John Aldridge is one of Liverpool’s greatest ever goalscorers, but he left the club on a “sour” note and has now spoken openly about the events of his departure.
For a player who spent just two and a half years at Liverpool, Aldridge’s name carries remarkable weight among supporters, which is testament to how brilliant he was as a player.
Across the 1987/88 and 1988/89 season, the boyhood Liverpool fan scored 60 goals in 92 appearances, winning the First Division and the FA Cup in those respective campaigns.
Despite his fantastic record, he was sold to Real Sociedad while at the peak of his powers, as Ian Rush took back the No. 9 shirt.
“When Rushie came back – he was a great player, my mate – I was quite happy to fight for my place.”
Dalglish had other ideas, though, as the striker recounted. Kenny said: ‘You’re leaving, you’ve gotta go ‘cos you’ll be sitting on your backside all season.’
“I thought it strange with the two seasons [I’d just had]. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy at all.”
There was one particular incident that put the nail in the coffin of Aldridge’s career.
In the week before the 1989 Community Shield, Liverpool’s first team played the reserves. Aldridge played in the B team for this one and said he “put a right stint in and scored.”
After the match, he was then told he had to play another game that night, against Stafford Rangers, minnows whom the player had faced in his South Liverpool days.
“I couldn’t sleep that night. I was knackered but I couldn’t sleep; I had to go and see Kenny the next day,” Aldridge recalled.
“So, I went in and walked in the office after him and told him a few home truths, which he probably wasn’t happy with.
“I respect the manager but I don’t respect having to play two games as a 30-year-old, and the writing was on the wall then. It was unlike Kenny to do that.”
It is worth remembering that everyone at the club, Dalglish especially it would emerge, was suffering in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
When Aldridge did ultimately depart, he became the first player of non-Basque origin to play for Real Sociedad.
Before that, though, he had an emotional farewell at Anfield, being brought on to score a penalty in Liverpool’s famous 9-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace.
Aldridge revealed: “When I ran off that was one of the most emotional moments of my life.
“I had to lock myself in the toilets and calm myself down a little bit, because I knew it was all over for me, that was it.”
A true Red.