Sunday, January 14, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 88: Mark Walters

Winging his way into our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown at number 88 is Mark Walters, scorer of two never-to-be-forgotten goals in front of the famous old terrace.

Name: Mark Walters

Years at Liverpool: 1991 to 1995

Position: Winger

Date of birth: 2/6/1964
Birthplace: Birmingham

Signed from: Rangers (1991)

Games: 115
Goals: 19

Honours won: FA Cup (1992), Coca Cola Cup (1995) both as unused subs

Mark Walters etched his name indelibly into Anfield folklore with two much-celebrated strikes in front of the Kop. The first was his never to be forgotten winner for Liverpool against Auxerre in 1992, as the Reds overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate. The other, later that same season, was the decisive second goal in a famous victory over Manchester United that deprived the Old Trafford club of the League title. Signed by Graeme Souness from Rangers for £1.3 million the previous summer, it was hoped Walters, having been a big hit at Ibrox, could make a similar impact as fellow Reds winger John Barnes. Emulating a player of Barnes' ilk, however, was to prove too tough a burden for the player who first made his name in the game as a highly-rated youngster with Aston Villa. The task facing Walters was made doubly difficult by the emergence of a young Steve McManaman and although he ended his first season at the club as the proud owner of an FA Cup winners' medal, he was forced to watch the entire 90 minutes from the bench. The following season saw Walters score a hat-trick at home to Coventry City – the club's first in the inaugural Premier League – but it was a season of struggle at Anfield. When Souness resigned midway through the following campaign the writing was on the wall for Wally's Liverpool career. He was used largely as a substitute by new boss Roy Evans and was again among the subs as Liverpool won the Coca Cola Cup in 1995. With his trademark step-over, Walters was capable of some individual moments of brilliance but as they became more and more sporadic it was soon evident that he had no long-term future at the club. Loans spells at Wolves and Stoke followed before he eventually completed a permanent transfer to the latter. He may never have hit the heights that were expected of him but Mark Walters can look back on his time at Anfield and say with some justification that he shook the Kop - twice!

Sold to: Stoke City (1995)

Claim to fame: Scoring the dramatic UEFA Cup tie winner versus Auxerre

Did you know? His middle name is Everton

Where is he now? Coaches at the Aston Villa Academy and still turns out regularly for the Liverpool legends team

David Fairclough on Mark Walters: "Wally is probably remembered for his step-over trick that he's still foxing players with these days. As a veteran footballer he's fantastic. He just had that step-over, that no matter how much you knew it was going to come, you just didn't know how to handle it. he was effective and certainly Graeme Souness, who brought him to Anfield, was a big fan of his."

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