Steve McMahon rejected the chance to join Liverpool from Everton despite Bob Paisley’s generous offer

7 Oct

When Steve McMahon left Everton for Aston Villa in 1983, some fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouths.

‘Greedy’ was one of many insults chucked his way, which presumably hurt given that this was the club he supported as a kid, a place where he was a ball boy in his early years and a captain in his latter.

He even TURNED down Bob Paisley’s Liverpool out of his respect for the blue half of Merseyside.

“Nobody actually got the true story, even some of the players I played with didn’t know the true story,” he told talkSPORT’s Re:United, in an interview which will air on Sunday night.

McMahon told talkSPORT he could have joined Liverpool from Everton in 1983, but decided not to

Sitting alongside Everton goal hero Graeme Sharp, McMahon said: “At the end of the day, I was an asset and Everton wanted to sell me. Simple as – that’s football.

“But if that was the way it was, then they should have come out and said so rather than make me the villain of the piece because that didn’t help me for two or three years.”

He spent two years at Villa Park before Everton’s all powerful rivals offered him a second chance to don the famous red shirt again, this time with Kenny Dalglish at the helm.

There was a great big Graeme Souness-shaped hole in midfield that needed filling and McMahon was the man to do it. A £350,000 deal was agreed and the boyhood Toffee became the Anfield legend’s first signing as manager.

In 277 games, he scored 50 times, winning three league titles and two FA Cups.


“When Steve McMahon plays well, I always think that Liverpool will play well”


The combative midfielder’s influence to Liverpool was probably best summed up by Paisley, the man who tried to sign him in two years earlier. “When Steve McMahon plays well, I always think that Liverpool will play well.”

Steve McMahon [right] was a title winner with Liverpool
However, when Sharp pointed out the possible fall out had he moved directly from Goodison to Anfield, the 57-year-old explained that was one of the reasons he said no to Paisley.

“I was sat in his office with my dad – I’d already agreed to go to Villa, but then I got a call from Liverpool telling me they wanted to sign me.

“People say I was greedy and left [Everton] for the money. I didn’t because Liverpool offered me more. They actually said: ‘What have Villa offered you?’ I told them the package, which at the time was a lot of dough, and they said ‘we’ll double that, no problem.’

“And I told them that for personal reasons and family reasons I think it’s best I don’t sign for Liverpool.

“That’s the way I left it. They appreciated it and wished me luck and then later I had the opportunity to come back.

“That’s the way it is and you have to conduct yourself properly. I did it for the right reasons.”

Listen to Re:United on talkSPORT on Sunday 7 October at 8pm

Steve McMahon and Graeme Sharp talk to talkSPORT’s Re:United