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Highs, lows and jelly legs - Bruce Grobbelaar tells all at Shropshire event

By Sue Austin | Ellesmere | Oswestry entertainment | Published:

He is best known for his "jelly legs" antics on the goal line in the penalty shoot out that saw Liverpool beat Roma to lift the European Cup in 1984.

Bruce Grobbelaar regaled his appreciative audience with tales of his life during charity evenings in Shropshire

But Bruce Grobbelaar revealed at a charity event in Shropshirethat it was not his idea, but his manager, Joe Fagin, who told him to put the penalty takers off.

"Graziani came up looking so cocky I did the knee knocking thing in mock terror," the goalkeeper said.

"It worked.

"As we were waiting for the penalties Joe said to me, "don't worry, I don't mind if you can't save a ball from 12 yards". They he told me to do what I had to do to put my opponents off."

Grobbelaar was guest speaker at two events in the county. On Friday he was at Oswestry's Wynnstay hotel at a charity event raising money for Nightingale House Hospice and the Veterans Charity at the Orthopaedic Hospital.

On Saturday he was the star of the show at Criftins Parish Hall, held in aid of the hall itself.

Bruce Grobbelaar at Criftins Village Hall near Ellesmere

"I really enjoy doing these evenings for charity," he said.

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"My first wife's parents ran a village hall in Blagdon near Bristol so I know how hard people have to work to make them a success. The people here have done a great job to get the hall back on its feet again, it looks great."

He regaled his appreciative audience with tales of his life, from growing up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, to his time at Liverpool and beyond.

A talented athlete he could have played cricket, baseball or rugby and still follows all three sports, particularly South African rugby.

"I chose football because it paid me," he joked.

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As well as giving him high points in his life, the European Cup and FA cup wins against rivals Everton, it has also given him some of his lowest.

Forever

He was with Liverpool at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels in 1985 when 39 Juventus fans were killed after a wall collapsed when Liverpool fans breached a fence separating the supporters.

Then he witnessed the terrible tragedy at Hillsborough which saw 96 Liverpool fans die.

"I will never, ever forget those days, and those who lost their lives will be with me forever."

Grobbelaar is still very proud of his Zimbabwean routes and he says playing in goal for his country was among his proudest achievements.

"I spoke at a charity event in Durban in November last year for the Toys for Kids charity when 2,000 toys were donated to ensure children had presents for Christmas."

He still has connections with Anfield as a weekend ambassador for Liverpool.

"Liverpool fans are the best fans in the world," he said.

"They are quick witted, they like a laugh and a joke and they know their football.

"And if you are not trying, they are not scared of letting you know."

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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