• Hey Guest!
    Enjoy the This Is Anfield Forums but want to remove the adverts? Now you can do so by clicking here.
    Thanks for your support!

#10: The Ring of Fire with William Clarke

Broomy

TIA's Redkopi
Ad-free Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
1,537


The Ring of Fire with William Clarke

It's been a week which has seen one incoming and one outgoing... Rafael Camacho's has confirmed his transfer to Sporting Lisbon in his native Portugal, while incoming is a surprise first summer signing, center back Sepp van den Berg....

This week we travel back to the 1950's as thrown into the 'Ring of Fire' this week is TIA Forum Member @William Clarke

******

Your TIA Username:
@William Clarke
Location : Skelmersdale

You and Liverpool FC
Favourite Current LFC Player :
Virgil Van Dijk
Favourite all-time LFC Player : Roger Hunt
Favourite all time Reds match : Has to be the semi-final against Barça
Funniest moment following the Reds : Queuing up outside the Kop (when it was all standing) and a police horse stood on my right foot --- and it didn't even apologise, but gave me a nasty look.

And the rest:
Favourite non-LFC Player :
I'll get lynched for naming a United player, but he was truly a great and I wish he had played for us. George Best
Favourite other clubs (if any) : I have a couple and they are from matches we've had against them: St Etienne and Borussia Mönchengladbach
Other sports/hobbies/past times : I've mentioned it in a post or few how I will be 70 years old (1st July) and my favourite sport/hobby/pastime is staying alive long enough to see us winning our first Premier League title.
Non-footballing heroes : My mother was and still is my hero from the day I was born until her untimely death on 5 November 1980 at the age of 56 years from cancer.


******


William, Growing up in the 1950's, how did you come to support Liverpool?

I accepted and even took it for granted that I would follow Liverpool FC from an early age because my dad, uncle and one of my older cousins all supported our great club.

I remember a time in the early 1950's when the Liverpool Echo published in its broadsheet edition one evening a full colour picture of the Liverpool FC team. Colour reproduction on newsprint in those days wasn't as good as it is now, so it looked as though our side were playing in the colours of Blackpool FC, such was the wishy-washy colour reproduction of the printing. Still, it was a picture of our team, so dad pinned it up on the wall above our small dining table in the bijou kitchen of our flat at 174 North Hill Street, Liverpool 8.

Even though Liverpool FC were relegated to the English Second Division at the end of the 1953-1954 season there was no way any of us were going to change our allegiances. Eight long seasons passed, seasons in which we finished: 11th, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 3rd, 3rd until finally getting 1st place and promotion to the first tier of English football in 1962. They were years when most LFC supporters thought that we'd never escape from the Second Division. Of course, our success all came about by our Chairman Mr. T.V. Williams getting Bill Shankly to come to Anfield and manage our club. Shanks agreed to come having been promised full control of the playing side of things by the Board of Directors. This was in December 1959 and he took the club in his first season to 3rd place in the league. Another 3rd the following season eventually culminated in the winning of the Second Division title in 1961-1962 season and our great club returning to where it belonged.


Every fan clearly remembers their first experience in the Boys’ Pen at Anfield, what's your earliest memories?

The Boy's Pen was my introduction into the Anfield way of life back in the late 1950's to early 1960's. A small group of us from the L8 area would catch the orbital bus services 26 and 27, which passed the back of the Kop, getting off the bus in Oakfield Road as it neared the bend by Kemlyn Road. It was then just a short walk to get to the turnstiles for the Boy's Pen. I believe there was a Boy's Pen in the Kemlyn/Anfield Road end of the ground in previous years, but we were in the one situated in the top right-hand corner jammed between the Kop and the Main Stand.

Paying our entrance money, we passed through the turnstile and climbed a flight of steps, which brought us out near to the bottom of the Boy's Pen, a pen where we were literally penned in, being surrounded by high metal bar fencing. We were like monkeys in a monkey cage; "Oh, oobydoo, I wanna be like you-oo-oo, oo-oobydoo". This is where young supporters of Liverpool FC served their apprenticeship before becoming fully fledged members of the 'Big Society' known as the Kop.

