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Wayne Harrison.


floyd the barber

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Was thinking about this guy the other day....

 

I was 10 when Wayne signed for Liverpool and I still remember clearly all the press and massive expectations. On his young shoulders..

 

Was wondering if anyone actually saw him play any of the reserve games? He was touted at being the next wonder player....such a shame what happened...

 

Anyway I found this great article...posted below.

http://footballslostprodigies.com/2012/06/26/coming-soon-wayne-harrison-the-original-wayne-rooney/

 

When Wayne Harrison lost his footing while climbing out of the loft of his Stockport home in the North West of England and ripped the ligaments in his knee it was just the latest in a long list of injuries for the former footballer. Just like the Manchester Utd superstar, Wayne Rooney, Harrison came to the attention of the footballing world at the tender age of 17 because of a natural ability to find the back of the onion bag. And just like Rooney he too secured himself a move to England’s biggest club for a world record fee and was labelled as one the best talents in the world. But despite being hailed as a child prodigy the amazing career of Wayne Harrison never eventuated and the name simply disappeared amongst the whispers and fables of the terraces of a talent lost and stories of what might have been.

 

Wayne grew up in Stockport, which is just a short car journey from Manchester ,with a love of football and a dream of making his mark on the world game. But it wasn’t the blue of Manchester City or the Red of Utd that stoked the football fire burning deep in his heart instead, in a move that would be considered a death wish in many people’s eyes giving where he grew up, Wayne followed Liverpool after being sucked in by players such as Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalglish.

 

“I got a bit of stick for it,” said Wayne. “But I didn’t care; I just got on with it, Kenny Dalglish was my hero.”

 

Wayne was soon becoming known for more than being the Liverpool fan from Manchester scoring goals wherever he went and attracting the attentions of clubs from all over England.

 

“I was top goal scorer for every team I played for,” remembers Wayne. “A lot of teams wanted me.”

 

In the end the simple lad from Stockport chose Oldham Athletic as the place to hone his skills for one reason and one reason only.

 

“I could get the bus straight there from my house in Stockport.”

 

But with hindsight he couldn’t have made a better decision with the enigmatic Joe Royal in charge of the club to lend a guiding hand to the youngster’s career turning him from raw potential to the best teenage talent in the world.

 

“He was a natural goal scorer,” remembered Royal some years later. “The way he timed his runs was magnificent. Bill Urmson was our youth coach then and he didn’t have to tell Wayne much. The kid was going to be a player.”

 

Wayne was soon banging in goals for his new club. 35 in total for the youth and reserve team meant that England’s top teams were already sniffing around for his signature despite his tender age. Wayne Harrison was flying; so when he arrived at the famous Anfield stadium to take on the best kids that Liverpool had to offer he was very determined and extremely confident that he could show his heroes that he had what it takes to one day play in front of the Kop. The young upstart didn’t disappoint, bulging the Anfield net twice in a 4-3 win for the Latics. But little did Wayne know that his majestic performance in Liverpool had caught the eye of the then reds manager Joe Fagan who instantly set about trying to sign him.

 

After an initial offer of 200,000 GBP was rejected Fagan instantly upped his offer to 250,000. Rumour has it that Joe Royal had initially thought the direct phone call from his Liverpool counterpart was a joke with the conversation going something like this.

 

“Hello, Joe? It’s Joe Fagan here at Liverpool. About this kid of yours – Wayne Harrison – we’d be willing to offer you two hundred grand . . . “

 

“You’re having me on,” says Royal.

 

“OK then, how about we make it a quarter of a million?”

 

“Done!”

 

And with that Wayne Harrison was on the move even he didn’t really want to go anywhere.

 

“I didn’t want to leave Oldham I was happy there,” remembers Wayne. “But I got a call the day after the match at Anfield and said I was going to Liverpool for talks.”

 

Harrison saw out the 1985 season with Oldham where he earned himself five first team appearances and arrived at Anfield with his hero Kenny Dalglish now the manager and a massive future ahead of him. Due to the 250,000 GBP and the tag of the most expensive teenager in the world the hype and pressure surrounding him was massive but the management team at Anfield decided to label their latest acquisition as “one for the future” and made him earn his stripes in the reserves. The goals still flowed, but just as he was ready to break in to the first team Wayne Harrison’s career was brought to a sudden and resounding halt.

 

“I was messing around with some mates,” remembers Wayne as he calmly talked about the accident that nearly killed him. “We were wrestling and I fell through a greenhouse.”

 

As if that wasn’t bad luck enough the accident happened while the local ambulance service were in the middle of a bitter pay dispute and were well and truly on strike. The young Liverpool striker nearly bled to death after severing an artery in his arm before the replacement Army medics arrived and rushed him to hospital. If the fact that Harrison was still alive was amazing enough then the fact that he got back playing and once again pushing for a first team place could almost be considered a miracle.

 

But it seemed that every time Harrison was knocking on the door to lead the Liverpool forward line another injury would swipe away his destiny. A double hernia, an operation on a damaged cartilage, a gammy knee and a dodgy shoulder all scuppered his chances. But as the 1989 – 90 season drew to a close and now 22 years old Wayne Harrison was once again the name on everybody’s lips.

