Thursday, February 15, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 74: Jack Balmer

At number 74 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is Jack Balmer, a famous and prolific goalscorer for the Reds either side of the Second World War.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Jack Balmer

Years at Liverpool: 1935 to 1952
Position: Forward

Date-of-birth: 6/9/1916
Birthplace: Liverpool

Signed from: Everton (May 1925)

Games: 313
Goals: 111

Honours: First Division Championship (1946/47)

Jack Balmer achieved everlasting fame with a remarkable and unprecedented goalscoring achievement in November 1946, when he stole the sporting headlines by netting three hat-tricks in as many games. It was the undoubted highlight of a distinguished 17-year career at Anfield, during which time he captained the club and won a First Division Championship medal. A centre forward who possessed pace and skill in equal abundance, Balmer packed a powerful shot. He loved to try his luck from any distance and was forever on the lookout for goalscoring opportunities. He established himself as a regular in Liverpool's first team during the late 1930's and was being tipped for an international call-up before the outbreak of War interrupted his career. When League Football resumed in August 1946 Balmer was considered a veteran of the side and his balding head disguised the fact that he had only just turned 30. It was to be a momentous season for him in more ways than one. Together with new signing Albert Stubbins he fired the club to an unexpected title triumph. He netted 24 times, which was a personal season best, and ten of them came during his famous purple patch in November. Amazingly, despite his heroic hat-trick of hat-tricks, Balmer could never claim to be a firm favourite among the fickle Liverpudlians of the time. Despite being a native of the city, his middle class upbringing earmarked him as a predictable target of the mainly working class Anfield crowd, as did his dislike for the physical aspect of the game, especially when the Reds were enduring a lean spell. A loyal club servant, Balmer eventually hung up his boots in the early 1950s, having played his last game at the age of 36. He may not have won many popularity contests on the Kop but there can be no doubting that his exploits in front of goal shook the famous old terrace. And whenever the subject of hat-tricks are mentioned in the pubs around Anfield you can be sure the name of Jack Balmer will figure prominently.

Sold to: Retired (1952)

Claim to fame: His hat-trick of hat-tricks

Did you know? He started his career as an amateur with Everton, for whom his two famous uncles, Walter and Tom Balmer, had played at the turn of the century

Where is he now? Went to work in the family joinery business after leaving Liverpool and passed away on Christmas Day 1984

Stephen Done on Jack Balmer: "He looked more like an open university professor than a footballer but he was a very good, honest, hard working servant of the club whose best years were probably lost to the war. He was an unsung hero and if you read the match reports of that time you realise he was solid as a rock and dependable."

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