Liverpool’s Roger Hunt who died earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Liverpool FC
Despite my colleagues thinking to the contrary, I’m not actually that old. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Yeah, I get my date of birth is closer to the end of the Second World War than today, and yes, I understand flares were all the rage in my early years, but although I’m certainly the wrong side of 40, I still don’t class myself as that old.
One particularly colleague of mine will no doubt disagree (yes Van, I’m talking about you).
Today is International Day of Older Persons, and I’m not quite at the stage to be included in this group.
This week former Liverpool striker Roger Hunt passed away. And although he long left Liverpool before I was born, I’m still fully aware of the impact he had on my club.
In 404 league appearances for the Reds, he scored a staggering 244 goals, and on international duty, netted 18 times in 34 appearances for England.
Up until his death, he was one of only four surviving members of the World Cup winning squad of 1966. Now there are just three, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst, and George Cohen.
And despite not being old enough to see him play, the legacy left by Hunt is something I know only too well, more so recently as Liverpool’s current striker Mohammed Salah continues to break records.
It got me thinking about these two Liverpool greats, separated by more than half a century.
Hunt still remains Liverpool’s all time league scorer and the scorer of the most hat tricks in a single season (five, 1961-62).
Salah’s goal in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Brentford last weekend meant he became the Liverpool player to reach 100 goals in the fewest games, 151. The previous record was 152, held by, yes, you’ve guessed it, Roger Hunt.
Salah is also Liverpool’s top score in the Champion’s League proper (excluding qualifiers) and he was the fastest Liverpool player to score 50 goals.
The question I have though, will he beat Roger Hunt’s all time League goal record? I hope so, but to do that, Liverpool need to quickly get Salah to put pen to paper and agree a new contract.
And while footballers’ wages are off the chart, Liverpool needs to dig deep in their pockets and give Salah whatever the heck he wants.
Roger Hunt made his Liverpool debut on September 9, 1959. He played for the Reds for 10 years, leaving for Bolton Wanderers in 1969.
I’ve no idea what sort of salary he would have been on at the time, but I wonder just what he would get paid today if he was playing now?
Salah’s demands to sign a new contract is reportedly somewhere in the region of US$673,000 a week, abhorrent really when you think about it, but if that’s what it takes to keep him wearing the red of Liverpool, then so be it.
With Cristiano Ronaldo getting old (yes, it happens to the best of us) and Lionel Messi on the back end of his career, then I believe Salah, right now, is the best player in the world.
So while he may have a long way to go before eclipsing another one of Roger’s records, most league goals, for him to do it, then Liverpool have to fork out.
The days of Roger Hunt, playing his heart out with no intention of leaving the club while they still want him are long gone.
Now the game is all about money. Not like it was in my day… Boy, I’m getting old. VNS