24. Nov, 2021


How often do we hear that modern footballers have lost touch with the public. But can you imagine the following scenario happening today. It is a cold Merseyside day a week before Christmas, you are sitting in the Anfield Car park waiting for the Wife to collect the 2022 Liverpool FC calendar and Duvet Cover. Little Robbie will be pleased. When Virgil Van Dijk taps on the window and informs you that you are parking in his space. Thought not.

But 40 odd years ago some hapless Red did indeed find himself asked to vacate the space. However, instead of Virgil, Tommy Smith was making the enquiry. As the car window lowers, the Liverpool centre half says. "No good having a go at me Son, cause I work here and you don't. Would you park like that on the main road" with the Echo thrust towards the driver Mr Smith departs adding "You park where you want, it will only get pinched.

I wonder who the brave Motorist was? Maybe a tough Evertonian like Peter Reid or a Manchester United fan resembling Joe Jordon. Anyway, he certain had some bottle. The incident features in "Tommy Smith - 100 players who rocked the Kop." Tommy Smith was one of the legendary hard men whose sliding tackles were bone shuddering affairs. Norman 'Bites Your Legs' Hunter of Leeds United and Ron 'Chopper' Harris of Chelsea were also prominent members of this select group. Tommy Smith was given the slightly more subtle nickname of the Anfield Iron.

Sadly First Division sides of the 1980's lacked the aforementioned driver's tenacity. Between 1980 and 1990 Liverpool FC were Champions of England 6 times, they also won 2 European Cups, 2 FA Cup and 4 League Cups. The Reds dominated English football in the 80s with a mixture of flair and fight. In a galaxy of stars, none shined brighter then Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish. Christened King Kenny by the adoring Kop, Dalglish scored 116 goals in 355 appearances between 1977 and 1990. Signed for £400.000 from Celtic, Dalglish was touted as the replacement for the Hamburg bound Kevin Keegan. But Dalglish went on to outshine Keegan and is widely regarding as Liverpool's greatest ever player.

A superbly gifted footballer, his goal against Arsenal in September 1983 shows Dalglish and Liverpool at their best. Alan Hansen finds Ian Rush on the left wing. The striker turns and plays a crossfield ball to Sammy Lee, Lee exchanges passes with Dalglish before releasing Michael Robinson, showing great awareness Robinson back heals the ball to Dalglish. King Kenny cuts inside and curls a beauty beyond the hapless Pat Jennings and into the top corner. 2-0 Liverpool, game over. Half way through the move commentator John Motson comments "they seem to find angles other teams don't appreciate." When the ball hits the net Motty adds "Dalglish has scored a magnificent goal, Liverpool prove again that there is not a better team in England (perhaps Europe) at passing the ball." Little wonder Liverpool completed a treble that season. The League Title, European Cup and League Cup added to the collection. The victorious 1983-84 squad are pictured above.

In 1985 Joe Fagan retired as Liverpool manager. Many were surprised when Dalglish was named the Reds Player/Manager. But once again the Scot silenced the doubters and how. In his first season the Merseysiders won the First Division title and the FA Cup. Becoming only the third team in the 20th Century to complete the Double, Typically the boss scored the winner at Stamford Bridge to clinch the title. He went on to create another brilliant side containing John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge, as more silverware headed to Anfield. But tragedy struck in 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives whilst attending the FA Cup Semi Final at Hillsborough. Dalglish and his players attended all of the funerals, a commendable but truly harrowing experience for all involved. Two years later the Football World was shocked when Dalglish resigned as manager. A frail looking Glasweigan attended the press conference in which he concluded he needed a break from the game.

But it would be unkind to overlook the contribution of other 80s Liverpool legends. Ian Rush scored 346 goals between 1980 and 1996, still a club record. The Welshman was lethal in front of goal, in December 1982 he netted 4 as Liverpool beat Everton 5-0 at Goodison Park. Rushie went on to score 20 goals in Merseyside derbies, another record that has yet to be broken. Not bad for a £300.,000 signing from Chester City.

Midfielder Greame Souness was the Anfield Guvnor, the Scot could certainly look after himself, very much in the Tommy Smith mold. But with due respect to the Anfield Iron, Souness was a far superior footballer. His passing range was excellent and he had an eye for goal. When Souness departed for Italy, Dane Jan Molby assumed the role of Midfield General. The defence was watertight, marshalled by the cultured duo of Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. After a shaky start Bruce Grobelar matured into an excellent goalkeeper.

These imported talents were supplemented by home grown talent. Scoucers Phil Thompson, Terry McDermott, Jimmy Case, David Johnson, Sammy Lee and the Anfield Iron all played a vital role in the Reds success. Not forgetting Super-Sub David Fairclough, so named for his habit of stepping off the substitutes bench to score a vital goal. Liverpool really did have it all. Just watch where you park the car!