Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Albert Stubbins: Beatles Icon

As these articles are required to begin: “It was thirty years ago today...”

Thirty years since John Lennon was killed in New York.

Football and Music has more on the relationship between The Beatles and football - turns out they weren’t all that bothered. Although there is also a suggestion that Brian Epstein told them not to make their allegiances clear to avoid upsetting the red or blue sides of Liverpool.

But one Liverpool player has enjoyed Beatles immortality. And, apparently, because Lennon liked his name.

Albert Stubbins was one of the 70 personalities chosen to grace the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as one of John Lennon’s choices.

Stubbins’ career began at Newcastle in the late 1930s just before the Second World War deprived Britain of official football leagues. The war meant that Stubbins’ prolific goal scoring for his hometown club came mainly in unofficial competitions and matches.

In the 1945-46 Northern League Stubbins scored 39 goals for Newcastle, some 25 more than his Geordie colleague Jackie Millburn, and cemented his reputation as the country’s top goal scorer during the war years.

Liverpool then forked out £13,000 for his services - a sum he repaid with 24 goals and a league championship in his first season at Anfield.

Another six seasons - and 83 goals in all competitions - followed at Liverpool. Stubbins was what we now call an 'old fashioned centre forward', with an imposing physique. "Always robust, but never unfair."

And then, 14 years after Stubbins had left the club, John Lennon remembered his name, a name that apparently amused him as a child. And so Albert Stubbins took his place on arguably the most iconic album cover of all time.

He’s said to have enjoyed his link with The Beatles. Paul McCartney - whose own footballing choice of Dixie Deans didn’t make the final cut - sent him a copy of the record and a note:

"Well done, Albert, for all those glorious years of football. Long may you bob and weave."

Albert Stubbins died in 2002. Obituaries at The Guardian and The Independent.

> Another player with a career disrupted by the Second World War provides a second Beatles footballing link. The lyrics to Dig It (Let It Be album) include the lines:

Like the FBI and the CIA
And the BBC--BB King
And Doris Day
Matt Busby
Dig it, dig it, dig it

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