The legend that is Ian St John proved to be one of the most significant signings ever made by Liverpool. Liverpool had been trying to get out of the Second Division for seven seasons, Shankly was appointed from Huddersfield two years previously and felt he needed a strong centre-half and centre-forward. “Newcastle tried to snap him up so we arranged a fee of 37,500 on the Monday night and signed St John the next day”.
St John made an immediate impact by scoring a hat-trick on his Liverpool debut in a 4-4 defeat to Everton in the Liverpool Senior Cup final at Goodison.
St John and Ron Yeats proved to be the difference for Liverpool as they helped an extremely settled side cruise to the second division title by 8 points from Leyton Orient. St John scored 18 goals and developed a lethal understanding with fellow teammate Roger Hunt. The Reds coped comfortably with first division football and finished 8thin their first campaign back in the top tier and were unlucky to lose to Leicester in the FA Cup semi-final.
A year later Liverpool where celebrating winning the first division title under Shankly and St John finished the campaign with 21 league goals, this was the highest total he achieved during any single season as a Liverpool player. A year later Liverpool were celebrating a triumphant FA Cup win which was the club’s first in its history , St John’s diving header towards the end of extra-time at Wembley flew past Leeds keeper and earned the Scotsman immortality on the red half of Merseyside.
The Scot would collect a second league championship medal in 1966 and hardly missed a game for the Reds over the next three seasons. As the 60’s ended, Shankly had to leave out some of the players who had brought glory to the club and at 31 St John became one of the veteran players.
His knowledge and passion for the game helped him to be the great player that he was and it also helped him to break into the world of television as he was a popular figure on ITV.
Ian St John finished his Liverpool career with a total of 425 appearances and scored 118 goals.
Article by Lauren Black – @LaurenBlack9
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