Alan Arnell: Powerful Liverpool centre forward

 

If Liverpool signed a centre-forward in 2013, and he went on to score 35 goals in 75 games for the club, he would be hailed as a sensation and valued at many millions of pounds. But when Alan Arnell did just that in the 1950s, he was discarded by the Second Division Reds, and saw out his playing days in the lower reaches of the Football League.

Perhaps it was the tall, rangy marksman's misfortune to have arrived at Anfield when the club was going through a slump, destined for imminent demotion from the top flight and with more than half a decade's sojourn at the lower level in prospect.

Having first attracted attention with his home-town side, Chichester City, before sampling brief amateur experience with Portsmouth and then joining Worthing of the Corinthian League, Arnell was completing his national service with the Royal Sussex Regiment when he was recruited by Liverpool boss Don Welsh in March 1953.

A powerful, energetic six-footer, the 19-year-old was a menace in aerial combat, willing to labour selflessly in the common cause – and while his ballwork was hardly of the delicate variety, neither was it overtly clumsy, so that he could join in passing movements without squandering possession.

On his senior debut in December 1953, he scored in a 5-2 home victory over Blackpool, but he made only two more appearances that term, which ended with Liverpool bottom of the First Division.

There were only sporadic outings during the following campaign, which the Reds finished in mid-table anonymity, but in 1955-56 Arnell began to blossom encouragingly, netting 15 times in his 27 games as Welsh's men missed out narrowly on promotion.

However, over the next three seasons, despite continuing to convert a fair proportion of his scoring opportunities – certainly a hat-trick at Huddersfield in 1956 after pulling a muscle early in the match demonstrated his courage and commitment – he couldn't persuade the new Liverpool boss, Phil Taylor, that the club's outstanding player, the magnificent Scottish international Billy Liddell, would be better regularly employed on the wing rather than as a central spearhead.

Thus, gradually, Arnell slipped from contention, even dropping behind the moderately gifted Louis Bimpson in the pecking order, as Liverpool repeatedly fell marginally short of regaining their place among the elite.

By decade's end, the acquisition of the infinitely more classy Roger Hunt, who would go on to World Cup glory with England in 1966, and the rugged Dave Hickson, pretty well sealed the fate of Arnell.

His last chance was to impress Bill Shankly, the man who would transform the chronically underachieving Reds into a top European power after succeeding Taylor in December 1959. But the messianic Scot found no place in his plans for the unassuming southerner, who perhaps lacked the raw aggression and single-minded drive to carve a niche with the ambitious Merseysiders.

Duly he was freed to join Third Division strugglers Tranmere Rovers in February 1961, and come spring he was enduring further disappointment as the Prenton Park club were relegated to the basement grade.

Now, though, Arnell showed admirable character, going on to net 33 times in 68 League outings for Rovers before switching to divisional rivals Halifax Town in the summer of 1963. There followed one season at The Shay, in which he played only 14 times and contributed six goals before he finished his career with two years at non-League Runcorn, where later he served as a director.

Away from the game he was a newsagent in Liverpool, then ran pubs in Sussex before working as a jockeys' declaration officer in racecourse weighing rooms at Lingfield Park, Fontwell, Goodwood and Plumpton.

Ivan Ponting

Alan Jack Arnell, footballer: born Chichester, Sussex 25 November 1933; played for Liverpool 1953-61, Tranmere Rovers 1961-63, Halifax Town 1963-64; died 5 May 2013.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

News
people

Far-right organisation has defended its actions on Facebook

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EYFS Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - Benf...

English Teacher

£4848 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Outstanding...

Cover Supervisors/Teaching Assistants Secondary Schools in York

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors/Long Term Teaching Ass...

Science Teacher

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker