Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Special Strike from a Magpies Hero

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Special Strike from a Magpies Hero

Article excerpt

FOR Newcastle United fans who recall THAT free-kick at Roker Park in October 1992, it's a goal which will long live in the memory.

The scorer, of course, was Liam O'Brien who celebrates his 51st birthday today.

His sublime strike past the flailing, despairing figure of Sunderland goalkeeper Tim Carter secured a richly-deserved 2-1 victory - and the Magpies' first on Wearside since 1956.

It was a win - the eleventh on the bounce since the start of the season - which put Kevin Keegan's team well on the way to a glorious return to top flight.

With 33 points on the board by mid-October, United never looked back as they stormed to the secondtier title.

But Dublin-born O'Brien was a player who experienced the best of times and the worst of times at St James' Park.

Arriving from the periphery of Alex Ferguson's Manchester United squad for PS300,000 in November 1988, Liam found himself in the midst of a desperate relegation battle.

His debut came in a 4-0 defeat at Millwall (who were in the top flight at the time) in a season which would ultimately see the Magpies tumble into Division 2. As for the player - tall, languid, a good passer and owner of a ferocious shot - his career at Old Trafford had never really taken off after his arrival from Shamrock Rovers.

His 37 appearances between 1986 and 1988 even included being sent off against Southampton after just 87 seconds...(Aleksandar Mitrovic take note!) Suffering two major injuries, his early career at Gallowgate was also a stop-start affair until the managerial arrivals of Ossie Ardiles and, later, Kevin Keegan. …

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