|Name||Ian James Rush|
|Date of birth||20 October 1961 (age 47)|
|Place of birth||St Asaph, Wales|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Playing position||Delantero (retirado)|
|1978–1980||Chester City||034 0(18)|
|1996–1997||Leeds United||036 00(3)|
|1997–1998||Newcastle United||010 00(0)|
|1998||→ Sheffield United (loan)||004 00(0)|
|1999–2000||Sydney Olympic||002 00(1)|
|1 Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.|
Early career: 1978–1980
After leaving St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint, in 1978, Rush began his career at Football League Third Division side Chester. After impressing in the youth ranks, he went on to play 34 League games and score 14 goals after making his debut in April 1979 in a 2–2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in midfield, but established himself as a potent centre forward the following season. His first league goal came when Chester drew 2–2 at Gillingham on 15 September 1979 and by Christmas he was a regular player following the sale of regular centre-forward Ian Edwards to Wrexham.
Rush's reputation was enhanced by scoring for Chester in a shock 2–0 FA Cup third round win at Second Division giants Newcastle United in January 1980, with Chester equalling their best run by reaching the last 16 where they narrowly lost to Ipswich Town two rounds later.
Despite interest from Manchester City Liverpool won the race to sign the 18-year old in April 1980, though he had to remain at Chester until the end of the season as the transfer deadline (27 March 1980) had now passed.
Manager Bob Paisley paid a record fee for a teenager of £300,000. It remains Chester's record sale 28 years on.
Rush had actually made his international debut, in May 1980, just before he officially became a Liverpool player. His Reds debut came on the 13 December that year in a First Division fixture at Portman Road against Ipswich Town. Ironically, he was standing in for his future strike-partner, Kenny Dalglish (at the time one of the most highly-rated strikers in the world), and wore his No 7 shirt. Midfielder Jimmy Case scored Liverpool's only goal in a 1–1 draw. At this stage, Liverpool were defending the league title and the League Cup, and also contending for the European Cup, which they won (for the third time) and the League Cup (for the first time).
Rush was used sporadically during his first season at the club as Liverpool had a policy of bringing in young talent and playing them in the reserves to learn 'the Liverpool way'. Rush was treated no differently and had to begin his time at the club as a squad member rather than being thrown into the first team.
This learning period was hard and not at all 'Rush-like', as the goals didn't flow, almost leading to the eager youngster leaving Anfield in the search of regular first-team football. But after a talk with the very shrewd Paisley, who told him to "be more selfish in front of goal", Rush decided to stay and fight for a place.
Rush's first goal for the club came on 30 September 1981 during a European Cup first round second leg tie at Anfield against Oulun Palloseura. Liverpool had already won the first leg at the Raatti Stadium 1–0, and the second leg proved to be a formality as they trounced the Finnish team 7–0, Rush scoring in the 67th minute after coming on three minutes earlier for David Johnson. He ended the season as the club's top scorer, netting 30 times in just 49 appearances in all competitions, a ratio of 1 goal every 1.6 games. Seventeen of these goals came in the League as he helped the Reds reclaim the League championship from holders Aston Villa. The title triumph was all the more impressive by the fact that Liverpool had entered 1982 in 10th place, with the likes of Manchester United and minnows Swansea City leading the pack then, before a turnaround in Liverpool's fortunes saw the league championship trophy return to Anfield after two years away. He also scored a goal to help Liverpool win the 1982 Football League Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur.
He was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1983 after inspiring Liverpool to a second successive First Division/League Cup double, though once again success eluded them in the European Cup. He scored 24 League goals as the Reds finished 11 points clear of runners-up Watford and were virtually uncontested in the title chase in the later part of the season. On 6 November 1982 Rush scored four goals against Everton in a 5–0 victory, a post-war record for goals by a single player in a Merseyside derby.
The League Cup (Liverpool's third successive triumph in this competition) was added through a 2–1 win over rivals Manchester United after extra time at Wembley. He was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1984 as Liverpool retained both the League and the League Cup and won the European Cup to complete a unique treble that season. It was no surprise that Rush also added the Football Writers Footballer of the Year to the PFA award he had already claimed. He scored 47 goals in 65 games (making him the highest goal scorer in all competitions for any professional club that season), a goal every 1.4 matches, as Liverpool finished three points clear of closest rivals Southampton in the League, beat derby rivals Everton1–0 in the replayed final of the League Cup (after a 0–0 draw in the first ever all-Merseyside final), and won their fourth European Cup by defeating AS Roma 4–2 on penalties (Rush made it 3–2)
The 1984–85 season was Liverpool's first trophyless season in ten years, though they did reach their fifth European Cup final against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium, Brussels, Belgium. This final was to end in disaster as, before the match kicked off, rioting football hooligans caused a retaining wall to collapse, killing 39 Juventus supporters. It was only natural that this affected the players (including Rush), who surprisingly were ordered to play the final in spite of this terrible tragedy. The game, with both teams not totally committed or fully caring about the result, ended in a 1–0 win for Juventus. Liverpool were beaten to the title by neighbours Everton, who were crowned champions with four matches to spare. The sequel to the ban was an indefinite ban on all English clubs in European competition, with Liverpool set to serve an extra three years once the ban was lifted on other English clubs. This meant that Rush and Liverpool were unable to compete in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup.
