Happy Birthday to Tommy Lawrence, Liverpool’s chunky but well beloved goalkeeper by scores of fans from down Anfield way. Tommy who will be 75 on May 14th, played in over 300 League games for Liverpool, winning two League Championships as well as being part of the team that lifted their first ever F.A Cup, in season 1964-65 in a final against Leeds with Ian St. John netting an extra time winner.
Tommy was give the nickname the Flying Pig due to carrying a wee bit too much weight at over 14 stone. Tommy only missed a handful of games for Liverpool in a six season spell.
As for Scotland, Tommy would only play three times for the National team, starting off in June 1963 in a one nil defeat to the Republic of Ireland in Dublin. It would be another six years before Tommy would return between the sticks for Scotland.
Tommy returned for the World Cup Qualifier against West Germany at Hampden in front of a crowd of 95,000 in April 1969. Gerd Muller would put the Germans in front after 39 minutes before Bobby Murdoch equalised with two minutes remaining to give the Scots a fighting chance of qualifying for the 1970 World Cup. Sadly it was not to be.
As for Tommy, a month later he was to feature in a 5-3 defeat of Wales at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. Ironically for a man who rarely got injured, Tommy would only last just over 45 minutes after his photo was taken, as he clashed with the crossbar. Tommy was taken off and replaced by Jim Herriot of Birmingham. Scots scorers that day were Billy McNeill, Colin Stein, Alan Gilzean, Billy Bremner and Tommy McLean.
After leaving Liverpool, Tommy would cross the Mersey to play for Tranmere. As a footnote to Tommy’s life at Anfield, in February of this year as a BBC reporter was doing a piece on the streets of Liverpool, asking people about their memories of a famous FA Cup derby game between Liverpool and Everton from the late sixties, he unknowingly happened upon Tommy and asked him if he could remember the game. You can imagine his surprise as Tommy said he played in the game!
Happy Birthday also to Eric Caldow who will be 81 years old. I didn’t have the time to do justice to Eric and his dedication to the Scotland cause but hopefully somewhere down the line I may get the chance. So to Tommy and Eric, all the best!

David Stuart

First posted on Facebook May 14th, 2015

It was suggested in the comments on this one that Tommy looked like the Dad from ‘The Commitments’ who would be the actor Colm Meaney. Judge for yourself.