The first press picture of Liverpool left-back and future Kop favourite Alec Lindsay is an odd affair to say the least.
It shows him hiding behind a tree in semi-darkness with three other teenage footballers from Bury Football Club in January 1966.
The image is entitled Babes in the Wood – probably because the photographer took it in the panto season. What’s more remarkable is who’s on it.
Standing next to Lindsay is none other than 19-year-old midfielder Colin Bell, a future giant of Manchester City and England. He was already captain of Bury at the time.
Lindsay himself was only 17 when the photo was taken. Completing the line-up are 18-year-old forward Bobby Owen, who would also play for Manchester City, and 16-year-old Scottish midfielder Jimmy Kerr.
Not so much the Busby Babes as the Bury Babes!
Bell was undoubtedly Bury’s best player for the three years he spent at Gigg Lane from 1963 to 1966. He made 82 league appearances for the Shakers, who were in the Second Division at the time, scoring 25 goals.
Bury were relegated in 1967, the year after Bell signed for City, but bounced back as Third Division runners-up in 1968.
Most recently, Bury were League Two runners-up in the 2018-19 season, but were unable to begin the next season due to long-standing financial problems. They were expelled from the English Football League in August 2019.
Future Liverpool full-back Alec Lindsay, born in Bury in February 1948, started playing for his hometown club in 1965.
He notched up 127 leagues games, scoring 13 goals, before being snapped up by Reds’ manager Bill Shankly for a transfer fee of £67,000 in March 1969.
Lindsay’s Liverpool debut in September the same year was a one-sided affair. The Reds hammered Irish side Dundalk 10-0 in a European Fairs Cup match at Anfield.
Lindsay even got on the scoresheet – along with six other Liverpool players! The return leg was more muted as the Reds won 4-0.
The Fairs Cup run ended the next match as Liverpool went out 3-3 on aggregate to Portuguese club Vitoria de Setubal on the away goals rule.
Lindsay was Liverpool’s regular left-back for the 1970-71 season which saw Arsenal complete the league and FA Cup double. Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by the Gunners in the FA Cup final.
Our photo shows Lindsay and Liverpool defender Larry Lloyd sandwiching Arsenal midfielder Ray Kennedy during the November 1970 league match against the Gunners at Highbury. The Reds lost 2-0.
Another early photo shows Lindsay marking Newcastle striker Malcolm Macdonald at St James’ Park in August 1971. The First Division match again ended in a 3-2 defeat for the Reds.
In 1973, Lindsay was part of the Liverpool team that won both the league championship and the UEFA Cup, defeating Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2 on aggregate.
Lindsay was an FA Cup winner in 1974 when the Reds beat Newcastle 3-0 at Wembley. He even had a goal ruled out for offside. The Liverpool scorers were Kevin Keegan, who netted twice, and Steve Heighway.
Replays later showed that the final pass to Lindsay came from a Newcastle defender – so his goal should have counted.
Two of the Newcastle side that day – Terry McDermott and Alan Kennedy – later became Liverpool players.
Our image shows a triumphant quartet of Lindsay, Tommy Smith, Ray Clemence and Keegan waving to the crowd during victory celebrations at Liverpool Town Hall.
Competitive matches tailed off for Lindsay when Bob Paisley took over as manager for the 1974-5 season. He preferred playing Phil Neal, with Lindsay left on the subs’ bench.
Lindsay missed out on the 1997 FA Cup final when Manchester United defeated Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley. The Reds’ goal came from Jimmy Case.
After making 168 league appearances for the Reds and scoring 12 goals, Lindsay left Anfield in summer 1977. His new club was Stoke City managed by George Eastham.
Once again, the arrival of a new manager – Alan Durban – curbed Lindsay’s first team appearances and he moved on to American team Oakland Stompers.
Lindsay was capped four times for England in 1974 under former Manchester City boss Joe Mercer during his seven games as caretaker manager of the national team.
After his retirement from football, Lindsay became a publican. In 2006, he was placed 85th in the poll to decide the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop.
*Fascinating wartime images of Merseyside feature in Clive Hardy’s latest hardback book, The Home Front – Britain 1939-45.
It’s now on sale for £14.99 plus UK postage and packing – or you can buy three books for just £25 in iNostalgia’s Spring Bonanza!
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