Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool’

The Top Five Greatest Ever FA Cup Final Songs

by Karl Hofer.

Sadly (or thankfully, depending on how you look at it) we have no cup final songs to offend our ears this year.

It’s a sign of the decline in importance of the FA Cup in an era where Premier League and Champions League are the be-all and end-all. Not that Arsenal didn’t celebrate with gusto last May, it’s still a tremendous competition, but there was a time when the nation (and chunks of the world) held its collective breath in anticipation of the big day.

Whole towns or cities would be decked out in colourful splendour to support their side, the nations media would interview local fans and business people who would gush with pride when talking about their team, bakers would make special cakes to mark the occasion, previously unknown players would become national celebrities and so on.

And, of course, the team would bring out a single.

They would follow that up with a cringe-worthy appearance on Top of the Pops and sometimes those songs would be cherished by fans for generations to come – and some would not.

So in the week of the cup final BOBBY has put together the top five greatest ever FA Cup final songs for your delectation. And before anyone pipes up with ‘What about ‘Blue is the Colour’, why isn’t that on the list?’ it is because that was recorded for the 1972 League Cup final v Stoke City – and not the 1970 FA Cup final v Leeds as many people believe. So there.

5. Arsenal – ‘Good Old Arsenal’ (1971)

The start of the seventies brought plenty of cheer for Arsenal, who scooped the league and cup Double in 1971 and were widely considered the best team in the land.

To celebrate, they released this catchy hit called ‘Good Old Arsenal’ which was more of a chant along to the tune of Rule Britannia.

It reached number 16 in the charts and there’s some great players and club legends singing along, including Bob Wilson, George Graham, Frank McLintock and Charlie George – and just look at Charlie’s face in this photo taken with Pan’s People, the boy looks delighted to be there!

GoodOldArsenal

The uncomfortable union between pop and football summed up in one photo.

4. West Ham United – ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ (1975)

Bellowed from the stands at the Boleyn ground since the 1920s (but sadly for only 12 months more), the West Ham club anthem was given a seventies makeover when John Lyall’s Hammers reached the 1975 FA Cup final, in which they beat their Bobby Moore led London rivals Fulham 2-0.

The hit wasn’t all that successful, however, charting at 31. It did beat the Cockney Rejects punk version to mark their cup final appearance five years later – that only reached 35.

BlowingBubbles

Trevor Brooking of West Ham and Alan Mullery of Fulham on the old Joanna with some nice support before the ’75 Cup final.

3.  Arsenal – ‘The Hot Stuff’ (1998)

Donna Summer’s 1979 hit ‘Hot Stuff’ is regarded as a true classic. So the Arsenal took that successful platform and built on it (badly) by slipping in mentions of players in their squad.

That’s what Arsenal did to mark their march for the Double in 1998 and it made number nine on the countdown. Featuring lines like “You’re telling us we’re boring, We’ll just keep on scoring now, Hot Stuff” it reaffirmed the belief that football and music rarely mix well…

ArsenalHotStuff

Even Ian Wright struggles to look cool in that garb!

2.  Liverpool – ‘The Anfield Rap’ (1988)

This memorable collaboration between Liverpool midfielder Craig Johnston and rapper Derek B – and also featuring the rap skills of John Barnes – was a parody of a number of hip hop tracks of the time and peaked in the charts at number three.

Liverpool had a dressing-room full of real characters at the time, and they all seemed to revel in recording this track which featured some great lines such as: “Steve McMahon sure can rap, it’s about time he had an England cap.”

Anfield Rap

John Barnes’ other rap success

1. Tottenham – ‘Ossie’s Dream’ (1981)

The Cockney Lennon & McCartney – or Chas & Dave as they’re also known – teamed up with their beloved team four times between 1981 and 1991.

Their (pre-Falklands) effort in ’81 was written in honour of the Argentine midfielder who, despite his all-trembly knees, was “gonna play a blinder, in the Cup for Totting-ham”.

