Bruce Grobbelaar Living in Canada Again!

January 1, 2010 at 6:20 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 4 Comments

A number of football legends have pulled on the jersey for the Vancouver Whitecaps.  One of these was goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar. He came here to play for the Whitecaps from Crewe Alexandra in the UK.   He originally backed up Phil “Lofty” Parkes in 1979, and then played as number one in 1980.   1980 was a bit of a bad year for the Whitecaps, as they struggled in the wake of a big bust-up over bonus money from the Soccer Bowl win in 1979.  Watching Bruce’s talent develop was one of the great joys of the 1980 season. He eventually got the call from none other than Liverpool FC, one of the top clubs in Europe at the time which he joined in 1981.

Grobbelaar was not a shy man. He rejected the role of the quiet, reliable, steady goalkeeper.  He was an extrovert who lived for the thrill of making the big, spectacular save. His reflexes and athleticism were nothing short of astonishing. He was one of those keepers who put the strikers to shame for his spectacular play.  His saves would make you shake your head in disbelief because they seemed to defy the laws of our universe. As a young goalkeeper, I idolized the man.

Grobbelaar went on to have a great career with Liverpool, winning almost everything worth winning including multiple first division championships,  FA Cups, League cups, Charity Shields and the European Cup. He won the European Cup by putting a hex on Roma’s penalty takers with his puppy dog behaviour and rubbery knee display, an act Jerzy Dudek copied when Liverpool won the Champions League in Istanbul in 2005.

Grobbelaar curtailed some of his eccentric behaviour to become a solid goalkeeper, but it was still an adventure to watch him come out for crosses.

Bruce’s eccentric behaviour came out again during a match fixing scandal.  He was cleared of criminal charges but then blew all of his money on an ill-advised libel suit against the Sun newspaper who claimed he was guilty of letting goals in on purpose.   He won the suit but received only 1 pound in damages.    The Law Lords said that it was proved that he had accepted bribes, but not that he had let goals in on purpose.   Rather than remembering his fantastic saves, some people only remember the scandal.  While it could be argued he tarnished his own image, there is no doubt Grobbelaar was a great footballer and a Liverpool FC legend. He remains a wonderful character in Vancouver Whitecaps History.

Things have come full circle as Bruce has now popped up in Canada, in Corner Brook Newfoundland of all places.  His wife works there as an anesthetist.   Welcome back to Canada Bruce!  Why don’t you pop over to Vancouver for a match?

Here is where I found out about Bruce living in Canada:

http://www.thewesternstar.com/index.cfm?sid=313868&sc=24

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4 Comments »

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  1. ‘Grobbelaar excursions’ is now part of soccer lexico, used to describe a goalkeeper coming out of goal daringly. Bruce was a great GK perhaps even the best.

    • No doubt he belongs in the category of the greatest goalkeepers with Banks, Zoff, Yashin, etc. It is a shame he never got to show his talent on the world stage as his home nation, Zimbabwe, never qualified for a world cup.

  2. […] Más: Bruce Grobbelaar Living in Canada Again! Categories : Dudek, […]

  3. […] Más: Bruce Grobbelaar Living in Canada Again! Categories : Dudek, […]


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