Friday, April 20, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 49: Alex Raisbeck


At number 49 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is the man regarded as Liverpool Football Club's earliest superstar, the great Alex Raisbeck.
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: Alex Raisbeck

Years at Liverpool: 1898 to 1909
Position: Centre-back

Date-of-birth: 26/12/1878
Birthplace: Polmont, Stirlingshire

Signed from: Stoke City (1898)

Games: 340
Goals: 21

Honours: First Division Championship (1900/01, 1905/06), Second Division Championship (1904/05), Dewar Shield (1906)

Regarded as the club's first ever star player, Alex Raisbeck played a prominent part in Liverpool's earliest success. His Anfield career spanned eleven seasons, during which the Scottish international evolved into one of the best centre-backs of his era. It was while playing for Stoke that Raisbeck was first brought to the club's attention and in the kind of transfer swoop that would later become a Liverpool trademark, the then secretary-manager Tom Watson was sent to the Potteries and instructed not to return without sealing a deal. It cost Liverpool £350 to tempt Stoke to part with their prized asset but it was to prove money well spent. Raisbeck was an instant hit with the Anfield faithful because in his first season at the club he declined the opportunity to gain a first international cap in order to concentrate his efforts on Liverpool's chase for the League and Cup double. As it turned out, his efforts were in vain. The Reds lost out on both fronts but it was a tremendous display of loyalty from the new man. Raisbeck would eventually gain representative honours for Scotland and domestic prizes were also on the horizon. Two seasons after that double disappointment, Liverpool defied all odds to carry off their first championship, with Raisbeck being the key figure and driving force behind the Reds' success. Despite being only 5'10" in height, he was a commanding centre-half whose timing and athleticism enabled him to reach the ball before taller opponents. The 1905/06 season though was when Raisbeck was perhaps at his peak. Following the shock of relegation two years earlier he'd again stayed loyal to the club and helped steer them back to the top-flight at the first time of asking, before leading by example once more as Liverpool became the first club to win the Second and First Division titles in successive years. When Raisbeck's glorious Liverpool career eventually came to an end the Scotsman returned to the country of his birth to play for Partick Thistle and Hamilton Academicals before experiencing spells at the helm of Bristol City, Halifax and Chester. His love of Liverpool, however, never died and he later came back to take up a scouting position. One of this club's finest ever servants eventually passed away in 1949 but Alex Raisbeck will forever be remembered as the first in an illustrious line of great Scottish centre-backs at Anfield.

Sold to: Partick Thistle (1909)

Claim to fame: Captained Liverpool to their first ever Championship

Did you know? The club supplemented his wages by giving him the job of bill inspector, overseeing the public hoardings and notice boards advertising Liverpool matches

Where is he now? Passed away 12 March 1949

Stephen Done on Alex Raisbeck: "He was probably Liverpool's first superstar. He dates from the early days of the club at the turn of the century and was a glamorous looking guy who would have been a pin up these days. He'd have been a Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler or David Beckham."

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