Swapping Everton for Liverpool is always a contentious move likely to upset fans of the Blues, but when you’re a local lad, boyhood fan and a player who became club captain it’s going to sting a lot more.
Steve McMahon could have joined Liverpool immediately after walking away from Goodison Park. He was out of contract and there would have been nothing Everton could have done to stop it, but out of respect for his boyhood club McMahon instead chose to make a two year stop at Aston Villa before eventually signing for the Reds.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with TLW in November 2017, McMahon explained how his move to Liverpool eventually came about:
“I could have signed for Liverpool straight away. I went and met Bob Paisley. Me and my dad went into the offices at Anfield and it was almost there, to go straight to Liverpool. But out of respect to Everton and the situation, I couldn’t do it and I went to Aston Villa.
Luckily I got the opportunity to join Liverpool a couple of years later and it was something I couldn’t refuse second time around. I got a call asking “would you like to come to Liverpool blah blah blah”. First of all I thought it was a wind up, but when I realised it wasn’t I said that I would, but didn’t know how I would go about it as I’d been at Villa for two years but had a four year contract. They said “just blame your wife”. I said “what do you mean?”. “Just say she’s homesick” they told me.
It was only an hour and a half away, but to cut a long story short I told Villa I needed to get back to the North West and sort myself out and they were fine about it, and said they’d work something out. So within a week or so I get a call to go to the manager’s office - it was Tony Barton at the time, God bless him - and he said “It’s all sorted, you’re going back to the North West, get your boots and get to Old Trafford, ‘Big Ron’ is waiting for you up there”.
I said “Sorry, where?” and he said “Manchester United, you wanted to go back to the North West”. So I said “Actually I wanted a bit further north west than that!” From that day they knew exactly what was going on because I turned down Man United, I refused to go. They just chased me out the office!
So I rang the guy at Liverpool - I won’t tell you who it was! - and they rushed the deal through quickly because after all that I couldn’t continue at Villa. So I’ve had the pleasure of saying “no” to Manchester United!”
Having angered Evertonians by joining the enemy, McMahon then rubbed salt in the open wound by scoring the winning goal in his first derby as a Red, when he rifled in a 20 yard shot in a 3-2 Liverpool win at Goodison. It did not go down well with the Blues, as McMahon explains.
“It was my fourth game for Liverpool I think, and the Everton supporters trashed my car afterwards!. It’s a funny story. My father-in-law was a mad Liverpool supporter. He came to the game and I’d parked my car at the Park End, so after the game I go back and my car is in pieces - actually it was Aston Villa’s car! - so I just left it and me and my father-in-law went and had a couple of beers. It was a great night.
I rang Villa on Monday morning and said “You need to pick your car up from outside the Park End, but you’ll need a shovel and a brush to put it in the bin!”