Player profile

Eddie Spicer

Birthdate: 20 September 1922
Birthplace: Garston, Liverpool, England
Other clubs: None
Bought from: Local
Signed for LFC: Amateur 1937 Professional October 1939
Liverpool debut: 30.01.1946
Last appearance: 19.12.1953
Debut goal: 06.12.1947
Last goal: 27.03.1948
Contract expiry: 1954
Win ratio: 40.48% W: 68 D: 39 L: 61
Wartime games/goals: 54 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 158 / 2
Total LFC games/goals: 168 / 2

Player profile

Garston lad Spicer went to Heath Road school in Allerton where he excelled in football and cricket. He was the captain of the Liverpool Schoolboy side which won the English shield in 1936/37 and as he said himself: "I had youthful longings to make football my living, though I hardly dared hope ever to appear in Liverpool’s first team." He signed a professional contract with Liverpool in 1939 but World War II delayed his proper debut for the first team. He joined the Royal Marines and the lieutenant had many interesting experiences, of which the most memorable was an encounter with a German footballer, as he wrote in a letter to his mother in 1944. He told her how a German medical corps sergeant-major surrendered to him, shouting: 'Don’t shoot. I am a soccer international!' “He spoke perfect English and said that he was a professional footballer back in the Fatherland and had played against several English touring clubs,” wrote Spicer. "He mentioned many well-known English players including Callaghan of Aston Villa, against whom he said he had played in 1937, and with whom he corresponded for a time. We had quite an interesting chat while he was being patched up, and you would have thought we were the best of friends.”

Spicer's dream finally came true on the opening day of the first post-war season, 1946/47, although he had played in an FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers the previous January, when regional leagues were still in operation. Spicer was still only 23 and made ten appearances as Liverpool won the League Championship, as either left or right-half, but needed four more games to receive a winner's medal. In the following couple of seasons he mainly got a chance if either Phil Taylor or Bob Paisley were out injured. Spicer made his long-awaited breakthrough in the 1949/50 season when left-back Ray Lambert was switched to the right enabling him to take Bill Shepherd's place on the left. Spicer was a firm fixture in the team that contested the club's first Wembley cup final in 1950 and finished ninth in 1951.

Spicer's career took a tragic turn when he suffered a dreadful leg fracture in a pre-season game against Malmö in Stockholm on 16 May 1951 which caused him to miss the complete 1951/52 season. The tough-tackling Spicer, who was equally comfortable on the right side, fought back bravely from his injury and made 28 appearances in the following season. The 31-year-old was finally having a trouble-free run in the side in 1953/54 when he arrived at Old Trafford on 19 December 1953. Liverpool's new 'keeper, Dave Underwood, was making his debut. "We didn’t know anything about him [Underwood] and after about 20 minutes I can remember Roger Byrne, who was outside-left that day, going down the wing," Spicer said. "I went with Tommy Taylor. Roger hit this ball, hard and low across the penalty box and I went for the ball expecting our goalkeeper to come out and drop on it. That’s what our other goalkeepers would have done and that’s what I thought Underwood would do. Instead he just took a woof at it with his boot, missed the ball and hit me.” Bob Paisley, who was playing that day, recalled: “That mighty blow shattered Ted’s left leg. It disintegrated just the way a piece of dead wood does if you tread on it. In all he had 19 fractures and he was in and out of hospital for the next 12 months having it set and reset and it took more than 12 months to get over it and to start to walk again.” Suffice to say Spicer never played professional football again and was indeed lucky to walk properly. 

Spicer was granted a testimonial match on 19 September 1955 where a combined Liverpool/Everton team played a Lancashire XI which attracted 41,266 spectators where Spicer pocketed £4,500. Testimony indeed to the high esteem in which he was held by colleagues and supporters alike. Later Spicer became a football correspondent in Wales for the Liverpool Daily Post and ran a pub near Ruthin, in North Wales.

"One of the outstanding memory of my football life was the sight from the Queen Mary as we sailed into New York harbour for the American tour in 1946. That was something never to be forgotten," Spicer said in 1950.

Appearances per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals15810000168
1945-1946 010001
1946-1947 10000010
1947-1948 14100015
1948-1949 400004
1949-1950 37700044
1950-1951 42100043
1951-1952 000000
1952-1953 28000028
1953-1954 23000023

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

TotalOpponent
10Wolves
10Arsenal
9Bolton Wanderers
8Portsmouth
8Aston Villa
8Charlton Athletic
8Newcastle United
7Manchester United
7Chelsea
7Blackpool
7Huddersfield Town
7Middlesbrough
6Manchester City
6WBA
6Burnley
5Sheffield Wednesday
5Tottenham
5Preston North End
5Derby
5Stoke City
5Sunderland
4Sheffield United
4Everton
4Fulham
2Birmingham City
2Cardiff City
2Blackburn Rovers
1Nottingham Forest
1Norwich City
1Stockport County
1Brentford
1Exeter City
1Grimsby Town
TotalCompetition
158League
10FA Cup

Goals per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals200002
1945-1946 000000
1946-1947 000000
1947-1948 200002
1948-1949 000000
1949-1950 000000
1950-1951 000000
1951-1952 000000
1952-1953 000000
1953-1954 000000

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

TotalCompetition
2League
TotalOpen play/Penalty
2Open play
0Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

SeasonAppearancesGoals
1939-194010
1940-1941310
1941-1942100
1942-194320
1944-194510
1945-194690

Stats note

Milestone Appearances

#DateAgainstStadiumCompetition
130.01.1946Bolton WanderersAnfieldFA Cup
5031.12.1949ArsenalAnfieldLeague
10013.01.1951Derby Baseball GroundLeague
15002.09.1953Newcastle UnitedSt James' ParkLeague

Milestone Goals

#MinuteDateAgainstStadiumCompetition
1006.12.1947Aston VillaAnfieldLeague

Related Articles

Reliable Liverpool full-back invalided out of football at the peak of his powers

Eddie Spicer obituary from 6 January 2005.More

Liverpool's player career ended with 19 leg fractures against Man Utd

Eddie Spicer suffered the worst of luck regarding injuries. The second leg break of his career retired him.More

Related Quotes

"As the captain of the Liverpool Schoolboy side which won the English shield in 1936-37, I had youthful longings to make football my living, though I hardly dared hope ever to appear in Liverpool’s first team. Still less did I visualise the day would come when I would tour America with the Anfield club. One of the outstanding memory of my football life was the sight from the Queen Mary as we sailed into New York harbour for the American tour in 1946. That was something never to be forgotten."

Eddie Spicer in 1950

The player was in the squad the following season

SeasonShirt #Position
1945-1946 * Defender
1946-1947 * Defender
1947-1948 * Defender
1948-1949 * Defender
1949-1950 * Defender
1950-1951 * Defender
1951-1952 * Defender
1952-1953 * Defender
1953-1954 * Defender
* Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have been allocated a fixed number.

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