Of course mocking foreigner’s accents is neither big nor clever. But in 1981 is wasn’t just accepted, most prime time TV seemed to revole around it!

Keep an eye out for a very young Chris Hughton in the footage below sporting an afro that’s almost as impressive as Micky Hazard’s!

@KGHof

April 28 1979 – Ian Rush Makes His Pro Debut

A teenage Rush playing for Chester in the FA Cup against Ipswich in 1980

A teenage Rush playing for Chester in the FA Cup against Ipswich in 1980

By Richard Bowdery.

Ian Rush was a man on a mission, although it took him a little while to get going.

The tall, gangly 17 year old actually made his debut for Chester FC on the 28 April 1979 as a midfielder! But his goal scoring potential was spotted early by Liverpool who signed him in 1980 for £300,000, then a record fee for a teenager.

After signing for the Merseyside giants he suffered something of a goal drought which lasted eight games. In his ninth start for the first team the dam burst when he scored his first goal for the club and his record breaking career began.

Such was Rush’s prowess in front of goal his teammates described him as their first line of defence. They reasoned that if the opposition was tied up defending against the threat of Rush scoring, the Liverpool goal was not in any danger. Makes sense when you look at it like that.

Yet in those early days you would be hard pushed to get a Liverpool fan, especially one of their older fans, to stand up and say that the new kid on the block would overtake Roger Hunt’s record of 286 goals in 492 appearances.

All that changed in the 1981/82 season with his tally of 30 goals in 49 appearances. Not only did it announce his arrival in the only way a striker knows how, it also captured the Kop’s heart. The Liverpool number nine was on his way to becoming a club legend.

But those 30 goals palled when compared with his 50 goals for club and country (two for Wales) in the 83/84 season which earned him Europe’s Golden Boot award. He was the first British player to win it.

Then in 1986 came the shock news that he was moving to Juventus; which resulted in a ‘Rushie must stay’ campaign. Despite the campaign’s best efforts Rush left Anfield and it looked as if Roger Hunt’s club record was safe. But looks can be deceptive.

To the relief of many Liverpudlians, Rush’s Italian sojourn ended after just one season and he made a sensational return to Merseyside.

Rush with his mum in 1986.

Rush with his mum in 1986.

He is reported as saying that: “Moving to Turin was like living in a foreign country.” What did he think: that Turin was just south-east of Bootle? I suppose when you can score regularly at the highest level, as he could, you’re apt to forgive his geographical faux paux.

However, was everyone was pleased to see him return? Rush lookalike John Aldridge, who had been bought in to fill the void left by the goal machine, now had to share top billing.

After two and a half years, the pairing of Rush and Aldridge up front came to an end when Liverpool accepted £1.1m from Real Sociedad for their number eight. In Spain he continued his goal scoring prowess and became a firm favourite among the Basque fans.

The question remains: would he have gone if Rush hadn’t returned? Probably not.

Rush continued as if he had never been away, scoring goals for fun right up until the 95/96 season when he left Liverpool on a free transfer to join Leeds United.

After leaving Leeds his footballing journey took him to Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham, and Sydney Olympic (in Australia).

But it is his 346 goals scored in 660 appearances for Liverpool for which he will always be remembered in the red half of Merseyside.

Is Rush’s record in danger of being overtaken? In an age when players in the top flight probably move more frequently between clubs than ever before, the answer must surely be no.

But as Charles Dickens wrote in his novel Pickwick Papers: “Never say never.”

@RichardBowdery

United Now Top Trumps as Liverpool ‘Stick’ on 18 PLUS: Barnes Double for Title Winning Reds

by Rob Shepherd.

You will have to be well into your thirties to remember clearly the last time Liverpool won the title.

For those of us a little older and who witnessed Liverpool dominate English football at the end of the Seventies and throughout the entire Eighties, a period when they also won the European Cup five times, it would have seemed surreal to predict that the title success of the 1989-90 season would be their last for over two decades.

