Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly: Liverpool Gift Book

Edited by Simon Inglis
Malavan Media (144pp cloth-bound hardback), £14.99 (RRP)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This book will prove a perfect Christmas present for many elderly and middle-aged Liverpool supporters, providing a feast of nostalgia of those what now seem to be innocent times.

It covers the period between 1951-73, which included the arrival of the legendary Bill Shankly, who transformed the team from a mediocre second tier team in the Football League into one of the leading sides in the old First Division and a dominant force in Europe.

All the articles and photographs – many of them in colour – are all reprinted from the monthly magazine in which they appeared at the time of their publication.

As a boy I lived and breathed LFC during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Coming across team photographs reproduced in the book, I could name every player assembled there.

They include Alun Evans, the young blond striker Shankly signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers (who I saw score four times in one game, albeit against South Liverpool!); the gazelle-like running of winger Peter Thompson, who was nicknamed ‘twinkle toes’; and ‘Sir’ Roger Hunt (he adorns the cover of the book) born in Stockton Heath, who later became one of Liverpool’s most prolific scorers and helped England win the World Cup in 1966.

The sides that Shankly built were renowned for their innovative forward play but at the back they had muscular defenders, such as Tommy Smith, who was described as ‘The Anfield Iron’, renowned for his ferocious tacking. If anyone got past him, they would soon be chopped down.

In one European Cup tie – which, if memory serves me well was against Swedish side Malmo – one of their players bizarrely wore spectacles. Within the early stages of the game Smith demonstrated what he thought about his decision by headbutting him. Despite his many indiscretions on the pitch, remarkably he was sent off only once.

Although the emphasis in the book is on the players of that period, due tribute is also paid to Shankly and also secretary Peter Robinson, who was the pivotal figure behind the scenes at Anfield. He was more than a secretary, he basically ran the club almost single-handed with his meticulous attention to detail and his forward thinking approach to the sport.

Printer friendly page

Comments are closed for this review