LIAM BRADY SIGNED WITH STYLO MATCHMAKERS IN 1975/1979. THE YOUNG TALENTED IRISH PLAYMAKER WOULD BECOME A LEGENDAND RECIVED THE PFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN 1979 FOR ARSENAL.
Brady started his career atArsenal, moving to London to join the side on schoolboy forms in 1971, at the age of 15. He turned professional on his 17th birthday in 1973, and made his debut on 6 October 1973 againstBirmingham Cityas a substitute forJeff Blockley, and put in an assured performance. However his next match, in aNorth London derbyagainstTottenham Hotspur, Brady had a poor match, and Arsenal managerBertie Meedecided from then on to use the young Irishman sparingly for the time being. Brady ended the1973–74season with 13 appearances (four of them as substitute) to his name.
In1974–75Brady was a first-team regular at Arsenal, and shone as a rare light in a side that hovered close to relegation for a couple of seasons in the mid-1970s. With the appointment ofTerry Neillas manager and the return ofDon Howeas coach, Brady found his best form. His passing provided the ammunition for Arsenal’s front men such asMalcolm MacdonaldandFrank Stapleton, and Arsenal reached threeFA Cupfinals in a row between 1978 and 1980. Arsenal won only the middle of the three, againstManchester Unitedin the1979 final, with Brady starting the move that ended inAlan Sunderland’s famous last-minute winner.
Brady was at the peak of his Arsenal form by now, as shown by one of his best goals for Arsenal; having dispossessedPeter Taylorhe flighted a looped curled shot from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner, in a 5–0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on 23 December 1978. During this time he was voted the club’s player of the year three times, and chosen as thePFA Players’ Player of the Yearin 1979. Being from the Ireland, he was the first foreign player to win the award.
He was the most talented player in what was then a promising young Arsenal side, which was looking to consistently challenge for honours such as theDivision Onetitle. Despite this, by the1979–80season rumour was rife that Brady would be leaving the club in search of a fresh challenge.
That season, Arsenal reached theCup Winners’ Cupfinal (losing toValenciaonpenalties), having beatenJuventus2–1 over two legs in the semi-finals. Brady’s performance in the tie impressed the Italian giants and in the 1980 close season they signed him for just over £500,000, becoming the first foreign player to sign for the club since the Italian borders were re-opened for foreign transfers in 1980. He is remembered as one of Arsenal’s all-time greats, playing 307 matches for the Gunners, scoring 59 goals and setting up many more.
Brady spent two seasons with Juventus, wearing thenumber 10 shirt, and picking up twoItalian Championshipmedals, in 1981 and 1982; Brady scored the only goal (apenalty) in the 1–0 win againstCatanzarothat won the 1982 title. After the arrival ofMichel Platiniin summer 1982, Brady moved toSampdoria, and went on to play forInternazionale(1984–1986) andAscoli(1986–1987), before returning to London in March 1987, for a transfer fee of £100,000, to play forWest Ham United, where he scored 10 goals in 119 games in all competitions. He was a member of the side relegated from the First Division in 1989 and played one season in the Second Division before finally retiring as a player in 1990.His last game came on 5 May 1990, a 4–0 home win againstWolverhampton Wanderers, a game in which he scored.
Brady made his debut for Ireland on 30 October 1974, in a 3–0 win against theSoviet UnionatDalymount Parkin aEuropean Championshipqualifier.Brady has claimed his favourite international goal was that against Brazil in 1987.
Due to a suspension accrued beforeEuro 88he was not eligible to play within the tournament.During qualification forItalia 90Brady retired from the international game. As Ireland got to the World Cup he declared himself available to play once again. However,Jack Charltonwent on to declare that only those who played in the qualifiers would make the trip to Italy. He won 72 international caps for theRepublic of Irelandwith 70 within the starting line-up, scoring 9 goals.
Brady was a talentedoffensivemidfielderrenowned for his left foot and elegant technical skills such as his high-quality passing, vision, and close control, which made him an excellentplaymaker. He combined these abilities with significant tenacity, an eye for goal from midfield, and accurate penalty-taking. In addition to his footballing ability, Brady also stood out throughout his career for his professionalism. He found success both in England withArsenal, where he won anFA Cupin 1979, and in Italy withJuventus, winning twoSerie Atitles. Brady was altogether capped 72 times for the Irish national football team. Brady went on to manage two clubs –Celticand thenBrighton and Hove Albion– together with being the assistant manager of Ireland’s national football team.