(Image by Arnie)
Bruce Grobbelaar is without a doubt one of the most colourful characters to have ever graced the Liverpool shirt. He stood in goal as some of the club's greatest victories were won and was an essential part of that success. 13 medals in 13 years at Liverpool speaks volumes. Bruce has experienced highs and lows, more than most, but has always come out smiling on the other side. A lot of topics were covered but tragic events such as the Heysel tragedy or the Hillsborough disaster were not discussed as they have been well documented by him elsewhere, instead we focused on the match-fixing case (somewhat hesitantly) but he was glad to put the record straight as it were. We wanted to get to know the man behind the myth and what drives Bruce Grobbelaar.
After earning plaudits in South Africa the 20-year-old Bruce was given a trial in the summer of 1978 at Ron Atkinson's WBA. He couldn't get a work permit and was due to return back home five months later when he heard that Tony Waiters, Vancouver Whitecaps' manager, was holding trials in Derby. In November 1978 after having travelled through three continents in four days and played in two trial games in as many days Bruce signed a one-year contract with the Canadian side, initially as a reserve 'keeper to former West Ham star, Phil Parkes. Grobbelaar was loaned to the bottom club of the Fourth Division, Crewe Alexandra where he said his goodbyes by scoring from the penalty spot. With Parkes gone Grobbelaar was finally a regular for the Whitecaps in the 1980/81 season but with his appearances for Crewe had already attracted a host of admirers from England, most notably Tom Saunders and Bob Paisley at Liverpool.
You were born in South Africa but moved to Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, at an early age
I was born in Durban, South Africa where the Indians come from. We say in South Africa that Durban is the capital of India as it has the second largest Indian population outside India. Two months later my mother decided to follow her husband to Rhodesia and that is where I grew up. My mother and my father met in Durban. He was working as a bus driver. He had to get away from his siblings and uncles who were quite nasty. He left and met my mother. He's of Dutch descent where the [Hrobbeelaar] name comes from. There are two meanings of Grobbelaar. If you take a B out from my name and you substitute one E with an A it means "Clumsy". But my name means a "Grabber". I could be a "Clumsy grabber."
Life in general was easy and beautiful. At that age my mother and my father didn’t look after me, I had someone to look after me, a servant who stayed with the family in Sinoya from when I first arrived there until I was 16. That same house boy looked more after me than my mother and my father because they both had to work. My father worked on the railways and my mother was an accountant with a shoe store and eventually she bought one of the shoes stores up. For me being brought up in Rhodesia was a fantastic upbringing, you could play outside all day and in the evening when the lights of the streets would go on that's when you have to come in. There is not many places in the world today where you can do that.
Images from "More than Somewhat", Grobbelaar's autobiography
How did your upbringing shape you as a person?
Life is a beautiful thing and we live in a beautiful world, no matter who tells you different. It's only the people that mess it up. Rhodesia was probably the best country in Africa to be sure. We fed everyone in Africa, we clothed everyone in Africa. We had a servant that looked after me and he was of a different colour to me so we were colour blind in that aspect. The authorities of the country weren’t. They made sure that the other colour were their servants. We didn’t work like that. My uncle had a farm, he had his workers and they were all paid well, he made schools on the farm for their children and there was a community on the farm in rural areas. Incidentally the farm was Everton farm, it was on Everton Road. His farm was right on the railways so all your crops could go straight into the train, your cattle go straight into the train. He never deviated from where the train line was. We grew up happy. Was it a good way of life? Yes, it was fantastic. Now you go back and the farm that we had, the buildings are destroyed because those people didn't build them, they didn't like them so they just destroyed them.
Africa will always be a dictatorship, whoever is in power will always have to be someone of their tribe, their community, the highest of their tribe. If you look at South Africa, Jacob Zuma is very high up in the Zulu tribe and the Zulus look up to a person who is of a certain distinction. His father was quite high up in the Zulu culture so therefore it had to be given to one of his siblings so that’s why Jacob Zuma is there.
Nelson Mandela is an icon, he fought for the freedom of all blacks so he had the highest accolade, if you go right the way throughout Africa, look at their leaders, their blood line has to come from the top level, irrespective if he was educated or not. Mandela’s father was also a tribe leader.
Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma
Bob Paisley described you as a deep and a caring man
Bob probably saw more in me than my father saw in me. When you go through a war situation and you come out the other side you have to look at life as a full spectrum; people are born into the world. They are never asked to come in here. I was never asked to come in here. I was produced by two people, maybe they wanted the baby, maybe they didn’t and I'm the produce of that. Your upbringing is very important. If you are brought up in a carefree world, with not a care in the world you can grow. if you are brought up in a suppressed world your mind will always wonder what the other side is like. I was brought in a... yes a suppressed but a carefree world. Deep and caring... I care a lot about people's lives.
Why did Bruce become a goalkeeper...
I looked at my father and what he did, he played soccer, he was a goalkeeper and my mother played hockey, a goalkeeper as well. So I didn’t have any option but to become a goalkeeper. My father played for his country for one game in Rhodesia against Malawi.
Vancouver Whitecaps in 1979
Tony Waiters, former England keeper and Liverpool youth team coach from 1969-70 had a great impact on you after you joined Whitecaps in 1978
Tony Waiters was a goalkeeper. His coaching methods are probably the same as all the coaching licenses that you do but he never had a license. He was a goalkeeper that looked at football in another dimension, transformed his brain to go above the field and look at it that way instead of looking from the bench. How did he transform me? He was very hard and made sure I was the fittest person on the field. I did whatever the outfield players did and then afterwards I did my work. He made sure that the goalkeepers were 100 percent as fit as everybody else.
(Image by Arnie) "Max weight 15 tons, what?" - It's easy to get Bruce to clown around...
"I will never forget going to see Bruce Grobbelaar play for the first time. I had an idea that he would become the next Liverpool goalkeeper even before the match had kicked off. He was playing in the Fourth Division for Crewe Alexandra at Doncaster in April 1980. Before the game, he had three of his team mates lined up on the edge of the penalty area firing in shots at him. Bruce was dancing about like a cartoon character stopping every attempt. I turned to Tom Saunders, who was sitting next to me and said, 'We can go, 'I've seen enough'."
- Bob Paisley in his book: "Bob Paisley's personal view of the First Team Squad of 1986-87".
How did your move to Liverpool in 1981 come about?
Bob Paisley didn't rely on only himself. Tom Saunders came to watch the game before, in Portsmouth when we drew 1-1. One player in the game scored both goals, Nicky Dyke. He scored an own goal for them and then for us. He watched that game and I had a pretty good game. Tom went back to Bob Paisley and said: 'Forget about the midfielder I was looking at, have a look at the goalkeeper.' They weren't looking for a goalkeeper. Paisley came there and he watched 15 minutes. Then he left and went to watch Stoke.
That was it. They thought I was a Crewe player, so they didn't bother. Two weeks later they go to Crewe: 'You know the goalkeeper who played...' They said: 'Oh yeah, he's not our player, he's from Vancouver.' They look on the map: 'Oh shit, we have to fly all the way here?' Bob Paisley didn’t like flying. He had to come all the way over to Vancouver. He came over, one question, got on the plane and went back again. He wanted to know my answer. 'Would you like to play for...' 'Yes I’d love to play for Liverpool!' He wanted to go back to the airport. We finished the game at 9.30 but there was a plane going back at 11.30 to Heathrow airport. Otherwise he had to stay overnight and he didn't like that.
"One old man wrote to me regularly. He said that he had been watching top-class football for 32 years and if Tommy Smith had still been captain he would have already broken my legs three times. That was one of the more pleasant letters. I also began to hear the obscenities yelled from certain sections of the crowd and I took them to heart. It hurt that they were from from our own supporters." -
Grobbelaar quote not from this interview
When you arrived some fans weren’t happy with your antics
You get people who liked me and people who didn’t. Most of the people didn’t take to me was because I was an unknown quantity. How can Bob Paisley buy someone from Africa? 'Where has he ever played at a high level?' 'What did Bob Paisley see in this goalkeeper in 15 minutes of a warm up?'
