Ronnie Moran joined Liverpool as a 15-year-old after being recommended by the postman who use to deliver letters to the LFC chairman. He started playing for Crosby Boys until he got a scholarship with Bootle Technical College, he played for the school as well as Lancashire boys. He got noticed by an Everton scout and was invited to train with the blues but he had already signed for Liverpool a week before when the postman paid an unexpected visit to Ronnie’s home with Liverpool manager George Kay and chairman Samuel Williams.
Moran began his amateur playing career as an apprentice electrician playing ‘C’ team football, he signed a professional contract just before his 18th birthday in January 1952. He made his first team debut as a left back at Derby in November 1952 but had only played 13 times by the end of the 1953/54 season, by which time Liverpool had been relegated to the second division. He became a regular in the team after Eddie Spicer broke his leg and he only missed 6 league matches over the next five years as he played regularly through the whole of Phil Taylor’s reign as manager in the last part of the decade.
Moran was club captain when Bill Shankly arrived in 1959 and in the Scotsman full debut season, 1960/61, Moran got injured and was out of action for 14 months. Moran played in enough fixtures to qualify for a second division championship medal in 1962 and only missed seven games when the first division title was won two years later. Moran, who took over spot-kick duties in 1960, had scored eight out of ten penalties when he missed four penalties in a row, the last of which in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 1964 proved costly. Swansea city were leading 2-1 when Moran missed his spot-kick in the 80th minute. It was a harrowing experience for Moran who despaired “I don’t think I’ll ever forget it’. During the 1964/65 season, Chris Lawler became established at the club and Moran lost his place in the side. Moran did return at the end of this historic campaign playing in both legs against Inter Milan in the European Cup semi-finals but missed out on a place in Liverpool’s cup winning team at Wembley against Leeds as Gerry Byrne returned to the side. A successful playing career had come to an end but an exciting new career at the club was just starting.
Moran’s qualities as a player ensured a longer stay for him at Liverpool, his enthusiasm for the game spread around the camp and he was fully committed in every game. These qualities prompted Shankly to offer him the chance to join the backroom staff. At first Moran thought that Shankly was going to tell him that another team had come in for him and that he was leaving but instead Shanks said to him “Ronnie, how would you like to join the backroom staff?”.
He was well-known for keeping strict discipline at the club and was a vital part of the Boot Room and the club’s success. Robbie Fowler was one of the many players that were inspired by Moran and recalls what Ronnie said to him after a game, “I scored five goals against Fulham and was feeling well pleased with myself when Ronnie came in the dressing room and said ‘I don’t know what you’re looking so smug about, you should have scored seven’.
Moran filled in as caretaker manager on two separate occasions, initially after Dalglish’s resignation in 1991 he inherited a team that was top of the table and still very much involved in the race for the championship with Arsenal. Moran stayed in charge until Greame Souness was appointed in 1991 and his second spell as caretaker manager was when Souness was recovering from triple by-pass heart surgery in 1992, he was in charge for the final seven league matches of that 1991/92 season. Ronnie retired in 1998 after 49 years at the club and was rewarded with a well-attended testimonial match against Glasgow Celtic on 16th May 2000.
Ronnie Moran played 379 games for LFC and scored 17 goals. He will be remembered as a Liverpool legend and a loyal servant to the club.
Article by Lauren Black
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