THE ONE’S THAT GOT AWAY: PART 4
Every club has them. The transfers that got away, the kind of ones you think back now and ask, how did we not get the deal over the line.
In this series I have picked out a few, some of them, we will be happy to have missed out on, others and for the most part will leave you wishing, and thinking only what if.
PLAYER IN QUESTION: IAN RUSH
DATE OF INTEREST: MAY/AUGUST 1988
Ian Rush was without question one of Britain’s greatest ever strikers. Rush is most famous for playing for Liverpool, forming one half of a deadly strike force with Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish, but just for a few minutes I want you to think what a Rangers frontline of Rush and McCoist, could have achieved in both domestic and European football, because in August 1988 it could have came to fruition.
Rush, started his career at Chester City, scoring famously in an F.A cup shock victory over second division giants Newcastle in 1980, this and the young Welshman’s continued eye for goal alerted Liverpool manager Bob Paisley, who paid a record £300,000 fee for a teenager at the time to secure his services.
Over the next seven years Rush, would transform into one of Europe’s most feared and respected forwards. His highly impressive goal rate of 1.6 goals per match helping the reds secure, four league titles, one F.A Cup, four League Cups and a European Cup, along with personal honours such as the European golden boot winner in 1984 and finishing Liverpool’s top goal scorer in five of his seven seasons.
The reputation Rush, was now gaining did not go unnoticed on the continent and in July 1986 Italian side Juventus won the race for his signature, paying a British record £3.2 million at the time. Rush was then loaned straight back to Liverpool for the 1986/87 season, before making the move to Turin.
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Rush struggled both in finding the net and in settling in his new surroundings, choosing rather unwisely not to learn the language and leading him famously to remark “it’s like living in a foreign country “, then after just one season in Italy Rush was looking to move back to Britain. It is that and Rush’s friendship with Rangers manager Graeme Souness, that Rangers came into play.
In the May of 1988, Souness was looking to bolster his forward options, knowing how unhappy his ex-teammate was in Italy the Rangers boss made his move.
While attending the Scottish writer’s dinner at a Glasgow hotel, Souness managed to sneak out unnoticed and from his car phone make a call to Turin, enquiring about The availability of Rush.
Juventus had informed Souness during this call that Rush, was not for sale and that Rangers would be the first to be made aware if the situation changed in any way.
The situation did of course change and much to Souness’s anger, only finding out when in late August in the lead up to Rangers emphatic 5-1 victory over Celtic, that Rush had completed a £2.5 million move back to Liverpool. I think it’s fair to assume Rangers would have at the very least met that valuation and whatever wages were also on offer.
It really is a case of if only for Rangers fans, if we had signed Rush would Mo Johnston, still have ended up at Ibrox or would have been Ally McCoist been pushed out the door to make way ?.
After his move back to Anfield, where Rush, stayed until 1996, he or Liverpool never could recapture the glory of before, winning only one further league title, F.A Cup and League Cup in the eight years following a vast contrast to his previous spell with the club.
Who knows what Rangers forward line would have looked like in years to come if this transfer had came to fruition but it just wasn’t to be, Ian Rush will be forever known as a Liverpool legend rather that a Rangers one.
Please join the debate. Tell me what player you think would have made way for Rush at Ibrox.