Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
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Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Rush: Ian James (Ian)

1996-1997 (Player Details)

Centre Forward

Born: St Asaph Wales: 20-10-1961

Debut v Derby County (a): 17-08-1996

6’0” 12st 6lb (2000)

After leaving St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint in 1978, Rush began his career with Third Division Chester City. After impressing in the youth ranks, he went on to play thirty-four League games and score fourteen goals after making his debut in April 1979. He played in midfield on his debut, but established himself as a potent centre forward the following season. After the sale of regular centre-forward Ian Edwards to Wrexham he became a regular and a couple of months later Rush's reputation was enhanced by scoring for Chester in a shock 2-0 FA Cup Third Round win at Newcastle United in January 1980, with Chester equalling their best run by reaching the last sixteen where they narrowly lost to Ipswich Town. His final game for Chester was a 2-1 win over Southend United at Sealand Road on 26th April 1980, in which he did not score. Despite interest from Manchester City, and in spite of Rush being a boyhood Everton fanatic, Liverpool had won the race to sign the eighteen-year old. Manager Bob Paisley paid a record fee for a teenager of £300,000. It remains Chester's record sale even twenty-eight years later. Rush was managed throughout his time at Chester by Alan Oakes, although much of the credit for his development is given to youth manager Cliff Sear. Nearly twenty years later, Rush and Sear worked together on the coaching staff at Wrexham. Rush had actually made his international debut, in May 1980, just before he officially became a Liverpool player. Rush was used sporadically during his first season at the club as Liverpool had a policy of bringing in young talent and playing them in the reserves to learn 'the Liverpool way'. Rush was treated no differently and had to serve his apprenticeship as a squad member rather than being thrown into the first team. This learning period was hard and not at all 'Rush-like', as the goals didn't flow, almost leading to the eager youngster leaving Anfield in the search of regular first-team football. But after a talk with the very shrewd Paisley, who told him to "be more selfish in front of goal", Rush decided to stay and fight for a place. Rush's first goal for the club took time to arrive, but it eventually came on the 30th September 1981 during an Eurpean Cup First Round Second Leg tie at Anfield against Oulun Palloseura. Liverpool had already won the Away Leg 1-0, and the Second Leg proved to be a formality as they trounced the Finnish team 7-0, Rush scoring in the sixty-seventh minute after coming on three minutes earlier for David Johnson. He ended the season as the club's top scorer, netting thirty times in just forty-nine appearances in all competitions. Seventeen of these goals came in the League as he helped the Reds reclaim the League Championship from holders Aston Villa. He was voted PFA ‘Young Player of the Year’ in 1983 after inspiring Liverpool to glory in the League championship and League Cup. He scored twenty-four League goals as the Reds finished eleven points clear of runners-up Watford and were virtually uncontested in the title chase in the later part of the season. The League Cup was added through a 2-1 win over bitter rivals Manchester United after extra time at Wembley. He was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1984 as Liverpool retained both the League and the League Cup and won the European Cup to complete a unique treble that season. It was no surprise that Rush also added the Football Writers’ ‘Footballer of the Year’ to the PFA award he had already claimed. He won Europe's Golden Shoe for scoring forty-seven goals, more than anybody else on the continent, in sixty-five games, as Liverpool finished three points clear of closest rivals Southampton in the League, beat ‘derby’ rivals Everton 1-0 in the replayed final of the League Cup, after a 0-0 draw in the first ever all-Merseyside final, and won their fourth European Cup by defeating AS Roma 4-2 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw after extra time. The 1984-85 season was Liverpool's first trophyless season in ten years, although they did reach their fifth European Cup final against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium, Brussels in Belgium. This final was to end in disaster as, before the match kicked off, rioting football hooligans caused a retaining wall to collapse, killing thirty-nine Juventus supporters. The game was surprisingly required to be played in spite of this terrible tragedy. The game, with both teams not totally committed or fully caring about the result, ended in a 1-0 win for Juventus. Liverpool were beaten to the title by neighbours Everton, who were crowned champions with four matches to spare. The 1985-86 campaign was much better for the Reds and Rush. He scored twice as Liverpool beat Southampton 2-0 in the FA Cup Semi-Final at White Hart Lane, booking a place at Wembley to face neighbours Everton in the first all-Merseyside FA Cup Final. The Reds had just pipped their city rivals to the League title by beating Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, so the already monumental final was doubly important for both sides. If the Reds won, it would make them the fifth team to have won the double. If Everton won, not only would they stop their arch rivals from completing the double but also win the major trophy that their football had, in many eyes, deserved. The Blues scored first through Gary Lineker and held the lead until half-time as Liverpool struggled to find their usual rhythm. But after the half-time team-talk by the now player/manager, Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool looked a different side in the second half. With Rush leading the line brilliantly, they drew level in the fifty-seventh minute when he latched onto a defence splitting pass from Jan Molby to round Everton goalkeeper Bobby Mimms and slot the ball into an empty net. Six minutes later, Molby was again at the heart of another attack and drilled a perfect cross for Craig Johnston to score. Liverpool were now 2-1 up, but the game was in the balance until the eighty-fourth minute. Dalglish made a run across Whelan’s path into space, but Whelan used it as a dummy and clipped an exquisite ball over three Everton defenders into the path of Rush who, from the angle of the six-yard area, thumped the ball past Mimms, knocking over a camera in the process. Liverpool held on to win 3-1 and completed the first League-FA Cup double in the club's history. Rush added the Man of the Match award to his winner's medal. Not only was Rush becoming one of Liverpool's all-time greats, but after making his International debut for wales in a 0-1 loss to Scotland at Hampden Park on 21st May 1980 he had also made himself indispensible as the main striker fror his country. After scoring his first goal in a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland at Wrexham on 27th May 1982 he went on to score in each of the next four games and by the time he had made his move to Italy he had scored fourteen times in thirty-two games in the Red shirt of Wales. Rush had decided early in the 1986-87 season that he would be leaving Anfield, and on 1st July 1987, he was transferred for £3 million to the Italian giants, Juventus. The move was seen by many as a deal to help the healing process after Heysel and to re-open friendly links between the clubs. However it was viewed, it was a new challenge for Rush, who would have the task of unlocking the much tighter defences in the Serie A. Unfortunately, his time at Juventus was less than successful, as he scored only seven times in twenty-nine games. "The Ghost" only spent one season with Juventus, but returned a better all-round player. He struggled to find a way through the deep-lying Italian defences and, unlike fellow Welsh football legend John Charles, did not settle easily into the Italian way of life. He allegedly used to request food parcels of baked beans to remind him of home. He would also spend the rest of his life kicking himself for delivering the unforgettable quote that he found Italy “just like a foreign country.” While in Turin he had continued as the main Welsh spearhead at international level scoring twice in six games in that time which was finalised as he scored the only goal of the game as Wales defeated Italy in Brecia on 4th June 1988 and he had been captain of Wales in that game and the previous one against Malta. Nonetheless, despite his relative drought while in Italy, the goals started flowing again on his return to Liverpool and Rush enjoyed a further eight years of headline making. He returned to Anfield, rejoining Liverpool for £2.7 million on 18th August 1988, a record signing for an English club at the time, which remained unbroken for three years. The news of Rush's imminent return was given to Liverpool fans before they journeyed south to London for yet another Charity Shield match. Before the game started, they were in full voice. However, this time they had a new song: "Rushie is back, Rushie is back". Although the Liverpool team of 1987-88 had played some outstanding football, such was Rush's stature with the Liverpool fans, they were pleased to see him return to the club. Rush had serious competition for the striking berth alongside Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge, who came to Anfield as a replacement for Rush. It was deemed that the pair were too similar in style to be able to play together. Aldridge started the season in front of Rush and consistently scored goals, thus keeping the Welshman on the bench. As the season progressed, Rush came into some form. Rush had again scored twice against Everton in a thrilling 3-2 win in the 1989 FA Cup final. He came off the bench to replace Aldridge, who had opened the scoring for Liverpool in the fourth minute of the game. The sides were locked at 1-1 after ninety minutes, but Rush put the Reds ahead in the fourth minute of extra time. Everton midfielder, Leeds-born, Stuart McCall then scored his, and the Toffees', second equaliser, but Rush came up with the goods once more with an incisive finish in the one hundred and third minute to win the Cup for Liverpool. The 1989 FA Cup final carried even greater significance because of the events of 15th April 1989. In the semi-final, Liverpool had been drawn against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough. However, the game was brought to an abrupt end at 3.06pm due to the unfolding