Me and my mates were also practitioners of the three-quarter time brigade, scooting out of the Boy's Pen and making our way round to Oakfield Road and into the Kop, passing through gates that were opened wide for those wishing to leave early. We would enter through the gate and make our way down to the left, which had us passing beneath the Boy's Pen, to exit into the terrace area near to the corner flag, which was always fairly clear because of the snack bar being situated there.

I find it hard to recall whether any girls went into the Boy's Pen. Maybe they were reluctant to go in because they thought they weren't entitled to being a part of a BOY'S Pen.

I had a brief foray out of the Boy's Pen for one match when my Uncle Tommy Farrell and his son took me to watch a match from the safe environs of the Paddock, a smallish terrace area of the ground that ran below and in front of the Main Stand. It must have been in the era of Shanks because St John and Rowdy Yeats were playing. I was hanging by my arms on the top of the wall at pitch side with legs dangling as I watched the game at what I can only describe as a worm's eye view.

There was one moment in the match that I can clearly remember as though it were only yesterday. I can't recall what team we were playing, but the opposition side's right winger came tearing down the wing with the football towards the Kop end. Ha, but he wasn't clear because who was racing after him was none other than a growling and snorting big Rowdy Yeats. He scared the bejabers out of me, I can tell you, and I was protected by a wall. I watched the two of them running towards me and saw the look of fearful anticipation on the winger's face. He was waiting for big Rowdy to clobber him, and clobber him big Rowdy did. They had just run past me when Rowdy cocked his left peg and, with a scything action, kicked the ball away from the winger's foot. The winger took to the wing and must have flown a fair distance through the air before landing in a heap a good flight away, much to the joyous reaction of the crowded stadium.




Can you remember your very first time on the Kop?

My very first time of going on the Kop, other than at three-quarter time, I entered via the side nearest to the Kemlyn Road (Kenny's Stand). I slowly climbed the steps as I stared upwards in open-mouthed awe at the cavernous roof of the Kop way above my head. Having reached the top of the flight of steps the pitch came into view and, again, I was staring in amazement. The green of the playing surface seemed to glow, which looked so bright because of the darkness of the stands that surrounded it.

The old Main Stand was facing me across the pitch with the prestigious Liverpool Football Club sign emblazoned in a hemisphere halfway along the roof's length. I simply can't remember who we were playing that day, but the memory of entering early doors a virtually empty Kop for the first time has remained vividly etched in my mind.

Another memory is the one and only time that I have been on the Anfield pitch and it was at the end of our final Second Division home game versus Charlton Athletic at the end of April, 1962. We ultimately ended up winning the game 2-1, but Charlton scored in the 59th minute and held on under severe pressure from us until almost the last kick of the match when Roger Hunt and then Alan A'Court scored goals in quick succession to give us a victory. The whole of the ground erupted in wild jubilation as we snatched a well deserved win in our final home league match of the season in the Second Division.

The team for that final home match was: 1. Jim Furnell (Gk), 2. Gerry Byrne, 3. Ronnie Moran, 4. Gordon Milne, 5. Ron Yeats (Cpt) 6. Tommy Leishman, 7. Ian Callaghan, 8. Roger Hunt, 9. Ian St John, 10. Jimmy Melia, 11. Alan A'Court.

If I remember rightly we had one more away match to go before the season ended. Next stop the English 1st Division. After the match had ended scores of fans climbed onto the pitch, most probably to the annoyance of the ground staff, and began running wildly across the grass. All I remember doing, apart from staring up at the Directors area of the Main Stand when a home-made cup was given to Rowdy and he holding it in the air to roars of applause, was standing before the right-hand goalpost at the Kop end and touching it with my fingertips.

Ha, I never knew that I had such a close affinity with wood, but my subversive secret is out now.


