Past Players: Volume 2 - Ian Rush
Ian Rush, a name when uttered instantly guides you to the title of "Kop Hero". A fan favourite, a genuine bloke and a phenomenal goalscorer.
Full Name: Ian James Rush
Nickname: Rushie (or Rushy)
D.O.B: 20th October 1961
Ian Rush made his footballing career debut in 1979 when he left his high school in the Welsh town of St.Asaph for Chester City. He made his debut against Sheffield Wednesday and actually started in midfield. Rush however made it clear that he could be a very useful forward after scoring 14 goals in 34 games for Chester, not a bad start for the young Welsh lad.
Bob Paisley was the man with the plan and it was none other than himself who paid a record fee at the time of £300,000 for the 18 year old Ian Rush. Still to this day the amount paid is a record for Chester City. Despite the fact that Manchester City and Rush's boyhood team of Everton had shown interest, it was Liverpool Football Club where his own interests lay.
In the months before Liverpool were awaiting the arrival of Ian Rush due to securing a deal but missing the transfer deadline (something you would not see nowadays) and him having to remain at Chester City until the end of the season, he also made his international debut for Wales.
Rush played 73 games for Wales and scored 28 goals. Unfortunately, he was never able to flaunt his talent on a big international stage, he never played in a major international tournament.
Rush made his Liverpool debut on the 13th December 1980. Famously he started in the number 7 shirt of Kenny Dalglish who at the time was unavailable to start.
Rush had a frustrating start to his Liverpool career after being subject to a lack of goals, for whatever reason, they just weren't coming. At one stage Rush had second thoughts and contemplated leaving Liverpool in search of first team football. At this point Paisley had a one to one with the Welsh international and was quoted as saying “be more selfish in front of goal”.
I should imagine those words stuck with him for the rest of his career.
Rush's first goal for Liverpool came against European opposition Oulun Palloseura (Finland) in 1981. He went on to score 30 times that season in just 49 appearances.
Rush went on to secure many goals and many honours in his first spell at Anfield including;
PFA Young Player Of The Year
Post War Record For Goals Scored By A Single Player In A Merseyside Derby (4)
PFA Player Of The Year
BBC Wales Sports Personality Of The Year
Football Writers Footballer Of The Year
Rush scored a total of 207 goals in his 7 year stint at Liverpool. His most impressive feat was arguably the 83/84 season when he netted 47 goals in just 65 games.
Rush was also present in the starting 11 on that fateful European final night at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. In a game in which both teams in all fairness should not have been made to play due to the tragedy of 39 Juventus supporters losing their lives when a retaining wall collapsed due to riots, the game ended 1-0 to Juventus. Again another moment in Rush's careers that would have been sure to stick with him for the rest of his footballing career.
Just two years after the disaster Ian Rush in fact left Anfield for the Italian side, believed to be on his own motive but also part of a process of building the rapport and friendship up again between both Liverpool and Juventus, Rush stayed over shores for just the 1 year.
Rush had quite a disappointing season in Serie A and found it difficult to get past those notorious Italian defences. Scoring only 8 times by the end of 1988 he was to re-join Liverpool for a reported fee of £2.7mil.
Possibly the most poignant moment in his career in Italy is the famous quote from the striker - “I couldn't settle in Italy – It's like living in a foreign country.”
Liverpool – Second Stint
Rush came back to a Liverpool side which was now even harder to break into. With new names such as John Aldridge in the starting 11, it took time for Rush to again stamp his mark.
After being witness to one of the worst footballing tragedies in 1985, Rush was again present when the Hillsborough Disaster took place in 1989. 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives and Rush was one of many players who attended funerals and supported families after the disaster.
Hillsborough Justice Campaign
Rush had to deal with a lot in his career and he was no doubt a model professional, and a rock in the Liverpool side, whether it was through disaster, through disappointment, or through elation.
Rush again scored several goals for Liverpool in his second period at the club and again picked up many honours. He was set to leave Liverpool however in the year of 1996, after stiff competition from upcoming Kop Hero Robbie Fowler, it was time for new pastures.
Rush had just the one season at Elland Road and unfortunately it was not very prosperous, he scored just the three goals in his time there.
On a free transfer Rush moved to the North East club and rejoined old friend Kenny Dalglish. Again Rush did not have the best of seasons and struggled to get back into the side after Alan Shearer returned from injury. For the latter half of the season he was sent to Sheffield United where he also did not have much luck in front of goal.
Rush ended his career at Sydney Olympic after a brief spell at Wrexham, he did not manage to get on the score sheet at the Welsh club but scored his last goal in Australia before retiring in 2000, aged 39.
Rush was named manager of his first team Chester City in 2004. Despite it only being a one year stay Rush did well under circumstances. In his time at the club he managed to take the side on a two month run – unbeaten. He also got them to the third round of the FA Cup and also ensured Chester remained out of a relegation battle. Rush resigned in 2005.
Also rumoured/linked with the Wales and Peterborough jobs, Rush did not go on to continue his career in football management, instead he opted to move into the media.
Rush can now often be found on Sky Sports programs/features, Sky Sports News, LFC TV etc not to mention in Newspapers, Magazines and on the radio.
Also not one to miss a kick about, Rushie is ever present in Liverpool's masters side and is always available for charity matches.
Career Statistics And Honours In Full
Total Career Goals (Liverpool) = 346 (All Competitions)
Third Top Goalscorer In League (Liverpool) = 229
Record Merseyside Derby Goalscorer = 25 Goals Against Everton
Record FA Cup Final Goalscorer = 5 Goals
Joint Record For League Cup Goals = 49
First Player To Pick Up 5 League Cup Winners Medals
PFA Young Player Of The Year 1983
PFA Player's Player Of The Year 1984
FWA Footballer Of The Year 1984
European Golden Boot 1984
Record Welsh International Goalscorer = 28