- Jimmy Melia
Infobox Football biography
playername = Jimmy Melia
fullname = James Melia
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1937|11|1|df=y
height = height|ft=5|in=7
youthyears = 1952–1954
youthclubs = Liverpool
years = 1954–1964
clubs = Liverpool
caps(goals) = 269 0(76)
manageryears = 1969–1972
managerclubs = Aldershot
Brighton & Hove Albion
C.F. Os Belenenses
nationalyears = 1963
nationalteam = England
nationalcaps(goals) = 002 00(1)
Jimmy joined the Reds straight from St. Anthony's School [cite web | title = St. Anthony's Church - Scotland Road | work = Scotland Road 2003 | publisher = Scottie Press
url = http://www.scottiepress.org/sr2003/sr2003.htm | accessdate =2008-02-05 ] as a 15 year old, when manager
Don Welshsaw the potential in the young schoolboy international's feet, he signed professional forms on his 17th birthday, 1 November 1954. He made his debut aged 18 on 17 December 1955at Anfieldin a 2nd Division fixture, Nottingham Forest were the visitors and came up against an in form Billy Liddellwho scored a hat-trickin the 5–2 victory, Jimmy also scored his first goal for the club in the 48th minute, John Evans got the other.
Although Jimmy received rave reviews about his performance, Welsh held him back and brought him in to the set up slowly; it wasn't until the following season that he got a real run in the side starting 27 matches. Melia followed this up with a 36 match season scoring 10 goals; he had made his name and would be difficult to shift.
Melia, along with the rest of the staff at Anfield, would feel dejection three seasons on the run as they just missed out on promotion on each occasion. It was all too much for manager Phil Taylor who resigned in 1959. He was followed by the man who would return Liverpool to the top division,
Shankly liked Melia and used him as part of his plan for Liverpool to rule English football. The first attempt at promotion fell short again by eight points as Cardiff City finished second behind champions Aston Villa. The frustration continued in 1960–61 as, for a fifth straight time, Liverpool finished third, seven points adrift of winners Ipswich Town and six short of Sheffield United.
Something had to change to break the third spot hoodoo, so Shankly went north of the border to buy
Ian St Johnfrom Motherwell and Ron Yeatsfrom Dundee United. These two along with the likes of Alan A'Court, Gerry Byrne, Gordon Milne, Ian Callaghan, Ronnie Moran, Roger Huntand Melia, who was an ever-present, scoring thirteen goals, would help guide the club to the second Division title by a clear eight points over Leyton Orient.
Melia flourished in the first Division and played thirty nine times as Liverpool finished a very respectable eighth place. Unfortunately for the red half of
MerseysideEverton won the league and were seventeen points better.
During this spell Jimmy caught the eye of England manager
Alf Ramseywho gave him his debut on 6 April 1963in the 2–1 British Championshiploss at Wembley to Scotland. Melia's one and only goal came in his second and final appearance for his country, on 5 June 1963at St. Jakob Park, Baselas England beat Switzerland 8–1.
The next season Liverpool won the championship by four points from Manchester United. Melia, now aged 27, could add a championship medal to the second division title medal he already owned. By this time, however, he had joined Wolves, moving in the March, but had played enough games for Liverpool to get the medal.
His stay in the
Midlandswas a short one. While he had a good run in the first team, this came to an abrupt end when manager Stan Culliswas sacked and replaced by Andy Beattie. Beattie decided that Melia was not the type of player he wanted and quickly offloaded him to Southampton.
In December 1964, Melia was signed for a fee of £30000 by Southampton's manager Ted Bates "who was keen to acquire his scheming visionary skills".cite book | author=Duncan Holley & Gary Chalk | title= In That Number - A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC | publisher=Hagiology | year=2003|pages=p.551| isbn=0-9534474-3-X] Melia was reluctant to move to the south coast, but when he was eventually persuaded, "Saints' (then) record signing added finesse" to the midfield. Although Saints missed out on promotion at the end of the 1964–65 season, Melia linked up well with
Terry Paineand Martin Chiversin the following season, helping them to promotion from Division 2, finishing five points behind champions Manchester City.
He remained an ever-present for Southampton in their first season in Division 1, as they narrowly hung on to their place in the top flight, with Melia's crosses helping Ron Davies and Martin Chivers score 37 and 14 goals respectively, adding four for himself, the best being a header in a 2–1 victory over Arsenal on
27 December 1966. [cite book | author= Holley & Chalk | title= In That Number | publisher= | year= |pages=p.90| isbn= ]
He continued to make a valuable contribution to the team but lost his place to
Mick Channonand in November 1968 he moved on to Aldershot for a £10000 fee and the player managers job.
In his four years at The Dell he made a total of 152 appearances, scoring twelve goals
Aldershot and Crewe Alexandra
Melia moved on from Aldershot in February 1972 to take up a similar role at Crewe Alexandra; after retiring as a player in May 1972, he took on the managerial role at
Gresty Roadfull-time. While at Aldershot Melia gained a reputation for his hard-hitting and occasionally controversial column in the club's match day programme.
Brighton & Hove Albion
He went on to manage Brighton & Hove Albion where his greatest managerial feat occurred when he took them to the
1983 FA Cup Final. The run took Melia back to his old stomping ground of Anfield where a goal from another ex Liverpool player Jimmy Casewon the game. During the cup run Melia became famous for his 'disco' style of dress and his glamorous younger girlfriend, Val Lloyd. Brighton lost the final to Manchester United and were also relegated from the first division.
In 1989 Jimmy had a stint in youth training when he travelled to Sharjah in the
United Arab Emirateswhere he set up an academy. He currently coaches the youth team for Dallas Texans Soccer Club in Dallas, Texas. He had gone to America to coach in the 1970s, as an assistant to Laurie Callaway with the Southern California Lazers in 1978 and head coach of the Cleveland Cobrasin 1979.
As a player
Football LeagueDivision 1 championship: 1963–64
Football League Division 2championship: 1961–62
Football League Division 2runner-up: 1965–66
* 2 caps, 1 goal (1963)
As a manager
FA Cupfinalists 1983
* [http://www.soccerbase.com/managers2.sd?managerid=736 Management statistics on Soccerbase]
* [http://www.neilbrown.newcastlefans.com/player/jimmymelia.htm Player info at Neilbrown.newcastlefans.com]
* [http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/team/past_players/players/melia/ Official Liverpool FC player details a Liverpoolfc.tv]
* [http://www.lfchistory.net/player_profile.asp?player_id=376 Player profile at LFChistory.net]
* [http://www.dallasinter.org/club/staff/10112 Profile on FC Dallas website]
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