During war-time, no Football League was on offer, so Liddell had to suffice to play for Liverpool in the regional league and friendlies, but also guest starred for other clubs such as Chelsea, Linfield, Cambridge Town, Toronto Scottish and Dunfermilne. This match report is from Dunfermilne Athletic's game vs East Fife on 22nd November 1944.
"Willie Liddell's presence on Athletic's team at Methil acted like a blood transfusion. Revived, reinvigorated, the East Enders made a fine come-back.
I'ts no reflection on the Athletic when I say the Liverpool and Scottish international player was the driving force behind their victory. His inclusion had a magical effect, and the depression centred over Athletic's recent displays vanished. Taking their cue from the Townhill lad, the team responded in a manner which surprised friend and foe alike...
Willie Liddell had not seen much of the ball, but with six minutes played the Liverpool player came strongly into the picture. Pouncing on a pass, he travelled goalwards with a great burst of speed and released a terrific shot. Niven could only parry the ball out, and Hood, following up, touched it into the net.
[On to second half.]
Hardly had the ball been centred when Athletic were two goals up. Hunter and Liddell interpassed, and the Liverpool flier, racing across to the inside-right position, fastened on and with a right foot drive completely beat Niven."
Part of this match report is missing, but Dunfermilne Athletic eventually went on to win 5-1, the key player being the 22-year-old Liddell.
"Last but by no means least, I come to Willie Liddell. The psychological effect which this player produced on his team-mates, was, in my opinion, an elevating one. His presence at a time when they were "down in the dumps" acted like a tonic, and the response was no half-hearted one. Space will not permit to enumerate all the strong points on Willie's game, and will content myself by saying he had that touch of class which goes to make international players."
(Click on the match report for a bigger image)
"The turning point of my young life came after I had been to a Youth Club dance one Saturday night. On returning home shortly before midnight I was surprised to see a light in the living-room. Normally my parents were in bed soon after ten o' clock. Both mother and father were still up and dressed, and were obviously not there to tick me off for being out so late. There was clearly something in the wind, though what it was I couldn't imagine. Certainly I was not prepared for the words which came immediately I had answered their questions about the dance. Mother could not keep silent longer. Neither could she prepare me gradually for the shock to come. Right out without any preliminaries, she asked: 'Willie, how would you like to live in Liverpool?'
I could only stand and stare. I hadn't the slightest idea what the question conveyed. Football at that moment was far from my thoughts and Liverpool had never been in them at all. When I found words at last all I could say was: 'What on earth do you mean?' Then it came out bit by bit, and as it did I realized that, at the age of sixteen-and-a-half, I was at an important crossroads in my young life."
Billy Liddell on his way to Liverpool!