Saturday, August 4 – 1990
Liverpool’s zany goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar last night sent a dramatic message to new England boss Graham Taylor: “I want to succeed Peter Shilton as your No 1.”
The shock bid to become England’s first choice was announced as he flew home with the English champions after an impressive performance in their goalless opening pre-season game against Fiorentina in Italy on Thursday.
South African-born Grobbelaar, who will be 33 in October, has already played World Cup football for Zimbabwe which currently blocks his path to England contention. But he disclosed: “We are pursuing it. I have asked a friend in Zimbabwe to look into the facts and ask the authorities there to make their minds up if they want me or don’t want me.
“And if they don’t I want them to write to inform FIFA of their decision. Then we will see what happens.
“I have only a British passport now. My Zimbabwe passport was taken away from me and I am a British subject.
“If I was a Rugby player or a cricketer I could be playing for England now.”
Grobbelaar underlined his intention to battle with Chris Woods, David Seaman and Dave Beasant for the job of being England’s new last line of defence when he declared: “Nobody gives up hope of playing international football. With Peter Shilton now gone form the England scene
there are still very good goalkeepers and I feel I could be amongst those. It is something that is a dream of mine and maybe it will come about.
“It is from players like Di Stefano and Puskas, who in the past played for more than one country, that poor blokes like me are suffering now because of FIFA regulations. I would like to play for England we will wait and see what happens. I’m only going to get better.”
“People like Shilts, my Liverpool predecessor Ray Clemence and Pat Jennings have shown the way with their long career.”
Grobbelaar’s occasional moments of eccentricity have been far outweighed by his years of success with Liverpool who have paid testimony to his inlets by offering him a new three-year contract.
He will complete a decade of Anfield service this season and qualify for a testimonial after arriving for £250,000 in 1981 from Vancouver Whitecaps to take over from Clemence. Grobbelaar added: “My first ambition is to play for Liverpool when they return to European competition.”
Meanwhile Liverpool and the club’s main sponsors Candy yesterday announced a one-year extension to cover the 1991-92 season.
(Daily Express, 04-08-1990)