Author Topic: Geoff Twentyman: A tribute to a bootroom legend  (Read 4726 times)

Offline Circa1892

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Geoff Twentyman: A tribute to a bootroom legend
« on: February 21, 2004, 12:33:10 pm »
This week saw the sad death of bootroom legend Geoff Twentyman, a man who gave excellent service to the Reds during two spells, once as an accomplised left-half during our lean years, and then serving 19 years as the clubs chief scout under the likes of Shankly, Paisley and Fagan.

If there were any three men you could have worked under it would surely have been Bill, Bob and Joe, and the esteem in which they held Geoff speaks volumes for his ability as a scout and his integrity as a man. As a scout he was instrumental in the arrivals of the likes of Phil Neal, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen, players who had inexplicably slipped the net and were stuck in the lower leagues.

It was thanks to Geoff as much as anyone else that these wonderfully talented players got the chance to join the Reds and aid us in our glory years. As I have in the past posted tributes to many bootroom legends such as Ronnie Moran, Reuben Bennett, Tom Saunders and others I feel that nobody is more fitting of my latest effort than the late, great Geoff Twentyman. This is the story of a bootroom legend.

Carlisle-born Twentyman began his career with his hometown club, becoming the youngest player ever to start for the team, as the then manager Ivor Broadis gave him his chance in a two-all draw with New Brighton on 26th May 1947. He quickly established himself in the side as a utility player, however his rise really began when Carlisle appointed a little known manager by the name of Bill Shankly.

The young manager enjoying his first job since his retirement from playing immediately spotted the potential in Twentyman and wasted little time in switching him to a regular role at centre back. After two successful seasons as a centre-back, Twentyman was called up for national service meaning he was likely to miss the whole of the 1950/51 season. However, such was his importance to Shankly’s team that the great Scotsman appealed to the Home Office, saying that if Twentyman could be released “Carlisle would win the Third Division Championship"!

Twentyman was released for 32 games that season, and although the side only gained third place in the 3rd Division, Shankly’s efforts with the  Home Office showed the esteem in which Shankly held Twentyman as a player. Shankly soon moved onto Grimsby and soon after the Scot's departure, Twentyman also left Carlisle for pastures new, with Geoff taking up a position under Don Welsh at Anfield.

His move to Anfield in December 1953 saw him move from his familiar role of centre-half to a slightly less familiar role of left-half in Don Welsh’s side. Although he joined a side featuring the likes of Willie Fagan and Billy Liddell, it was not to be a happy start for Twentyman, as his debut coincided with a 5-1 mauling by Manchester United at Old Trafford. Things didn’t get much better for Liverpool as a team during his spell, with relegation to the second division in his first season spelling the start of Liverpool’s dark patch in the pre-Shankly years.

In spite of this, Twentyman’s performances were always of a good standard and in his 19 goals in 184 appearances were a testament to his ability and contribution to the side. His playing career with the Reds came to an end in 1959 with (soon to be departed) manager Phil Taylor seeing no more use for Twentyman.

The Carlisle born left-half moved on to become player manager of Irish side Ballymena United. He enjoyed subsequent spells at his hometown club Carlisle, Morecambe and Penrith in management roles before the manager of the now established 1st Division Liverpool Bill Shankly snapped up Twentyman to become chief scout at Anfield.

And it was a job Twentyman relished and enjoyed much success. Firstly under Shankly but more notably under his successor Bob Paisley. Twentyman’s startling eye for a talented player was instrumental in Liverpool’s success under Paisley, and it was his dedication and footballing prowess that unearthed the talents of Phil Neal, Kevin Keegan, Ian Rush, Ray Clemence and Alan Hansen among many more. All players who had been languishing in lower league football but would later become legends at Anfield.

In spite of this brilliance he displayed under Paisley and also during Joe Fagan’s brief spell in charge, his spell at the club came to an end under Kenny Dalglish after 19 years of loyal service during the golden era of Liverpool’s dominance domestically and in Europe.

He later found employment under Graeme Souness in a scouting capacity at Rangers, however, Souness decided not to bring Twentyman along when he returned to Anfield as manager after Dalglish’s retirement, and Twentyman’s long and important association with Liverpool Football Club was ended. As you well know Twentyman sadly passed away on Monday at the age of 74 following a long illness, and I shall leave the final words in this tribute with the Reds current assistant manager Phil Thompson:

"Geoff was a fantastic guy and a great fella to have around Anfield at the time. He always had a story to tell about football. You could sit there all day and listen to him. He was with us for a long time and to hear of his sad death is awful news. The condolences of everyone at Liverpool go out to Geoff's family, who must take great pleasure from the input he has had into the history of Liverpool Football Club.

You just have to look at the players he helped sign, the likes of Alan Hansen, Phil Neal, Ray Clemence and Ian Rush. They are all legends in their own right - I could go on and on. Geoff possessed a special eye for a player and I think that is what he will always be best remembered for. If he recommended a player, you knew that player had to be good. He was very gifted in that line of work. What makes his story more remarkable is the fact he didn't have the back-up that is around these days. Geoff done some miles and put in some hours for the good of this club. The role he played in our success cannot be underestimated and we are eternally thankful to him for that."


Thank you for reading this post and I think I speak for us all when I say, Rest in Peace Geoff Twentyman, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

© Circa1892 2004

« Last Edit: February 21, 2004, 01:39:10 pm by Rushian »

Offline owenfootballdream

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Re: Geoff Twentyman: A tribute to a bootroom legend
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2004, 05:53:16 am »
RIP Geoff Twentyman, we'll never forget you!

Great tribute BTW :)
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Offline mviva_red

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Re: Geoff Twentyman: A tribute to a bootroom legend
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2004, 08:35:31 pm »
RIP Geoff

YNWA

Legend in his own rights

Offline Mutton Geoff

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Re: Geoff Twentyman: A tribute to a bootroom legend
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 12:04:50 pm »
This man does not get enough credit he not only scouted for Shankly he also was instrumental in Shankly coming to us, also if you read his book a very funny and humble man.
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Re: Geoff Twentyman: A tribute to a bootroom legend
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 06:42:04 pm »
I may be completely wrong here but I'm sure I remember seeing (It may have even been posted on RAWK) the scouting book that Twentyman had. It was full of his analysis of players he'd scouted. It looked brilliant.

Like I said I could be wrong here but I don't think I am.
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Offline Ryan M

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Re: Geoff Twentyman: A tribute to a bootroom legend
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 06:51:47 pm »
After the reputation Graham Carr has gained at Newcastle, it would be interesting to see the value of Twentyman's eyes & knowledge in today's modern game!