The legend-creating Huyton football team kick-starting careers of Peter Reid and Alan Bleasdale

A football team which changed the lives of its school boy members, taking them from Liverpool to Hollywood, have been reunited once more.

In 1971, Huyton Schoolboys made national headlines when they were crowned English Schools champions.

The Merseyside school lifted the trophy against the odds, beating Stoke 5-1 in the final.

They were the first non-city team to take the title - prompting nearly every player from the final victory to be signed up by Football League Clubs, with some even becoming household names.

Peter Reid played in a World Cup with England and won the league championship with Everton - but he says his fondest footballing memories were with Huyton Boys.

"I had a decent football career. That is possibly the highlight of it. It was that big," says Reid, who also won an FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup with Everton in the 1980s.

"A small town schoolboy side winning the English Schools Trophy. We played against Bishop Auckland, Derby, these big conurbations.

"And small Huyton won it. So, to me, it still fills me with immense pride."

Reid playing in the FA Cup final in 1984.

The team of '71 was coached by a schoolteacher named Alan Bleasdale, who went on to become a BAFTA-winning writer, penning Liverpool drama "Boys From The Black Stuff."

He fondly remembers the team spirit Huyton Boys had during their glorious cup run.

"They naturally got on with each other, " he says.

"In small communities there are schools where, a lot of the time, they didn't like each other. But when they came together, they all wanted to be part of that team.

"No-one ever expected them to win the English Schools Trophy. But, gloriously, they did."

Teacher and coach Alan Bleasdale went on to write dramas which stared Julie Walters and Sir Ian McKellen.

And that one match continued to transform lives, long after the final whistle. Seven years later it featured in a Granada TV documentary.

Working on "The Huyton Boys" was Paul Greengrass, a young researcher who became inspired by Bleasdale during the project and went on to win a BAFTA of his own, as a movie director.

He claims his success is down to the former Huyton Boys boss.

Greengrass won the BAFTA Award for Best Director for his 2006 film United 93. Credit: ITV News

"I can't thank him enough. The help he gave me. The masterclass he gave me for two days at his home," said Paul, whose credits include directing Matt Damon in the Bourne Ultimatum and Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips.

"You literally changed my life, Alan.

"Just as I'm sure you changed the lives of all those who were lucky enough to be taught by you or play football for you."

  • Watch the full 1978 Huyton Boys documentary made by Granada Television

Paul was speaking in a video message recorded for the Huyton Boys' reunion.

Although nearly every player was signed up by Football League Clubs, all still hold that team and that victory in the highest regard.

"Of all the things that have happened to me, the happiest days of my life were those two years when I was with Huyton Boys," Bleasdale said to the crowd at the reunion.

"Because they were indeed, for those boys, for that team, for that community, glory days."

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