 

“I was top goal scorer that year,” remembers Wayne. But just as things were looking up an innocuous clash with the Bradford City goalkeeper would put Harrison back in the physio’s room.

 

“I felt sick when I tried to get up,” he said. “I knew it was bad because I couldn’t feel it. It was wobbling from the inside.”

 

It was the final game of the season for the reserve team and Liverpool’s wonder-kid had ripped every ligament in his knee and would never again get the chance to fulfil the potential that many had thought would see him rip apart the world of football. Numerous operations followed but it was no good and Harrison soon got the news that he simply didn’t want to hear

 

“It was 1991 and Graeme Souness, the manager, called me in,” Harrison said. “He told me the doctors had said I wouldn’t play again. It was soul-destroying. My head was spinning and I didn’t know what to do. To think that was it. I got in the car and just drove around for four hours.”

 

Wayne did try to make a comeback to the game turning out for the Offerton Green reserves in the Stockport Sunday League where he apparently rolled back the years one cold afternoon on a bobbly, boggy pitch when he sweetly scored, David Beckham esc, from the half way line. But with his knee getting worse the comeback was short lived and Harrison was left to concentrate on his day job delivering kegs of beer for the Robinson’s Brewery in his hometown of Stockport.

 

“The knee still gives me gyp,” he explained just a few years ago before reiterating that he never wanted to leave Oldham in the first place.

 

“In fact, it gets more painful with each passing year. But I console myself with the thought that nothing in life can ever be as bad again,” he said.

 

“Nobody recognises me these days, but I’m not bitter. I wish I’d never gone to Liverpool and that I’d had more luck. It was nobody’s fault, but you do think about it all sometimes. Steve McManaman was my friend and look at him, he played for Real Madrid.”

 

But the sad tale of Wayne Harrison doesn’t end there as the luckless man now finds himself out of work after reinjuring his knee while climbing out of his loft and has now had over 40 operations on various parts of his body. He was watching his friend play in a Sunday league match as I chatted to him on the phone. Now virtually penniless and surviving on a measly incapacity benefit trips such as these are rare.

 

“I don’t get out much anymore,” he says.

 

But despite this and all of the unfortunate things that have gone his way Wayne Harrison still has a hint of something in his voice that suggests he still believes that his luck will turn soon. And I for one wouldn’t begrudge him a single ounce of goodness that comes his way"

Edited by floyd the barber
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I remember him signing too. Was so excited. Shame we never knew if he was a Ronney or more of a Le Tallac.

 

Awful luck...Even if he'd not been a great player, he may have made a decent career as a pro. Pretty mad to think of him broke, and broken...

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There must be tonnes of lads like that who get close and never make it in the game at all. There should be more to offer these kids. The club employ many people surely it would make sense to see what those not good enough could do? Physio scholarships, fitness trainer or admin, retail, marketing, canteen.

 

Not even saying they would want it, but the club is there for the community and so should have the option.

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There must be tonnes of lads like that who get close and never make it in the game at all. There should be more to offer these kids. The club employ many people surely it would make sense to see what those not good enough could do? Physio scholarships, fitness trainer or admin, retail, marketing, canteen.

 

Not even saying they would want it, but the club is there for the community and so should have the option.

A lot of them do, there's only so many jobs available though. You can't expect the club to employ every player that's let go year after year.

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There must be tonnes of lads like that who get close and never make it in the game at all. There should be more to offer these kids. The club employ many people surely it would make sense to see what those not good enough could do? Physio scholarships, fitness trainer or admin, retail, marketing, canteen.

 

Not even saying they would want it, but the club is there for the community and so should have the option.

 

if they're physically fit enough they should be recruited as referees. been saying this for years. make referees out of guys who played the game to a very high level rather than from accountants and teachers. ex-player refs would be cracking refs, know all the scams and tricks.

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if they're physically fit enough they should be recruited as referees. been saying this for years. make referees out of guys who played the game to a very high level rather than from accountants and teachers. ex-player refs would be cracking refs, know all the scams and tricks.

 

Excellent point.

 

I'm sure an ex player could do a better job than pawar (sp) or the head of PFA etc. clearly no skills required for those jobs.

 

A lot of them do, there's only so many jobs available though. You can't expect the club to employ every player that's let go year after year.

 

That's a fair point. I just feel that asking a kid and his family to give up an awful lot to have a chance to become a pro and then just toss them because they didn't make it isn't good enough.

 

I've got a mate here where his son has been offered a chance to take his kid to a club and they are taking the family across. It's great on paper. But the whole family is moving across for a few years and reality is the chances are slim of an 8 year old making it as a pro. So what happens afterwards? The clubs and academies should do better.

 

I like the idea or concept anyway of the us where the talented get scholarships and opportunity based on sporting merit. At least they have something to fall back on.

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if they're physically fit enough they should be recruited as referees. been saying this for years. make referees out of guys who played the game to a very high level rather than from accountants and teachers. ex-player refs would be cracking refs, know all the scams and tricks.

 

They've got to want to do it though

And who in their write mind would want to be a ref

But yeah some sort of scheme in place would certainly help

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