Bruce GrobbelaarA Man Amongst Men
Bruce David Grobbelaar, was born 6 October 1957 in Durban, South Africa. He was goalkeeper for a number of clubs in South Africa, Rhodesia and Canada before making the number one spot his own at Liverpool during their dominant period throughout the 1980s. Grobbelaar played 627 times for Liverpool, being a trusted servant to three of Liverpool's greatest managers; Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish, over a period of 13 years.
Known and loved for his eccentric, flamboyant style and unpredictable behaviour, Grobbelaar's strengths were his gymnastic agility and unflappable confidence. These qualities and character traits were no doubt crystallised by his experiences during two years of active service in the Rhodesian Bush War. In 1975, a good five years before he caught the attention of Bob Paisley, Grobbelaar had signed up for the Rhodesian National Guard. During a glittering football career he was always seen to be playing the clown. He openly acknowledged that football, even at the highest level, could not be taken too seriously. The famous 'Spaghetti Legs' incident in the penalty shootout at the 1984 European Cup Final in Rome was testament to that. This sentiment was evidently due to his experience of active warfare, where he'd witnessed the death of some of his closest friends.
'There was blood, death and desperate behaviour on both sides. We all lost friends and were lucky to get out of those jungles with our own lives, never mind our limbs intact. Maybe that's why I don't consider football a matter of life and death. It isn't.'
'He called me something unrepeatable. I told him where to go and he hit me. I though t I’ve got to hit him back then you realise Bruce was a jungle fighter ... so it was probably best to leave it.'