Gerry Byrne (footballer, born 1938)

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Gerry Byrne
Gerry Byrne.jpg
Gerry Byrne in 2006
Personal information
Full nameGerald Byrne
Date of birth(1938-08-29)29 August 1938
Place of birth Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Date of death 28 November 2015(2015-11-28) (aged 77)
Place of death Wrexham, Wales
Playing position Left back
Youth career
1953–1957 Liverpool
Senior career*
1957–1969 Liverpool 274 (2)
National team
1963–1966 England 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Gerald Byrne (29 August 1938 – 28 November 2015) was an English footballer who spent his entire playing career at Liverpool Football Club. [1]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Liverpool F.C. Association football club in England

Liverpool Football Club is a professional football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club has won 5 European Cups, more than any other English club, 3 UEFA Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 18 League titles, 7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields.


Life and playing career

Born in Liverpool, Byrne, like Jimmy Melia, joined Liverpool straight from school as a 15-year-old in 1953. Again like Melia, Byrne impressed manager Don Welsh who offered the full-back a professional contract the day after his 17th birthday on 30 August 1955. It was just over two years later that Byrne made his debut; Charlton Athletic thrashed the Reds 5–1 in a league match at The Valley on 28 September 1957, he had to wait a further 4½ years for his first goal which came in the 52nd minute of a 3–1 2nd Division win over Brighton at Anfield on 3 February 1962.

Jimmy Melia is an English former footballer who spent most of his career playing for Liverpool and went on to become a manager.

Donald "Don" Welsh was an English football player and manager. As a player, he played at inside left for Charlton Athletic and for England, winning the FA Cup with Charlton in 1946–47.

Charlton Athletic F.C. Association football club

Charlton Athletic Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Charlton, south-east London. They play in League One, the third tier of English football. The club was founded on 9 June 1905 when a number of youth clubs in south-east London, including East Street Mission and Blundell Mission, combined to form Charlton Athletic. The club play at the Valley in Charlton, where they have played since 1919, apart from one year in Catford, during 1923–24, and seven years at Crystal Palace and West Ham United between 1985 and 1992.

His debut was his only appearance during season 1957–58. Bill Shankly was appointed manager in December 1959 and at the season's end had a clear out of 24 players. Notably Byrne was retained as was Roger Hunt. It was not until the arrival of Bill Shankly that he really got his chance; he featured in 38 league and cup matches as the Reds finished third for the fifth time in a row in the second division. Considering he only played seven times in the previous three seasons this was a major improvement in Gerry's career; in fact, he was on the transfer list when Shankly arrived, soon to be removed.[ citation needed ]

Bill Shankly Scottish footballer and manager

William Shankly was a Scottish football player and manager, who is best known for his time as manager of Liverpool. Shankly brought success to Liverpool, gaining promotion to the First Division and winning three League Championships and the UEFA Cup. He laid foundations on which his successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan were able to build by winning seven league titles and four European Cups in the ten seasons after Shankly retired in 1974.

Roger Hunt English footballer

Roger Hunt, is an English former footballer who played as a forward. He spent eleven years at Liverpool and was the club's record goalscorer with 286 goals until that number was surpassed by Ian Rush. Hunt remains Liverpool's record league goalscorer. Under Bill Shankly, Hunt won two league titles and an FA Cup. Regarded as one of Liverpool's greatest ever players, Hunt is referred to as Sir Roger by the club's fans. He was ranked 13th on the 100 Players Who Shook the Kop, an official fan poll.

Shankly again used Byrne's grit and determination to its fullest, he was an ever-present as Liverpool, finally, romped to the 2nd division title, beating Leyton Orient into second spot by eight points. He played in 38 of Liverpool's 42 league games their first year back in the big time and he also played in all seven of Liverpool's cup ties during their run to the 1965 FA Cup final, a game in which Byrne would write his name in Liverpool folklore forever more.

Leyton Orient F.C. association football club

Leyton Orient Football Club is a professional football club based in Leyton, London, England. The team compete in National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system, though will spend the 2019–20 season in EFL League Two after winning promotion as champions of the National League in 2018–19. They are the second oldest football club in London, and are known to their fans by their nickname "the O's". The club's home colours are all red and they have played home matches at Brisbane Road since 1937, having previously played at Millfields and Lea Bridge Road. The club contests East London derby games with Dagenham & Redbridge and West Ham United.

FA Cup knockout competition in English association football

The FA Cup, also known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world. It is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2019 it is also known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent women's tournament is also held, the FA Women's Cup.

The 1965 FA Cup Final

Byrne played for Liverpool in the 1965 FA Cup Final, which took place on 1 May at Wembley, with a broken collarbone. [2] He suffered the injury as early as the third minute, but played on throughout the rest of the game and the whole of extra-time as Liverpool won the Cup for the very first time. [2] The break happened after Byrne was challenged heftily by Leeds United's captain Bobby Collins, but, with substitutes still not permitted by the authorities in 1965, he had little choice but to carry on playing. [2] The game went to extra-time and Byrne, despite the pain, kept making his familiar marauding runs down the left flank in joining the attack. Early on into the first period of extra time, he reached the by-line with the ball and pulled back a perfect cross for Roger Hunt to open the scoring. [2] Leeds got back into the game and equalised through Billy Bremner but Liverpool were not to be denied as Ian St. John headed home the winner late on during the second period securing Liverpools first ever FA Cup. [2] Shankly spoke highly of Gerry in an interview after the final saying "It was a performance of raw courage from the boy". [3]

1965 FA Cup Final

The 1965 FA Cup Final was an association football match between Liverpool and Leeds United on 1 May 1965 at Wembley Stadium, London. It was the final match of the 1964–65 FA Cup, the 93rd season of England's primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup, better known as the FA Cup. Liverpool were appearing in their third final, they had lost the previous two in 1914 and 1950, while Leeds were appearing in their first.

