Golden Anniversary

Liverpool were sitting in the 2nd Division, while Everton were riding high on the hogs back in the Top Flight. Everton were favourites to win the FA Cup and Liverpool were given little, if any hope.

I wonder whether my parents realise they are approaching a “Golden Anniversary”? 50 Years ago in season 1954/55, two “Teddies” danced the night away, while two girls in “Teddies” waited for them elsewhere.

Young Billy had had numerous jobs since leaving school, none of which held great memories for him. In late 1951, the postman put an end to his so far, far from great employment record. National Service would send him to exotic places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaya. But his first port of call, like so many, was the delights of Catterick.

The dreaded unwanted, unpaid “stripe” had been awarded early to the 6 foot Scouser. Memories of the Far East are mixed. Talk of Army duties will always remain locked away, but nights on the town will be remembered until his final days. The story about the future preacher who fell in love with a Singapore “hooker” will have me chuckling for a long time, although it is a tale of sadness as well as humour. But until these stories appear in x-rated magazines, the story will have to remain a “pub tale”.

Back on the streets of his beloved Garston four years later, he had matured into a bull of a man. And Friday night was his night. For all the bollocks he gave my son and I later in life about spending an hour in front of the mirror, I’m assured by his Mam he spent just as long getting the “Elvis Style” quiff just right.

Would it be Dingle or would he stay closer to home tonight ?

He had to ponder the question as he needed some cash for tomorrow. The following night he had a date. The destination of The Rialto had been decided on last week, when Gerry and Billy had first met the two girls. His first proper date for a long time, young Billy had to make a good impression. He decided on a visit to his local and finish the night with his father in The Matchworks.

The talk of the pub, was the following days game. All the talking was being done by the local blue boys. Would it be five or would it be six they mockingly joked. It was best for a Red to keep it shut. We only had “one player” but he was more than capable of performing a miracle. Rumour had it, he had the ear of God. At least he spoke to him often enough. The banter continued ...

Hickson would score a bag-full ...
Lello would have Jackson in his pocket ...
King Billy wouldn’t get a kick of the ball ...

Heavily outnumbered by the blue boys, young Billy bit his tongue. After a couple of hours, Garston’s very own 6 foot “Elvis” had had enough, time to catch up with his arl fellah. Things didn’t improve, the blue boys were everywhere. A couple of milds and several rums later, Yanner and his young son decided to make their way home. After all. proclaimed the famous movie, “Tomorrow was another day“.

Winkle pickers shined, drain pipes ironed the young lad bade his Mam farewell. The lads had agreed to meet in The Sandon and then walk across Stanley Park together. Malaya was not the only place that had “Snipers”.

72,000 fans packed Woodison that day, the majority were chatting about a mauling in the making. Billy and young Gerry Flaherty had entered the amphitheatre to support “The Christians”.

The game started well for the Garstonian and Dinglite. Liddell was giving Jones the roasting of his life (before it was a sexual offence). Jackson was having all his own way with Lello and Rankin. Was this going to be the day when The Christians actually ate the Lions?

17 minutes in, a quick free kick by Geoff Twentyman found Jackson, he rounded Lello and fired in a cross. Billy Liddell “he who performs miracles” caught the ball on the chest. As the ball dropped he pulled the trigger of his left foot ...


... the power with which Billy hit the ball could be heard at the other end of the ground. The net nearly tore with the ferocity of the shot. The two Southenders went wild.

The Brylcreem Boys were jiving for all their worth.

In contrast to the sluggish, over confident blues, Liverpool were quicker into the tackle and much more direct in their style of play. Liddell continued to give Jones his very own nightmare. It must have been hard for Jones, deciding which way Liddell would go. His ability to use both feet equally well was beyond the capabilities of even the best centre halves, let alone the cumbersome and flat footed Jones. All Billy had to do is push it past Jones and evade the flying boots.

His partner Evans was also having his best game for a while. In fact all the Redmen were enjoying success all over the pitch. Laurie Hughes was not allowing Hickson a kick of the ball - the so-called "Blue Bagfull" was beginning to look like a pipe dream. Close to the half hour, Liverpool were awarded another free kick. Evans, Anderson and Liddell took their places in the crowded penalty area. As the ball came across, Liddell had misjudged his run, Evans was also not able to connect, worse still his run had put off Anderson. However the ball found it’s way to A’Court who was having a quiet game, until now ...

He trapped the ball and went closer, O’Neill came off his line to meet A’Court, he met A’Court but the ball was already past him, and it settled in the corner of the net. Two boys with equally impressive “Quiffs” went wild.

In the second half Evans pounced on an O’Neill error when he couldn’t hold a shot from Jackson. At 3-0 the Red boys were planning a night on the town. Everton didn’t look like turning this one around. By the time Evans scored his second, a bullet header twenty minutes later, the ratio between blue and red in the ground was getting closer.

For all their Jibing, the Reds were Jiving !!!

4-0 to The Tricky Reds and the Blues were leaving in their droves. Billy and Gerry were planning a night never to be forgotten.

Two girls stood outside the Rialto that night, first date excitement was overwhelming them. Half an hour later they were shifting about to keep their feet warm. Bunty and Angela may well have forgiven them over the next 50 years, but the only jiving going on that night, was in town, two miles away ...

where the two lads were PAINTING the town RED !

Happy Anniversary, you four!

Wooly (son of Bill & Bunt)

© Wooltonian 2004


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