by Amanda Musch

Thanks to growing up with boys – I’ve got five brothers – I started watching football out of boredom as I didn’t want to spend the whole time alone by myself. That was how it all began. I wasn’t even born when he was at his peak with Liverpool but, thanks to the genius invention of video recorders (and my brothers) I was able to relive the unseen action later in life. He is the reason why I became a Liverpool fan, “he” of course being the unstoppable Ian Rush. The legendary Welsh number nine who wrote history at Anfield.

He is my favourite footballer to have ever worn the red shirt. There may have been more skillful Reds like Kenny Dalglish or Robbie Fowler, but I admire Rush not only as a player, but also as a man.

When you think about Ian Rush you first think: moustache. Then you think: goals, dozens and dozens of beautiful goals – 346 to be precise, a Liverpool record.

Though I don’t like him only for the sheer number of goals he scored, but for how he used to score them. Out of nothing he’d turn his body, move quickly to the left or right, slightly stretch his leg and the ball was in the net yet again. Watching Rushie it all looked so simple.

I admire him for his commitment, his love for the beautiful game and for always just being himself. He never tried to act, he never tried to pretend. He always has been just Ian Rush, a simple-lad-from-the-neighborhood type of player. Even during his peak years he stayed modest, kind, and with his feet firmly on the ground.

He should also be revered for his great loyalty to my club. He left Liverpool in 1987 and went to Italy to play for Juventus. It was a massive challenge for him and he struggled to  integrate himself in the dressing room and adapt to Italian football. His time in Turin wasn’t very successful and, after just one season in the land of dolce vita, he returned to Liverpool for £2.7m – a record signing for an English club at the time.

Rush’s second spell for the Reds was hugely exciting and, together with Robbie Fowler, he was part of one of the club’s greatest ever strike partnerships. He kept on scoring and scoring at an unparalleled rate and always celebrated in that endearing manner of his.

After his retirement from professional football Rushie stayed loyal to Liverpool FC and to the fans who loved him, who still love him, and admire him greatly. From a personal standpoint, he is the reason why I’ve got a number “9” tattoo on my arm. Every time I look am reminded of the great history Liverpool has got and about his incredible contribution to this history.

There is only one Ian Rush.

You can read more from Amanda on her blog, My Rubber Soul, and also on Empire of the Kop, where she is a contributor.