Irish Footballers that Played for Liverpool – Jim Beglin
Jim Beglin – Introduction
Jim Beglin was born in Waterford, Ireland on 29 July 1963. He began his playing career with Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland. His performances at fullback for Rovers drew the attention of some of England’s top clubs and despite entreaties from Arsenal Jim Beglin signed for Liverpool in May 1983 following a brief loan period. Beglin has the distinction of being the last ever signing by the great Bob Paisley for the Merseyside club. Liverpool paid Shamrock Rovers a transfer fee of £20,000 for the fullback’s services.
Jim Beglin & Liverpool
Jim Beglin made his Liverpool debut on 10 November 1984 against Southampton. It was a First Division match at Anfield Road that ended in a 1-1 draw. He did not make another start until the beginning of April 1985 but from then he was a regular starter for the club. In that breakthrough season Beglin made 15 appearances for Liverpool including in both of the European Cup semi final matches and the ill-fated final against Juventus at Heysel Stadium.
Jim Beglin scored his first goal for Liverpool on 10 April 1985 in the first leg of the European Cup semi final against Greek side Panathinaikos. It was a bullet header from a corner. He scored his first League goal in a 0-3 win at Upton Park over West Ham United in May 1985.
Unfortunately for Beglin the 1984/85 season was a rarity in the 80’s Liverpool as the club won no silverware that year. He had a consolation in that he had established himself in the Liverpool first team.
During the 1985/86 season Jim Beglin made 53 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions as the club reclaimed the First Division title back from their Merseyside neighbours Everton. Beglin and Liverpool had the added satisfaction of completing the League and Cup double by also beating the Toffees 3-1 in the Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Leg Break Ends Beglin’s Football Career
On one hand Jim Beglin has fond memories of Everton in that the club were runners-up to Liverpool in the League and the Cup as Beglin collected the first major silverware of his football career. However his experience against Everton in the following season must give him cause for huge regret. He began the 1986/87 season firmly ensconced as Liverpool’s left back and had started 29 matches. On 21 January 1987 Liverpool travelled to Goodison Park to play Everton in the 5th round of the League Cup. After 26 minutes Jim Beglin shipped a heavy tackle from Everton’s Gary Steven. Beglin’s leg was broken so badly that it effectively ended his football career. The player described the injury as follows: “I knew it was bad. The play seemed to carry on for eternity for me, but it was probably just a few seconds. I looked down and I couldn’t believe where my foot was, but I knew it was where it shouldn’t be, adjacent to my shin. The pain was a nightmare.”
Legendary Liverpool manager Bob Paisley described it thus: “The injury he suffered … was as ill timed, as it was painful. It was painful to look at, never mind to experience. I’ve seen one or two broken legs in going on fifty years in the game, but not one made me really wince, Jim’s did.”
Jim Beglin left Liverpool to join Leeds United in June 1989 and while he did manage to play for the Elland Road outfit on 19 occasions he was never the same player as he had been for the Reds. Beglin was forced to quit football in 1992: “My right knee was like a time bomb waiting to explode and eventually it did.”
It was a tragic end to a short but highly promising career for the young Irish fullback. His Liverpool and international colleague Mark Lawrenson paid the following tribute to the Waterford man: “Jim’s career was cut short by a dreadful injury sustained at Everton in a Derby match. He was an outstanding prospect. I remember him coming from Waterford. He was one of those players with a massive heart and massive will-to-win. He was so determined to make it in the big time. An outstanding left-back, good defensively with great positional sense and a sweet left foot.”
Jim Beglin – Ireland Career
Jim Beglin made his debut for Ireland on 3 June 1984 in a 1-0 win against China in Sapparo, Japan. It was a mini tournament and Eoin Hand was the Republic of Ireland manager at the time. Because of his leg break Beglin only managed 15 appearances for his country. His first competitive match for Ireland was a 1986 World Cup qualifier against Denmark in November 1984. The Irish were thrashed 3-0. The Irish team was going through a poor patch and in he was on the winning side just twice out of the 15 appearances. Beglin never managed to score for his country. His last match for Ireland was on 12 November 1986 against Poland in the Legia Stadium.
Jim Beglin is currently a respected TV football pundit on RTE television.
Jim Beglin – Liverpool & Republic of Ireland Statistics
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Mark Lawrenson – Jason McAteer – Ernest McCappin – Billy McDevitt – David McMullan – Billy Millar
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