ributes have been pouring in for Ian St John after the Liverpool legend’s death at the age of 82.
St John was instrumental in helping the Reds to become a huge force in English football under Bill Shankly’s management back in the 1960s, firing them to promotion back to the top-flight and helping the club to win two First Division titles.
He also scored the extra-time winner against Leeds United at Wembley in Liverpool’s first FA Cup triumph in 1965 and was part of the team for the club’s first-ever European final – the 1966 European Cup Winners‘ Cup clash with Borussia Dortmund at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
St John scored 118 goals in 425 total appearances for Liverpool during a successful decade-long stint between 1961-71 after joining from Motherwell for a then club-record fee of £37,500.
His club career also took on spells with Coventry, Tranmere and South African sides Hellenic and Cape Town City, while he managed Motherwell and Portsmouth after retiring from playing in 1973.
St John later found success as a pundit, appearing alongside England, Tottenham and Chelsea legend Jimmy Greaves on the popular ITV football show ‘Saint and Greavsie’, which ran from 1985-92.
“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,” St John’s family said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
“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.”
Liverpool said they were “deeply saddened” by St John’s passing, adding: “The thoughts of everybody at the club are with Ian’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.”
Former Reds defender Jamie Carragher was among those to pay tribute to St John on social media, writing: “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. X”
Fellow Liverpool hero Steven Gerrard was informed of St John’s death at a press conference held before Rangers’ clash with Livingston on Wednesday night.
“That’s a shock and a surprise to me. I didn’t know that,” he said.
“I’m really disappointed to hear that. He’s an iconic figure at Liverpool Football Club.
“He’s someone I’ve met on numerous occasions. A fantastic guy. Really insightful in terms of his career and experience at Liverpool and trying to pass on a lot of knowledge and expertise.
“So I’m really devastated to hear that news to be honest with you. Shocked as well, so I’d like to pass on my condolences to all his family and everyone close to the Saint. He’s a legend and an iconic figure at the club and someone I’ve got incredible respect for.”
The Scottish Football Association tweeted: “We are saddened by the passing of former Scotland NT international Ian St John.
“Ian won 21 caps for his country, scoring nine times during a career that saw him represent Motherwell FC and LFC. The thoughts of everyone at the Scottish FA are with Ian’s family and friends.”
Current Liverpool and Scotland defender Andy Robertson said: “A man of warmth, humour, knowledge, wisdom and joy. Scotland and Liverpool has lost a true giant. My love goes to his family. Rest in peace Ian St John.”
Liverpool midfielder James Milner added: “RIP Ian St John – what a player, what a man.”