Authors search for ‘Untouchable’ Lacey
The writers of a new book on one of Liverpool FC’s greatest ever teams are looking to find descendants of former Cork Bohemians player manager Bill Lacey, one of the greatest early Irish footballers.
Known as ‘The Untouchables’, Liverpool’s first back-to-back champions in 1922 and 1923 featured the Enniscorthy-born player who was at the tail end of a 12 year career with the Reds.
Lacey left the club in 1924 heading to New Brighton for a season but returned to his former club Shelbourne from 1925-1927. Then he landed in Cork, playing and managing Cork Bohemians from 1927 to 1931.
Historian Kieran Smith and writer Jeff Goulding are working on a book which will examine the life and times of Liverpool’s league winning side of 1922 and 1923.
“We’re trying to track down the descendants of players and backroom staff, and we are aware that one of them, Bill Lacey, moved to Cork to play for Cork Bohemians between 1927-31,” Jeff told the Cork Independent.
The duo want to find out more about what happened to the players involved in that great Liverpool side and hope to hear from relatives of Bill Lacey.
Liverpool author Jeff said: “Bill was entering his final years at the club when Liverpool clinched back to back titles in 1922 and 1923. He left the club in 1924, but what a swansong that was. He made 43 and 34 appearances respectively as the Anfield side swept all before them, earning the honorific ‘Untouchables’.
“In many ways he epitomised all the qualities of that great side; skill and flair of course, but he was also as hard as nails. One reporter in 1923 commented on how it was pointless trying to kick him, as he could not be moved off the ball. Bill wasn't prolific, but his play on the wings undoubtedly created many goals for the team.”
Lacey was signed from Everton for £300 in 1912, and played in the Red’s first FA Cup Final in 1914, a 1-0 defeat to Burnley.
“We are uncovering many interesting facts about this team, the period and of course the way the game was played a century ago. We're realising that far from football being a primitive affair back then, these men were artists and thinkers of the sport and took their trade extremely seriously,” said Jeff.
“The more we discover, the more our perceptions of him and his record change. We know Bill ended his football career in Ireland, but he was never far away from Liverpool. He was even at the wedding of 1960s and 1970s legend Chris Lawler in 1965. And we have recently discovered his grave is in Crosby, Liverpool,” he added.
“However, as much as we want to reveal Lacey the player to this and future generations, we’re desperately keen to understand the man that he was, and we're hoping that surviving family members who knew him can help us do that. So if any of your readers knew him or if he has family who remained in the area, we'd love to hear from them. He deserves to be remembered for his service to Liverpool and football.”
Born on 24 September 1889, Lacey died on 30 May 1969. Anyone with information about Bill Lacey can contact the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.