And when Liverpool disposed of United 2-1 at Old Trafford in March 1990 – John Barnes (2) Ronnie Whelan (og) – setting them on the run-in to an 18th title, it seemed incomprehensible the tables would be turned so dramatically. At the time that made the title count 18 – 7 to Liverpool.

While Liverpool were still then a well-oiled machine, United remained a team of talented individuals lacking consistency or identity.

Liverpool eventually held off the challenge of Aston Villa led by their former boss Ron Atkinson, whilst United finished 13th, a place behind Coventry City.

It was highly likely Sir Alex Ferguson would have followed Big Ron out of the Old Trafford door at the end of the season (Howard Kendall had been rumoured as a successor) had United not gone on to win the FA Cup that season beating Crystal Palace in the final after a replay.

That success gave Ferguson the breathing space he needed to see big money gambles like Gary Pallister and Paul Ince produce and home-grown players led by Ryan Giggs come through, before huge impact signings like Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona made their mark.

The title score is now: United 20 Liverpool 18.

Yet for all United’s dominance the overall trophy count for both clubs remains pretty close. As this table shows:

LivUtdTitles

The rivalry is not just about the shift in power over recent years.

It is deep rooted, it’s geographic context fueling the traditional rivalries and jealousies of both sets of fans – not just in football but in terms of their working class roots, industry, politics and even music.

Always played in a fraught and hostile atmosphere (sometimes hateful), there’s now the added spice as bitter rivals as players Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher go head-to-head as Sky TV pundits.

Despite Neville’s assertions, this is still a long way from being ‘a pub match’ though.

Can United maintain their recent momentum under van Gaal ?

Is Brendan Rodgers a one season wonder at Liverpool ??

Sunday could be a pivotal day for the future of both these great clubs.

Liverpool ‘Stick’ on 18

For those who have never seen Liverpool lift the title, here it is;

article-0-02CA3EC0000005DC-282_468x318

It’s so long ago that it’s the old Football League Championship trophy.

The teams from that day at Old Trafford:

Lineups

 

Shankly Fits the Bill
Legend Began His Rebuild of Liverpool 55 Years Ago This Week

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Fifty five years ago Second Division Liverpool embarked on a rebuilding programme that was to result in unprecedented success.

The foundation they laid was sure and solid which, in no small part, was down to the cornerstone they laid on 1 December 1959.

Bill-Shankly-salutes-the--001For that was the day they appointed the charismatic Scot Bill Shankly as manager. And the former boss of Carlisle, Grimsby, Workington and Huddersfield Town proved to be the right choice to transform the Anfield club into one England’s greats.

Incredibly it wasn’t the first time he was interviewed by the Reds for their managerial post. He applied in 1951 for the role. Although he wasn’t appointed on that occasion, the impression he left was sufficient reason for the club to come calling eight years later. This time he was the only candidate they interviewed.

The club he inherited in ’59 was very much down at heel. So he set about making the changes necessary to turn their fortunes around, and – perhaps even more importantly – to overtake near neighbours Everton as the top team on Merseyside.

To help him achieve this he utilized an existing backroom staff comprising of Reuben Bennett, Joe Fagan and Bob Paisley. This small team would form the boot-room group which went on to achieve fame throughout the footballing world.

During nearly 15 years at the helm, Bill Shankly won:

• Second Division championship 1962
• First Division championship 1964, 1966, 1973
• FA Charity Shield 1964, 1965 (shared on both occasions), and 1966
• FA Cup 1965, 1974
• UEFA Cup 1973

Then came the shock which reverberated down the Mersey and throughout the footballing world: Bill Shankly announced his resignation.

He cited that at 60 he wanted to spend more time with his family. As the Kop went into mourning the boot-room came into its own with the elevation of Bob Paisley to First Team manager.

Paisley would build on Shankly’s tenure bringing even more success to the red half of Liverpool, including unprecedented glory in Europe.

The changes Shankly brought about at Liverpool and the success he attained made him a legend that time hasn’t diminished.

