20 October 2008

What about Bruce Grobbelaar?

Fancy that goalie jersey?... That's authentic 1980s

Grobbelaar at his best...

WHEN asked about who is the greatest Liverpool player of all time, often the answer would be Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, John Barnes etc. etc... mostly are strikers, midfielders and wingers. But what about goalies? What about Bruce Grobbelaar? Ok... there’s Ray Clemence but today we’re discussing Grobellaar.

He’s un-mistaken moustache could be one of the memorable icon of the 1980s football, aside than his spaghetti legs (Rome, Final 1984) which was emulated to perfection by Jerzy Dudek in 2005.

Bruce David Grobbelaar (born October 6, 1957 in Durban, South Africa) is a former Rhodesian-Zimbabwean-British football goalkeeper.

Below is some story about him that I pick from wikipedia (research via Internet nowadays is ohh... so easy when you have wikipedia... hahahah)

During the period 1981–1994, Grobbelaar played 627 first team games for Liverpool, becoming known for his eccentric and flamboyant style. In 1984, the European Cup final between Liverpool and A.S. Roma finished 1-1 after extra time, and went to penalty shootout. As Roma's Bruno Conti prepared to take his kick, Grobbelaar walked towards the goal smiling confidently at the cameras lined-up behind, then proceeded to bite the back of the net, in imitation of eating spaghetti. Conti sent his spot kick over the bar. Grobbelaar then produced a similar performance before Francesco Graziani took his kick, famously wobbling his legs in mock terror. Graziani duly missed and Liverpool went on to win the shootout 4-2, making Grobbelaar the first African (Coluna, Eusébio, Santana, Costa Pereira and Águas were all born in Africa but Mozambique and Angola were under Portuguese rule and played for the Portuguese national team) to win a European Cup/Champions League winner's medal.

Whilst criticism is often aimed at him[who?] for his sometimes erratic performances, Grobbelaar was retained by three of Liverpool's greatest managers; Paisley, Fagan and Dalglish, over a period of 13 years. They all recognised that beneath the showbiz, there was one of the outstanding goalkeepers of his generation: he defended his eccentricity by claiming that, having fought in a civil war in Zimbabwe, he could appreciate that football is not as important as some people would suggest. His strengths were his gymnastic-like agility, and an unflappable confidence; even if he made a mistake, he would always want to be involved.

What about Grobellaar issue with match fixing? Read below :

In November 1994, Grobbelaar was accused by the British tabloid newspaper The Sun of match fixing during his time at Liverpool to benefit a betting syndicate, after being caught on videotape discussing match-fixing. He was charged with conspiracy to corrupt, along with the Wimbledon goalkeeper Hans Segers and Aston Villa striker John Fashanu, and a Malaysian businessman, Heng Suan Lim.

Grobbelaar pleaded not guilty, claiming he was only gathering evidence with the intent of taking it to the police. After two successive trials, in both of which the jury could not agree on a verdict, he and his co-defendants were cleared in November 1997. Grobbelaar later sued The Sun for libel and was awarded £85,000. The Sun appealed, and the case was eventually taken to the House of Lords where it was found that, though the specific allegations had not been proved, there was adequate evidence of dishonesty. The Lords slashed his award to £1, the lowest libel damages possible under English law, and ordered him to pay The Sun's legal costs, estimated at £500,000. In his judgement, Lord Bingham of Cornhill observed:

"The tort of defamation protects those whose reputations have been unlawfully injured. It affords little or no protection to those who have, or deserve to have, no reputation deserving of legal protection. Until 9 November 1994 when the newspaper published its first articles about him, the appellant's public reputation was unblemished. But he had in fact acted in a way in which no decent or honest footballer would act and in a way which could, if not exposed and stamped on, undermine the integrity of a game which earns the loyalty and support of millions."
Grobbelaar was unable to pay the costs and was declared bankrupt.

Ok... that's some history I inserted above. My point is that, such a glorious player like Grobbelaar has indeed left a good memory and tactical play which has benefited LFC, especially in 2005. I doubt if Reina would resort to it. Reina has his own ways of stopping the penalty shots.

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