Tommy Lawrence

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Tommy Lawrence
Tommy Lawrence (1966).jpg
Personal information
Full name Thomas Johnstone Lawrence[1]
Date of birth (1940-05-14) 14 May 1940 (age 77)
Place of birth Dailly, Ayrshire, Scotland
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Warrington Town F.C.
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1957–1971 Liverpool 306 (0)
1971–1974 Tranmere Rovers 80 (0)
Total 386 (0)
National team
1962 Scotland Under-23[2] 1 (0)
1963–1969 Scotland 3 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Thomas Johnstone Lawrence (born 14 May 1940) is a Scottish former professional footballer, who played as a goalkeeper for Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers in the 1950s through to the 1970s.[3] Lawrence played in three full internationals for Scotland during the 1960s.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Dailly, Ayrshire the Lawrence family moved to the north-west of England when Tommy was a child. On leaving school he worked at Rylands wire factory and played for Warrington Town F.C. as an amateur, before joining Liverpool in 1957 at age 17.

After retiring from professional football, Lawrence returned to work at Rylands as a quality controller. He has a son, Stephen.

In February 2015, Lawrence was inadvertently interviewed in the street by BBC journalist Stuart Flinders who was asking elderly people if they remembered the 1966–67 FA Cup Fifth Round game between Liverpool and Everton. Lawrence replied "I do, I played in it. I was the goalkeeper for Liverpool."[4]

Professional career[edit]

Liverpool, 1957–1971[edit]

In 1957 Liverpool manager Phil Taylor offered him a professional contract. He made his first team debut under manager Bill Shankly, playing against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on 27 October 1962, in a 1–0 loss. His first clean-sheet came on 17 November, when Liverpool beat fellow promotion hopefuls Leyton Orient at Anfield 5–0, with Roger Hunt scoring a hat-trick.

Lawrence went on to retain the No.1 jersey that season making 35 appearances, including 6 ties in Liverpool's run to the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough. Leicester City were their opponents and prevented the Reds from reaching the 1963 FA Cup Final by winning the game 1–0. Liverpool had finished in a very respectable 8th place in their first season back in the 1st Division. However, this achievement was tempered by the fact that their Merseyside rivals Everton won the 1962-63 league championship. The following season Lawrence played 40 times out of a possible 42. He also played in 5 cup ties as Liverpool got the better of their local rivals Everton. They also won the 1963-64 league championship, 4 points clear of Manchester United.

In the 1964–65 season Lawrence and Liverpool were unable to repeat the previous season's achievements, finishing in 7th place and a full 17 points behind winners Manchester United. However, Liverpool's run in the FA Cup took them to Wembley for the first time since 1950. The Anfield club had never won the prestigious trophy, so the 1965 FA Cup Final against Leeds United assumed great importance. Leeds had conceded just 2 goals during their run to the final, but so had Lawrence. This meant a tight game was predicted and this turned out to be the case with Lawrence keeping a clean sheet during the 90 minutes of normal time. Liverpool also could not score so the game went into extra-time. After 3 minutes of the extra period Roger Hunt opened the scoring for Liverpool, but the lead lasted just 2 minutes as Billy Bremner scored the equaliser. The score remained 1–1 and the game looked to be heading for a replay until the 113th minute when Ian St John headed the ball home past a tiring Leeds defence. Liverpool held on to the final whistle and the FA Cup was heading to Anfield for the very first time with Shankly, Lawrence and the rest of the Liverpool team writing their name down as Liverpool legends forever more.

Lawrence was to enjoy more success the following season as the Reds found their league form once more, winning the 1965/66 title by 6 clear points over a Leeds side that were surely beginning to hate the sight of them. Shankly must have been overjoyed at the fact that Everton finished a full 20 points adrift of his beloved Liverpool. Such was Lawrence's form, consistency and luck (he was rarely injured) that he missed only a handful of games for eight years thereafter. A firm fan favourite he earned the affectionate nickname The Flying Pig because of his ability to dive around the penalty area despite weighing more than 14 stone (89 kg).

Lawrence held off the challenge of precocious teenage keeper Ray Clemence when the youngster arrived from Scunthorpe United in 1967 but Liverpool were already going through a slump as the team aged. Though Lawrence was not the eldest, and as a goalkeeper was considered the sort of player who could carry on for longer than most, he was suddenly removed from the team in favour of Clemence after the notorious 1–0 6th round FA Cup defeat at Watford in 1970; along with outfield players Ron Yeats and Ian St John. He played for Liverpool only once again (against Manchester City in a 2–2 draw at Maine Road on 26 April 1971.

During his time at Liverpool, he won 3 caps for Scotland.[5] His debut came on 3 June 1963 in a friendly international at Dalymount Park, Dublin. Unfortunately for Lawrence the Republic of Ireland won the match 1–0. Lawrence never managed to keep a clean sheet at national level, his 2 other appearances, both 6 years later in 1969, being a 1–1 draw with West Germany in a World Cup qualifier and a 5–3 victory over Wales in a British Home Championship match. During his last international appearance, against Wales, Lawrence collided with the crossbar and had to be carried off.

Tranmere, 1971–74[edit]

After 390 appearances in the Liverpool goal Lawrence joined Tranmere Rovers on 10 November 1971, he then drifted back into the non-league game with Chorley before retiring.

Honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tommy Lawrence". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  2. ^ http://www.fitbastats.com/scotlandu23/player.php?playerid=86
  3. ^ "HALL OF HEROES: Liverpool legend Tommy Lawrence". warringtonguardian.co.uk. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  4. ^ BBC reporter accidentally interviews former Liverpool keeper - BBC News. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  5. ^ Tommy Lawrence at the Scottish Football Association

External links[edit]