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#SHANKLY100 Forgotten Heroes Part 7 - Ian St. John

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Ian St John : Forward (1961-1971)

Date of Birth: 07-06-1938 
Birthplace: Motherwell 

Debut : 19th August 1961 v Bristol Rovers (A) Football League Division Two: won 2-0 

1st team games: 426 
1st team goals: 118
Honours with Liverpool: First Division Championship 1963/64 & 1965/66, Second Division Championship 1961/62, FA Cup 1965, Charity Shield 1965 (shared) & 1966

One of two landmark Scottish captures by Bill Shankly in the summer of 1961, the other being Ron Yeats, who figured massively in Liverpool's climb from the Second Division. St John cost a then club record £37,500 from Motherwell and this ebullient, crew-cut raider became an instant hero of Liverpool fans by scoring a debut hat trick against Everton in the Liverpool Senior Cup Final.

A wonderful competitor, whose timing in the air overcame his lack of height at 5ft 7½ins he was a majestic header of the ball and with compatriots Yeats and goalkeeper Tommy Lawrence, formed the team's 'spine' that Shankly rated so crucial and which took them to League championship glory and onto the European stage.

St John swiftly became a folk hero and inspired the Kop to adopt "When The Saints Go Marching In" as their sixties song. His darting, all-action style perfectly complemented his attack partner Roger Hunt in what was a bludgeon and rapier combination.

St John's most famous Liverpool goal was his header from Ian Callaghan's cross at Wembley in 1965 to bring the FA Cup to Anfield for the first time. He joined Coventry in 1971, later moving into coaching, management and the media.

St John began his career at boyhood favourites Motherwell, where he scored one of the fastest hat-tricks on record: 2 minutes and 30 seconds, against Hibernian in 1959. He transferred to Liverpool on the 2 May 1961, for more than double the previous highest transfer fee paid by the Anfield board, £37,500.

Ian made his début in a red shirt against Merseyside rivals Everton in the Liverpool Senior Cup Final. Although Liverpool lost 4-3, he announced his arrival in spectacular style by scoring all 3 of his side's goals. That first game served the most emphatic of notices of the new boy's talent for goals, returning totals of 18, 19 and 21 goals in his first three seasons.

The Saint & Roger Hunt

His official début came in a 2-0 2nd Division victory over Bristol Rovers at the Eastville Stadium on the 19 August 1961, his first official goals came 11 days later on the 30th when he bagged a brace in the 39th and 90th minutes of a 4-1 win over Sunderland at Roker Park, strike partner Roger Hunt got the other 2 in the 26th and 69th minutes, the 2 would go on the strike up a formidable partnership which tormented defences in England and Europe..

Along with Ron Yeats, 'The Saint' was brought in to turn around Liverpool's luck as they had finished 3rd 5 times in a row in Division 2 thus missing out on promotion back to the big time by a single spot on each occasion. The purchases paid dividends as Liverpool romped to the 2nd Division title by a clear 8 points over Leyton Orient with St John playing 40 times scoring 18 goals.
Shanklys Title Winning Liverpool Team with that included 'The Saint'They finished a respectable 8th in their first season back in the top flight but surprised everyone by winning the League Championship the following season overturning a 17 point deficit to win the title by 4 points over bitter rivals Manchester United and 5 over reigning champions Everton, St John played a major role in the title success appearing 40 times scoring 19 goals.

He went on to score many vital goals for Liverpool, which included the flying, whiplash header that he hammered past Leeds United's Gary Sprake to win the FA Cup in 1965 the first time in the clubs history.

Another League championship followed in the 1965/66 as the Anfield club finished 6 points clear of Leeds, Ian chipped in with 10 goals from 41 outings. St John and the rest of Liverpool tasted defeat, however, as they were beaten in their first ever European final, Borussia Dortmund beat them 2-1 at Hampden Park in the Cup Winners Cup.

St John was selected to play for Scotland 21 times, he made his début as a Motherwell player in a 3-2 friendly victory over Germany at Hampden Park on the 6 May 1959. The first of his 9 goals came a year later, again, at Hampden, but this time in a 3-2 friendly defeat at the hands of Poland on the 4 May 1960.

St John is still a huge crowd favourite and was voted in at No.21 on the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop.

 The Saint and Big Ron Yeats with the FA Cup
Reccommend That you all watch this. Time of Our Lives - The Shankly Years - Part 1/5

Former Liverpool players Chris Lawler, Ian St John and Ron Yeates join Jeff Stelling.

xabi rules:
I don't believe that he belongs in a forgotten heroes tribute simply because he hasn't been forgotten. ;)

Q) What will you do when the Lord comes?
A) Move St. John to inside right!

My first ever real idol, great player, always punched above his wieght. the echo of St John around the kop, still to this day rings clear in my ears. Thanks for the article.

stevie h g:
Great article. Love the man.


--- Quote from: xabi rules on June 16, 2009, 11:26:14 am ---Q) What will you do when the Lord comes?
A) Move St. John to inside right!

--- End quote ---

Marvellous blast from the past.

Jesus Saves, but Dalglish scores on the rebound. ;)


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