With half of Grobbelaar's debut season gone Paisley took the newcomer aside for a serious talk. "That Boxing Day we lost 3-1 to Manchester City and Bob Paisley pulled me into the bath area in the dressing room and he just said to me: 'How do you think your first six months have gone?' I said: 'It could have been better.' And he said: 'Yes, you're right. If you don't stop all these antics you'll find yourself playing for Crewe again.' -
Grobbelaar quote not from this interview
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Shortly after you joined Ray Clemence said; "The best of luck to Bruce, I'll help him as much as I can, but there is no way I'm going to make it easy for him to take my place. I had to wait two and a half years to get my chance when I came here and I intend to make Bruce wait too."
Yes, Ray wrote that... I remember the interview.. he was very upset with an interview we did before that with Matt D'Arcy. He asked Ray about Bruce Grobbelaar and he said: 'I'd like to teach Bruce for two years like I did.' Matt said: 'Bruce, what about yourself?' I said: 'I'm not here to be sitting on the bench for two years. I'm going to be taking his place as he is getting old.' The next summer he left.
There are three different stories why he left; one because he had a new agenda and a new career, so he just got up and left, one that I told him: 'You better go!' and other one that his babysitter got pregnant, but it wasn't his and that I know for sure. Tom O'Connor was a very well known comedian and his daughter babysat for Ray Clemence. She got pregnant in his house by her boyfriend. She used to call her boyfriend: 'I'm in Ray Clemence's house. Come round.' Ray didn’t do anything wrong at all.
The legendary Elisha Scott who was the most renowned Liverpool keeper of them all.
Including your good self Liverpool have had many great goalkeepers, the first being Elisha Scott…. (I was pleasantly surprised that Bruce clearly knew his LFC history as that is not often the case with former players!)
Elisha Scott was the king in the old days, and he left a legacy for everybody to follow. He was the longest-serving goalkeeper. Then you go to Tommy Lawrence, "The flying pig", you go to Ray Clemence and then myself. In our stretch Elisha Scott played probably two of our stretches, the three goalkeepers.
You come in super confident. Incredibly you play 317 games in a row in in five years from the very beginning in the best team in Europe.
Listen, I was very lucky. We had a goalkeeper called Steve Ogrizovic, "Oggy". When I first went there I played three games for the reserves. And then we got to the final of the European Cup in 1981, Bob Paisley says. 'Here is the team... Clemence...' and he goes through the team: 'and on the bench Grobberleejack’. I'm thinking: 'I've played three games and we're going to the European Cup final.' So, I went and knocked on his door:
'Excuse me, boss,' I said. "I’ve only played three games and you’ve put me on the bench.'
'Don’t you want to play?'
'I'm not going to be playing, Ray Clemence is going to be in goal.'
He says: 'Well, what you wanna do?'
I said: 'Listen, you’ve got Oggy who knows the ropes, put him on the bench and I'll go and sit in the stands.'
'You go then and fucking tell him.'
So, I went to Steve Ogrizovic and say: 'Excuse me Oggy, the boss wants to see you.' He didn't want to go. I said: 'No, the boss wants to see you.' All the other players, I don't know why they do this, every time you go down the corridor they look to see if you're going into the boss' office, everybody runs down the corridor and listens by the door.
Knock, knock, knock...
'Yeah, come in. You? What do you want?'
'Bruce Grobbelaar has told me I'm going to be on the bench...'
'Yeah, you can thank him, don't thank me. He should have been sitting on the bench, not you.'
He says: 'I've been here for 4 years and I have played...'
'Yeah I know that, just thank him, go.'
Out he goes and says to me: 'Bob told me that I have to thank you.'
I said: ' You don't have to thank me, you have been here longer than I have.'
And that was it. He got a European medal.
When Ray Clemence left I come in for pre-season and I played every single game. Oggy is sitting on the bench. Before the Wolves game (the first game of the season) Oggy says to the boss: 'Gaffer, I want to come and see you.' He goes in knocks on the door and everybody runs down. I'm going there as well.
'Yeah, what the hell do you want?'
He says: 'I haven't got one chance to play in the pre-season. I've been here four years and I've got a European medal.'
'Yeah, you’ve got a European medal only because Bruce fucking told you to go and sit on the bench.'