Wembley Stadium (1923) former stadium in London, England which opened in 1923

The original Wembley Stadium was a football stadium in Wembley Park, London, which stood on the same site now occupied by its successor, the new Wembley Stadium. The demolition in 2003 of its famous Twin Towers upset many people worldwide. Debris from the stadium was used to make the Northala Fields in Northolt, London.

Clavicle plain bone of short length that serves as a strut between the scapula and the sternum

The clavicle or collarbone is a long bone that serves as a strut between the shoulder blade and the sternum or breastbone. There are two clavicles, one on the left and one on the right. The clavicle is the only long bone in the body that lies horizontally. Together with the shoulder blade it makes up the shoulder girdle. It is a touchable bone and in people who have less fat in this region, the location of the bone is clearly visible, as it creates a bulge in the skin. It receives its name from the Latin: clavicula because the bone rotates along its axis like a key when the shoulder is abducted. The clavicle is the most commonly fractured bone. It can easily be fractured due to impacts to the shoulder from the force of falling on outstretched arms or by a direct hit.

The aftermath of another high-profile match led to calls, again, for the Football Association to allow a substitute to be selected by each team in competitive matches. In FA Cup finals over the previous decade there had been a notable number of teams reduced to ten men or hampered considerably by hard challenges from opposition players.[ citation needed ] This included goalkeepers Bert Trautmann (in 1955) and Ray Wood (in 1957) suffering a broken neck and broken cheekbone respectively; while two wingers in successive years were stretchered off with broken legs (Roy Dwight in 1959 and Dave Whelan in 1960) and a full back left hobbling for three-quarters of the game with a damaged ankle (Len Chalmers in 1961). Byrne's injury was the latest to try to force the FA's hand and, eventually, two years later the first substitutes were allowed in the FA Cup final.[ citation needed ]

The Football Association governing body of association football in England

The Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England, the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.

The goalkeeper, often shortened to keeper or goalie, is one of the major positions of association football. It is the most specialised position in the sport. The goalkeeper's primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. This is accomplished by the goalkeeper moving into the path of the ball and either catching it or directing it away from the vicinity of the goal line. Within the penalty area goalkeepers are able to use their hands, making them the only players on the field permitted to handle the ball. The special status of goalkeepers is indicated by them wearing different coloured kits from their teammates.

Bert Trautmann German professional football player and coach

Bernhard Carl "Bert" Trautmann EK OBE was a German professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper for Manchester City from 1949 to 1964.

After the final and beyond

Shankly pulled off a masterstroke just before the semi-final of the European Cup against Inter Milan. Anfield was already buzzing in anticipation of the up-and-coming game when Shankly sent out the injured pair of Gerry Byrne and his half-back partner Gordon Milne with the piece of silverware the Kopites had dreamt about for decades, the FA Cup, the crowd erupted and, it's said, you could see the Italian champions freeze on the spot, it had the desired effect as Liverpool ran out comfortable 3–1 winners. However, the 2nd leg at the San Siro was full of controversy as Internazionale got a 3–0 win to end Liverpool's dreams of a cup double.[ citation needed ]

The 1965–66 campaign was another triumphant one for Byrne and the Reds as he was an ever-present in Liverpool's second title win in three years. Byrne, along with winger Ian Callaghan and Hunt, were rewarded for their superb club form by being selected in Alf Ramsey's England squad for the 1966 World Cup finals to be held on home soil.

In the 1966 World Cup final only the 11 players on the pitch at the end of the 4–2 win over West Germany received medals. Following a Football Association led campaign to persuade FIFA to award medals to all the winners’ squad members, Byrne was presented with his medal by Gordon Brown at a ceremony at 10 Downing Street on 10 June 2009. [4]

Byrne won two international caps for England. He made his international debut on 6 April 1963, in a British Home Championship match against Scotland at Wembley. [5] The Scots won 2–1 in a game which saw fellow Liverpool teammate Jimmy Melia make his England debut. His second (and last) cap came in a friendly match preceding the 1966 World Cup. [5] Jimmy Greaves scored four goals as England won 6–1 against Norway. [5] Byrne stayed on at Anfield until 1969 when injury ended his career. He was replaced by Alec Lindsay.[ citation needed ]

Later years

He suffered from Alzheimer's disease in later life and died in a nursing home in Wrexham on 28 November 2015 at the age of 77. [6] [7]




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  1. Mason, Peter (29 November 2015). "Gerry Byrne obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Glanville, Brian (14 January 2014). "Bobby Collins obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  3. "Gerry Bryne profile". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  4. "World Cup 1966 winners honoured". BBC News. 10 June 2009.
  5. 1 2 3 Courtney, Barrie (13 December 2012). "England - International Results 1960-1969 - Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  6. Liverpool FC FA Cup final hero Gerry Byrne passes away aged 77,; accessed 14 May 2017.
  7. "Gerry Byrne obituary". 29 November 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.