Tommy Lawrence: former Liverpool and Tranmere goalkeeper dies

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Archive: BBC reporter unwittingly meets Tommy Lawrence

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Tommy Lawrence has died, the club have confirmed.

The 77-year-old Scotsman was Bill Shankly’s first-choice keeper during the 1960s.

He only missed four league matches in six seasons as the Reds won the First Division Championship twice and claimed the FA Cup for the first time.

Lawrence signed professionally for Liverpool in October 1957, a few months after his 17th birthday.

He made 390 appearances for the Anfield club before making the switch to Tranmere Rovers in 1971, where he stayed for three years.

He was capped for Scotland three times.

Lawrence was given the nickname ‘The Flying Pig’ because of his ability to dive around the penalty area despite weighing more than 14 stone.

Liverpool 1965 FA Cup team<!–

Tommy Lawrence (back row, third from left) played in the 1965 FA Cup-winning side

Lawrence kept a clean sheet for 90 minutes in the FA Cup final against Leeds United in 1965, before Liverpool claimed their historic win in extra time thanks to goals from Roger Hunt and Ian St. John.

He returned to prominence, accidentally, in 2015 when a BBC reporter was asking people on the streets of Merseyside for their memories about the 1967 derby at Goodison Park.

Lawrence told Stuart Flinders: “I played in it… it was a great game, Alan Ball scored the winner.”

Tweet from John Aldridge<!–

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge was one of the first to pay tribute to Lawrence

The first sweeper-keeper

BBC’s chief football writer Phil McNulty

Tommy Lawrence was one of the Scottish cornerstones of Bill Shankly’s great Liverpool side of the 1960s that established the platform and the template for the Anfield successes that followed.

Signed by Shankly’s predecessor Phil Taylor, Lawrence was part of the great spine of Liverpool’s side from north of the border along with captain Ron Yeats and striker Ian St John.

A bulky figure, he was still remarkably agile and reliable and was one of the first to operate as what is these days described as a “sweeper keeper.”

Lawrence was one of the great characters of a golden era on Merseyside as Liverpool, led by the extrovert Shankly, battled for supremacy against Everton, led by the secretive, media-shy Harry Catterick.

The Scot helped Liverpool win the FA Cup against Leeds at Wembley and also two league titles, as well as losing a European Cup Winners’ Cup Final to Borussia Dortmund at Hampden Park in 1966.

Lawrence played 390 times for Liverpool between 1962 and 1971 and remained unchallenged as Liverpool’s first-choice keeper until the emergence of future great Ray Clemence.

He may have continued his career across the Mersey at Tranmere but this popular and humble man will always be best remembered as one of Liverpool’s legendary figures.

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