World Cup Swans: Ian Callaghan

5th June 2018

As the 2018 World Cup draws closer, the official website takes a look back at the players who have turned out for the Swans and played on the biggest stage of all.

Today we focus on Ian Callaghan.

Ian Callaghan enjoyed a trophy-filled career that lasted over 20 years and made him one of the most decorated players of his generation.

The Toxteth-born midfielder holds the record for making the most appearances for Liverpool, having clocked up 857 in all competitions between 1959 and 1978.

He won five First Division titles at Anfield, as well as two European Cups, two Uefa Cups and two FA Cups.

Callaghan then spent just over two years with the Swans following a brief loan spell in America with Fort Lauderdale Strikers, before finishing his career with stints at Canberra City, Cork United and Crewe Alexandra.

He was also capped four times by England between 1966 and 1977.


After spending over two decades with Liverpool, Callaghan joined the John Toshack revolution at Swansea City in September 1978.

Still going strong in his late-30s, he made his debut against Tranmere Rovers at Vetch Field the following day and went on to appear a further 39 times that season as the Swans gained promotion from the Third Division.

Callaghan then played a key role in helping Toshack’s men establish themselves back in the second tier during the 1979-80 campaign, scoring his only goal for the club in a 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic.

However, he failed to make any appearances the following season and departed for Cork in January 1981 after playing 91 times in all competitions in SA1.


Shortly after making his England debut in a friendly against Finland, Callaghan was named in Alf Ramsey’s squad for the 1966 World Cup.

The midfielder was an unused substitute as the Three Lions opened with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay before beating Mexico 2-0.

However, he played the full 90 minutes in England’s final group game against France, which they also won 2-0.

But Callaghan returned to the bench for the knockout stages as the Three Lions overcame Argentina and Portugal, before beating West Germany 4-2 in the final.

Despite winners' medals only being awarded to the starting XI, he eventually received one along with the remaining squad members in June 2009.