He will be remembered, like Busby and Ferguson at Manchester United, for rebuilding a winning side from the ashes of the previous one.

His quick wit and sparkling one-liners will also live long in the memory; such as his line: “There are only two sides in Liverpool: Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.” Toffee fans are probably sick to the back teeth of hearing that one!

Interviewers remember a man who was only marginally more understandable than future Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish.

But to truly remember the man is to simply look at his lasting legacy: Liverpool Football Club.

@RichardBowdery

The Boys Pen at Anfield
Ode to the legendary enclosure for youngsters at Liverpool

boyspenAnfield

Here’s a lovely shot of lads waiting to get into Anfield via the infamous Boys Pen circa 1975. The Boys Pen is where young lads would go before graduating to the Kop at Anfield. Looking towards the Kop, it was situated in the top right hand corner next to the main stand. Once in, the chief objective was to bunk into the Kop by climbing the railings.

It was not a place for the feint hearted and scraps were commonplace. The Boys Pen was around for 70 years before being demolished in the early 80’s.

You’ll notice the 35p entrance fee – in those days, with travel and a snack thrown in, a kid could have a full day out at the footie for £1.

Anfield legends Phil Thompson, Terry McDermott and John Aldridge graduated from the Boys’ Pen to the Kop and then on to the famous turf as well. Thompson remembers that after he broke into the first team: “When I looked up at the Pen during matches, it always felt strange. That was where it really started for me.”

Here’s a great poem by Dave Kirby about his time watching Liverpool from the Boys Pen;

THE OLD ‘BOYS PEN’

Its fifteen minutes to kick off time
I’m in my seat, Block 109
I look around, I hear the noise
see lots of fathers with their boys.

The kids look happy, a marvelous sight
MacDonalds burgers they all bite
they’re all excited that’s for sure
and with their dads they feel secure.

Although the surroundings have now all changed
the children’s feelings are just the same
the middle classes have now arrived
but things were different for a sixties child.

I then look out across the kop
to the right hand corner at the top
where up until the age of ten
I served my time in the old ‘boys pen’.

For those of you who do not know
it was a place for kids to go
metal bars like a kind of cage
where little Kopites came of age.

I remember the first time I went inside
Liverpool v Chelsea  65
a star struck boy who stood amazed
football was all we had those days.

You’d always see some kids from school
they came from all over Liverpool
little scouses every week
from Kirkby Town right up to Speke.

The Kop was packed out in those days
but at half time, dad found a way
to fight his way through all the crowd
and feed his boy, he did me proud.

An ‘eccles cake’ a sausage roll
a drink of coke, god bless his soul
between the bars he’d pass it through
like feeding monkeys at the zoo.

And through those bars we used to stare
at all the kopites standing there
oh how we’d long to stand with them
and make that step from boys to men.

Some  kids escaped now and again
it was a pretty dangerous game
it filled the Kopites full of laughter
to see kids dangling from the rafters.

It had its own ‘soprano’ choir
you couldn’t sing ‘walk on’ much higher
inside those bars kids sang with pride
but it sounded so funny from the other side.

When the match was over at 4.45
your dad would pick you up outside
dozens of kids, some big some small
stood opposite the pen by the old brick wall.

But that was how it was those days
no greedy players, no corporate ways
they recognized us ‘Kopite cubs’
we were the future of the club.

Then at last it came my time
to leave this little world behind
I was at an age when every lad
didn’t want to go the match with dad.

And so I passed out to the Kop
that love affair has never stopped
I take my son to the occasional game
but this ‘dad and lad’ thing’s not the same.

You never see young lads no more
who go the match in threes and fours
this city’s children rue the day
when they took the old boys pen away.

The money men arrived in town
and in their wisdom pulled it down
they called it ‘progress’ but we read their thoughts
who needs children when adults pay more.

I now drift back to present day
I take my seat, watch the redmen play
a diehard red, I’m the real McCoy
because I was groomed from a little boy.

