A BLUE AND A RED – LARRY LLOYD
He was the man that steered Wigan Athletic to their first ever promotion during the Football League era.
Success was bred into Larry Lloyd from an early age and it started at the age of 21 when Bill Shankly signed him for Liverpool from Bristol Rovers in 1969.
The strapping centre half created a formidable partnership with hard-man Tommy Smith and during his time at Anfield and he won League Cup and UEFA Cup in the same season in 1973, with his goal in a first leg 3-0 over Borussia Monchengladbach proving the 3-2 aggregate winner.
While at Liverpool Lloyd was given his England debut by none other than Sir Alf Ramsey, again a fitting compliment to a player whose career was blossoming.
In 1974 however, Lloyd was sold to Coventry City but only remained at Highfield Road for two seasons before moving to another hugely successful club at the time when Brian Clough signed him for Nottingham Forest.
The defender played a major role in Forest’s dominance of European football towards the end of his time there as the club won consecutive European Cups in 1979 and 1980.
Lloyd also won the First Division title in 1979 and two League Cups, including the 1978 trophy that saw Forest defeat his old club Liverpool in the final.
In March 1981 he made his move to Springfield Park as player-manager, taking over the departing Ian McNeill and guiding Latics to an 11th place finish in the league.
A great season followed as the club finished third in Division Four and was promoted to Division Three, just four seasons into the Football League journey.
Solidity was then maintained in the 1982-83 season as Lloyd steered Latics to safety finishing in 18th place.
After two seasons at the club Lloyd moved on, becoming manager of Notts County but a less than successful spell saw the end of his career in management.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Last season as Latics beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time, Shaun Maloney also netted his first goal for the club.
The Reds have balanced that out over the years though, with Peter Crouch, Albert Riera and Jose Enrique all getting their first club goals at Latics’ expense, as the latter scored in this season’s reverse fixture.
Debut goals are also a common link between Liverpool and Wigan Athletic and two former Reds got theirs for Latics in the same game.
January 2006 saw Neil Mellor and David Thompson both of whom enjoyed spells at Anfield during their younger years get on the score sheet against Middlesbrough, with Mellor netting the 88th minute winner in an epic 3-2 victory at the Riverside.
There’s also been a debut goal for Latics against Liverpool, when Mido stepped up to convert an 83rd minute penalty in January 2009 to earn a home draw.
It was the same game that Hugo Rodallega came off the bench and almost scored on his debut as he curled a free kick onto the cross bar in the dying minutes of the match.
There are plenty of surnames that cross over both clubs, such as Carroll for Roy and Andy or Carragher for Matt and Jamie, the list goes into double figures with the likes Henri and Titi Camara and Steve and John McMahon among the rest.
On two accounts though, there are identically named former Latics and Liverpool players.
David Thompson was a Wigan Athletic midfielder from 1988-1990 and Liverpool’s David Thompson of the late 1990s coincidentally also ended up playing for Latics as mentioned above in 2006.
The former’s link to Liverpool stretches beyond his two year spell in the late 80s at Springfield Park, because he was one of two Latics goal scorers when the clubs met for the first time at Anfield in the 1989 League Cup.
Mark Wright is the second duplicated name, a defender at Liverpool from 1991-1998 who recently managed Maltese club Floriana, with the Mark Wright starting his footballing career out on the blue half of Merseyside before having a two year spell with Latics from 1993-1995.
Liverpool’s Mark Wright was also manager of Roberto Martinez during the gaffer’s spell at Chester City.
THE CURRENT CONNECTION
It’s Alex Cribley’s 33rd year at Wigan Athletic having arrived in 1980 after learning his trade with Liverpool the years previous.
He was a highly rated defender in the Reds’ reserve team during his time but upon looking for more first team opportunities, he found himself making a move to Springfield Park.
Cribbers’ was involved in the 1981/82 promotion to Division Three and also came close to helping the club up into the Second Division in two consecutive seasons as Latics finished fourth in the league in 1985/86 and 1986/87, missing out by just one and two points.
His 271 league appearances are an incredible experience to pass onto the Under 21 players he now works with at the club, carrying out his physiotherapy duties that he’s been involved with since he hung up his boots in 1988.