Before becoming a goalkeeper

Before becoming a goalkeeper, he sent to the next world twenty people. History of the legend of Liverpool
Oleg Lytkin – about the great goalkeeper who lost “Spartacus”.

25 years ago, “Spartacus” and “Liverpool” played in Moscow. Spartacus won a beautiful victory 4: 2, and the football player, about whom will be spoken, became the main anti-hero of the meeting in the “Luzhniki”. What does not stop him from being one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of Liverpool and the most famous footballer of Southern Rhodesia / Zimbabwe. You probably guessed it was Bruce Grobbelar.

Before becoming a goalkeeper, he sent to the next world twenty people. History of the legend of Liverpool
Photo: Liverpool, LFCHistory

Bruce is a sorcerer

I learned about the existence of Bruce Grobbelaar in the spring of 1984, when Liverpool took the Champions Cup, beating Roma in the final. And in Rome. The fate of the “eared cup” was decided in a penalty shootout, in which the club from England succeeded. “Football Review” showed a small story about the final match. The main character was the goalkeeper of Liverpool – a mustachioed brunette in a bright green sweater and equally bright red shorts. No, he did not take a single blow. But his unconventional behavior, grimaces, even clowning – which cost the bites of the net and the fluctuations of his legs, this goalkeeper forced to miss the two leaders of the “Roma” – Bruno Conti and Francesco Graziani. Both world champions, knocked down with pantamiku eccentricities of the goalkeeper, punched above the crossbar.

I do not remember the hero’s surname. It was postponed that she was a little creepy, there was something graveyard about her. And the name was memorable. Bruce Lee. Or another association – the warlock and associate of Peter the Great Jacob Bruce. Soon I learned that the goalkeeper is not an Englishman, a representative of the African country of Zimbabwe, known in those years as Southern Rhodesia. The surname really gave up the corpse – Grobberar. Then I still did not know that her carrier, before becoming a cheerful goalkeeper, sent to the next world a few dozen people. I became aware of this shortly before Liverpool arrived in Moscow for a match with Spartak in the fall of 1992.

I have not seen Grobbelaar very often since. Matches of the English championship on our television did not show, and short stories were very rare. In the European Cups the British did not play, in many respects because of the fans of Liverpool. Wrote about the most titled club in England, we also have a little. Therefore, the arrival of his team in Russia, I was happy. In many ways, because of the opportunity to see Grobbelaar in action.

“Spartacus” in that rainy October evening pleased. And Grobbelar disappointed. At the gate of “Liverpool” appeared not a brave fellow in a bright green sweater, but an aged and overweight bald uncle, a face like Alexander Rosenbaum. And his sweater was some pale blue, maybe because his team was playing in green. I also did not see any special jokes and clamor. But freak was a lot. First, Bruce kicked the ball to Igor Ledyakhov, he did not expect a gift and struck by. To save from the goal of Nikolai Pisarev, the Rhodesian could hardly have done it – one by one. Although for a throw forward, he probably got it from Vladimir Nikitovich Maslachenko. But in the second half the most experienced goalkeeper was frightened by the breakthrough of Mikhail Rusyaev and threw the ball to Valery Karpin. He was no longer so generous as Ledyakhov, just struck the empty gates. And at the end of the meeting when the score was 2-2, the former commando soldier in his own penalty, Dmitry Radchenko, for which he received a red card. The next two balls were no longer passed by Bruce, but by the tried-on sweater defender David Barrows.