Saturday, November 3 – 1984
* Steve Ogrizovic is hardly a household name, but he arrived in London today as one of the country’s most promising goalkeeper. After only four months in the First Division with Coventry he is already being rated in the top four. Today the feat is Chelsea and Kerry Dixon.
Torvill and Ogrizovic hasn’t got the same ring to it somehow … yet Steve Ogrizovic was there at the start of the world’s most famous ice-dancing partnership. The only thin ice Ogrizovic has trodden is behind the occasional shaky defence.
But now, as an impressive goalkeeper with First Division Coventry he recalls his friendship with Christopher Dean. They shared police training together as cadets in Nottingham and Ogrizovic – inevitably known as Oggy – says: –
“I used to go to Nottingham Ice Rink with some of the police lads when we came off duty in the early morning. It was the chance for a crafty cup of tea and Chris was always there, at 6am, training.
“We were together 12 months in the same class at cadet school. I don’t know if he would remember me now, but I’ve always kept in touch with his career through newspapers and television.”
Dean went on to conquer the world. At 27 it is just opening up for Ogrizovic.
He spent five seasons as understudy to Ray Clemence at Liverpool. But since a £72,500 move from Shrewsbury last summer, Oggy has matured into one of the bargains from a basement that Coventry manager Bobby Gould has regularly raided.
They haven’t all been a success, but Ogrizovic and his Coventry captain Trevor Peake, prove Gould’s point that there is quality to be had.
In his first full season as a First Division goalkeeper has conceded only 14 goals in 12 League games. In a team that was bottom of he table six weeks’ ago that is an outstanding record.
Gould rates Ogrizovic among the country’s top four keeper. Confirmation comes from Alan Hodgkinson, former national goalkeeping coach who says:
“He looks a better goalkeeper now than when he was with Shrewsbury.
“He is very consistent, and has a gift managers like – he doesn’t give goals away.”
Personally, Ogrizovic – the name comes form his Yugoslavian father who settled in the East Midland and became a miner – prefer cricket.
“That’s my love. Football is my profession,” he says.
He has a picture at home of the day he bowled Viv Richards playing for Shropshire in the NatWest Trophy. But it was a no-ball.
“Never mind. I got him when he was 11. He went on to make 78 but it was still a big moment.”
As Shropshire’s opening pace bowler – at 6ft 4½in he’s a bit useful – he was also in the side that beat Yorkshire last season and took Alvin Kallicharan’s wicket in the defeat at Edgbaston.
He plays snooker, too. But ice-dancing? No chance.
(Daily Express, 03-11-1984)