Oggy says: 'I need to play, I need to play every weekend.'
'Yeah, you can play every weekend, just pack your bags because I've just swapped you with another goalkeeper from Shrewsbury Town; Bob Wardle. You can go now.'
Oggy packs his bags and says bye to everybody. The next day there is another chap in his place, Bob Wardle. He lost an eye in training. We were doing a game against the youngsters and he went down to save it and got kicked in the eye and lost his eye. That's why they swapped him for Bob Bolder. "Bob the Rock" came and he was there for two years and never played for the first team.
Ogrizovic was a brilliant keeper and played 600+ games for Coventry...
Maybe I made him a legend at Coventry, he had to go.
"I never did get used to killing other men even if they were hell bent on on doing me as much harm as possible, I still dream about another encounter which happened shortly before the end of my first year while we were supporting a Dad's Army unit (made of 35-55 year-old reservists) when we were fed the information that a dozen terrorists were close at hand. We selected the killing ground and laid our claymore mines in the rocks and then set our two sticks of four in ambush positions. The mines killed the first three and the rest we caught in lethal crossfire. There was just enough moon for me to see the white teeth bared in horrific screams that still ring in my ears when I have those awful dreams. Nightmares really are made of that sort of stuff as my wife and a few footballer roommates will testify having seen me wander around in the middle of the night before a big game. If war teaches you anything it is an appreciation of being alive and I will never apologise for laughing at life and enjoying my football." -
Grobbelaar about his two years in the National service in his autobiography "More Than Somewhat".
Paisley said you punished yourself horribly for mistakes you made as you’re a perfectionist
Yeah, I think that hits the nail on the head. In the early days I used to punish myself. If I let a goal in I was very critical of what I did. If you allow people to see how you are when you let a goal in it gives them license to think: 'We can score again. he's now down.' That's what I had to curb at the beginning. That's the way of life. I came through a war unscathed, a few injuries from shrapnel and things. I came through unscathed and that’s how I wanted to go through my football career, unscathed, not many goals going in. At the age of 16 going into the army and coming out at 19, you see things people of your age don’t and people of the modern age never ever see and I hope they don’t. In a football sense, it doesn’t matter who you are or what colour you are, you play together. You have an objective and my objective was to stop the ball from going in the net. If I let a goal in I was very critical of myself.
You made some spectacular saves as well as spectacular errors... What is the worst mistake you made ... when you thought: for f***'s sake.. I have one in mind.
The one for me was Sheffield Wednesday...
Varadi... the one I had in mind.... on 29 September 1984
Imre Varadi .. there's a story to it... I came out... got the through ball. I remember I tried to pass it to Alan Kennedy with my left foot. Imre Varadi intercepted it, around the corner and into the back of the net. I played for Zimbabwe in Egypt. We drew 1-1 in Egypt in a World cup game. The next game was in Zimbabwe. The Wednesday game was on the Saturday live on TV. I had to get back to Zimbabwe the next day to play in the return leg. I booked a car to take me to Speke airport. I hired a plane to take me to Gatwick airport. Cost me a lot of money. There I was going to jump on an Air Zimbabwe flight to play the next day. I had done this secretly.
On the Friday Joe Fagan comes into the dressing room and says: 'Hey Bruce, who plays in goal for Zimbabwe if you don't play?'
I said: 'His name is Lucky Dube.'
He thinks I am making this up, He comes back in on the Saturday morning before the game and everybody is getting dressed and he says: 'This young chap, Lucky Dube, he plays for Zimbabwe, does he?'
I say: 'Yes, he is my back-up in the national team.' He says: 'Ok' and then he walks out. I have got the car coming straight after the game. That was in my mind. I go ahead and play the game. I made a big fucking error. Imre Varadi scores. I go straight off the field, get showered change, jump straight into the car and off I go to Speke airport. In the plane, flying. I am sitting next to the pilot. This is only a Cessna. Pilot is radioing Gatwick airport. 'This is Charlie Delta number two. What is the status for UM725?' 'Charlie Delta, this is control tower at Gatwick airport. You might as well not even come because UM725 is not taking off. They blew an engine on landing so it is out of commission.' The pilot says to me: What do you want to do?' 'You might as well take me back.'
