WE’VE produced hundreds of shows and published a couple of thousand articles since The Anfield Wrap was launched four years ago.
And I reckon in all that time no-one’s EVER mentioned David Burrows.
“Who?” you might well say, depending on when your Liverpool-supporting days truly began. And given the number of players that have been and gone since he last graced the red shirt in 1993, no-one can be blamed for forgetting a lad from Dudley who was solid but unspectacular in defence for the Reds and routinely depicted as a bit of a dope in the fanzines of the time.
For those that don’t remember Bugsy, as he was dubbed, he was a fairly unremarkable left back signed from West Bromwich Albion by Kenny Dalglish for £550,000 in 1988.
And while you may well not have heard of him, he is in fact a league title and FA Cup winner with the Reds, lifting the former in 1990 and the latter in 1992.
In total, he made 193 appearances for Liverpool, scoring three goals.
And it’s one of his goals — his first goal for the Reds, three years into his Liverpool career — that prompted a flashback, and then this piece. Derbies involving Howard Kendall were already on my mind with the sad news that Everton’s most successful manager passed away on Saturday.
So when I was looking at what happened in the Reds’ history this week and saw David Burrows’ face staring back at me — it’s 27 years ago today, October 20, since he signed for Liverpool — my first thought was him scoring against Howard Kendall’s Everton at Anfield on an August Saturday afternoon in 1991.
The Kop was still standing then, and myself a few lads from school had followed the usual routine of getting in early, finding our spot — just to the left of centre, slightly outside the post, the equivalent of about 40 rows back — and getting settled on a crush barrier before the rest of the crowd filed in and made giving your legs a rest impossible.
Getting there hours and hours before kick off seems mad now but I enjoyed it then: booing their lot, cheering ours, and going through a full repertoire of songs for the Liverpool players as they blammed balls goalwards in the build up to kick-off.
Then, in the Derby, it wasn’t uncommon to see Blues on The Kop. And that’s what happened to me just before kick off. Shortly before the sides positioned themselves for the first whistle, I heard a shout from lower down and to my left.
I was looking left and right but could see no sign of who was trying to attract my attention.
And then I spotted him, a big dopey smile growing across his grid as he surveyed my scowl. It was a lad I sometimes played footie with who was a bit of a dirty bastard in the tackling stakes truth be told.
“What the fuck are you doing in here?” I asked.
“Waheyyy! Kopites are gobshites!” came the reply, accompanied with a swaying flick of the Vs as he struggled to retain his balance atop a crush barrier.
Unsurprisingly, it annoyed me all this. This grinning gimp in our end, in our ground, giving it all that. The cheek.
“Ey! We’re going to batter yous today,” he said, an assertion met with a two-fingered return fire from yours truly.
This Blue was still trying to wind me up and get my attention as the game got underway, delighted to have got under my skin, and seemingly convinced that with Peter Beardsley on board (I still wasn’t happy about that, thanks Graeme) the Blues were going to have their day.
And that’s where good old David Burrows comes into it.
He wasn’t the most cultured full back ever to grace the Anfield turf and his days were quickly numbered under Souness. But say what you like about him (and everyone did) the lad could strike a ball with power if not always accuracy. Put it this way, if you knocked around with Bugsy you wouldn’t be taking him on in those pissed-up ‘who can hit the ball the hardest’ competitions when you’re on holiday.
And so — with said Bluenose still swaying around giving it the big one in my peripheral vision — Burrows swung his boot and released a shot packed with venom, one that took a deflection on its way into the net past Neville Southall. Boom! 1-0.
Just 48 seconds had been played. And you’ve never seen two people’s demeanours switch so fast. Gone was the smug smile from the Bluenose, replaced with an ashen fury coupled with shock that you could spot a mile off as he was surrounded by thousands of happy Red faces going mad. Gone, too, was my frown, replaced with a mocking grin, clenched fists, outstretched arms and a shout of “AHHHH” in the general direction of my park footie associate.
And the Blues never recovered from that. The Kop was bouncing, as you would expect after a start like that, and the Reds went on to win 3-1, Dean Saunders and Ray Houghton adding to Burrows’ goal before Mike Newell pulled one back for Everton.
Not a peep was heard from my ‘friend’ for the rest of the game.
As for Burrows, given his relative forgotten man status, it’s kind of apt that his most significant strike in the red doesn’t appear to exist on the internet as things stand. Shame though.
Because of how the game panned out, The Kop even had time to take the piss about Beardsley, singing his name and applauding him on — and off — the pitch but also trotting out “what a waste of talent” to get up the noses of the blues.
These days, after spells at West Ham, Everton (ha!), Coventry City, Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday, Burrows is apparently living in France.
And for your derby goal alone (and that Bluenose’s reaction), merci beaucoup, David.
Pics: PA Images