Thursday, October 06, 2011

GMF tribute to Jimmy Case

Liverpool - Jimmy Case will always be fondly remembered at Anfield
By Emdad Rahman

Original articleIn the year this Liverpool star was named European Young Player of the Year, his 1977 volley on the spin against Manchester United is etched into history as one of the best goals scored in an FA Cup Final.

Born in 1954, Jimmy Case was a hard as nails midfield enforcer from Allerton, and shares the distinction of being a neighbour to Paul McCartney. The local lad established a central midfield berth during the all conquering Liverpool team of the 1970s. 

Case possessed a tough streak that was symptomatic and necessary during that era. Playing for Liverpool required a little more than the ability to land your opponent on their backside, and Case possessed sound vision and chipped in a fair quota of goals from midfield.

In his column for Live4Liverpool ex-Liverpool defender Neil Ruddock recently wrote: “You ask a footballer who the genuine hard men in football are and you wouldn’t hear the usual host of clichéd names of Jones and Fash, but players like Mark Hughes, Eric Cantona, Cyrille Regis, or for me the hardest of them all Jimmy Case who I was fortunate to play alongside at Southampton.

“Everyone was scared of Jimmy, who not only was as hard as nails, but as his success showed at Liverpool he could also play a bit as well.”

Case’s no nonsense midfield play was honed at dock side Blue Union and then South Liverpool from which Bill Shankly plucked him from in 1973, though his debut would come under Bob Paisley. The young apprentice electrician’s prime ability though was a continued willingness to improve and a ravenous hunger to succeed.

In 1974/75 the big day arrived and aged 20, Case made his Liverpool debut in a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers. Paisley was impressed and the new boy became a regular, notching almost 40 appearances for the Reds the following season. Moreover the youngster's shooting boots began to make an impact as he contributed 12 goals.

Case was a vital cog for Paisley. He was a grafter and enforcer rolled into one and his thunderous boots make him one of the hardest strikers of a ball seen at Anfield. 

One of his greatest moments was the 1977 European Cup Final against Borussia Mönchengladbach, where Case and his teammates stood firm against the German might of Bertie Vogts, Rainer Bonhoff, Uli Stielike and Allan Simonsen to bring home Liverpool’s first European Cup.

By 1980 Case was jostling for a first team slot and his berth was eventually granted to a fresh faced Sammy Lee.

During the summer of 1981 he was transferred to Brighton & Hove Albion, returning to haunt his old teammates in 1981 by scoring the winner at Anfield and knocking his beloved Liverpool out of the FA Cup.

He later joined Southampton and continued plying his trade till the ripe age of 41.

Brian Hall once said of Jimmy Case: "Jimmy's contribution during that period was an enormous one, he scored some goals, his energy was terrific but again he epitomised what putting on that red shirt on your back was all about."

Case played 276 games for Liverpool and scored 45 goals. He achieved the dream of winning three European Cups, four League Championships, four Charity Shields, a League Cup, Super Cup and a UEFA Cup winner’s medal.

He was not a glamorous football star, but Case was without doubt one of the finest exponents of his position in Europe.

It is shocking when one realises that international honours with England eluded him.

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