North West Counties Football League


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Linnets Legends - Alan Ryan

Alan Ryan was a shipping clerk when he became a Linnets Legend on 9 December 1967. Runcorn had won through to the First round proper of the FA Cup for the first time since the mid 1950s. We had been drawn against Notts County of the 4th Division and the excitement had been mounting for weeks. It was a bitterly cold snowy day, just right for giant killing and Ryan didn’t let us down. He scored the only goal to win the tie. We were the only non-league team to beat league opposition on the day and the crowd of over 6,000 was delighted.

It was the first time Runcorn had reached the second round since pre-war when they played Preston North End. The scoreline did not really reflect Runcorn’s superiority as they had forced 16 corners to Notts County’s 2! Ryan became the hero of the hour with much press coverage of his goalscoring feats. Ryan was just 20 years of age and went on to score 66 goals that season, a remarkable achievement.

Amazingly he had started as a goalkeeper playing for a local amateur side in his native Salford. He asked if he could play up front and that was the start of his scoring exploits. He scored 90 in his first season and 86 in the next. Although he had been noticed by Hyde Utd it was Jack Boothway who persuaded him to turn semi professional and signed him for Runcorn. Although he only spent one full season at the club his prolific goal scoring made him a Linnets Legend. Although scouts from all over flocked to watch him play, Ryan was never able to make his mark in the professional game.

For the record it is perhaps interesting to note that although Ryan became the hero on that day it was centre half Dick Oxtoby who was actually awarded the man-of the–match.

The Runcorn team on that day was:-

Pendlebury; Stanley, Houghton (capt); Phoenix, Oxtoby, Denton, Tonge, Herring, Ryan, Moss, Bateson


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