disaster. Ninety-six Liverpool fans were killed in what was to be a life-changing experience for everyone involved. The players and staff of Liverpool Football Club, including Rush, were commended for their exemplary behaviour during the darkest days in the club's history. Everton fans were immensely supportive of their neighbours during this bleak period and the fact that Liverpool would meet their side in the Wembley final made for the perfect match. The fans once again stood side by side in their blue and red colours and did the city and people of Liverpool proud, as did the players and officials of both clubs.The 1989/90 season saw Rush win another League title, his fifth and last, as Liverpool finished nine points clear of Aston Villa, with Rush scoring eighteen times in thirty-six games. However, another bid for the League-FA Cup double failed as the Reds suffered a shock FA Cup semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace, even though Rush had given the Reds a fourteenth-minute lead.In 1992, he picked up a third FA Cup Winners' medal, scoring Liverpool's second goal, in the sixty-seventh minute, in the 2-0 win against Sunderland at Wembley. In the League, injuries restricted him to just eighteen League games and three goals that season. However, his third goal came in a crucial 2-0 home win over Manchester United on 26th April 1992, which denied their arch-rivals the championship, the title going instead to Leeds United. The greatest goalscorer in Liverpool's history, Ian Rush broke Roger Hunt's record by scoring his two hundred and eighty-seventh goal against Manchester United on 18th October 1992 and it is hard to see anyone catching up with him in the future. Souness made him captain in the 1993-94 season and he became mentor to Robbie Fowler. Rush picked up his fifth League Cup winners medal in 1995, when two goals from Steve McManaman ended Bolton Wanderers’ dreams of a shock result, Liverpool running out 2-1 winners. His long association with the Reds ended with a substitute appearance in the 1996 FA Cup final against Manchester United. In a hugely disappointing game lost 0-1, but he had earlier that season on 6th January 1996 scored his forty-second goal in the FA Cup, breaking one more record. For the record his time at Liverpool had been littered with trophies and medals. In his two spells at Anfield in four hundred and seventy-one League games, including twenty-two from the bench, he scored two hundred and twenty-nine goals. In the FA Cup he scored forty-four goals in sixty-five games, eight being as a substitute. In the League Cup he scored forty-eight times in seventy seven appearances. In European Competition he scored nineteen times in thirty five starts and another two from the bench. In other games such as the Charity Shield, Super Cups and recognised competitions he played a further fifteen games scoring ten times. In a large house on the Wirrall, a trophy cabinet groans under the weight of its glittering contents. They tell the story of a player who broke all goal-scoring records in the FA Cup, matched Geoff Hurst’s record in the League Cup, won five Championship medals, in 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86, 1987-88 and 1989-90, three FA Cup Winners’ medals in 1985-86, 1988-89 and 1989-90, five League Cup Winners’ medals in 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84 and 1994-95, two European Cup Winners’ medals in 1980-81 and 1983-84 and a Golden Boot. After representing Wales as a schoolboy and twice at Under-Twenty-one level, a measure of his ability is his scoring prowess for Wales. A record twenty-eight goals in seventy-three appearances, none more memorable than his truly heroic winner against the mighty West Germany in a 1991 European Championship Qualifying match at Cardiff. After such an illustrious career he was given a free transfer by Liverpool and allowed to negotiate his own terms with Leeds United, who he joined on 20th May 1996. There were high expectations of the almost thirty-five year-old from the Leeds fans. Unfortunately they were to be sadly disappointed as was Rush. Howard Wilkinson, who had signed him, was quickly given the sack after Leeds got off to a dismal start. His successor, George Graham, in turning round Leeds fortunes employed tactics totally unsuited to Rush’s game and his form suffered accordingly and soon he found himself playing in midfield rather than in his striking role. Rush spent a season with the Leeds but scored just three times in thirty-six Premiership games and was given a free transfer at the end of the 1996-97 season as Graham showed he did not figure in his plans by allotting him and other players, Tomas Brolin, Tony Yeboah and Tony Dorigo, non-essential to Graham’s plans for Leeds shirt numbers in the high thirties and left them to train with the juniors. It was a sad and disappointing end to his Leeds Career for when he had joined them he had high hopes of it being a bridge to coaching and management. Prior to signing the contract with Leeds he had had offers from Manchester City and Sunderland. But in discussions with Leeds, the subject of replacing Howard Wilkinson as manager came up. He was told that Wilkinson would groom him for a couple of years, and then stand aside. Rush liked the sound of that. In his biography he commented “What made the offer so appealing was that