Yeats in 2007
|Full name||Ronald Yeats|
|Date of birth||15 November 1937|
|Place of birth||Aberdeen, Scotland|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Playing position||Centre half|
|1955–1957||Aberdeen Lads' Club|
|1976||→ Los Angeles Skyhawks (loan)|
|1977||Santa Barbara Condors|
|1977||Santa Barbara Condors|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Life and playing career
Yeats was an Under 15 Schoolboy international who played for Aberdeen Junior side, Aberdeen Lads Club FC, from where he was signed by Dundee United a then Scottish Second Division club. Previous to signing for Dundee United, and on his return from a broken leg, Yeats had a trial with Elgin City FC, then a Scottish Highland Football League club. He worked in a slaughter house in his home town of Aberdeen prior to becoming a professional footballer.
Yeats, a stockily-built 6 ft 2 in central defender, was bought by manager Bill Shankly in 1961 from United for a fee of around £20,000 and was immediately installed as captain as Liverpool gained promotion from the Second Division after eight seasons away from English football's top flight. He made his debut in a 2–0 league victory over Bristol Rovers at Eastville on 19 August 1961, his first goal came 2 years later in the 75th minute of the 1–0 First Division victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on 23 November 1963.
When Yeats was signed, Shankly was so impressed and proud of the physical presence of his new player that he told waiting journalists "The man is a mountain, go into the dressing room and walk around him". Yeats lived up to the reputation and the nickname ("The Colossus") his huge frame gave him, playing at the heart of Liverpool's defence for a decade and winning the club's first major honours in nearly 20 years. Shankly later described Yeats's arrival, along with that of striker Ian St John (also in 1961), as the "turning point" as Liverpool began their quest to compete with — and beat — the best in England and in Europe.
Liverpool won the League championship in 1964 and then picked up their first-ever FA Cup a year later, beating Leeds United 2–1 in the final at Wembley. Yeats was gleeful as his lifted the trophy, though he suffered disappointment at the same time as Liverpool lost in the European Cup semi-final to Inter Milan.
Yeats skippered Liverpool to another League title in 1966 and during this period also won two caps for Scotland, the first came on 3 October 1964 in a 3–2 defeat to Wales at Ninian Park Cardiff. The success of Liverpool then dried up, and he was one of the high-profile victims of a massive cull of the older players which Shankly ruthlessly undertook in 1970 in an effort to rebuild the side for a new decade. After 454 games, Yeats left for Tranmere Rovers in 1971 and eventually became their manager.
In 1976 at age 38, he joined the Los Angeles Skyhawks of the American Soccer League at the request of Skyhawk coach Ron Newman. In his only season there, he played sweeper and anchored the defence of the A.S.L. champion Skyhawks.
In 1977, he became the player coach of the American Soccer League's Santa Barbara Condors expansion team. Returning to Liverpool, he had a short spell at the start of the 1977/78 season playing for Formby before moving to Rhyl in November 1977.
In 1986, Yeats returned to Anfield as the club's chief scout, responsible for delegating duties to the club's talent spotters. He remained in that role until his retirement in May 2006.
Still held in high regard amongst the Liverpool faithful he was voted 29th in the official Liverpool website poll '100 Players Who Shook The Kop'.
He is referenced in the Everton song "Royal Blue Mersey" in the line "We hate Bill Shankly and we hate St. John, but most of all we hate Big Ron"
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Others||Total|
|Club||Season||Scott League||Scott Cup||League Cup||Europe||Others||Total|
- Football League First Division (2): 1963–64, 1965–66
- Football League Second Division (1): 1961–62
- FA Cup (1): 1964–65
- FA Charity Shield (3): 1964, 1965, 1966
- Los Angeles Skyhawks
- American Soccer League (1): 1975–76
- "Reuben Bennett". www.qosfc.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Beginning a football revolution". BBC News. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Waddington, Marc (3 April 2009). "Liverpool's footballing legends among first round of Honorary Scousers". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 8 November 2011.