LIFE’S A BALL FOR BIG JOE PHYSIO

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By David Mitchell

WHEN­EVER Joe Royle is asked, ‘Which player gave you most trou­ble at Old­ham?’ he al­ways replies: “The physio!”

That physio is Ian Li­versedge, a man who has worked at ev­ery level from Non-League to in­ter­na­tional over a 30-year ca­reer.

It has been an event­ful life for the man known through­out foot­ball as ‘SOSS’, a re-work­ing of his sur­name, via ‘liver sausage’.

As a player, SOSS oc­cu­pied a mod­est po­si­tion in the his­tory of the game but as a physio he has worked with some of the great­est names.

He was ap­pointed as a young physio at New­cas­tle in the same week that Kevin Kee­gan ar­rived. Ty­ne­side was alight – and SOSS de­vel­oped his love for en­ter­tain­ing foot­ball and a fond­ness for booz­ing and par­ty­ing that was to con­tinue at Old­ham.

Bound­ary Park in the ‘90s was full of char­ac­ters who played hard on the pitch and knew how to party off it.

A Wem­b­ley fi­nal, two FA Cup semis and Premier League foot­ball – SOSS was in his el­e­ment, of­ten too much. The night be­fore Old­ham’s first Premier League match was spent in a prison cell after a fall-out with a bouncer in the night­club at the ho­tel Big Joe’s men were stay­ing in be­fore fac­ing Chelsea.

There were fur­ther good times to come at Turf Moor un­der Stan Ter­nent, one of the game’s real char­ac­ters, with other well-known livewires in­clud­ing Paul Gas­coigne, Ian Wright and Glen Lit­tle.

On the staff at Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley and Fleet­wood when they both won pro­mo­tion to the League, and cur­rently with Mac­c­cles­field, SOSS has been around and seen it all at the very heart of the game.

That ca­reer has seen many changes in the treat­ment of in­juries and his new book, Life’s a Ball, tells all about a re­spected pro­fes­sional and a life that was never dull.

As Royle said when in­vited to the man’s third wed­ding: “Sorry, mate, can’t make it but I’ll come to your next!”

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