The Oakland Stompers’ English left back, ALEC LINDSAY (3), keeps a tight lid on his mark, the Los Angeles Aztecs’ American attacker, RUDY YBARRA (19), during the 1978 North American Soccer League season. (Tim Considine / nasljerseys.com photo)
The Oakland Stompers only ever did come up with two experienced foreign international players — Yugoslavia’s BLAGOJE PAUNOVIC and Israel’s SAM ROSENTHAL — to bolster their squad for the 1978 North American Soccer League season and neither were exactly in the superstar or household-name class, even if Rosenthal had featured at the 1970 World Cup staged in Mexico.
The Stompers did secure the services of a player who spent most of the 1970s accumulating trophies with one of the most well-known clubs in all of Europe — the famous English outfit FC Liverpool.
A 30-year-old veteran when brought across the Atlantic Ocean by Oakland, ALEC LINDSAY had been the Reds’ first-team left fullback for much of the first half of the decade as Liverpool won both England’s First Divison championship and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Cup in 1973 as well as the prestigous English FA Cup in 1974.
For a time, the muscular fullback even replaced the England star international striker, KEVIN KEEGAN (63 caps, 21 goals), as Liverpool’s penalty-kick specialist for a spell and was also selected to play four times for England, himself.
The native of Bury, who cost Liverpool 67,000 English pounds when purchased from his hometown club in 1969, made his debut for England at famed Wembley Stadium in the 2-2 draw with Argentina in late May of 1974. Lindsay then turned out against East Germany (1-1) in Leipzig, Bulgaria (1-0) in Sofia and Yugoslavia in Belgrade (2-2) on the trot in June. England, it should be remembered, did not qualify for the World Cup final tournament held in West Germany that year.
Lindsay, not so long after, would eventually lose his place in the Liverpool starting line-up, initially during the 1974-75 season to the Red’s new signing from Northampton Town, PHIL NEAL, a fullback who would go on to win 50 caps for England. Later, after Neal moved over to right back, Lindsay was kept out of manager Bob Paisley’s side by Wales international defender JOEY JONES (72 caps), who arrived from Wrexham in the summer of 1975.
Liverpool won the English league title in both 1976 and 1977, but Lindsay was ineligible for a championship medal on account of a lack of sufficent appearances and also missed out on a medal when the Reds lifted another UEFA Cup in 1976.
Lindsay did, however, manage one last honor in his last season with Liverpool. The Reds defeated German club Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to lift the coveted European Cup of Champions in late May of 1977. Although the left back did not play in the match, he was one of five substitutes selected for the bench and, therefore, qualified for one last major medal.
That summer, after having made 170 league appearances (12 goals) and played 248 times (18 goals) for FC Liverpool in all competitions, Lindsay was sold to second division Stoke City for a modest 20,000 English pounds.
Interesting that Alec Lindsay collected both of his medals on the European stage at the expense of the same German side, Borussia Moenchengladbach, albeit in different competitions.
Also of note is that Lindsay’s future teammate with the Oakland Stompers in the old NASL, Israeli international Shmuel Rosenthal, was on the books of Borussia Moenchengladbach for the 1972-73 season.
Lindsay played in both legs of the 1973 UEFA Cup final for Liverpool, who won narrowly 3-2 on aggregate with each side having won by shutout at home, but Rosenthal, who had fallen out of favor with Moenchengladbach management earlier in the campaign, did not appear for Borussia in either match.
And, finally, on this Fourth of July here in America, it is interesting to note this blog piece was produced on ground that was, on July 4, 1776, known as Northampton Town.