Anfield – the home of the institution that is Liverpool FC casts its shadow over Anfield cemetery, home to generations of those who have departed.
It was not very long ago that Steve Bainbridge, a local researcher discovered two unmarked graves that are significant to the club and the acclaim it commands all over the globe.
The humble and unmarked graves belong to none other than ex-Liverpool manager Tom Watson and goalkeeping legend Ted Doig, both major influences in the building and structuring of the most famous football terrace in the world.
Watson and Doig were instrumental in the early part of the Reds' illustrious history. As a Red and being highly appreciative of the duos efforts in putting Liverpool FC on the global football map I decided to take a look at the careers of two stalwarts.
It was the beginning of the 20th century that saw Geordie Watson start to forge a place in the clubs history. After a hat trick of Division one championships with the Mackems, Watson left Wearside in 1896 to replace John Mckenna in the Anfield hot seat. Five years later he had pipped his beloved Sunderland, winning the race to bring the title to Anfield in 1901.
Although relegated three years later, Watson stayed at the helm to lead Liverpool back into the top flight in 1905. He followed that up with another championship the next season.
Watson spent 19 years as Liverpool gaffer, dying in May 6, 1915 during the year of The Great War. Watson had been a popular figurehead and many of his old players were pall-bearers at his funeral.
Ted Doig won four titles with the Sunderland ‘team of all talents,' following his mentor to Anfield. Doig became Liverpool’s oldest debutant and player at the youthful age of 41 years and 165 days. He was also a pallbearer at Tom Watson’s funeral.
Doig succumbed to the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1919. His grave lies within close proximity to his mentor. Both graves are not distinguishable but Park Rangers are usually on hand to point them out to those who visit to offer their respect.
Margaret Sampson from Liverpool has been vociferous in recognising the contribution of the Red duo.
Super Marg visits the cemetery and encourages others to do so. She said: “I heard about Watson and Doig’s graves during a trip with my son's local school just over two years ago. The school children were being shown around Stanley Park by the Park Ranger who then took them into the cemetery, and told them about some of the notable and famous people buried there.
“That is when I first heard of and became aware of the great Tom Watson. I have mentioned it on the Dalglish’s Army page on Facebook and got a really good response.”
History is a byword at Anfield, and though we have become accustomed to recognising the contributions of modern day Liverpool superstars, it is vitally important that the history of the club and it’s early pioneers along with their splendid contributions are never forgotten.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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