Thursday, September 28, 2006

100 Players Who Shook The Kop

A wee bit late, but I'll cover the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop Top 10 from now on and IF possible, I'll provide the clips. Anyway here it is:

#10 : Emlyn Hughes

Name: Emlyn Hughes

Years at Liverpool: 1967 to 1979
Position: Midfielder/Defender

Date-of-birth: 28/8/1947
Birthplace: Barrow-in-Furness

Signed from: Blackpool (February 1967)

Games: 665
Goals: 49

Honours: First Division Championship (1972/73, 1975/76, 1976/77, 1978/79), European Cup (1977, 1978), FA Cup (1974), UEFA Cup (1973, 1976), Charity Shield (1974, 1976, 1977), Super Cup (1977)

With his heart on his sleeve and a beaming smile on his face Emlyn Hughes played the game how it should be played and remains an iconic figure of a glorious era.

The mere mention of his name rekindles a host of magical memories - Wembley '74, Molineux '76 and Rome '77, titles, trophies and triumphs. At Anfield he'll forever be remembered as one of our greatest ever players and most successful captains.

Those lucky enough to see have seen 'Crazy Horse' play will recall his boundless enthusiasm, never-say-die commitment to the cause and unrelenting passion for the club whenever he had the liver bird close to his chest.

Signed as a 19-year old from Blackpool in February 1967, after making just 31 appearances for the Seasiders, Emlyn was destined for the top from day one. Shanks was so impressed with the exciting potential or the raw youngster, legend has it that on driving his new £65,000 signing back to Liverpool after completing negotiations with Blackpool Bill Shankly told a policeman: "Don't you know who is in this car? There sits the future captain of England."

Laugh, some might have done, but Shanks was right and Hughes went on to skipper both club and country with distinction. Bought initially as a replacement for the ageing Willie Stevenson, the fresh-faced youngster was plunged immediately into the first team at left-back for the home game against Stoke. The Reds triumphed 2-1 and what would be a glorious Anfield career was born.

Whether it was at left-back, in midfield or at the heart of defence, where he eventually settled, Hughes could be relied upon to run through brick walls for the Liverpool cause. A born winner who took defeat personally, the pain etched on his face when sitting slumped in the dressing room at Highbury after Liverpool had narrowly missed out on the championship in 1972 said more than words ever could. Equally so, did the grin on his face when holding aloft the many trophies that would soon come his and Liverpool's way.

A virtual ever-present during the memorable 1972/73 season, in which an unprecedented Championship and UEFA Cup double was won, Hughes was handed a huge personal accolade on the eve of the following campaign when he was named club captain in succession to Tommy Smith, although it was a move that was to signal the beginning of a long-running feud between the pair.

The inspirational Shanks had gone but with Hughes revelling in his new found responsibility greater glory lay on the horizon. 1977 was to be Emlyn's finest year and for a self-confessed royalist it was fitting that it should come in the year of the Queen's jubilee.

He played the last of his 665 games for the Reds in the forgettable FA Cup semi-final replay defeat against Manchester United at Goodison and a £90,000 transfer to Wolves soon followed.

there can be no denying Emlyn Hughes his status as a Liverpool legend. When the tragic news of his premature death was announced in November 2004 Kopites mourned his passing with tears and tributes, proof that his heroic deeds in a red shirt had never been forgotten. Old Crazy Horse will never walk alone.

Sold to: Wolverhampton Wanderers (August 1979)

Claim to fame: Being the first Liverpool captain to hold aloft the European Cup

Did you know? His father was a professional Rugby League player who played at international level

Where is he now? Sadly passed away in November 2004 after losing a 15-month battle against a brain tumour

Brian Hall on Emlyn Hughes: "Well Emlyn's nickname was 'Crazy Horse' and it was a good name for him because he had this boundless energy didn't he? He'd make these long runs with these long strides that he had, he'd jink past people and would strike at goal from 30 yards."

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