Versatile man on his stint at Blues
Tony Hadley spent a decade at Roots Hall, spanning two separate spells, and was part of two memorable feats in Blues’ history.
Hadley made a welcome return to his old stomping ground in the Blues Legends Lounge for our Sky Bet League One fixture against Scunthorpe in February, as well as being introduced just before kick-off.
We caught up with the Rochford-born former Blues defender on the 1980/81 Division Four title, in which Dave Smith’s side conceded just six goals, and that 1979 FA Cup Third Round clash.
"Liverpool was the one that everyone remembers because of who they are,” Hadley recalled.
"Everyone also remembers the snow but because Liverpool were the team and had won the European Cup the year before, they were the team to play.
"We drew 0-0 at Roots Hall and the week after we went back to Anfield and they beat us 3-0. But the Liverpool players were absolutely brilliant. [Kenny] Dalglish, [Alan] Kennedy, [Graeme] Souness, [Ray] Clemence, they were all brilliant.
"They took us up to the VIP lounge afterwards and I think we had three or four days away. It was when Bill Shankly had left Liverpool and Dave Smith made a point of getting us to meet Shankly at Everton’s training ground, of all places, before going to the game and having our pictures taking with the European Cup.
"It is something I will never forget just because of who Liverpool were.
"People still come up to me and say ‘you should go on YouTube’ because the match is on there so I’ve watched it back a few times!”
Hadley was spotted by John Lattimer, a coach from Arthur Rowley’s time in charge. A versatile player, he preferred to play in defence but also turned out in midfield and up front.
He said, although the Division Four title saw records tumble, the Liverpool game is the one that people want to talk about.
"I still remember the Division Four title because it lasted such a long time. As a team we did really well.
"It was us and Swindon vying for the title and we just sneaked it in front of them.
"The Division Four season will last longer in the memory, but the one that people remember and want to talk about is the Liverpool game."