The 1985–86 season was much better for the Reds and Rush. He scored twice as Liverpool beat Southampton 2–0 in the FA Cup semi-final at White Hart Lane, booking a place at Wembley to face neighbours Everton in the first all-Merseyside FA Cup final. The Reds had just pipped their city rivals to the League title. If the Reds won, it would make them the fifth team to have won the double (and only the third to have done so in the 20th century. If Everton won, not only would they stop their arch rivals from completing the double but also win the major trophy that their football had, in many eyes, deserved. The Blues opened the scoring when Gary Lineker outpaced Alan Hansen to shoot past Grobbelaar at the second attempt and held this lead until half-time.
In the second half Liverpool looked great. With Rush leading the line brilliantly, they drew level in the 57th minute when he latched onto a defence splitting pass from Jan Mølby round Everton goalkeeper Bobby Mimms and slot the ball into an empty net. Six minutes later, With the game stretched, he picked the ball up and drove towards the edge of the Everton area. Dalglish made a run across his path into space, but Whelan used it as a dummy and clipped an exquisite ball over three Everton defenders into the path of Rush who, from the angle of the six-yard area, thumped the ball past Mimms, knocking over a camera in the process. Liverpool held on to win 3–1 and completed the first (and so far only) League and FA Cup double in the club's history. Rush added the Man of the Match award to his winner's medal. However, the ban on English clubs in European competition was continued, and Rush was unable to have a crack of winning another European Cup in 1986-87.
After attracting much interest from top European sides, Rush had decided early in the 1986–87 season that he would be leaving Anfield, and on 1 July 1987, he was transferred for £3 million to the Italian giants, Juventus. The move was seen by many as a deal to help the healing process after Heysel and to re-open friendly links between the clubs. Rush was one of many notable English-based players who moved abroad during the mid and late 1980s, attracted overseas by the prospect of the higher wages as well as the chance to play in European competition as English clubs were still barred.
However it was a new challenge for Rush, who would have the task of unlocking the much tighter defences in Serie A.
After one season at the Stadio Comunale, he returned to Anfield, rejoining Liverpool for £2.7m on 18 August 1988 - a record signing for an English club at the time, which remained unbroken for three years.
The news of Rush's imminent return was given to Liverpool fans before they journeyed south to London for yet another Charity Shield match. Before the game started, they were in full voice. However, this time they had a new song: "Rushie is back, Rushie is back".
Although the Liverpool team of 1987–88 had played some outstanding football, such was Ian's stature amongst the Anfield faithful, they were pleased to see him return to the club.
Second spell at Anfield, 1988–1996
Rush came into great form, he had again scored twice against Everton in a thrilling 3–2 win in the 1989 FA Cup Final. He came off the bench to replace Aldridge, who had opened the scoring for Liverpool in the fourth minute of the game. The sides were locked at 1–1 after 90 minutes, but Rush put the Reds ahead in the fourth minute of extra time. Everton midfielder Stuart McCall then scored his, and the Toffees', second equaliser, but Rush came up with the goods once more with an incisive finish in the 103rd minute to win the Cup for Liverpool.
The 1989 FA Cup Final carried even greater significance because of the events of 15 April that year. In the semi-final, Liverpool had been drawn against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, home of Sheffield Wednesday. However, the game was brought to an abrupt end at 3.06pm due to the unfolding disaster. 94 fans were crushed to death that day, with the final death toll eventually reaching 96. Rush, along with his teammates, attended many of the funerals.
The players and staff of Liverpool Football Club, including Rush, were commended for their exemplary behaviour during the darkest days in the club's history. Everton fans were immensely supportive of their neighbours during this bleak period and the fact that Liverpool would meet their side in the Wembley final made for the perfect match. The fans once again stood side by side in their blue and red colours and did the city and people of Liverpool proud, as did the players and officials of both clubs.
The 1989–90 season saw Rush win another League title, his fifth and last, as Liverpool finished nine points clear of Aston Villa, with Rush scoring 18 times in 36 games.
1990-91 saw Rush continue to score regularly and Liverpool led the table from the start of the season until January.
Liverpool finished second in the league and were finally readmitted to European competition, qualifying for the UEFA Cup and giving Rush and his team-mates their first chance of European action since 1984-85.
In 1992, he picked up a third FA Cup winners' medal, scoring Liverpool's second goal, in the 67th minute, in the 2–0 win against Second Division Sunderland at Wembley. This gave Rush and his colleagues another chance of European football, this time in the shape of the Cup Winners' Cup.
1992-93 Rush returned to his peak during the final weeks of the season and he finished the season as the club's top scorer with 14 league goals. He topped the goalscoring charts once again in 1993-94.
Rush picked up his fifth League Cup winners medal in 1995. Liverpool running out 2–1 winners. That season saw Liverpool achieve their best league finish since 1991, as they finished fourth in the Premier League.
In March 1996, it was announced that Rush would be leaving Anfield on a free transfer when his contract expired on 1 June.
Later career, 1996–2000
Rush said farewell to Anfield on 20 May 1996 when he agreed to sign for Leeds United. Rush spent a season with the Yorkshire side.
Rush scored an important goal in a 1–0 win over Everton in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, his 43rd in the competition (a 20th century record).
He had a loan spell with Sheffield United later in the season, before leaving St James's Park in the summer of 1998 to sign, amid much fanfare, for Wrexham. He finally retired from playing football aged 39, in 2000.