Billy Liddell will forever be classed as one of the greatest players to ever play for Liverpool... What's your memories of him?

William Beveridge Liddell, born just outside Dunfermline in Scotland, played all of his professional career for Liverpool FC, and only during WWII did he make appearances for other sides as a guest player, This was the legend who gave his name to Liverpool FC, they being whimsically known for a time as 'Liddellpool', such was the great man's prowess for our club. It was way back in the proverbial mists of time, but I believe I only saw the great man play just the once. It was at a time when his LFC journey was coming to an end, so he didn't play that often.

During the twilight of his playing career he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the City if Liverpool in 1958. It was a sad day on the 3rd July 2001 when, at the age of 79 years, our legend died here in the city he had made his home. As long as football is played in our city the name of Billy Liddell will always be remembered.



William, you must have witnessed some disappointing results on the pitch over the past 70 years?

I had some downhearted moments watching our side play over the years and most of those games took place in European competitions. There was the game over at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands, when a dense fog hung over the ground and, with Ajax players knowing every inch (or should that be millimetre) of their pitch, they came away with a big 5-1 win. Shanks wasn't that bothered and said we would still go through to the next round, but it wasn't to be because Ajax earned themselves a 2-2 draw at Anfield and so went through 7-3 on aggregate. A player by the name of Cruyff was in the Ajax team and we all know how good he was.

Another match that hangs heavily in the deep recesses of my mind was the European Cup Winners Cup game played at Hampden Park, Glasgow, against a Borussia Dortmund side, losing 2-1 to them. We had travelled up for the game in high hopes of a Cup win, and this was travelling in the days before motorways. We boarded our coach and started off from outside St George's Hall early morning, even before the pigeons had roused themselves, and made our way northwards up the A-roads, crossing the heights of Shap and Tebay as we headed for the Scottish border.

We arrived in the Hampden area of Glasgow early in the afternoon and killed time as we waited for the evening kick-off. It was a decent game, as I remember, but losing the match was a sickening and miserable experience. The return home overnight along roads covered in darkness was a quiet, gloomy, sad time, and we were all more than delighted to alight at St George's Hall around six o'clock in the early morning.

Happily for us Reds fans it's been nowhere near sadness and gloom when it comes to our European adventures with 6 European/Champions League wins, 3 UEFA/Europa wins, and 3 Super Cup wins being a pretty damn good haul in anyone's book, but we haven't done so well in the Cup Winners Cup - with a whopping zero against our name.


What's your memories of the Managerial Line down through the years?

Since I started supporting our great club we've had our fair share of managers. Phil Taylor was in charge when I began following the Reds, but he was a manager who worked with a 'committee', as did most clubs back then. The committee hired and fired and picked the team for the matches and the only involvement the manager had was with training/coaching the team.

Taylor was followed by the Messiah of our club, the man who pulled our ailing club kicking and screaming into the new era of football, he being one William 'Shanks' Shankly. The success that he brought about was to be the building blocks of what followed. When Shanks retired we all thought our LFC world was going to crumble and fall down, but little did we know of the genius waiting in the wings.

Robert 'Bob' Paisley, born at Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, he reluctantly took over the reins, and saying to people that he would 'give it a go'. Wow, some go and no mistake. His honours were: 6 First Division titles, 3 League Cups, 3 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup and 6 FA Charity Shields, and on top of all that he was the winner of 6 awards as Manager of the Year.

Following Bob on his retirement was Joseph Francis 'Joe' Fagan, a winner of 1 First Division title, 1 League Cup, and 1 European Cup in his short but distinguished first team managerial career.

Next to take up the reins was Kenneth Mathieson 'King Kenny' Dalglish whose LFC honours included 3 First Division titles, 2 FA Cups, 1 Football League Super Cup, and 4 Charity Shields of which 2 were shared.

Ronald 'Ronnie' Moran filled in as Caretaker Manager until Graeme James Souness took control of LFC's destiny, winning the FA Cup in the 1991-92 season.

