On this day 11th November, 1970, Liverpool completed the signing of striker John Toshack. He signed for a club record fee at the time of £110,000 from his hometown club, Cardiff City.
It is incredible to think isn’t it what £110,000 gets you nowadays. I realise it’s all relative, but those days don’t seem all that long ago. Scary isn’t it!! Today, for £110,000 you will get the services of an above average player….for a week!! Yes, for one week only.
When we signed ‘Tosh’ in 1970 little did we know of the impact he would have on the club. In all Toshack stayed for 8 years, winning 8 major trophies in the process.
On This Day 11th November
His most prolific spell at the club came after Kevin Keegan arrived. The pair, playing as a strike pair ably assisted and supported by winger Steve Heighway, struck up an almost telepathic understanding.
In fact, their telepathic powers were put to the test. Such was the rapport struck up by Toshack and Keegan that Granada TV decided to put this to the test.
The two sat opposite each other and one would hold up a card with a symbol on it that the other could not see. Incredibly, they were able to telepathically send a message to the other. On each occasion they correctly identified the symbol.
So the test proved that they were telepathic. Well, not exactly. It was in fact an elaborate and hilarious hoax performed using cleverly placed mirrors! However, this spoof video did nothing to dampen the idea that Toshack and Keegan were somehow in tune to each other’s thoughts on the football pitch.
Big Man Small Man
Toshack and Keegan were the epitome of the perfect dynamic duo, the “big man – small man” act and their potency was a demonstration of their relationship. In that era, most if not all, top teams had a “big man – small man” combination. It is hard to think of a team that did not have a striker with a commanding aerial presence, like Toshack. There was Ron Davies at Southampton, Wyn Davies at Newcastle, Derek Dougan at Wolves, Joe Royle at Everton and Jeff Astle at West Brom to name just a few.
Huge Fee For Toshack
Fans were amazed at the fee Liverpool paid for Toshack. It was a huge amount of money in those days. The size of the fee was soon forgotten however as he was to cement himself as an instant Kop hero with his first goal for the Reds in his second game.
It came in an epic Merseyside Derby at Anfield. With Everton seemingly coasting at 2-0 up, Steve Heighway pulled one back to make it 1-2. It was Toshack’s equaliser however that revitalised and energised Liverpool. We went on to grab the winner through Chris Lawler, but the big Welshman was widely credited for turning the game around.
I never get tired at watching the highlights of this epic Derby. A great short video clip that still gives me goosebumps. Seems like only yesterday.
You can see the goals here…..
Also, you should really watch this great tribute to ‘Tosh’ here…..in it you will see a snippet of the “Telepathy Test”
He was incredible in the air, but that wasn’t all he was. He was also very good on the floor as you will see in this video.
What Price Today?
Because of his all round abilities, his value today would probably be through the roof. No disrespect to Andy Carroll but ‘Tosh’ was every bit as good as him in the air but consequently, probably much better on the floor. We paid as much as £35m for Carroll and West Ham about £18m. So, what price ‘Tosh’
Since Leaving Liverpool
If you want to see a full bio of Toshack’s life and career, see this link HERE.
In conclusion, Toshack turned out to be a fantastic signing for Liverpool. Furthermore, he went on to become a great manager for a variety of clubs. And some great clubs at that. Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and St Etienne to name just three. It was often suggested that Toshack should have been approached to be Liverpool boss. Why that never happened we’ll never know. Maybe he wasn’t asked, or maybe he wanted his legacy to remain as it was.
Either way, thanks for the great memories ‘Tosh’
On this day 11th November will be remembered as the day we signed a Liverpool legend.