That golden era has now passed by
but we all have memories you cannot buy
from apprentice Kopites, now middle aged men
who served their time in the old boys pen.

Dave Kirby.

 

Should Stevie Stay or Should He Go..? Roy Dalley on why the decision shouldn’t be his to make…

Steven-Gerrard-England--009

Gerrard; lumped-on a tad…?

by Roy Dalley.

Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool, England and Mars midfielder, has rather a lot on his plate, don’t you think..?

Never mind all those lucrative commercial contracts he fulfils away from the football field, including flogging confectionary to the country’s youth, Gerrard will lead his club back into the Champions League next season.

That’s not all. He’s currently deciding whether or not to give his country one last chance to add some silverware to his collection, despite the fact he’ll be 36 by the time England compete for the 2016 European Championship. All being well…

It is a big decision.

So big, in fact, many are wondering whether he is the right man to make such a call, particularly when the England manager is, in fact, somebody else.

One man who has witnessed each of Gerrard’s 114 international appearances from pitchside is Henry Winter, while providing match reports for the Daily Telegraph.

After watching Gerrard struggle to reach the required standards at the World Cup, Winter sat down and estimated the number of decent performances he could recall.

Would you care to guess the total Winter arrived at..? Go on… !?

Thirty would be a modest total, wouldn’t you say..? That’s a very rough average of one good game in four in an England shirt, a level of inconsistency that would lead to a spell on the sub’s bench in almost every other team in the world.

In fact Winter suggested he has seen Gerrard play well in a sum total of eight international matches. Eight! And one of those was against the mighty Andorra. Well played Stevie…

GerrardUru

Gerrard’s good performances for his country have been few and far between

If you think I’m having a pop at Gerrard here you’d probably be right.

Granted, one cannot blame him for continually turning up for his country whenever he gets the call. But equally one can’t help suspect he is now a round peg in a square hole… a once marauding Roy of the Rovers type footballer whose legs are no longer up to the task, resulting in a compromise job sitting in front of the back four.

Even in that more restricted yet highly specialised role he was a long way short of being properly match-fit for last month’s engagement in Brazil.

As skipper and one of the squad’s leading penalty takers, he should have been ready and able to run, turn and jump for anything up to two hours if necessary… and then have enough strength in legs, heart and mind to make the long walk from the halfway line and score from the spot in a shoot-out.

No such luck of course. Instead Gerrard barely rose six inches off the ground when he headed the ball into the path of Luis Saurez to score the goal that resulted in England’s defeat by Uruguay.

One crucial mistake, such as his slip against Chelsea that perhaps cost him his last chance of winning a Premier League title, could be deemed unfortunate. Two bad mistakes suggests carelessness.

GerrardSlip

Gerrard’s oh-so-costly slip…

Certainly he looked a little overweight to me, despite training and acclimatisation in Portugal and Miami before England’s arrival in Rio. The designer stubble under his chin couldn’t disguise his lack of conditioning.

A cynic might suggest he entered into the spirit of things a little too hungrily in his part-time role as a Mars bar salesman, on behalf of the Football Association.

Perhaps. One thing is clear: He has to quit something…

@RoyDalley

 

Merseyside Parades the World Cup Trophy! Plus the League Championship and the FA Cup…

Roger Hunt of Liverpool and Ray Wilson of Everton show off the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966

Our latest Great Shot naturally had to have a World Cup theme, so we dug up this one from August 13th 1966. The Charity Shield saw Everton play Liverpool at Goodison Park. This Merseyside derby followed England’s World Cup success and was a pre-match silverware walk.

Liverpool walked the League Championship trophy around Goodison (which must have been quite weird), and then Everton walked the FA Cup around the ground before England heroes Roger Hunt of Liverpool and Ray Wilson of Everton carried the Jules Rimet trophy jointly – in what must be the most silverware-laiden lap of honour ever seen in British football.

Liverpool went on to win the match 1-0 with a goal from Hunt in front of 63,329.

