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Liverpool icons as cigarette cards


A look at some of the most iconic Liverpool players to appear on the front of cigarette cards, as chronicled by George Rowlands in his vivid book The Redmen of Liverpool: The Tobacco Years

1892-93: Duncan McLean, Field Favorites 


Thought to be the first British footballer to feature on a cigarette card, Duncan McLean was persuaded to sign for Liverpool in 1892 when Everton left Anfield. He was a regular at full-back in the 1893/94 and 1894/95 campaigns. In 1893/94 Liverpool were promoted from the Second Division, and in 1894/95 they suffered relegation from the top flight. 

1902: Alex Raisbeck, Three Nuns Tobacco


One of greatest centre-haves to ever come out of Scotland, Raisbeck signed for Liverpool in 1898 after a brief spell at Stoke City. One of the first pin-up footballers regularly depicted in cigarette card form, Raisbeck won his first league title with the Reds in 1901, and after the club circumvented the maximum wage rules to pay him more than he was allowed, he continued to turn out for them. He was therefore still a regular when Liverpool won another league title five years later in 1906. 

1923: Elisha Scott, British American Tobacco Company


Considered by most to be Liverpool's greatest ever goalkeeper, Elisha Scott was Liverpool's longest-serving player, representing the club for 21 years and 52 days. Playing his first game on New Year's Day 1913, he would feature in every league season up until the 1933/34 campaign. A Liverpool Hall of Fame inductee, he won back to back titles with the club in the 1921/22 and 1922/23 seasons. 

1936: Ernie Blenkinsop, Hignett Brothers & Co


By the time he joined Liverpool in the 1933/34 season, Blenkinsop had already played for Sheffield Wednesday on 424 occasions, and won two First Division crowns with them. The veteran had also appeared for England 26 times, a very high amount of caps considering the era. Despite being at Anfield for four seasons, Blenkinsop would only be a regular in the 1935/36 campaign, when Liverpool finished three points above the relegation zone. 

1948: Billy Liddell, Godfrey Phillips Ltd


Simply one of Liverpool's greatest players of all time, Liddell stands eighth in the list of '100 Players who shook the Kop' as of 2013. Playing his first game for the club during the second world war, Liddell would win the league title with the Reds in the first official season after the conflict. That would be his only league title with Liverpool, yet he remained the defining player for the club in the 50s, finishing as top scorer on eight occasions. He represented Scotland regularly, and was one of only two players to feature twice for Great Britain against a Rest of Europe XI. 

1920-21: Team photo, Godfrey Phillips Ltd 

A photo of the Liverpool team during the 1920-21 campaign, which appeared as a cigarette card. Liverpool would finish fourth in this campaign, before going on to win their first league title since 1906 in the 1921/22 campaign. 

George Rowland's Redmen of Liverpool FC: The Tobacco Years, nominated for Illustrated Book of the Year at the Sports Book Awards, is available here

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