Rena Liddell - Sister of Liverpool legend Billy

Billy's brother, Tom, trained with Liverpool for a short time in the late 50s.Rena says it was Billy's grandfather who started him off in football. Bill relates this story in “My Soccer Story”.

"My grandfather offered me three pence for every goal I scored. When I didn’t get many goals grandfather sought to ginger me up by also persuading my grandmother and four aunts to promise me threepence for each goal. Whether the possibility of exploiting this seeming short cut to wealth was responsible or just the weakness of the opposition, I cannot say, but that same morning I scored six goals. Grandfather was there to see me do it, but after paying up he warned me that the women of the family would probably take a dim view of my waxing rich at their expense. He was right, too. They paid up without demur, but the threepence per goal inducement was withdrawn at the same time. They also persuaded my grandfather that it was wrong to put mercenary ideas into my head, and he, too, withdrew his offer."

Was everybody in the family athletic?

Yeah, but Campbell wasn't the one. He was chubby. Bill's twins, David and Malcolm, went into basketball. The have both worked as physical education teachers. I played football when I was young as I was a tomboy.

You are pretty good at badminton, I am told.

Yeah, I still play. I usually play Sunday nights.

Billy with the 1975-76 Liverpool team

Did Billy go regularly to games after he left Liverpool?

Oh, yes. He went to every home game until he wasn’t able to. Bill talked to people who were shaking his hand. He would never turn anybody away. He used to go to the sponsors’ lounges before the games and have a meal. Still, people say to me, 'Your Bill should be on this pitch. He’s much better than the lot we have now.' The funny thing about Bill and Phyllis is that they used to leave about ten minutes before the end of the matches to get the car and go home. Time after time after time they missed the goals as they were so often scored in the last five minutes.

Did you ever see him play for Liverpool?

I never saw Bill play for Liverpool. George and Alistair went, but I only saw his benefit. I wasn’t as interested then as I am now. I go to the home games. Bill had a season ticket and his friend had it. Then his friend started to do refereeing in hockey and the three of us shared Billy’s ticket: Alistair’s wife, Sheila, George’s wife, Betty, and myself. Sheila got ill and then when George died, Betty didn’t want to go to football anymore, so then I went all the time from then.

It takes me about 8 minutes to walk to the match from where I live. I can hear the crowd roar. I only go to all the league games, I can’t afford going to all the others. I sit above the director’s box in the main stand in row seventeen, virtually in the middle.  

Billy worked at the University of Liverpool for 22 years...

Bill was the only fella I knew who had a ruler that was round. He was a bursar at the University of Liverpool. You would go in and see him working with that and you'd go: 'good grief!' His ability to add up a column of figures was phenomenal. He didn't like computers, no good at computers. He liked writing. Computers were just coming in when he was leaving.

Billy Liddell passed away on 3rd of July 2001...

He got Alzheimer's and was ill the last years of his life. I used to look after my great nephew, Jack, and took him to see Bill. Jack played hide and seek with him. He would come round the corner and say boo to Bill and Bill would laugh. When I came to see him in the home, that smile of his, when you would see that, it was beautiful.

Billy with his twins

"That smile of his, when you would see that, it was beautiful."

Interview by Arnie (editor@lfchistory.net) - Copyright - LFChistory.net  

King Billy quote

Billy was my idol when I was at school and it was fantastic to take over from him. I had so much respect for him. Great man - It's very hard to compare decades, but in the 50s, they used to call them Liddellpool. He was a god in Liverpool. I took over from him on the wing and he finished playing not long after that. Billy Liddell was incredible. When I went to my first professional football match it was Liverpool. When Billy got the ball the anticipation from the crowd was just huge. What is he going to do with it? Is he going to shoot from 30 yards or take it past people? He was wonderful. Billy played with a heavy ball on the heavy pitches. The way he used to kick the ball, wow! He was so strong!

Later I worked for the Littlewoods Pools Company Spot the ball and Billy was on the panel. Billy was the chairman and I actually took over as chairman from Billy. I got to know him and he was a really quiet and a really nice man. Terrific. He is one of those of the people who will always be remembered in Liverpool like Shankly and Paisley.

Ian Callaghan - Liverpool 1960-1978 - Quote from LFChistory's exclusive interview with Ian in 2008.

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