Friday’s Forgotten Footballer: Wayne Harrison

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

wayne harrison football

In 1985 Liverpool manager Joe Fagan secured the singing of a highly-rated 17-year-old. Wayne Harrison made the journey from Boundary Park and arrived at Anfield as the most expensive teenager in British footballer history.

Joe Royle, the then Oldham manager, and Fagan discussed the possible transfer of the youngster. When the Reds boss offered £250,000 Royle didn’t hesitate to accept the handsome offer.

Oldham’s protégé was comparable to the modern-day Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott or Adam Johnson. Many predicted that Harrsion was on the road to great things and he had been swiftly snapped up by the European champions.

Harrison would enter a Liverpool dressing room crammed with talent and brimming with domestic and European winners including the likes of Kenny Daglish, Alan Hansen, Greame Souness and Phil Neal.

Fagan allowed the teenager to see out the remainder of the season with Oldham. Harrison then joined Liverpool with a mere five appearances to his name at Boundary Park.

The Heysel disaster had seen Liverpool change managers and Kenny Daglish executed the role of player-manager. Daglish allowed his wonder kid to develop in the second team, as was the tradition at Anfield.

On the verge of making his debut for Liverpool, Harrison endured a horrific accident. He crashed into a green house, losing a lot of blood and sustaining several injuries.

Despite the accident he recovered only to suffer a consistent string of injuries which prevented him from playing regular football for the reserves. Knee injuries, hernias, shoulder injuries – Harrison experienced them all.

He continued to feature in the reserves. On the final day of the 1990 season, playing for the reserves at the age of 22, Harrison collided with a rival player and shattered the cruciate ligaments in his knee.

It prematurely ended his career without ever having made his debut for Liverpool.

Since that fateful day Harrison has dabbled in the rigours of management for a short period at Accrington Stanley. He now works as a driver for a brewery.

It is a sad tale from the analogues of football. It’s worth remembering that for every Wayne Rooney there is invariably a Wanye Harrison — a player’s career can be cut short in a flash.

Not all football dreams come true.

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