Liverpool say goodbye to the Tartan Titan Ian St John

Liverpool, Ian St John (Photo by John Downing/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Liverpool, Ian St John (Photo by John Downing/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) /

He was a key part of the Liverpool story.

The sad passing of Ian St John is significant on so many levels. The Saint won us our first FA Cup after his extra-time winner in 1965 and was an original member of the club which Bill built.

He represented the Reds on the field whilst his fellow Scot Bill Shankly laid the foundations to build the most successful club in British football. It is worth noting that when St John ran onto the pitch at Anfield, the shorts on the home kit were white. It is reported that the Saint was one of the key advocates of going all red.

Ian St John – a Liverpool legend

In the same way that Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker are credited as the two signings which elevated Liverpool to recent Champions League and Premier League success, Shankly’s double deals for St John and captain ‘Colossus’ Ron Yeats were regarded back then as the turning point.

The Saint himself was no stranger to snapping streaks. His winner against Leeds United in 1965 broke a 73-year streak for the Reds without winning the premier domestic cup competition. How fitting that he was able to enjoy Liverpool smashing another drought with the title win last season after 30 years.

St John joined Liverpool for a then club-record fee of £37,500 from his hometown of Motherwell in 1961. Combative, tenacious and fearless, he was an instrumental component for Shankly up front, whilst Yeats held firm at the back. In the 1980s the Saint became a highly successful TV presenter with Jimmy Greaves as they paired up for their own football show – essential Saturday afternoon viewing.

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After his TV career ended, St John continued to support Liverpool in an ambassadorial capacity by appearing in numerous club videos where he would meet fans and memorise stories from the sixties.

One recording from 2019 titled ‘We Are Liverpool – This Means More’, a deeply emotional Saint spoke with passion and heart as he recollected the commands of Shankly.

"“It was always, don’t let them down. Don’t let them down, the fans. They’ve worked all week to come here and enjoy the game. The emphasis was very much on making their day, making their weekend, making their life happier.”"

After 425 appearances, 118 goals and three major honours, the Saint is in the hands of God. Thanks for the memories. May he Rest In Peace. YNWA.

Riaz Ravat is a member of Liverpool FC’s Equality & Diversity Fan Forum. He writes in a personal capacity.