Bob Paisley's opinion on Billy Liddell

Liddell appears on This Is Your Life in honour of Bob Paisley on 12th November 1977

Billy and Bob training on 19th of February 1952

Billy Liddell on Bob: "As players, we used to live opposite each other and the day my wife and I moved in, Bob was the first person across our doorstep to welcome us."

Bob Paisley joined Liverpool in May 1939, 10 months after Billy Liddell had moved from Scotland to Liverpool. They built a friendship that lasted a lifetime and Bob could certainly appreciate the qualities of his good friend if these words are anything to go by:

"Forgive me if my eyes sparkle when I think of Bill Liddell. You can talk of how the players of yesteryear would have struggled to cope with the demands of the modern game. Bill Liddell would have been a star in any team, in any age. How I wish I could have had a Liddell in my successful teams. With him in the side I reckon we would have won the Grand National and the Boat Race.

When I first joined Liverpool, Bill and I lived only a few doors apart in digs just near the ground and quickly palled up. Later we both moved to club house in Bowring Park. Our private lives followed a similar pattern too. Bill met Phyllis, a girl from Garston, and they were married three days after us! We have our wedding anniversary on July 17th and theirs is on the 20th. While we were living near each other in Bowring Park we used to rely on Phil Taylor for our transport. Bill and I would pay him two pence a week to take us to the ground because he was the only one who had a car in those days.

We had a fine time then because most of the players lived near each other. I can remember one incident when we all had to give Albert Stubbins a hand after he had bought a new bedroom suite which wouldn't go through the front door. We had to take out a window and hoist it up to get it into his bedroom! Willie Fagan, Ted Spicer, Albert, Cyril Done, Phil Taylor, Bill and I all lived in the Greystone Road-Westfield Avenue area and I think we paid 25 shillings a week in rent to the club. Bill's wife, Phyllis, was the first one to get a washing machine, I think it was a Bendix, and we all went in to have a look at it because it was such a rarity in those days.

He was also an exceptional person. He didn't smoke. He didn't drink. He didn't swear. And he wasn't even a full-time professional! Now I'm sure that will surprise a lot of old fans but throughout his time at Anfield, Bill never trained with us on a daily basis. He would take part in the pre-season training and join us for about a month. But after that we would only see him a couple of mornings a week. The rest of the time he was working outside the game with, first of all, the accountancy firm who were Liverpool's auditors, and, after that, as accountant to the Liverpool Students' Union. No-one would have known that Bill was, really, only a part-timer and I'm sure even if he had trained every day he wouldn't have been a better player than he was.

Billy Liddell, Bill Jones, Bob Paisley and Phil Taylor killing time at a hotel room in the early 50sHe was often embarrassed when people referred to us as Liddell-pool during the days of struggle but I think it was fair enough. He was a team rolled up into one.

It was an honour to play behind him for so many years and when I say that Bill didn't swear, I mean it. I can quite honestly say that I never, ever heard him utter a swear word, on the pitch, in the dressing room or on the training ground. In fact, I remember one occasion when a referee was going to take his name. I interceded and asked why and was told that Bill had sworn at either him or the linesman. I told the ref he would be laughed out of court because who had played with or against him knew that he would never utter a swear word!

"It really was fun and enjoyable in those days. The wives went to the games together and Phyllis Liddell and I used to sit on the wall outside the Anfield ground waiting for Bob and Billy to come out. There was no ladies' lounge or anything like that! Then we'd go to the sweet shop before we got the tram home." - Jessie Paisley, Bob's wife on their friendship with Billy and Phyllis Liddell

Bill was always strong, even as a teenager, and was a naturally two-footed player. He also had good skills, but was so strong for a winger. In those days most wingers were fairly lightly-built players but Bill had absolutely no fear. He was a gentleman through and through. But he would also work on the pitch. He was a real workhorse but he had a nice touch as well. Sometimes he would use his strength to send defenders flying, but always totally fairly.

It is close between him and Kenny for the title of the best player ever to have worn a Liverpool shirt. By today's standards, I don't think there is the money to buy a Billy Liddell." 

Copyright - Bob Paisley - My 50 Golden Reds (1990)

Sir Bob quote

"Bob Paisley was a clever man in every shape and form. He led me to believe I was playing with the reserves on Friday against Everton reserves at Anfield. So my boots were put out with theirs. He got Tom Saunders to come to my digs near Melwood, pick me up 11 o'clock. We went to Anfield and I picked my boots up and I went to Everton through Stanley Park with my boots under my arm. As soon as I got into the dressing room at Goodison Park where Liverpool's first team was due to play Everton, Bob just said: 'Get ready to play, son.' And I thought, 'if you can face this, you can get through everything, 56,000 people shouting and bullying at you.'"

Phil Neal on his Liverpool debut

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