FA Cup winner, European cup finalist, Scotland international and the original ‘sweeper keeper’, Tommy Lawrence’s safe hands were reared in a wire factory in Rylands.

Lawrence was born in Dailly, Ayrshire but moved to Warrington with his family as a child.

Upon leaving Culcheth Secondary School, Lawrence joined Rylands wire factory and was playing as a keeper for Stockton Heath Albion – now Warrington Town.

However his talents didn’t go unnoticed for long and at 17 he was snapped up by Liverpool and offered a professional contract by manager Phil Taylor, soon going on to make his debut for the club’s A team against Manchester City.

That was the start of a glittering career for the Warrington lad, helping the Anfield outfit lift their first ever FA Cup in 1965 – when another well-known Warringtonian was on the scoresheet – two top-flight titles and three charity shields on route to 390 appearances for the club.

Warrington Guardian:

Lawrence also played three times for his native Scotland and was number one in the Liverpool team that lost the European Cup Winners’ Cup final to Borussia Dortmund in 1966 at Hampden Park – Roger Hunt also netted to take the game to extra time in that one.

Bill Shankly would give the keeper his debut in 1962, a 1-0 loss to West Brom, and Lawrence’s first clean sheet came 10 days later as the hosts hammered Leyton Orient 5-0 and Hunt grabbed a hat-trick.

Lawrence retained his place between the sticks as Liverpool earned promotion back to the top flight and also made the FA Cup semi-final, losing to Leicester City.

He played 40 times the following campaign as Merseyside rivals Everton lifted the First Division trophy, but 12 months later it would be Lawrence and his teammates in red getting their hands on a league winner’s medal.

Lawrence saved George Eastham’s penalty as Liverpool clinched the title with a 5-0 win over Arsenal at Anfield, finishing four points above Manchester United.

It was the beginning of a successful period for Liverpool and the FA Cup followed a year later, though the Reds could not retain their title, with a 2-1 win over Leeds United in the final at Wembley.

Billy Bremner’s equaliser in extra time was only the third goal Lawrence had conceded in the competition that season, but Ian St John popped up with the winner.

Warrington Guardian:

The Scot would win a second league title in 1966, acting as a ‘sweeper keeper’ behind a high Liverpool defensive line and earning a reputation for rushing out and diving at the feet of any forwards who sprung the trap.

Former England manager Joe Mercer even said: “He comes so far off his line he plays like an extra defender.”

Liverpool won the title in impressive fashion, finishing six points clear of Leeds and 10 ahead of their Old Trafford rivals, with an ever-present Lawrence only conceding 34 goals along the way.

Defeat in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final to Dortmund would be the closest Lawrence got to continental glory, with Liverpool suffering a 5-1 European Cup exit at the hands of a Johan Cruyff-inspired Ajax a season later.

But Lawrence was a model of consistency in the Liverpool net and between April 1966 and April 1967 did not concede a single goal at the Anfield’s Kop end.

The end of Lawrence’s Anfield career was signalled by the signing of a young keeper from Scunthorpe, Ray Clemence.

However it took the future England international several seasons to dispose of his elder and even longer to break Lawrence’s first division record of only 24 goals conceded in 42 games in the 1968-69 season.

Clemence eventually did so a decade later.

The Warrington-raised Scot played the last of his 390 games for Liverpool in November 1971, moving to Tranmere Rovers for three years before a spell in non-league with Chorley.

He returned to work at Rylands as a quality controller, but in February 2015 hit the headlines again when stopped by BBC reporter Stuart Flinders, who was asking people in Liverpool whether they remembered the FA Cup fifth round game against Everton in 1967.

“I do,” quipped Lawrence. “I played in it, I was the goalkeeper for Liverpool.”