Liverpool stalwart and captain centre half Alexander Galloway Raisbeck was the most successful footballer of a family that produced several professional footballing brothers, with Alex having by far the most successful and longest football career. Born at Wallacestone, Stirlingshire, he began his career with Blantyre Boys Brigade in 1893 and played for Larkhall Thistle in 1894 before joining Scottish League Royal Albert in 1895 and Hibernian in 1896.
He first played in England briefly for Stoke City on loan, making his Football League debut against Sheffield Wednesday in March 1898 and playing 4 games in the crucial 1898 Test Matches among his 8 games for The Potters, before joining Liverpool in May 1898 for £350. He was Liverpool’s club captain for their two League Championship wins in 1900-01 and 1905-06, as well as leading them to the Second Division Championship in 1904-05 after their relegation a year earlier and played 341 games scoring 19 goals for Liverpool over 11 years.
He won 8 caps for Scotland, 5 of them as captain, while at the club between 1900 and 1907. He was first capped in April 1900 against England in a 4-1 victory at Parkhead. Perhaps a sign of his magnitude was that 7 of his 8 caps came against The Auld Enemy, the selectors saving him for their most important fixtures, the only exception being a March 1903 match against Wales. He also represented The Scottish League 3 times at either end of his career, first playing for them in January 1897 when selected for a 2-0 win against The Irish League in Belfast, then twice more while with Partick Thistle, whom he joined from Liverpool in June 1909, playing against The Football League in a 1-1 draw at Ibrox in March 1911 and finally against The Irish League in a 3-1 win at Cliftonville’s Solitude Ground in November 1912. He retired as a player in 1914 after 9 goals in 138 appearances for Thistle.
He achieved legendary status at the club, where he is considered on a level alongside the likes of Billy Liddell, Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard.
He was subsequently manager of Hamilton Academicals from 1914 to 1917, and his first English management position was with Bristol City, taking over at Ashton Gate in December 1921, leading them to the Third Division (South) Championship in both 1922-23 and 1926-27, before leaving in June 1929. In July 1930 he was appointed manager of Halifax Town and stayed until May 1936, leading them to runner up position (not good enough for promotion) in the Third Division (North) in 1934-35, before becoming manager of Chester in May 1936, leading them to third and ninth place finishes before leaving in May 1938, finally returning to the West Country in July 1938 as manager of non league Bath City whom he managed until the outbreak of the Second World War.
Of his brothers, Andrew played for Hibernian and Hull City, he was on the books at Liverpool but never made their first team; Bill played for amongst others Hibernian, Sunderland, Derby County and Reading; and first cousin Luke among others played for Middlesbrough, West Ham United and Blackpool.
NB an interesting image here! Ostensibly identical to Image 4, and taken from a series of Wills cigarette cards, for whatever chemical or other reason some of these images have turned lilac with age, if indeed they were not lilac at the point of printing. There are similar examples of other lilac images of other subjects in the series in the Vintage Footballers library.