Date:Monday June 21 2010
Former Barnsley striker Andy Liddell has decided to call time on his footballing career at the age of 36.
Lidds was a trainee at Oakwell in the early 90's and was part of the famous promotion winning team of 1997, chipping in with 8 goals in that season to help the Reds clinch their place in football's top flight for the first time in their history.
He scored his first and only Premier League goal at home to Leeds United in a 3-2 defeat, opening the scoring on 8 minutes. He also chipped in with three goals in the cup that season including one in the F.A. Cup Quarter Final defeat at St. James' Park.
Liddell was also involved in the Reds famous victory at Anfield. No not that one, the other one! Ashley Ward scored the goal that won the game in November 1997 but it was Liddells run into the box that set up the finish for him. Oh and a little bit of horrid mis-control from Patrick Berger too! Lidds had done well after being brought down by David James but got up to cut the ball back for Ward. I was lucky enough to get a ticket that time.
Lidds was scythed down at Old Trafford by Gary Neville in the F.A. Cup Fifth Round but Mike Riley waved away his protests for a spot-kick. Afterwards even Alex Ferguson admitted it was a penalty: 'They should have had a penalty kick and I don't think there's any question of that - that's bad refereeing.' Still, we got our revenge in the replay at Oakwell.
In 1998, Andy moved to Wigan Athletic for £350,000 where he played most of his games, clocking up almost 250 appearances for the Latics and becoming their club record goalscorer with 70 goals.
He moved to Sheffield United on a free in 2004 and spent a season there, scoring seven goals but we'll forgive him for that.
From 2005 to 2009 Andy plied his trade at Boundary Park for Oldham Athletic where his return was a decent 33 goals from 123 starts.
The veteran striker finished his career in South Yorkshire, making five appearances in a single season at Rotherham United but will be remembered much more in another South Yorkshire club's red shirt. That of Barnsley.
One of my fondest memories of Lidds is actually of him in a Wigan Athletic shirt. They came to us on the final day of the season in 2003, with Wigan already champions of League One and fortunately Barnsley having already scraped survival a week earlier with a 1-0 win at Brentford.
Wigan took the lead early on and for all Barnsley's pressure, held on for a 1-0 victory. But in the pits of football depression just out of administration, Barnsley were a club in crisis. Yet something drew a smile to my face at the end of that season. As Wigan prepared for a corner at the Ponty End, Liddell took up a position on the front post, right in front of the fans that used to cheer him on in the Premier League and my brother, his humour bone-dry even at the young age of 14, shouted from his seat 'come and play for us, Andy!' which made the Scot turn and smile with a wink.
Andy was a thoroughly professional footballer (something I bang on about a lot on here from time to time) and will forever be etched in our memories. He retires with Vital Barnsley's best wishes for the future.
Date:Monday June 21 2010
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