Player profile

Willie Fagan

Willie Fagan

Birthdate: 20 February 1917
Birthplace: Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Date of death: 29 February 1992
Other clubs: Balgonie Scotia, Wellesley Juniors (1934), Celtic (1934-36), Preston North End (1936-37); Aldershot, Leicester City, Northampton Town, Newcastle United, Chelsea, Millwall, Reading (wartime guest), Distillery (loan 1952), Weymouth (1952-55)
Bought from: Preston North End
Signed for LFC: £8,000, 22.10.1937
Liverpool debut: 23.10.1937
Last appearance: 01.09.1951
Debut goal: 30.10.1937
Last goal: 03.05.1950
Contract expiry: 04.01.1952
Win ratio: 42.86% W:78 D:52 L:52
Games/goals ratio: 3.19
Honours: League Championship 1946/47
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 3 / 1
Wartime games/goals: 104 / 66
LFC league games/goals: 158 / 47
Total LFC games/goals: 182 / 57

Player profile

Scottish inside-left forward Willie Fagan was a promising 19-year-old when he joined Preston from Celtic in October 1936. Fagan as well as Bill Shankly were in Preston's line-up who lost 3-1 in the 1937 FA Cup final against Sunderland. The following October Fagan joined Liverpool, after only one year's stay at Deepdale, for £8,000, a record deal for a teenager. Fagan went straight into the Liverpool team, playing in 36 consecutive matches to the end of the season and scoring nine times. He only missed three League games in 1938/39, scoring 14 goals and played in the opening three fixtures of the 1939/40 season before World War II caused the League programme to be abandoned and Fagan's Liverpool career to be severely curtailed at the age of 22. Unlike some of his colleagues, Fagan was young enough to re-establish himself at Anfield when League football resumed in 1946. Fagan was offered a deal by second division Bradford Park Avenue but refused to move which proved beneficial for the player and Liverpool. Fagan scored seven goals in 18 appearances to qualify for a well-deserved championship medal in 1947. Fagan was called on sporadically, mostly due to injury, in the 1947/48 and 1948/49 seasons and looked on his way into the Third Division but the inside-left position had been problematic for Liverpool and George Kay decided to give Fagan a chance in the opening game of the 1949/50 season. Fagan's Liverpool's career was resurrected once more and his four goals in the FA Cup helped the Reds to their first-ever Wembley final in 1950 which they lost to Arsenal. The Daily Dispatch was impressed by Fagan's form and voted him the Outstanding Footballer of 1949. Approaching his mid-30's by the time the next season opened, Fagan's Anfield career was nearing its close and he played his final game for the club against Huddersfield on the first day of September 1951. If the war hadn't taken so many playing years away from him, there seems little doubt that a fine Liverpool career would have been a great one.

While on the transfer list at Liverpool Fagan played with Distillery in Northern Ireland and on 19 July 1952 was appointed player-manager at Weymouth in the Southern league. Press reports show he was still on Liverpool's books in November 1952 but he was available to play for these clubs as they were outside the Football League. Liverpool still held his registration form so no other Football League club could obtain his signature without their permission. Auburn-haired Fagan revealed in 1950 that he had hoped from an early age to be an opera singer. He, however, ended up in prison following the end of his football career! He was not an inmate but a senior officer at a facility for young offenders on the isle of Portland in the English Channel.

Appearances per season

Please note

The three league games played in the 1939-40 season were expunged from Football League records as the season was stopped due to World War II. The games are therefore not considered valid by LFChistory.net and as the "Association of football statisticians" does not count them towards official player totals.

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 158 24 0 0 0 182
1937-1938 31 5 0 0 0 36
1938-1939 39 3 0 0 0 42
1939-1940 0 0 0 0 0 0
1945-1946 0 4 0 0 0 4
1946-1947 18 4 0 0 0 22
1947-1948 15 0 0 0 0 15
1948-1949 13 1 0 0 0 14
1949-1950 35 7 0 0 0 42
1950-1951 4 0 0 0 0 4
1951-1952 3 0 0 0 0 3

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
10 Derby
10 Blackpool
9 Middlesbrough
9 Huddersfield Town
9 Wolves
9 Bolton Wanderers
9 Arsenal
8 Chelsea
8 Everton
7 Birmingham City
7 Sunderland
7 Aston Villa
6 Charlton Athletic
6 Grimsby Town
5 Burnley
5 Preston North End
5 Manchester United
5 Leeds United
5 Sheffield United
5 Portsmouth
5 Manchester City
4 Blackburn Rovers
4 Stoke City
4 Leicester City
4 Brentford
3 WBA
3 Newcastle United
2 Chester City
2 Fulham
2 Stockport County
2 Crystal Palace
1 Exeter City
1 Nottingham Forest
1 Luton Town
Total Competition
158 League
24 FA Cup

Goals per season

Please note

The three league games played in the 1939-40 season were expunged from Football League records as the season was stopped due to World War II. The games are therefore not considered valid by LFChistory.net and as the "Association of football statisticians" does not count them towards official player totals.

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 47 10 0 0 0 57
1937-1938 8 1 0 0 0 9
1938-1939 14 1 0 0 0 15
1939-1940 0 0 0 0 0 0
1945-1946 0 3 0 0 0 3
1946-1947 7 0 0 0 0 7
1947-1948 5 0 0 0 0 5
1948-1949 2 1 0 0 0 3
1949-1950 11 4 0 0 0 15
1950-1951 0 0 0 0 0 0
1951-1952 0 0 0 0 0 0

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Competition
47 League
10 FA Cup
Total Open play/Penalty
48 Open play
9 Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

Season Appearances Goals
1939-1940 13 16
1940-1941 19 6
1941-1942 3 2
1942-1943 28 20
1943-1944 1 1
1944-1945 5 4
1945-1946 35 17

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 23.10.1937 Leicester City Anfield League
50 26.11.1938 Blackpool Anfield League
100 12.04.1947 Burnley Maine Road FA Cup
150 17.12.1949 Sunderland Roker Park League

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 0 30.10.1937 Sunderland Roker Park League
50 51 11.01.1950 Blackburn Rovers Anfield FA Cup

Related Articles

Rare and unseen pictures of Berry Nieuwenhuys

LFChistory.net is pleased to be able to share with you these images that are from Carole Jean Richards, Berry Nieuwenhuys' daughter.More

Willie Fagan transferred to Preston North End

Western Morning News on 15 October 1936.More

Celtic secure young Fagan

Evening Telegraph on 12 June 1934.More

Related Quotes

"It’s funny how one’s early ambitions seldom pan out. As a boy I craved to be a famous Opera singer. Just between you and me, I would still like to be one. Realising that’s impossible, however, I’ve substituted a more prosaic aim, and when I finally hang up my football boots I hope to qualify as a masseur. I have already passed examinations as a football coach, and find the work among schoolboys most interesting."

Willie Fagan in 1950

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Balgonie Scotia Scotland N/A N/A N/A N/A
Wellesley Juniors 1934 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Celtic 1934-1935 Scotland Division 1 1 0 1 0
Celtic 1935-1936 Scotland Division 1 5 3 5 3
Celtic 1936-1937 Scotland Division 1 6 6 6 6
Preston North End 1936-1937 England First Division 29 6 35 6
Preston North End 1937-1938 England First Division 6 0 6 0
Distillery 1952 Irish League N/A N/A N/A N/A
Weymouth 1952-1955 Southern League Premier Division N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total 47 15 53 15
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