Sunday, May 27, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 29: Ron Yeats


Entering our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is the colossus of Bill Shankly's first great Liverpool team, Ron Yeats.
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: Ron Yeats

Years at Liverpool: 1961 to 1971
Position: Defender

Date-of-birth: 15/11/1937
Birthplace: Aberdeen

Signed from: Dundee United

Games: 454
Goals: 16

Honours: First Division Championship (1963/64, 1965/66), FA Cup (1965), Second Division Championship (1961/62), Charity Shield (1964, 1965, 1966)

'Six foot two and strong as an ox!' When assessing the modern history of this club the importance of Ron Yeats cannot be underestimated. The rock upon which Bill Shankly's first great Liverpool side was built, rugged centre-half Yeats was an inspirational figure throughout an illustrious decade at Anfield, during which time the Reds emerged from the wilderness of eight years in Division Two to become one of the most respected teams in Europe. Signed from Dundee United during the summer of 1961, he was described by his new manager as 'a colossus' and upon his arrival at Anfield journalists were invited to walk around him. An imposing and commanding presence at the back, the original 'Big Ron' exuded such confidence in those around him that Shanks also once famously remarked, 'with him in defence we could play Arthur Askey in goal!' Awesome aerial ability and thunderous tackling were also high on this former slaughterman's long list of attributes and the prospect of coming up against Yeats would strike fear into opposing centre-forwards. It was at Eastville, the former home of Bristol Rovers, that an illustrious Liverpool career kicked off. Yeats inspired the Reds to a win that day and never looked back. His immediate influence on the team was rewarded within six months when he was made club captain and come the end of the season he was lifting his first piece of silverware in a red shirt as Liverpool stormed to the Second Division title. 'Rowdy', as he was known on the Kop, then made a seamless transition to life in the top-flight and twelve months later was celebrating again as the First Division Championship took its place in the Anfield trophy cabinet for the first time in 17 years. Yeatsy's finest moment though was undoubtedly that never-to-be-forgotten afternoon of 1 May 1965 when he proudly led his Liverpool team-mates up the 39 steps at Wembley to collect the FA Cup. The 1964/65 campaign was to be momentous in more ways than one at Anfield and the leadership qualities of Yeats also came to the fore during a memorable run to the last four of the European Cup. It was Yeats who led the Reds out on foreign soil for the first time against KR Reykjavik in the preliminary round and who famously guessed right as Liverpool eliminated Cologne on the toss of a coin in a replayed quarter-final. Another title triumph was celebrated in 1966 but as the sixties drew to a close an ageing Yeats had to admit his best days were behind him and eventually lost his place to Larry Lloyd. Despite this, he continued to exert a positive influence around the club, even filling in as an emergency left-back on occasions before finally accepting an offer to become player/manager of Tranmere Rovers in 1971. It seemed only natural that a living legend like Yeats would one day return to Anfield in some capacity and he did just that in 1986 when appointed chief scout, a role he fulfilled with great success until only recently. A footballing giant in size and stature, Ron Yeats can now enjoy his well deserved retirement and bask in the knowledge that without him Liverpool Football Club may not be the club we know today.

Sold to: Tranmere Rovers (July 1971)

Claim to fame: Being the first Liverpool captain to lift the FA Cup in 1965

No comments: