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typical case

Jimmy Case

James Robert Case (born May 18 1954 in Liverpool, England) was a football player who shot to fame with the all-conquering Liverpool side of the 1970s and became known as a player with one of the hardest shots in the game.

Early life

Case was brought up in Allerton and was a distant neighbour of musician Paul McCartney on the council estate which had been built in the interwar years. He was a keen member of the local scouts. As a young teenager he was quite small for his age.

His credentials, however, were established locally when during a football game between the Garston Church Choir and the Allerton Scouts he gave the goalkeeper of the choir a hefty kick when the score was 23-22, with coats as goalposts. Jimmy established his reputation as a winner, if not a bad loser.

Even though Jimmy's team lost, his legend was born. There were subsequent games on Springwood Park where Jimmy played with such aces as John Gidman (Everton) and Billy Ashcroft (Middlesbrough).

Although small in stature,, Jimmy graduated through the schools teams and then joined a tough dockers' side, Blue Union. The physical nature of these early games would have an impact on the rest of his football career.

Upon leaving school, Case served an apprenticeship as an electrician and continued with this even after signing for Liverpool and playing in their reserves.

Those who knew Jimmy as a teenager were amazed at his physical transformation. He always had determination, but by the time he left south Liverpool he had a physical stature and height that belied his earlier years.

Fame left Jimmy cold. He scored one of the best goals ever in an FA Cup final. He always fought the demons of his Garston/Allerton past. Being a scouser, his ability to remain an athlete versus the desire of everyone wanting to buy him a "pint", was difficult for this agreeable and polite young man to manage and eventually he secured a move to the South coast.

Playing career

Liverpool

Case arrived at Anfield from local non-league club South Liverpool in May 1973 and was given his debut on 26 April 1975 in a league fixture at Anfield against Queens Park Rangers; goals from John Toshack (2), and Kevin Keegan made it a winning start for Case as the Reds won 3-1. By 1976 he was a first choice midfielder who was a prolific goalscorer for someone in his position; his first goal for the club came in the 68th minute of the 3-2 league win over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on 23 August 1975. At the end of his first full season, he helped Liverpool to victory in the League championship and the UEFA Cup, scoring in the first leg of the final of the latter against FC Bruges.

Case maintained his place the following year as Liverpool chased a unique treble of League, FA and European Cups. They were league champions for the second season in a row, but lost in the FA Cup Final to Manchester United 2-1. Case was the scorer of Liverpool's goal shortly after their opponents had taken the lead; it was a typical Case goal in that it was a vicious, unstoppable shot from outside the penalty area following a neat turn on the ball. He was in the team again a few days later when Liverpool won their first European Cup after beating Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 in Rome.

Case won the League and the European Cup twice more with Liverpool and also added a League Cup winners' medal in 1981, but in that season he found himself out of favour. Manager Bob Paisley was concerned by Case's close friendship with fellow midfielder Ray Kennedy, with the two regularly embroiled in off the pitch escapades - culminating in their both being charged with assault in the spring of 1980 - and with the emergence of Sammy Lee on the right side of midfield, made the difficult decision to offload Case. Paisley transferred him to Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer of 1981.

Jimmy is still highly thought of amongst the Anfield faithful, he was voted in at No.45 in the 2006 poll 100 Players Who Shook The Kop taken by the Official Liverpool Football Club web-site in which over 110,000 fans worldwide nominated their personal Top 10 players.

Brighton

Case joined Brighton in August 1981 as a £450,000 makeweight when Mark Lawrenson went the other way and he played a large part in the success achieved at the Goldstone Ground in the early 1980s.

With Brighton, Case reached the FA Cup final again in 1983 and again faced Manchester United. The game ended 2-2 with Brighton passing up a great opportunity to win the cup when Gordon Smith hit a shot directly at United keeper Gary Bailey, who pulled off a spectacular save. Brighton's chance of glory had gone, and they were crushed 4-0 in the replay. They had already been relegated from the First Division in bottom place, and have not returned since. In spite of this setback, Case remained at the Goldstone Ground for nearly two years after the Seagulls were relegated.

Southampton

In March 1985, Case moved to Southampton for a nominal fee of £30,000 as Lawrie McMenemy's last signing for The Saints, to replace Steve Williams, who had been transferred to Arsenal in December 1984. He soon won over any doubters amongst The Dell fans with some robust tackling. In his first few weeks at the club, they finished fifth in the league, but were then denied UEFA Cup qualification due to the subsequent ban on English clubs in European competitions, which followed the Heysel Disaster that year.

When McMenemy quit after the end of the season, Case was appointed club captain by new manager Chris Nicholl.

In his first full season, Saints reached the semi-final of the FA Cup (after beating Case's former club Brighton 2-0 in the quarter-final) losing to Liverpool in an epic game at White Hart Lane on 5 April 1986, which Liverpool won 2-0 after extra time with both goals coming from Ian Rush. Victory would have made Case the first player to appear in three FA Cup finals with different clubs.

Over his 6 years at The Dell Jimmy lost none of his bite in the tackle and he made up for any loss of pace by a broadening vision and excellent passing skills. Even in his 37th year, he was still among the most highly regarded midfielders in the First Division.

He was Saints player of the year for 1989-90 and in December 1990 was selected to represent the Football League against the Irish League. In this season Saints finished 7th in the First Division and Saints were playing at close to their best. One particularly memorable match was on 21 October 1989, when Saints defeated Liverpool 4-1, with goals from Paul Rideout, Rodney Wallace (2) and Matthew Le Tissier in which Case controlled the midfield as The Saints humiliated Case's former club.

Jimmy played in midfield alongside Glenn Cockerill and Barry Horne and helped to bring on the careers of exciting young players such as Le Tissier, Alan Shearer, Rodney Wallace and Jason Dodd. Ian Branfoot succeeded Nicholl as manager in June 1991, and considered that the club could dispense with Case's services and he was transferred to Bournemouth within a few days of Branfoot's appointment, a decision that proved very unpopular with to Saints fans, especially when Case was replaced by the unsuccessful Terry Hurlock.

Bournemouth, Halifax Town, Wrexham & Brighton again

He moved on to join Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth and managed to play 40 league games in the 1991-92 season, and was playing in the Third Division for the first time in his whole career.

After a season at Bournemouth, he moved to Halifax Town managed by John McGrath assisted by Frank Worthington. He played there for 6 months, before moving on to Wrexham, where he helped them gain promotion from Division Three at the end of the 1992-93 season, while Halifax fell into the GM Vauxhall Conference.

He then turned out for non-league side Sittingbourne until returning to Brighton in December 1993, firstly as a player/coach before taking over from Liam Brady as manager in November 1995. He was still playing that season, and at the age of 41 was the oldest outfield player registered with any Premier League or Football League club at the time. 46-year-old goalkeeper Peter Shilton (with Coventry City and West Ham United) was the only senior player older than Case at this time, and his failure to make any competitive appearances that campaign meant that Case was the oldest "active" senior player in England during the season.

After retirement as a player

He temporarily managed Brighton, overseeing their relegation to Division Three in 1996, before being fired in November 1996 when they were bottom of the whole league.

Case later managed non-league Bashley, who played in the New Forest just a short distance from Southampton.

He has been a regular on the veteran players' circuit since giving up playing and currently works for Radio Hampshire as a match summariser.

In 2007, Jimmy and three other members of the 1977 Liverpool European Cup winning team embarked on a series of shows throughout the UK and Ireland to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach. Alongside scorer Tommy Smith, record appearance holder Ian Callaghan and Welsh defender Joey Jones, the shows have so far been well received by both old and young fans and show the enduring popularity of the players who made the club great.

Honours

Liverpool

Brighton

References

External links

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