Way back then, football was a lot more difficult when no substitution was allowed during a match. Players often had to finish the games carrying severe injuries with a lot of pain. One such example was Liverpool’s Gerry Byrne who is still remembered for his FA Cup final heroics back in 1965 when he inspired Liverpool to win the Silverware despite breaking his collarbone after only seven minutes into the game against Leeds United.
Gerry Byrne, who recently passed away on 28th November 2015 at the age of 77, is considered one of the unsung heroes of Liverpool football club’s history. He was a local lad and a one-club man who made 274 league appearances for the Reds in twelve years (1957-1969). He was also a member of England National Football Team who won the prestigious World Cup in 1966. Byrne played mostly as a left-back, although he was equally capable of playing in the right hand side.
But it was for the 1965 FA Cup final that Byrne will forever be applauded. He broke his collarbone only seven minutes after kick off in a challenge with Leeds skipper Bobby Collins. But Byrne refused to leave the field that early and eventually completed the entire game including 30 minutes of extra time.
Despite an agonising pain, Byrne kept making his overlap runs down the left flank and helped Liverpool break the deadlock when his perfectly placed cross was converted by Roger Hunt. Although Leeds equalized within minutes through Billy Bremner, it was Liverpool again who scored late on the second half of the extra time when Ian St. John headed home the winner. As a result Liverpool won their first ever FA Cup in their 3rd final appearance. The then Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly lauded Byrne’s heroics stating that Gerry Byrne should have got all 11 medals for what he did in that cup final.
Ian Callaghan, a former teammate of Byrne and Liverpool’s record appearance holder, told in a recent interview:
“People even today love to talk about hard men and the toughest opponent they have played against.
He was the most gentle man off the field, but when he was on it he became a real hard guy.
To play almost two hours with a broken collar bone was unbelievable.
He was a tremendous player, one of the best two-footed players around at that time without a doubt.”
What do you think of the heroics Gerry Byrne showed? Let us know in the comments below!