Cables’ First International… almost!

A modern view of Aberdeen FC

This story appeared in print in the Prescot Cables v Clitheroe match programme on 24th November 2018. (After it was written, I discovered that, a few years later, another player did receive an international call up whilst at Hope Street, and this will feature in another story).

There have been many examples of players gaining international honours before joining Prescot Cables in the “twilight” of their careers. There have been some examples of players going on to gain international honours after leaving Prescot Cables to further their careers. However, there has never been a player gaining international honours whilst being a Prescot Cables player.
In February 1959, after a meteoric rise, one young man came very close to becoming the first Prescot Cables player to represent his country.

17-year-old outside left Colin Fraser, from Dovecot, attended a Cables’ Junior trial at Longview prior to the start of the 1958/59 season. He did enough to be taken on and quickly caught the attention of the many football league scouts who flocked to Prescot at the time, whilst playing for Cables’ reserve side – the Brazier Babes, after captain Joe Brazier. In one week in late October 1958 he was selected as reserve for the Liverpool County F.A. side and made his first team debut in a 3-1 away win at Oldham Athletic Reserves.

The following month, he made a scoring debut in the meeting of the Liverpool County F.A and Staffordshire F.A. in the second round of the County Youth Challenge Cup, at Marine on December 6th. This competition was intended to bring together the best young players of Football League clubs, and the Liverpool side was mainly selected from the Liverpool and Everton squads, so it was something of a triumph for Fraser to be selected – especially after such a short time in senior football. The chosen squad was:

Liverpool County F.A.: N. Bennett (Liverpool), W. McCarthy (Liverpool), C. Green (Everton), W. Evans (Liverpool), K. McCabe (Liverpool), J. Connor (Everton), A. Penman (Everton), A. Peate (Everton), R. Blore (Liverpool), I. Callaghan (Liverpool), C. Fraser (Prescot Cables).

He retained his place in the representative side for the next round against the West Riding County F.A., which was played at Hope Street.

Remarkably, in February 1959, Fraser was selected as part of the England Youth team to meet Scotland at Pittodrie, Aberdeen. Considering the calibre of the squad this was a huge achievement for a young lad who, six months earlier, had been playing Junior football in Huyton and a major honour for Prescot Cables Football Club. The chosen team was:

England Youth: Peter Reader (West Ham Utd.), Dave Bacuzzi (Arsenal), Vic Cockroft (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Nobby Stiles (Manchester Utd), Ken McCabe (Liverpool) (Captain),  Geoff Hurst (West Ham Utd.), Derek Woodley (West Ham Utd.), Tommy Spratt (Manchester Utd.). Ernie Phythian (Bolton Wanderers), John Hawksby (Leeds Utd.), Colin Fraser (Prescot Cables), Reserves: Cecil Irwin (Sunderland), Alan Morton (Arsenal).

The thirteen players, plus goalkeeper Bob Charles of Southampton, were also named to travel to Dresden later that month for a match against the German Federal Republic.

Unfortunately, Fraser was forced to pull out of the squad, due to a leg injury, and his place was taken by Alan Hinton of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He continued to attract the attention of the league scouts, and representatives of Aston Villa, Leicester City and Middlesbrough were all said to be interested in signing him. Indeed, Leeds United approached him after his outstanding display in the County F.A. match against the West Riding. However, he declined the offer as he was an apprentice with a firm in Liverpool and wished to remain at home and continue his football at Prescot.

By the end of his first season Fraser had scored once for the first team and nine times for the reserves.

Surprisingly, Fraser never made the expected breakthrough into the Cables’ first team and was never selected again for England.

In July 1960 he followed player-coach, Alan Hampson from Cables to South Liverpool, but sadly, it appears that his football career waned almost as quickly as it had risen.

Roy McDonald