Wednesday, February 7, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 80: Tommy Lawrence

Diving full length into our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is legendary goalkeeper of the sixties Tommy Lawrence, aka 'The Flying Pig'.
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: Tommy Lawrence

Years at Liverpool: 1957 to 1971

Position: Goalkeeper

Date-of-birth: 14/5/1940
Birthplace: Ayrshire

Signed from: Warrington (October 1957)

Games: 390
Clean Sheets: 133

Honours: First Division Championship (1963/64, 1965/66), FA Cup (1965), Charity Shield (1964, 1965, 1966)

The role Tommy Lawrence played in the success enjoyed by Bill Shankly's first great Liverpool team during the 1960s should never be underestimated. Affectionately dubbed 'The Flying Pig', his contribution is often overlooked when compared to that of his more illustrious team-mates but there's no doubting he was a key member of the side that swept all before them in a glory-laden spell between 1964 and 1966. Having joined the Reds as an apprentice, Lawrence had to bide his time before establishing himself as the undisputed number one between the sticks at Anfield. It was in October 1962 that he made his debut and he remained an almost permanent fixture in the senior side for the best part of the next decade. At 14 stone you'd assumed he wasn't the most agile of keepers but he often thwarted opposition forwards with spectacular flying saves, hence the nickname. The Scottish stopper, who mysteriously won just three international caps, was also renowned for the speed at which he'd rush off his line to sniff out danger and was famously dubbed by Joe Mercer as football's first 'sweeper keeper'. An amazingly consistent performer, Lawrence very rarely missed games and was an ever-present in the 65/66 title-winning campaign. He'd already won a Championship medal two seasons earlier and played in every match during the memorable run to a first FA Cup triumph in 1965, while in 1968/69 he conceded only 24 League goals, which was then a record for a 42-match season. The emergence of a young Ray Clemence in the early seventies was to signal the end of a colourful Anfield career for the ever-popular Lawrence and in 1971, aged 31 and just 10 games short of 400 appearances for the Reds, he made the short trip across the Mersey to join Tranmere Rovers.

Sold to: Tranmere Rovers (September 1971)

Claim to fame: Being the first so-called 'sweeper keeper'

Did you know? Despite being born in Scotland he was brought up in Lancashire after his family moved there when he was a young boy

Where is he now? Retired and living in Warrington

Ron Yeats on Tommy Lawrence: "We used to call him the Flying Pig. He was a little bit overweight but he was a good goalkeeper. When you last ten years as the Liverpool goalkeeper you must have something and Tommy had a lot."

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