I get back to Speke, go back to Anfield because I left my keys there. I walk into the players' entrance... As I'm walking into the dressing room Joe Fagan comes up and says: 'Anything to tell me?'
I said: 'What do you mean, boss?'
'Where have you come back from?'
I said I was in the plane. He said: 'Why didn't you ask me this morning? I could have told you that the plane to Zimbabwe is not going to be flying.'
So he knew all along. 'Don't ever do that again, Come to see me first. Have a nice night.'
When I talk to players of this era it seems to come up often that Paisley and Fagan had their way of thinking, cunning. You think you are fooling them but they are always a step ahead of you
Absolutely. Paisley, Fagan and Ronnie Moran were like that. Those three. Those were the ones that...you had to tell them everything.
(Image by Arnie) Bruce stood in goal while my sons took shots at him fulfilling a childhood dream for their father at least!
Did you plan to do the famous spaghetti legs during the penalty shoot out during the European Cup final in Rome 1984?
Fagan said to me before the penalty shootout try to put them off. I didn’t know what I was going to do. In fact, during the first penalty I was thinking to myself what he means by try to put them off. So for the second penalty I tried to do something different and it worked. When I saw Graziani crossing himself four times I tried to do something different, I bit the net, Spaghetti is hard until you put it in water and then it starts to boil and that's what I did, totally spontaneously. I was thinking about running across the goal line before but in my day you had to keep your feet on the floor until the opposition kicked the ball, that was the rule and that’s why I did what I did. I used the interpretation of the law to my advantage and I moved my body instead.
Nevile Southall was envisaged by Dalglish as replacement for Grobbelaar as Southall revealed in his autobiography: "The Binman Chronicles."
"In the late 1980s Dalglish started to call me at home from time to time. I didn’t know him at all...
Later someone told me that Liverpool were prepared to pay £4million for me, which would have doubled the British record fee we had paid for Tony Cottee...
I liked Kenny and still do; he’s a great football man and good fellow. They were just general football conversations really, but the underlying agenda was seemingly to find out if I was interested in joining Liverpool."
Dalglish approached Neville Southall to replace you
Yes, Dalglish liked Neville Southall. Big Nev was the type of goalkeeper that Kenny liked. Kenny played with me... the things I did on the park when he became manager he didn’t like. Everyone wants to change. There was interest in him and there was interest in other goalkeepers when I was playing.
There was long-standing interest in Flowers at Liverpool since he was this wonder kid
Absolutely, had I been 10 years older he could have been a fantastic goalkeeper for Liverpool. I read in the newspapers that Tim Flowers was coming to Anfield so I bought flowers and put them in the net. I said that those were the only flowers coming to Anfield while I'm there. He was playing for Southampton. Graeme Souness was Liverpool boss, but Dalglish bought him for Blackburn.
You didn't feel a real challenge from anybody until the "Lighthouse" as you call him - David James came….
Graeme Souness says to me that he has bought a goalkeeper and that he is coming from Watford. I asked John Barnes: 'What's this youngster like?' He's bit of a character.' I said: 'What do you mean?' He said: 'He moved families about six times.' I said: 'Why?' 'Because he used to punch walls and doors in the middle of the night so they had to change walls and doors. He suffered from night terrors. He had the attributes to be the best goalkeeper in the world... it's off the field you have to look at. He couldn't sit down for an hour or two to have a chat. It will be 15 minutes... off he goes. let's go.His concentration was a key factor at Liverpool. That's why he didn’t last the length that he should have. He should have been after me at Liverpool for about 10-12 years.
You live in Canada now. How did that move come about?
When my wife and myself were in England she got pregnant and we didn’t want to raise a child in England solely because of how the schooling and medical care was in England. We put tokens on a map on a wall where she would like to live in the world and where I would like to live. Then we did five-hours flying time around the place and see if there was land. We looked at Canada from where you can go to all over America in five hours. You can get to the Caribbean and you can even get to Europe where we are in Canada (inside five hours flying time) so we decided to go there. That is where my daughter was born. We were fortunate to get to Newfoundland. It's a rock. We call it the "Rock of Canada". I'm currently Ottawa Fury FC's goalkeeping coach and the boss is the son of my ex-boss; Paul Dalglish. I work in Ottawa, two and a half hours flight away. I got a phone call. My wife said: 'You've got to go. It's a professional team and you've got to take the opportunity', so I went... I don't go to the away games. When they go away from home I can get back home.
