting." Mellor had a short spell with Wigan Athletic at the start of 2006 but his injury-ravaged career was revived by a move to championship club Preston North End in August 2006. Although he continued to suffer from injuries, particularly to his knee, Mellor proved he had not lost the instinct in front of goal that had been so obvious in his younger days at Liverpool. Thirty League goals from 113 League matches for Preston between August 2006 and April 2010 is a decent goals-per-game ratio, especially as he was a substitute in 50 of those games. In July 2010 Mellor's former Preston manager Alan Irvine persuaded him to join him at Sheffield Wednesday. The striker moved to the city of his birth on a one-year loan deal. Mellor had a successful year with Wednesday, scoring 13 goals in 33 league one matches, including a hat-trick at Milton Keynes Dons. As the 2011/12 season reached its conclusion, Mellor announced his retirement as a player at the young age of twenty-nine. He had been restricted to only 16 League and three cup appearances for Preston in the first half of the season when he was playing excellently, even voted League One Player of the Month for September. A recurrence of his knee injury in December effectively saw the end of his playing career apart from a brief substitute appearance against Bury in March. One can only imagine what could have been for Mellor who had six operations on his legs, three on each.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|1||04.12.2002||Ipswich Town||Anfield||League Cup|
|1||34||08.01.2003||Sheffield United||Bramall Lane||League Cup|
Interview on 7th October 2011 with Mellor in the Liverpool Echo.More
An article from Lancashire Evening Post on 07th August 2007. More
The Guardian report on Liverpool 2 - 0 Middlesbrough on 10 November 2004.More
Homepage of Preston North End announces the signing of Neil Mellor on 30.08.2006.More
Neil Mellor interviewed by lfchistory.net.More
"I think it's fair to say since Gregory Vignal left on loan, Neil Mellor has been the butt of a few jokes. The thing about Neil is, when he scores in training, he still celebrates as if it's a league game. He runs off off on his own to the corner flag with his hand in the air. The lads call him Shearer because of his celebrations and he's definitely one to watch. He's a brilliant finisher and one of my best mates at the club."
"You tell me the name of any other player over the last ten years who has scored 27 goals in 27 reserve team games."
Mellor senior on his son Neil Mellor in 2002
"He is a player who will score goals for fun."
Ian Rush March 2003 on Neil Mellor
"That was quite far out for me! I was really pleased with it and when I'm in bed tonight, I'll be thinking that it was a screamer from 30 yards!"
Neil Mellor, after his first goal for LFC
"The ball just dropped and I hit it, in front of the Kop in the last minute, against one of the top sides in Europe".
Mellor on his winner vs. Arsenal
"Mellors in here!?!" "He's had bad knee injuries but I'm not surprised with the weight he's carrying!"
Carra on Mellor being one of the Liverpoolfc.tv’s 100 players who shook the Kop