Charity Shield, Goodison Park, Aug 13th 1966 – Teams;

Liverpool: T Lawrence, C Lawler, G Byrne, T Smith, R Yeats, W Stevenson, I Callaghan, R Hunt, I St John, G Strong, P Thompson.

Everton: G West, T Wright, R Wilson, J Gabriel, B Labone, G Glover, A Scott, A Young, M Trebilcock, J Harvey, D Temple.

 

 

“I’m a Substitute for Another Guy”
WHO were the first substitutes to appear and score in a Cup Final?

by Richard Bowdery.

Today the use of substitutes is an integral part football and the FA Cup is no exception. Yet it wasn’t all that long ago when if you weren’t in the team on Cup Final day, you would have no chance of playing in the end of season showpiece.

First ever substitute

Dennis Clarke

Dennis Clarke

That changed in the 1968 Final played on 18 May when West Bromwich Albion faced Everton at Wembley.

The only goal of the game was scored by West Brom’s Jeff Astle in the first period of extra time which forever etched him into Baggies folklore.

But the real history making event occurred when West Brom defender Dennis Clarke came on to replace the injured John Kaye. He was the first substitute to be used in an FA Cup Final.

And you have to go almost as far back to find the first substitute to score in a Final.

First scoring substitute
On a barmy day in May 1971 Arsenal lined up against Liverpool. A win would complete a dramatic double – League and FA Cup winners – for the Gunners, the first club to achieve it since Spurs a decade earlier.

Arsenal fell behind to a Steve Heighway opener for Liverpool in extra time. But parity was restored when Arsenal substitute, Eddie Kelly, steered a George Graham shot across the line in the 101st minute.

Charlie George fired the winner past a despairing Ray Clemence. George’s siesta after scoring will be forever remembered by the Gooners at Wembley and those watching the match on TV.

Quiz organisers
If you organise quiz competitions and are stuck for a decent footballing question, this information on Cup Final substitutes should provide the answer.

Until next time
This column is taking a well-deserved rest and will be back at the start of next season (although it may feature during the World Cup next month).

So, with apologies to the late, great Brian Moore, “Goodbye and thank you for reading.”

See you next season!

richard@bobbyfc.com

Going Right to the Wire!
1977: City and Liverpool Battle it out for the Title, Sunderland Fight the Drop

Richard Bowdery looks at the last time City and Liverpool were this close in a title race – oh, and it was touch and go at the bottom too!

You have to go back many years to find the last time Manchester City and Liverpool were neck and neck for the League title: 27 in fact.

And while City and Liverpool were vying for the League Champions crown, at the other end of the table ten clubs were battling it out to avoid relegation.

It was the 1976/77 season – Manchester United had appointed Dave Sexton as manager, after Tommy Docherty was sacked following his affair with the wife of the club’s physiotherapist. Don Revie announced his resignation as England manager after three years and headed to the Middle East to fill up his tank. And Wimbledon FC, that season’s Isthmian League champions, were elected to the Football League replacing Workington.

It was Liverpool who edged the title by a single point. Their 57 points from 42 games might not seem much today but remember this was in an era when only two points were awarded for a win.

Liverpool were going for the treble but stuttered in the FA Cup Final which they lost to Manchester United, 2-1.

Four days later order was restored when the Reds defeated West Germany’s Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1, in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, to become only the second English side to lift the European Cup.

At the other end of the First Division the contenders for demotion had been whittled down to six. They were Bristol City, Coventry, Stoke City, Sunderland, Tottenham, and West Ham United.

Spurs were the first to fall through the trap door but a surprise 2-1 victory for Bristol City over Liverpool kept City’s hopes alive.

Stoke lost to Aston Villa by the only goal of the game to confirm their demotion leaving one vacancy to be filled.

Three teams, Bristol City, Coventry and Sunderland battled for the points to stay up in their last game of the season.

