Sunday, April 29, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 46: Gerry Byrne


Voted in at number 46 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is tough-tackling full-back of the sixties, Gerry Byrne.
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: Gerry Byrne

Years at Liverpool: 1957 to 1969
Position: Full-back

Date-of-birth: 29/8/1938
Birthplace: Liverpool

Signed from: Amateur (1955)

Games: 330
Goals: 3

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

One of the most heroic and brave figures in Liverpool history, Gerry 'the crunch' Byrne took his place in Anfield folklore on the never-to-be-forgotten day of 1 May 1965 when the Reds lifted the FA Cup for the first time. Byrne didn't score in the 2-1 win over Leeds but his contribution to that victory was every bit as important as goalscorers Roger Hunt and Ian St John. Even more so, when you consider that he played the majority of the 120 minutes at Wembley with a broken collar-bone, following an early collision with Bobby Collins, and set-up the opening goal. To play on the way he did with such a painful injury was testament to his never-say-die spirit and his team-mates of the time rightly rated him as the hardest player they ever played alongside. The heady times of the mid-sixties, however, were a far cry from Byrne's early days at the club a decade previous when he'd actually been placed on the transfer list prior to Bill Shankly's arrival as manager. Having made his debut in a forgettable 5-1 defeat away to Charlton in 1957, the local-born full-back was making little headway in his aim to establish himself as a regular in the Reds first team until Shanks took over the managerial reigns from Phil Taylor. After seeing Byrne train, the new boss immediately made him part of his plans and a glorious Anfield career followed. In 1961/62 he was an ever-present as the Reds reclaimed their long lost top-flight status and remained a prominent figure as the First Division title was won twice, either side of that FA Cup triumph. A loyal member of Shankly's side throughout the sixties, Byrne was a consistently solid and dependable performer whose crunching tackles shook not only the Kop, but also the unfortunate player on the receiving end. His illustrious playing career was eventually ended by a knee injury in 1969 but such was the high esteem in which he was held at Anfield, Byrne was handed a job on the coaching staff after hanging up his boots and remains, to this day, one of the most revered former Liverpool players among a cast of thousands.

Sold to: Retired (December 1969)

Claim to fame: Playing on with a broken collar-bone in the 1965 FA Cup Final

Did you know? He scored an own goal on his Liverpool debut

Where is he now? Retired and residing in North Wales

Ron Yeats on Gerry Byrne: "I can't say enough about this boy. He's one of these lads who if you heard him speak three times in a season you were lucky. He said very little but he didn't have to say much because on the pitch he was superb. He really was a good player. A very quiet man, very good tackler, good trainer and I loved him to death as well."

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