What do you think of the current goalkeeper?
I think Mignolet has the potential of being a great goalkeeper but he simply hasn't being taught properly. When they do this maybe things will transpire and go further. For us to have Jürgen Klopp is the best thing that could have happened to Liverpool, if he is allowed to bring in the players he wants then the Kop will be singing again and be joyful again. Liverpool will be winning in the future that’s for sure.
You would probably do a great job as Liverpool's goalkeeping coach
Liverpool got to make their decisions. No one can make their decisions for them. I have never been asked. I can't do anything about it.
The Beginning and aftermath of the match-fixing scandal that unfortunately became a big part of Grobbelaar's life
In 1994 Grobbelaar, Former Wimbledon and Aston Villa striker John Fashanu, former Wimbledon goalkeeper Hans Segers and Malaysian businessman Heng Suan Lim were accused of that between February 1, 1991 and November 9, 1994, they conspired to influence or attempt to influence the outcome of football matches for a Far East betting syndicate. The prosecution claimed Lim and Fashanu acted as middlemen for the syndicate while Grobbelaar and Segers were trying to let in goals on the pitch.
In the ensuing trial former goalkeeper great Bob Wilson was brought to the courtroom and gave his expert opinion on the games Grobbelaar was said to have thrown. He saw videos of games between Newcastle and Liverpool in November 1993, Liverpool and Manchester United in January, 1994, Norwich and Liverpool in February, 1994, Coventry and Southampton in September 1994 and Manchester City and Southampton in November 1994.
The prosecution claimed that after the Newcastle game, which resulted in a 3-0 defeat for Liverpool, Grobbelaar collected £40,000 - an allegation he strongly denied. Wilson concluded that in the Newcastle game Grobbelaar had virtually no chance with the three goals Andy Cole scored and he had made three excellent saves. In the Manchester United game, which resulted in a 3-3 draw, Bruce had made two saves that were of the highest order at any level in the world, which had kept his side in the game. All in all no evidence that Grobbelaar had acted suspiciously on the field.
Grobbelaar was also accused of corruptly accepting £2,000 from his business partner Chris Vincent on November 3, 1994, to influence the outcome of matches. Vincent taped a conversation with Grobbelaar in his Southampton hotel room after Vincent had been paid by the Sun, alleged up to £33,000, to set up a sting operation for Grobbelaar in which he was given £2,000 from a bogus syndicate that Vincent said was prepared to pay Grobbelaar £2,000 every two weeks until he picked a game and if he "dipped in'' on that game he could get "100g's''. Grobbelaar claimed he played along with Vincent and took the money from him to see what he was up to as he had been known to use Grobbelaar's name in all kinds of ventures and intended to expose him to the authorities and the football association after receiving a second payment. However, before that transpired the Sun published their accusations and Bruce was left to explain his actions.
NOVEMBER 1994 - Football world stunned when the Sun publishes allegations that Grobbelaar has taken bribes to fix matches.
JANUARY 1997 - First criminal trial on match fixing charges at Winchester Crown Court. Jury fails to reach a verdict after seven weeks of deliberation.
AUGUST 1997 - Second criminal trial at Winchester. All four defendants are found not guilty of conspiracy to fix matches. After 10-week trial, jury deadlocked on second charge against Grobbelaar alone, of corruptly accepting a £2,000 bribe. Crown decides not to press for third trial and judge enters verdict of not guilty.
JULY 1999 - Grobbelaar wins £85,000 in High Court after suing the Sun for libel over allegations of fixing matches.
JANUARY 2001 - Grobbelaar stripped of £85,000 libel award, unanimously overturning libel jury's verdict.
OCTOBER 2002 - House of Lords reinstates Grobbelaar's libel victory on a technicality - but reduces the award to £1 and he has to pay the News Group Newspapers ltd legal bill of up to £500,000.