Hunter-BristolC77

Norman Hunter joined Bristol City from Leeds in October 1976 and helped keep them up

In a twist Bristol faced Coventry at the Sky Blues Highfield Road ground, while Sunderland travelled to Everton.

Conspiracy theorists must have had a field day, as the two teams drew 2-2. Though it didn’t matter as Sunderland went down 2-0 to Everton and so occupied the final berth on the ship sailing for Division Two.

The relegation battle that season had one of the closest finishes in the League’s history with five points separating the bottom ten teams. Nails must have been bitten to the quick.

So the parallels between 1976/77 and 2013/14 are eerily similar. Will Sunderland stay up? Will Manchester City get their revenge? All will be revealed over the coming week…

richard@bobbyfc.com

Goal Rush!
The Master Marksman Who Took Aim at the Club Record

A teenage Rush playing for Chester in the FA Cup against Ipswich in 1980

A teenage Rush playing for Chester in the FA Cup against Ipswich in 1980

By Richard Bowdery

Ian Rush was a man on a mission, although it took him a little while to get going.

The tall, gangly 17 year old made his debut for Chester FC on the 28 April 1979 as a midfielder! But his goal scoring potential was spotted early by Liverpool who signed him in 1980 for £300,000, then a record fee for a teenager.

After signing for the Merseyside giants he suffered something of a goal drought which lasted eight games. In his ninth start for the first team the dam burst when he scored his first goal for the club and his record breaking career began.

Such was Rush’s prowess in front of goal his teammates described him as their first line of defence. They reasoned that if the opposition was tied up defending against the threat of Rush scoring, the Liverpool goal was not in any danger. Makes sense when you look at it like that.

Yet in those early days you would be hard pushed to get a Liverpool fan, especially one of their older fans, to stand up and say that the new kid on the block would overtake Roger Hunt’s record of 286 goals in 492 appearances.

All that changed in the 1981/82 season with his tally of 30 goals in 49 appearances. Not only did it announce his arrival in the only way a striker knows how, it also captured the Kop’s heart. The Liverpool number nine was on his way to becoming a club legend.

But those 30 goals palled when compared with his 50 goals for club and country (two for Wales) in the 83/84 season which earned him Europe’s Golden Boot award. He was the first British player to win it.

Then in 1986 came the shock news that he was moving to Juventus; which resulted in a ‘Rushie must stay’ campaign. Despite the campaign’s best efforts Rush left Anfield and it looked as if Roger Hunt’s club record was safe. But looks can be deceptive.

To the relief of many Liverpudlians, Rush’s Italian sojourn ended after just one season and he made a sensational return to Merseyside.

Rush with his mum in 1986.

Rush with his mum in 1986.

He is reported as saying that: “Moving to Turin was like living in a foreign country.” What did he think: that Turin was just south-east of Bootle? I suppose when you can score regularly at the highest level, as he could, you’re apt to forgive his geographical faux paux.

However, was everyone was pleased to see him return? Rush lookalike John Aldridge, who had been bought in to fill the void left by the goal machine, now had to share top billing.

After two and a half years, the pairing of Rush and Aldridge up front came to an end when Liverpool accepted £1.1m from Real Sociedad for their number eight. In Spain he continued his goal scoring prowess and became a firm favourite among the Basque fans.

The question remains: would he have gone if Rush hadn’t returned? Probably not.

Rush continued as if he had never been away, scoring goals for fun right up until the 95/96 season when he left Liverpool on a free transfer to join Leeds United.

After leaving Leeds his footballing journey took him to Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham, and Sydney Olympic (in Australia).

But it is his 346 goals scored in 660 appearances for Liverpool for which he will always be remembered in the red half of Merseyside.

Is Rush’s record in danger of being overtaken? In an age when players in the top flight probably move more frequently between clubs than ever before, the answer must be no. But if Liverpool can hold on to their inform striker Luis Suarez – at the time of writing he has scored 81 goals for the club – who knows?

As Charles Dickens wrote in his novel Pickwick Papers: “Never say never.”

richard@bobbyfc.com