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How a 3x European Cup winner helped influence Bobby Clark to sign for Liverpool

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Bobby Clark has his own place in Liverpool’s history books. Before signing for the Reds as a 16-year-old, he took advice from a legend, Terry McDermott, a close family friend.

Clark is now a household name, well among football-watching homes, but the surname was already a famous one in Newcastle, thanks to his father, Lee Clark.

He played 217 times in the league for the Magpies and, back in December, 2023, spoke to the Liverpool Echo’s Keifer MacDonald about why his son left Lee’s boyhood club, Newcastle, for Liverpool.

“At Newcastle, it just got to the stage where I was working away and getting feedback that Bobby was coming in from his training sessions at the club and didn’t have that beaming smile on his face,” Clark explained.

“He didn’t seem to be enjoying his football.”

Lee continued: “Why Liverpool? Well, it’s because Bobby felt that was the best place for him after a meeting with different clubs…

“He held talks with the four or five clubs who had agreed [a fee] with Newcastle. He was just blown away by how much Liverpool knew about him; how much in-depth knowledge they had of him.

“Their stance was that they weren’t signing him to help them win the FA Youth Cup or be successful at under-21s level, but because one day they believed he could be a first-team player for Liverpool.

“Bobby knows about history, he’s really into his football and knows about the history of Liverpool Football Club and what it stands for.

“He’s also seen close family friends of ours like Terry McDermott since he’d been a young boy and understood what Liverpool means.”

Terry McDermott, Liverpool (Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport) 10-May-1978

As well as having Lee as a father, McDermott’s influence must also have been hugely impactful, given the ex-midfielder won three European Cups, four league titles and the 1980 PFA Player of the Year award.

Speaking to the Athletic after the final, Lee expanded on the topic, saying: “He’s spent a lot of time in Terry’s company and he’s seen his medal collection.

“I played for three of the most iconic Liverpool names in Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness, so Bobby was well aware of the stature of the place he was joining.”

Clark’s father’s career wasn’t as littered with silverware, as he joked about on BBC Radio 5 Live after the final whistle on Sunday.

“I tried for over 20 years and to do it and never done it, so he’s done it in his early years,” Lee said.

He went on to describe how his “emotions were just all over” before adding: “I was so proud, first of all, that he was included in the group.

“Second, that he got onto the pitch for as long as he did, and so proud of how he performed with the rest of the players.

“Then, at the end, tears of joy, just to [see him] so young [winning] his first trophy, hopefully of a long and distinguished career.”