16 Apr 2014
Liam Brady – The Gentleman
This article has been written by Stelvio Mazziotti. Stelvio is Italian and hails from Napoli. He attended a FA Level 2 Course I tutored on in Kent and is passionate about football, coaching and all things Italian, particularly Italian football and Juventus in particular. Stelvio has kindly offered to write some articles for the blog, starting with famous British players who made an impact on Italian football.
Liam Brady started his career at Arsenal, moving to London in 1971, at the age of 15. He turned professional on his 17th birthday in 1973, and made his debut on 6 October 1973 against Birmingham City. In 1974–75 Brady was a first-team regular at Arsenal, and shone as a rare light in a side that hovered close to relegation for a couple of seasons in the mid-1970s. With the appointment of Terry Neill as manager and the return of Don Howe as coach, Brady found his best form. His passing provided the ammunition for Arsenal’s front men such as Malcolm Macdonald and Frank Stapleton, and Arsenal reached three FA Cup finals in a row between 1978 and 1980. Arsenal won only the middle of the three, against Manchester United in the 1979 final, with Brady starting the move that ended in Alan Sunderland‘s famous last-minute winner. Despite this, by the 1979–80 season rumour was rife that Brady would be leaving the club in search of a fresh challenge. That season, Arsenal reached the Cup Winners’ Cup final (lost against Valencia on penalties), having beaten Juventus 2–1 over two legs in the semi-finals. Brady’s performance in the tie impressed the Italian giants and in the 1980 close season they signed him for just over £500,000. He is remembered as one of Arsenal’s all-time greats, playing 307 matches for the Gunners, scoring 59 goals and setting up many more. Brady spent two seasons with Juventus, picking up two Italian Championship titles (Serie A), in 1981 and 1982, with a total of 76 matches and 15 goals. He scored two beautiful goals in two exciting match against Turin(the derby), in few words he did all the necessary to be loved by the italian fans. Moreover Brady scored the only goal (a penalty) in the 1–0 win against Catanzaro that gave the 1982 title to Juventus in the last match of the season. That penalty left a great remember in the black&white supporters because everyone knew that Brady was at the last match with Juventus. Few months before Juventus reached the agreement with Platini and Boniek for the new season, Boniperti was really sad about that and it was very difficult for him to find the right words to say goodbye to Liam, but the owner of Juventus Gianni Agnelli decided to sign Paltini with the hope to win his obsession : “The Champions Legue”. After the arrival of Michel Platini in summer 1982, Brady moved to Sampdoria where he played two years. Then he moved again to Internazionale (1984–1986) with 97 appearences and 16 goals, memorables were the two UEFA Cup semifinals lost against Real Madrid despite his good performances in those matches. Brady finished his adventure in Italy playing with Ascoli (1986–1987), before returning to London in March 1987, for a transfer fee of £100,000, to play for West Ham United, where he scored 10 goals in 119 games in all competitions.