I would understudy Howard with a view to succeeding him as manager within two to three years.” “My aim was to work towards gaining the UEFA Pro Licence. I felt I’d learn a lot under Howard who was widely respected throughout the game. For me, his greatest achievement was the youth policy he instigated at Elland Road.” Unfortunately for Rush, within months of his move from Merseyside to Yorkshire, Wilkinson was sacked. Leeds appointed George Graham who, with due respect to Rush, was not about to school a potential replacement. Nor was he inclined to use tactics or formations which centred around the striker or played to his strengths. Rush's record as a goalscorer spoke for itself and he expected Graham to appreciate that but United’s boss was his own man and asked Rush to run the right side of midfield. “It quickly became apparent that I didn’t figure in his plans,” Rush said. “He took me to one side soon after taking over and asked me to do him a favour. Would I play wide on the right in midfield? Just for one match. He was asking me to play out of position but I felt a responsibility to the team and the club. I was skipper at the time and it was only for one match. Four months later I was still playing wide on the right and still not scoring the goals I was signed for.” Three goals in forty-two appearances ruined his goalscoring reputation. Rush and other senior players were eventually made to train with United’s juniors as Graham began to restructure his squad. Tony Yeboah became an outcast too. One Thursday night, Rush turned out for United’s reserves in a game against Halifax Town at The Shay. The following day after a phone call from Kenny Dalglish, a transfer to Newcastle United materialised, much to his surprise. “I hoped for a break and here it is,” he said after bailing out of Elland Road with haste. “This is a great chance to show I can still look sharp and score goals in the Premiership.” Newcastle did not see that side of him either. Unsurprisingly, he joined Newcastle United on a one-year contract but lost his place in the side after Christmas, when Alan Shearer returned from a long-term injury. He failed to score in ten League games, four of which were as a substitute, however, Rush did score an important goal in a 1-0 win over Everton in the Third Round of the FA Cup, his forty-third in the competition, a Twentieth Century record. He had a loan spell with Sheffield United later in the season, not scoring in four League games, before leaving St James's Park in the summer of 1998 to sign, amid much fanfare, for Wrexham. The thirty-seven-year-old Rush failed to score in seventeen Division Two games, of which five were from the bench, for the North Wales club, and was moved into midfield towards the end of the season. He made a brief playing comeback with Sydney Olympic in Australia, scoring once in two appearances, before finally retiring, aged thirty-eight, in 2000. After working as a part-time striker's coach for Liverpool under Gerard Houllier in 2003, he was appointed manager of his first professional club, Chester City, by this time in League Two, in August 2004. Chester had made a dreadful start to their first season back in the Football League but Rush and assistant manager, former Leeds captain, Mark Aizlewood enjoyed a good start to their time at the helm. After losing 3-1 at Boston United in their first game in charge, they strung together a two month unbeaten run and led the club to the FA Cup Third Round. Rush seemed to be answering his critics, who doubted whether his tactical and coaching abilities could match his striking history. But after Rush loyally ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Welsh manager's job on 1st November 2004, things never seemed to go as well. Several heavy defeats were inflicted and Rush was criticised for the physical and long-ball tactics his managerial team opted to use. Despite pressure from the Chester chairman, Rush refused to resign after a humiliating 5-0 loss to neighbours Shrewsbury Town in February 2005. But when Vaughan sacked Aizlewood in April, Rush resigned on principle with Chester safe from relegation. Rush was interviewed for the Peterborough United manager's job shortly after this, but lost out to his predecessor as Chester manager and former Liverpool team-mate Mark Wright. In 2005, at the age of forty-three, Ian Rush considered coming out of retirement to play for TNS, after the Welsh side were drawn against Liverpool for their opening round ECL qualifying match, but later decided against this. From November 2005, Ian Rush became involved in media work within the game, including a stint as an analyst with ESPN. He also appeared as a pundit and reporter for Sky Sports. Rush was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2006 due to his achievements in the game. On 7th September 2007 it was announced that Rush had been appointed Elite Performance Director for the Welsh Football Trust, a part-time role in which he will help develop the next generation of players for Wales' national teams. Rush released his autobiography on 21st August 2008. On 26th April 2010, Rush returned to work with Liverpool FC, becoming the Club's new Soccer Schools Ambassador working with the Club's commercial team to help develop and support partnerships with other global sponsors and brands.

League 34/23
F.A. Cup 2/20
League Cup 20