Watching ĎOf Time and the Cityí again in Leeds last week, where Terence Davies remembers his growing up in 1940s and 50s Liverpool, inevitably made me remember my own early years. I didnít arrive until the 1950s, but his Liverpool looked the same as mine. Battered.
Some of the bomb sites around the city centre here werenít finally built on until this century, when Liverpool One was constructed. Spending the intervening years as unsurfaced car parks we all kind of forgot were really bomb sites.
So, anyway, I arrive in 1954 to a monochrome world where food rationing hasnít quite ended and people are still talking about the war like it ended a few weeks ago, rather than nine years.
The other thing theyíre talking about is football, this is Liverpool after all.
Thatís Evertonís ground at the end of the road and I have many early memories of standing in our front window watching everyone piling into the ground on match days. They could get 70,000 in there then.
Despite our location we arenít an Everton family though. However it is it happens, genetics or inheritance, we are Liverpool fans. And as I learn how to walk and talk I am taught, in no uncertain terms, about the fact that the greatest footballer who has ever lived is currently playing for Liverpool. He is Billy Liddell.
n the advice of Matt Busby, Liverpoolís captain in the 1930s, the club have signed Billy early in the war. And though he spends the war in the RAF he still manages to turn out in over 150 games for Liverpool and a good few for Scotland. The wartime government, mainly socialists remember, realising that football is good for general morale and well-being.
As the war ends Billy and his team mates turn out to be very good for the well-being of battered Liverpool as they win the League in 1946/47, the first full post war season. Billy and fellow forward Albert Stubbins being as lethal in front of goal as Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge will prove to be many years later.
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