GMF tribute to Ron Yeats

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Ron Yeats was 6 ft 2, but such was the psychology employed by Bill Shankly that you would have thought that Liverpool had recruited the Incredible Hulk from Scotland.


After playing for Aberdeen Lads, Yeats, who worked as a slaughterman, joined Dundee United. He left Tannadice and the Tangerines in 1961 to join Bill Shankly’s Liverpool, where he was immediately made captain and became the rock at the back on route to wining the Second Division Championship. Yeats was immediately christened “The Colossus.”


Shankly accurately described the capture of Yeats and Ian St John in 1961 as a "turning point" in Liverpool’s history.

Shankly’s original target was Jackie Charlton, but when a deal fell through he turned his attention to a target he had stalked since his days as Huddersfield manager. £30,000 was paid to Dundee United and Yeats became the heart of the Liverpool rearguard.


Shankly was highly chuffed with his prize capture and told journalists: "The man is a mountain, go into the dressing room and walk around him".


Although there was great secrecy surrounding the transfer fee and the new signings time and mode of arrival, there was no doubt after eager autograph collectors spotted Yeats gargantuan frame step off an arriving train at Lime Street in 1961.


Yeats was rock solid, disciplined and led by example. His character and the legend and reputation of a towering and impenetrable juggernaut, planted into the minds of football fans and foe alike by Shankly’s kidology, preceded him everywhere he went.


Apart from promotion, the towering Yeats lead Liverpool to the League Championships of 1964 and 1966, and in 1965 was the first Liverpool Captain to lift the FA Cup in 1965, describing the historic moment as the proudest of his life.


Yeats played 454 games for Liverpool, scoring 15 goals, and made two appearances for Scotland.


Bill Shankly was looking to build a new team for the 1970s and Yeats left Anfiled to join Tranmere in 1971, eventually taking over the managerial reigns at Prenton Park. He returned to Anfield as chief scout in 1986.

Speaking to the Liverpool Daily Post during a video interview in September, Yeats shared his memory of playing under Bill Shankly: “When we were coming down from Dundee to Liverpool to sign his words were, ‘just be yourself son. Just look after yourself, and if you look after yourself everything comes into place.’ And he was right.”

Asked why Shankly was revered even now by Liverpool fans, he added: “He was a genuine man and if he said he’d get this or do that he would do it.

"He was very football minded was Shankly of course, and I loved to be in the briefings he had on the Friday for the Saturday game – it was absolutely brilliant.

“…And the things that he said, if you did them you’d win the game.”

On his connection with Liverpool Yeats finished: “I love the club, I love the area, I love Liverpool. I’m an honorary Scouser now.”

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