How did your life change from 1994 to 2002. You faced up to seven years in jail if found guilty
It was eight years of hell. It was a time that you take stock of what was said about you and you look at it how to go forward. The first thing I did I went and sued the newspaper. It was the 8th of November when the story came out. I sued the Sun newspaper. We made our intentions clear that the story was false.
The Sun ambushed Grobbelaar at Gatwick airport telling him that is was going to run a series of articles on him. After the despicable "The Truth" headline in 1989 after the Hillsborough disaster Grobbelaar wrote a damning article on The Sun in the Daily Express so it could be argued that The Sun had it in for him. Grobbelaar was a player at Southampton at the time and the club was obviously concerned by these allegations.
Alan Ball (Southampton boss) asked me: 'Did you do it? I said: 'No.' Six times he asked me, him and Lawrie McMenemy. 'Ok, you play.' We played against Arsenal. We beat Arsenal 1-0. We played in Blackburn and all the away fans were throwing money at me. I asked a steward behind the goal: 'Can I borrow your cap?' I put the money in the cap, a big pile of money. I gave the cap back to the steward and I said: 'All you stewards you can split it.' He says: 'No, it's my cap.' And he took the cap.
Chris Vincent who had already lost a fortune for Grobbelaar
building a resort for wild African animals
How did I feel? When I went in with my lawyers I said: 'I am not going to answer any questions.' My lawyers said: 'Why?' 'Because I want them to prove that I did this.' They went: 'That is not a very good strategy.' I said: 'If they can prove that I have done this then I will go to jail.' Any question I had was: 'No comment.' 'What's your name?' 'Bruce Grobbelaar.' 'Where are you from?' 'Zimbabwe.' 'Do you know Chris Vincent?' 'No comment.' You've got the evidence. You've got the person who said I was doing this.' You do the work.
In the first trial they said that Vincent who gave them the story was unworthy for the prosecution. That tells you a story straight away. In life you understand money has power. Bankrupt? Yes.I became bankrupt but it wasn't when they said it was. I signed everything away to my former wife to protect the money that I had, to protect the houses. Well before I had that legal bill. I became bankrupt myself but my family didn't. I did that to protect my family so that they had the same they were used to. I had legal aid that was paid by the state.
The reason for I went through the whole of the court case the way that I did is because I never did anything wrong. In the second trial they acquitted all the rest: Fashanu, Segers and Lim. 'You can go now.' I was the only one in the box now because of Count Five with Vincent and myself. The payment.
The judge asked me: 'Can you go to my chambers with my clark and your lawyer and watch that video and tell me who is saying what. On the video you can just hear voices. I said: 'Yes, I will do it.' 'That's me talking, that's Vincent talking.' Then they went to deliberation again. It came out that there were two people against me. There were 12 jurors. One person against you and you would be okay. They were two. The one person that was against me the whole of the trial wore a Manchester United sweater. He made sure that there was one person who was with him for that verdict. The judge turned around and he said: 'I'm going to make a decision here because I have seen the clips. I am going to say Bruce Grobbelaar is innocent of all charges and he is free to go.' I went outside, fantastic. Had I not sued the newspaper I would have been OK.
What does Liverpool Football Club mean to you?
When I signed for Liverpool it was like a dream, I realised my dream because my dream was to play for Liverpool when I was sitting in a bush with three other people and I said to them: 'If I get out of army, I’m going to play for Liverpool Football Club.'
'Piss off,' they said. 'We are going for an ambush now and you could get shot.'
I have been in a fortunate position to play for the best club in the world for 13 years. We won with them, we cried with them and we lived their life with them. Liverpool Football Club will always be in my blood and in my children's blood as well. My bloodline will have Liverpool running through them until someone says no and that is not going to happen. I'm happy that Liverpool is in my veins but I want to see Liverpool win more titles from now on, for my child's sake. She sees Liverpool today...: 'Dad, they are not on the top, are they?' My eldest have seen them on the top, for sure but my youngest not.
Copyright - LFChistory.net. Interview by Arnie ([email protected]
) Thanks to Harry for his assistance and Carl Clemente for transcription.