The next man to take the helm at the club was another ex-player, one Roy Quentin Echlin Evans who won 1 League Cup in 1994-95. Gérard Paul Francis Houllier was brought in as a joint manager with Roy Evans. Gérard was successful in winning 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, and 1 Charity Shield in his time with us.

Next in the managerial line was Rafael Benítez Maudes who collected 1 FA Cup, 1 Champions League Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, and 1 FA Community Shield, but after a behind the scenes war with our new, cowboy owners, which later became common knowledge, he left the club.

After Rafa came Roy Hodgson in 2010, but he didn't worry the honours list at Liverpool FC, being quickly replaced by an interim manager in Kenny Dalglish, returning to his old stomping ground as a Caretaker Manager in January 2011, winning 1 League Cup in his short spell in charge. Brendan Rodgers was appointed in 2012 and reigned until 2015, and he, too, didn't collect any silverware for our trophy room.

Finally, and bringing us right up to date, we have Jürgen Norbert Klopp in the driving seat and he has so far won 1 Champions League Cup and the future hope of winning a whole lot more.

These have been the Managers in charge in the years that I have supported our great club and I'm hoping that the owners will have to order more cabinets in order to house the future silverware that I'm expecting us to win.


We’ve all witnessed the emotional charged nights at Anfield and abroad, the extraordinary stories, the unforgettable memories... What is your most treasured Liverpool moment so far?

My most treasured memory, game wise that is, was the 'Supersub' St Etienne game in which Davy Fairclough scored the winning goal at the Kop end to send us through to the next round.



There have been other games down the years that have been memorable, but way out in front just has to be that night, that fateful night at a packed Anfield when we played the second leg of our UCL semi-final game against a 3-0 up Barça, I wanted us to just get a win, any sort of win, so we could save face and hold our heads up, but putting four goals into Barça goal without conceding one and the night turned into a happy almost carnival atmosphere. It was utterly fantastic and who will ever forget that 'cheeky' Trent corner kick and Big Div's winning goal? I've never seen the Catalan club's players looking so miserable, downhearted and shocked - I dare say you could call it 'goal shocked'.


Finally William, you have witnessed all 6 European Cup victories, memories of Jordan Henderson lifting Ol' Big Ears high into the Madrid sky to the utter delight of Liverpool supporters will be cherished forever... What are your abiding memories from the night?

Winning our 6th Champions League Cup on the 1st June, 2019, was something absolutely special. It knocked the monkey off the backs of our manager and players and, although the game itself was a very nervy affair, the lads saw the job done. Although it's to be admitted that in the second half Spurs did most of the attacking, be it they never looked as if they would score, there was always that nagging doubt, that possibility that they just might pull a goal back.

When the final whistle sounded that Saturday evening in Madrid and the cup, Ol' Big Ears, was ours yet again, the relief that exploded onto the pitch by players and staff alike was tangible and showed how important the cup win was to us as a club. It couldn't get any better, could it, but it did.

Come Sunday afternoon of the following day and the bus tour round the city that finished at the riverfront made me unbelievably proud of my fellow fans. Babes in arms, toddlers on dads shoulders, teenagers, fans sitting in trees and on top of lampposts, mums and dads, and those of an elderly age were all out lining the route as they welcomed back our conquering heroes. Yes, and you could see how moved those players, manager, and staff on the buses were at the sight of so many supporters having come out onto the streets to welcome them home. I watched over three hours of the televised event and had tears in my eyes just seeing the people celebrating. It's something that will go down in the history of our famous club and most definitely into my memory.



******

The 'Ring of Fire' - a weekly feature on the This Is Anfield forums.

Many thanks to @William Clarke for taking part this week and for taking the time to answer the questions, thanks mate!
 
Last edited:


Broomy

TIA's Redkopi
Ad-free Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
1,537
Of all the years I have been a member of ThisIsAnfield.com I have never read a piece so insightful and detailed from a forum member. It rekindled so many memories, those questions were so perceptive and thoughfully written it was wonderful, thank you so much for sharing it with us William Clarke...

