Anfield Review With... Peter Kenny Jones (Published in the Official Liverpool FC Matchday Programme)
On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to have some of my words published in the Official Liverpool Matchday Programme against Chelsea, I'm delighted that is is now the fifth time I've managed to write for the Programme or Magazine and hope you enjoy it:
How a local family connection gave this Reds supporter and football author the chance to write about one of Liverpool FC’s finest-ever servants.
The opportunity to write Billy Liddell at One Hundred: A Family Portrait of a Liverpool Icon came through a unique family relationship with the Liddell family.
My auntie used to attend Scottish dancing with Billy’s sister Rena and put us in touch with each other after I expressed an interest in writing a book about the great man. Rena is a huge Liverpool fan who lives a stone’s throw from Anfield and it was great to have such access to the Liddell family to ensure this book is as personal and true to Billy as possible.
I’ve been writing about football history since graduating from university where my undergraduate and masters degrees both had dissertations about Merseyside football
in both the interwar period and the 1960s.
From there I continued writing for websites, publications and football clubs, including Liverpool FC’s matchday programme and monthly magazine, which was a huge
moment for me. That gave me experience and the confidence to pitch ideas to publishers in the hope of combining my love for football history with my love for LFC and the family connection to Billy.
I have been to every home game since 2010 and had travelled Europe to watch my team at home and abroad. My first game was in 2001, I was lucky enough to be a matchday mascot in 2003, and I’ve been on the Kop for much of the last decade.
It’s a testament to Billy and the respect he still commands among former team-mates that I was able to speak to some of the greatest players to ever wear the red shirt. These include Ian Callaghan, Alan Hansen and Jamie Carragher, all of whom have provided forewords for the book.
As well as other players like Jimmy Melia, Gordon Milne and Johnny Morrissey, and family members such as Rena and Billy’s twins, I’d had the opportunity to speak to as many people as possible to ensure that a full portrait of Billy has been painted to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday.
He remains the fourth-top all-time goalscorer for Liverpool, one of two men to represent a Great Britain side more than once, a key player in the 1946/47 title-winning campaign and part of the 1950 FA Cup final side.
As it’s well-known, he was so influential at Anfield, where he spent over 22 years, that the team became known as Liddellpool. His flag remains on the Kop and he is among the seven players to be immortalised with a bench outside the stadium.
I hope that I’ve done him justice and this book will introduce his story to a new audience, ensuring that one of the greatest players to ever play for the club is correctly remembered. Enjoy the story!
• Billy Liddell at 100: A Family Portrait of a Liverpool Icon is published on 8 November and is
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Peter Kenny Jones