Larry Lloyd - Life and Playing Career

Life and Playing Career

Lloyd won the League championship, League Cup and European Cup with Forest, the first of which came when he was already at the near-veteran age of 29. Less than a decade earlier, he seemed set for major honours in the game when he joined Liverpool.

Hometown club Bristol Rovers accepted a £50,000 bid for Lloyd in the April 1969 with manager Bill Shankly looking for a long-term successor to ageing skipper and defender Ron Yeats. Lloyd broke into the team in 1969 making his debut on the 27 September in a league game at The Hawthorns, Liverpool took a share of the spoils drawing with West Bromwich Albion 2–2, by the following year Lloyd was a regular as Shankly underwent a major rebuilding of the side, finding more new players of Lloyd's age.

Lloyd partnered one of the players that survived Shankly cull captain Tommy Smith with some success, the pair were at the heart of the defence that took Liverpool to the 1971 FA Cup final, unfortunately, it wasn't the result that Lloyd and rest of the Reds wanted as they lost 2–1 after extra time to Arsenal who had already won the league title. This was arguably the hardest central defensive partnership in English football at the time, and Lloyd's own strength and battle-hardened nature earned him recognition for England.

Sir Alf Ramsey gave Larry his international debut on 19 May 1971 in a British Home Championship match against Wales, the game was played at Wembley and finished 0–0, Lloyd should have felt at home as team-mates Chris Lawler, Emlyn Hughes and Smith all started the game.

1972 saw Lloyd score his first goal for the Reds, it came in the 3–0 league win over Manchester City at Anfield on 26 February, his goal was the first of the 3 and came in the 37th minute, Kevin Keegan (53rd) and Bobby Graham (65th) completed the scoring.

As Liverpool won the League and UEFA Cup double in 1973, Lloyd astonished everyone by not missing a single minute of the 54 matches played in the whole season. He scored in the first leg of the UEFA Cup final helping Liverpool to a 3–2 aggregate victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach. The following year he suffered an injury, lost his place to the up-and-coming Phil Thompson and missed out on victory in the FA Cup final against Newcastle United.

Shankly quit that summer and successor Bob Paisley decided to keep with the youngster Thompson, and Liverpool fans were sad but understanding of the situation when Lloyd was sold to Coventry City on 15 August 1974 who paid a club record transfer fee of £240,000 for Lloyd's services. The deal was to be funded by the sale to Tottenham of Mick McGuire and Jimmy Holmes for £200,000 but this fell through when Spurs manager Bill Nicholson lost his job. As a consequence Coventry went substantially into the red and were left with financial problems for some years.

In October 1976, the ever-astute Brian Clough, acting on Peter Taylor's advice and snapped up Lloyd for a bargain £60,000, after an initial loan period, with Forest chasing promotion to the top flight in English football. He made his Forest bow on the 2 October in a league match against Hull City, it wasn't a debut to remember as Forest lost 1–0 away at Boothferry Park, however it did not prevent Lloyd going on to win promotion with Forest and then clinch another League title the next season, along with a League Cup final victory, ironically against Lloyd's former club Liverpool, who were the most successful side of the 1970s (and subsequently the 1980s) in English football.

In 1979, Lloyd and Forest won the European Cup and retained the League Cup, the only disappointment in 1979–80 coming in the League Cup, where they reached the final for the third season running only to lose to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In June 1979 Lloyd represented the League of Ireland XI as a guest player in a tour of Asia He scored twice in a 4-1 win over Singapore .

In 1980 Forest amazingly retaining their European crown. Also in 1980, Lloyd earned a recall to the England squad and played in the 4–1 defeat to Wales in the Home Internationals. It was to be his fourth and final cap, coming eight years after his previous one.

Lloyd left Forest for Wigan Athletic in March 1981, where he was player-manager taking over from Ian McNeill. In 1981–82, he guided them to promotion from the Fourth Division in only their fourth season as a Football League team, and guided them to survival in the Third Division a year later. This attracted the attention of Notts County, who were looking for a new first team manager after Jimmy Sirrel "moved upstairs". However, Lloyd's only season at Meadow Lane was not a success, and he left the club after relegation ended their three-year stay in the First Division.

Up until 2000 Larry was a regular and outspoken pundit for Nottingham-based local radio, firstly on GEM AM and latterly on Century 106, covering Forest matches. He now lives in Spain, where he is still involved in football as manager of amateur side Real Marbella.

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