Also, for anybody who doesn't know, its @William Clarke's 70th Birthday today.... So happy Birthday William, wishing you great happiness!
.
 
Last edited:

William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
Of all the years I have been a member of ThisIsAnfield.com I have never read a piece so insightful and detailed from a forum member. It rekindled so many memories, those questions were so perceptive and thoughfully written it was wonderful, thank you so much for sharing it with us William Clarke...

Also, for anybody who doesn't know, its @William Clarke's 70th Birthday today.... So happy Birthday William, wishing you great happiness!
.
My sincerest thanks @Broomy for your lovely remarks and kind wishes.
 

Billy Biskix

TIA Youth Team
Ad-free Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
2,753
My sincerest thanks @Broomy for your lovely remarks and kind wishes.
This was the best thing I've read on here in ages. You rarely get this kind of insight about the 50s and 60s any more. The reference to the 'Paddock' terracing made me very nostalgic as me and my Dad often stood there in my early visits to Anfield.
 



William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
This was the best thing I've read on here in ages. You rarely get this kind of insight about the 50s and 60s any more. The reference to the 'Paddock' terracing made me very nostalgic as me and my Dad often stood there in my early visits to Anfield.
Yeah, for us kids it was a fairly safe place to watch the match. Really happy it brought back happy memories for you.
 

PaulRoJo

Supporter since 1990 still waiting for the league
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
424
Just found this series - absolutely loved your reminisces William! If you had the time, it would really be worth documenting your memories - they are becoming rarer and ultimately, if you wished, they would be of much interest to a legion of current (and future) supporters.

I still have an old VHS BBC official Liverpool history from 1987 which I got as a child - now available on youtube here and well worth a look (great music to introduce shankly and some nice footage!) which goes through this era but it is just wonderful to hear the perspective from someone who was there. The only thing about the video I don't like is the cocky ending - albeit reasonable in the context of the era - which makes you realise just how uncertain the future can be.
 

Rambler

Bootle Boy
Ad-free Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
3,291
What a fabulous read @William Clarke. Your memories are so evocative and pretty much mirror my own as I started off going with my Dad in the Second Division days before graduating onto the Kop. The Celtic, Inter Milan and St Etienne games are right up there with the recent great European nights. The smells of Hot Dog stands and Horse shit were a heady mix to a young impressionable lad.
 
Last edited:

Red over the water

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
2,179
Happy birthday William! And thanks for a great read. My dad grew up in the same era (he’s 72) following Liverpool and passed it on to us kids. It’s something that binds us now that we’re all grown with our own kids, and scattered around the world.

Here’s hoping we all see that Premier League trophy next season.
 



William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
Happy birthday William! And thanks for a great read. My dad grew up in the same era (he’s 72) following Liverpool and passed it on to us kids. It’s something that binds us now that we’re all grown with our own kids, and scattered around the world.

Here’s hoping we all see that Premier League trophy next season.
Many thanks, mate, and I am with you hoping for that first Premier League title win.
 



William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
Happy birthday William. Really enjoyed the piece, what an era to have been a Red, Mo's 'never give up' tee shirt wouldn't've been out of place!
I was lucky to be born and grow up at a time of our greatest period in LFC's footballing history. Great managers, great teams, and a great time of life for me and people of my age. Here's hoping those times are coming again.
Many thanks for your birthday wishes @redaderry
 

Neukolln

Well-Known Member
Ad-free Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
2,122
**APPLAUSE**

Phenomenally written and crafted William Clarke. Absolutely phenomenal read, thank you for sharing all of that. Beautiful memories and vivid nostalgia coupled with uncommon earnestness. Proud to call your kind a Brother in Red. Enjoy your birthday today and many more to come!
 



