David Fairclough was a footballer whose special role in the great Liverpool side of the 1970s was that of Supersub.
The pecking order of strikers at the club saw David trailing behind the dream duo of Kevin Keegan and John Toshack as well as England centre forward David Johnson. As the next season got underway David found himself rising up to third in the ranks due to a succession of injuries to Toshac meaning that he was substitute more than ever.
His most famous Liverpool goal came at Anfield as a substitute in a crucial European Cup quarter final against the French side St Etienne. Liverpool had been a goal adrift from the first leg in France and 2-1 up in the home return. The aggregate score was level therefore at 2-2 but St Etienne were still in command due to their away goal. Liverpool therefore needed to score again to win the tie but time was running out.
Manager Bob Paisley sent David on in the last 20 minutes of the game and the red-haired striker who was only just 20 years old responded in style. Only six minutes remained when he ran on to a long ball upfield and held off two St Etienne defenders. He prodded the ball home at the famous Kop end and Anfield had one of its greatest ever footballing nights. As the roar of the Kop let rip Anfield folklore says that the roar could be heard 3 miles away! ITV commentator Gerald Sinstadt famously bellowed Supersub strikes again!
David scored his one and only Liverpool hat-trick on the 9 February 1980 during the thrilling 5-3 league victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road the goals came in the 4th and 18th and 75th minutes Kenny Dalglish and Jimmy Case guaranteed a late win for the Reds.
The supersub tag ultimately shrouded his number of first team starts with Liverpool – of his 153 appearances – only 61 were from the bench. He scored 55 goals averaging a goal every 2¾ games.
David left Liverpool on the 4 July 1983 joining NASL side Toronto Blizzard he then moved on to Swiss side FC Lucerne before returning to England to have spells with Norwich and Oldham Athletic. He plied his trade abroad once more at Belgium club Beveren returning to home shores for stints with Rochdale and Tranmere Rovers and Wigan Athletic he ended his playing days at non-league Knowsley.
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