Former Liverpool and Scotland striker Ian St John has died at the age of 82.
St John was a key player in the great Liverpool team assembled in the 1960s by Bill Shankly which rose from the second division to win two English league titles and an FA Cup in 1965, in which he scored the winning goal in the final.
In a statement, his family said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that after a long illness we have lost a husband, father and grandfather.
“He passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside. We would like to thank all the staff at Arrowe Park Hospital for their hard work and dedication during these very difficult times.
“The family would be grateful for privacy at this extremely sad time.”
St John spent 10 years at Anfield following a £37,500 transfer from Motherwell in June 1961 which was a record fee paid for Liverpool at the time, and scored 118 goals in 424 appearances for the club.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of a true Anfield legend, Ian St John.
The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Ian’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.
Rest in peace, Ian St John 1938-2021.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC)
At the time of his retirement, Shankly said of the signing, and that of Ron Yeats later that summer: “The turning point and the beginning of the whole affair was the signing of Ian St John and Ron Yeats.”
Legend has it that when Shankly approached his board for the funds they questioned the wisdom of spending so much on one player, to which he replied: “We can’t afford not to buy him.”
After being almost ever-present in the Liverpool team for eight seasons, St John left the club in August 1971 and played briefly for Hellenic in Cape Town, South Africa and Coventry City before retiring in 1973.
A real loss to the game and one felt heavily in our city. A rival for many years but a popular figure on and off the pitch.
— Everton (@Everton)
He also managed Motherwell and Portsmouth and then became well known as a pundit alongside another former player, Jimmy Greaves, on the hugely popular Saturday football television show Saint and Greavsie from 1985 to 1992.
Former Liverpool midfielder and current Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said: “Ian St John is an iconic figure at Liverpool. I’m devastated to hear this news and would like to send my condolences to all of his family.”
Ex-Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher wrote on Twitter: “RIP Ian St John. Another Liverpool Legend sadly passes away. One of the players along with Bill Shankly who made this club what it is today. I’ll remember him most on the best football show on tv, The Saint & Greavsie.”