Saturday, May 5, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 22: Steve McManaman


Voted in at number 22 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is Steve McManaman, talisman of the exciting mid-nineties team.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Steve McManaman

Years at Liverpool: 1989 to 1999
Position: Winger

Date-of-birth: 11/2/1972
Birthplace: Kirkdale, Liverpool

Signed from: Apprentice (1989)

Games: 364
Goals: 66

Honours: FA Cup (1992), League Cup (1995)

One of the most exciting homegrown talents Liverpool have ever produced, Steve McManaman was one of the few shining lights at Anfield during a decade in which the club suffered an unfortunate downturn in fortunes. While FA and League Cup glory was celebrated enthusiastically during the 1990s, by Liverpool standards it was a barren period in terms of success. But with the mesmerising McManaman in the team there was always hope. A winger, blessed with exceptional close control and dribbling skills, Macca was raised just a stones throw away from Anfield, in nearby Kirkdale. A boyhood Evertonian he joined the Reds straight from school and as an apprentice cleaned John Barnes' boots. Despite his boyhood allegiance to the Blues, the skinny teenager rose through the Anfield ranks and in December 1990 his progress was rewarded when he made his senior bow, appearing as a second half substitute for Peter Beardsley in a 2-0 home win against Sheffield United. The opening game of the following season saw the waif-like McManaman make his full debut against Oldham Athletic and four days later he scored his goal for the Reds in a 2-1 defeat at Maine Road. It was not long before he was fulfilling the immense promise he'd shown for the reserves and he celebrated the end of his first full season in the senior side by starring in the FA Cup final triumph over Sunderland. Stepping in at the last minute for the injured John Barnes, the then rookie 20-year old proved a constant menace to the Black Cats defence and provided the crucial cross from which Michael Thomas broke the Wembley deadlock. Three years later 'Shaggy' shone beneath the twin towers again, single-handedly destroying Bolton by scoring two stunning goals and picking up the man-of-the-match award in the Coca Cola Cup Final triumph. Although never a prolific scorer, when he did hit the back of the net it was usually in spectacular fashion, as fans of Celtic and Arsenal, among others, also discovered to their cost. As a creator of goals he provided an almost constant supply line to the Liverpool strikers of the nineties and was as responsible as anyone for helping transform the Reds into one of the most exciting sides of this time. His mazy runs into opposition territory became a trademark of Liverpool's play but given his laid back character, when things did go wrong he'd often find himself on the receiving end of 'stick' from his critics who argued he ran into too many blind alleys and lacked power in his shooting. As the first high-profile local lad to make the grade at Anfield since Sammy Lee, he suffered but, to his credit, never let that affect him. Given his obvious natural ability there were, admittedly, times when McManaman would frustrate but he exerted such a positive influence around the club that he was the natural candidate to succeed Paul Ince as captain in 1998. His reputation as the talisman of the Liverpool side not surprisingly attracted the attention of several top European clubs. In 1997 he'd almost signed for Barcelona and from that moment it seemed inevitable that one day he'd try his luck abroad. That day eventually arrived during the summer of 1999 and he left for Real Madrid in one of the first high profile Bosman transfer in world football. His decision to leave on a free certainly shook the Kop and caused a minority of fans to turn on him but the reception he was given on his final appearance in a red shirt left everyone in no doubt that McManaman was a true Liverpool legend of his time.

Sold to: Real Madrid (July 1999)

Claim to fame: Scoring two goals in the 1995 Coca Cola Cup Final v Bolton

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