Thursday, June 14, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 18: David Fairclough


Voted in at number 18 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series is the one and only 'Supersub', David Fairclough.
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: David Fairclough

Years at Liverpool: 1976 to 1982
Position: Forward

Date-of-birth: 5/1/57
Birthplace: Liverpool

Signed from: Apprentice (January 1974)

Games played: 153
Goals scored: 55

Honours won: First Division Championship (1975/76, 76/77, 79/80, 82/83), European Cup (1978), UEFA Cup (1976), Charity Shield (1977)

Despite only starting 88 games in an eight year Liverpool career, David Fairclough is one of the most famous Liverpool goalscorers of all-time. He made another 65 appearances as substitute and it was in this role for which he’s best remembered. The sight of him warming up on the touchline was enough to strike fear into the opposition and when the number 12 board was held up to signal his introduction a huge buzz of excitement and anticipation would sweep around Anfield. 'Supersub' was a moniker he loathed and one he felt held him back in his career, but there can be no denying it’s because of his goalscoring heroics as twelfth man that he's spoken of in legendary tones today. His name is inextricably linked with arguably Liverpool’s greatest-ever night. Mention the word St Etienne and the memories of his never-to-be-forgotten strike that shook the Kop to its foundations are rekindled. With the Reds seemingly heading out of the European Cup against the flamboyant French Champions the flame-haired Fairclough was summonsed from the bench in one last desperate throw of the dice by Bob Paisley. Moments later he was racing through on goal, holding off the shackles of a vastly experienced defence and keeping his cool to slot the ball under the advancing keeper, sending the densely packed terrace into raptures and cementing his place in Liverpudlian folklore forever. Two months later Liverpool won the European Cup for the first time but despite THAT goal being the definitive moment of the campaign he was only named among the substitutes in the Olympic Stadium, Rome. For the FA Cup Final four days earlier he was left out of the matchday squad altogether and that just about sums up his career with the Reds. Born and bred in the city and educated at a school just a stones throw from the Spion Kop, Fairclough was a rabid red who fulfilled his boyhood dream. The fresh-faced youngster joined the club as an apprentice in 1974, made his debut the following year and then shot to prominence with vital goals as the League Championship and UEFA Cup were won in 1975/76. Not surprisingly the fans took to him straight away. A stunning goal last-gasp goal against Everton during that title charge enhanced his cult status on the Kop and a lengthy career in the Liverpool first team beckoned for the new striking sensation. His goalscoring feats of 1976 and 1977 were what created the Fairclough legend but for consistency the 77/78 season would have to go down as his finest in a red shirt. He started 31 games, netted 13 goals and capped it all by collecting a European Cup winners medal at Wembley, completing the full 90 minutes of a dour 1-0 Wembley victory over FC Bruges. With seemingly limitless reserves of energy, Fairclough was humorously dubbed the Bionic Carrot and remained a lethal weapon in the Liverpool armory but with players of such calibre as Keegan, Toshack, Heighway, Johnson and Waddle all battling for a place in the starting line-up competition for places was tough and a regular place in Paisley’s eleven could never be guaranteed. Critics argued that he was not as effective when starting a match and that he’d fade in certain games but his knack of netting important goals could never be questioned and it was a trait he never lost. In February 1980 he hit the headlines once more with a six-goal blast that included a hat-trick away at Norwich and a last minute equaliser in the League Cup semi-final versus Nottingham Forest. It was not enough to save Liverpool from an aggregate defeat but it preserved the club’s proud unbeaten home run. Another goal in the marathon FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal the same year offered further proof that he was the man for the big occasion but those big occasions were to get less and less. As the early eighties unfolded Fairclough' s Liverpool career was drawing to a close and, frustrated at his lack of chances, he eventually gave up the fight. His fame lives on though and, despite the tenuous claims of other goalscoring substitutes, there'll only ever be one Supersub in the eyes of his adoring Liverpudlians. It may not be how he'd have preferred to be remembered but it's what made him a legend and is the reason why he'll never be forgotten.

Sold to: Lucerne (July 1983)

Claim to fame: Shooting Liverpool into the semi-final of the European Cup in 1977

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