July 23 1983
Liverpool’s Irish midfield star Ronnie Whelan is to go into hospital next week for a pelvic operation – and seems certain to miss the champions’ opening matches in defence of their League title.
The decision was taken yesterday after Whelan had seen a specialist about the recurring groin strain which forced him to miss the Reds’ championship run-in last May. Initially it was thought that a period of rest during the close season would clear up the problem, but an examination has confirmed that the midfield ace has a slight pelvic tilt which will require surgery.
The news will come as a bitter blow to new manager Joe Fagan who is bidding to carry on Liverpool’s remarkable success story following the retirement of Bob Paisley.
Whelan has already been ruled out of the club’s pre-season tours of Holland, Morocco and Spain. It now seems certain he will also miss the FA Charity Shield showpiece with Manchester United at Wembley and the opening games of the new season.
“It is a bad blow for Ronnie and a bad blow for the club,” said Fagan.
“He was having treatment for what we all thought was a groin strain when they discovered the slight pelvic tilt. He will have to wear a special surgical belt for the week leading up to the operation.
“It is not a serious operation but it has obviously come at a bad time. At the moment we have no idea just how long Ronnie will be out of action, but it does look as though he will be missing from the first few games of the season,” he added.
The news could give the Reds’ only new signing, Gary Gillespie, an unexpected opportunity to make his mark in the first team.
Although the £350,000 buy from Coventry City is a centre back. Fagan may well take the opportunity to reshuffle and introduce him at some stage during the side’s Continental tour.
There was good news for Liverpool, however, when Welsh striker Ian Rush came through training yesterday with a clean bill of health. There had been fears that the injury which forced him to miss the last two games of last season may have still been troublesome.
“Ian has trainer, and reported no reaction,” said Fagan.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: July 23, 1983; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited