Tuesday, June 19, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 13: Roger Hunt


Voted in at number 13 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series is noble goalscoring hero of the Sixties, 'Sir' Roger Hunt.
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: Roger Hunt

Years at Liverpool: 1959 to 1969
Position: Forward

Date-of-birth: 20/7/1938
Birthplace: Golborne

Signed from: Stockton Heath (1959)

Games: 492
Goals: 286

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

The only player to have an honorary knighthood bestowed upon him by the Kop, Roger Hunt enjoyed immense popularity among the 28,000 fans that used to pack the famous terrace during the swinging sixties. It's easy to see why, because without his many goals Liverpool may never have escaped the depression of life in Division Two, regained their mantle as the country's top team and stood shoulder to shoulder with the cream of the continent. Until Ian Rush came along he was the club's all-time record goalscorer and still no player has netted more for the Reds in the league. Let us also not forget that he won the World Cup for England. He remains the only Liverpool player to have this particular medal in his collection but his heroic contribution to that triumph is often sadly overlooked when a dewy-eyed nation reminisces about 1966. One place where he'll never be forgotten though is Anfield, Sir Roger's home for a success-filled decade when the name Hunt became synonymous with the word goal. Spotted by ex-Red Bill Jones while plying his trade for a local amateur team, Hunt scored on his debut, under the managership of Phil Taylor, at home to Scunthorpe as a 21-year old in 1959 and didn't look back. Although new boss Bill Shankly embarked on a mass clear-out of playing personnel upon succeeding Taylor in the Anfield hot-seat, young Hunt's position was never in jeopardy. Shanks was a big admirer and immediately entrusted the 'blonde bomber' with the responsibility of spearheading Liverpool's charge back to the top-flight. In 1961/62 he did just that, plundering a remarkable 41 goals from 41 games as the Reds went up as runaway champions. His partnership with Ian St John has since passed into football folklore and together they then proceeded to terrorise First Division defences. He top-scored when the title came Liverpool's way in 1963/64 and again two season's later. He netted the opening goal in the momentous first FA Cup win of 1965 and scored regularly in Europe too. With such deadly finishing instincts Hunt was quite simply a priceless commodity in Shankly's first great Anfield team. Fast and strong, he would run himself into the ground for the Liverpool cause and was a handful for even the most accomplished of defenders. Whether it was a simple tap-in or spectacular strike, Hunt was the man and he continued to find the back of the net on a regular basis for the remainder of the sixties. In January 1968 he overtook the great Gordon Hodgson as the club's all-time leading goalscorer with a typical poachers strike at Stamford Bridge but the end was nigh for the Kop favourite. As the boss started the construction of his second great side, an ageing Hunt was, not surprisingly, one of the first casualties and he bade the Reds a fond farewell the following year. Three years later he tread the Anfield turf for one final time. It was the occasion of his well-deserved testimonial and the gates were locked hours before kick-off as fans clamoured to pay their respects. An astonishing gate of 56,000 was recorded, with many thousands more reported to be locked outside. If anyone had ever doubted his popularity among Liverpudlians they had no ground for argument after this amazing show of support. Belated recognition of the vital role he played in England's finest hour finally arrived at the turn of the century when he received the MBE but it went almost unnoticed by Kopites because they had honoured him when it mattered and love him to this day for what he achieved in a red shirt. Despite what biased members of the southern-based media may have thought, to quote a line from the famous Kop chant of his time - 'Sir Roger Hunt - was wonderful!'

Sold to: Bolton Wanderers (December 1969)

Claim to fame: Scoring more League goals for Liverpool than anyone else

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