William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
**APPLAUSE**

Phenomenally written and crafted William Clarke. Absolutely phenomenal read, thank you for sharing all of that. Beautiful memories and vivid nostalgia coupled with uncommon earnestness. Proud to call your kind a Brother in Red. Enjoy your birthday today and many more to come!
Happy to be your Brother in Red @Neukolln and many thanks for your birthday wishes.
 

Quicksand

Looking for Clues...
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
765
Happy Birthday @William Clarke, and many more to you.
Lovely to read your reminiscing, I was a bit behind you, but did have Ron Yeats and Tommy Lawrence in my first football card collection. Really wonderful memories, written from the heart. What a privilage for us to share in those memories. Thank you.

PS, 30 years to your telegram! What changes will we see in those years?
 

William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
Happy Birthday @William Clarke, and many more to you.
Lovely to read your reminiscing, I was a bit behind you, but did have Ron Yeats and Tommy Lawrence in my first football card collection. Really wonderful memories, written from the heart. What a privilage for us to share in those memories. Thank you.

PS, 30 years to your telegram! What changes will we see in those years?
Many thanks for your birthday wishes @Quicksand . I remember very well going to Anfield and watching Tommy, Ron, along with Tommy Leishman, Geoff Twentyman, Jimmy Melia, Kevin Lewis and many, many more.

As for the 30 years until getting the Royal telegram, all I'm hoping is we've won the Premier League long before then. As they say, I can die happy after we've won our missing trophy.
 



Quicksand

Looking for Clues...
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
765
Many thanks for your birthday wishes @Quicksand . I remember very well going to Anfield and watching Tommy, Ron, along with Tommy Leishman, Geoff Twentyman, Jimmy Melia, Kevin Lewis and many, many more.

As for the 30 years until getting the Royal telegram, all I'm hoping is we've won the Premier League long before then. As they say, I can die happy after we've won our missing trophy.
Of them all.........
All of the legends you have personally witnessed,
Who was the one that made your heart beat loudest?
Kenny? Keegan? St John? Hunt?
I remember Heighway with so much fondness. And Ray Kennedy. First time I saw him in the flesh was a friendly in Dublin. He was like a giant.
 

William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
Of them all.........
All of the legends you have personally witnessed,
Who was the one that made your heart beat loudest?
Kenny? Keegan? St John? Hunt?
I remember Heighway with so much fondness. And Ray Kennedy. First time I saw him in the flesh was a friendly in Dublin. He was like a giant.
I mentioned Sir Rog as being my favourite LFC player of all time and I will stick with him, but there were lots of players that I admired. Maybe unbelievably, but one of those players I liked was Willie Stevenson. I don't know why I liked him, I just did. As well as Stevie Heighway there was also our Preston North End buy Peter Thompson, a great cultured winger with plenty of speed. Then there was the quiet man Chrissy Lawler who, for a right fullback, scored a helluva lot of goals, and I think I'm right in saying that not one of those goals was from the penalty spot. I could reminisce further about the great players of our past sides, but I would be here all day.
 

William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,222
Great read. Brilliant



@William Clarke 2 of my aunties and loads of my cousins lived in the flats on north hilly ha. Most of my family still live around there. Can I ask which secondary school you went to? My dad would be the same age as you so yous maybe knew each other.
I attended St Silas Primary School just off High Park Street followed by Princes Park Sec Mod for Boys at the bottom of Lodge Lane in Sefton Park Road around 1960 to 1964/5.
 

KillerBeeLFC

TIA Reserve Team
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
1,166
I attended St Silas Primary School just off High Park Street followed by Princes Park Sec Mod for Boys at the bottom of Lodge Lane in Sefton Park Road around 1960 to 1964/5.
Oh yea I know St Silas well, I just drove passed there 20 mins ago ha. My family was mainly in St Cleopas and Beaufort St where I went. Not sure where your secondary was, I'm guessing its where Blevedere
school is now. I went to Shorefields same as my dad but it was called something different in his time there. I was going to say small world but were on a LFC site so chances are a lot of us are from Liverpool ha