Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Biting Back: Loic Remy should get on blower to Hartford after Liverpool transfer hitting the rails

Loic Remy will not join Liverpool
Loic Remy will not join Liverpool

Loic Remy's £8.5million transfer from Queen's Park Rangers to Liverpool is off, the Anfield club having discovered a heart problem during their medical examination.

Whatever the nature of the condition, it did not stop the 27-year-old Frenchman scoring 14 goals in 26 Premier League outings on loan to Newcastle United last season. Nor were France put off from bringing him to the World Cup finals.

There are echoes here of the Asa Hartford episode in November 1971 when the midfielder's proposed move from West Bromwich Albion to then-mighty Leeds United was called off when a medical revealed a hole in the heart.

Leeds manager Don Revie pulled out and Hartford, who had just turned 21, found himself heading from Yorkshire back to the Midlands.

But the following year he made the first of a half-century of appearances for Scotland. Indeed, in the aftermath of Leeds' rejection he went on to play for two decades as, unlike Revie, others judged Hartford on what they could see.

He had chalked up 227 matches for WBA when he moved on to join Manchester City for a then-considerable £210,000 fee. Between 1974 and 79 he played 185 times for City, followed by a further 75 matches when he re-joined them in 1981 after a stint at Everton where he managed 81 appearances in two seasons. Not too many days off on sick leave after all, then.

By the time he retired from playing he had featured in 744 club-level matches as a professional, plus 50 for Scotland.

With £8.5million at stake, one can understand Liverpool's caution.

But if Remy is in need of a morale boost at this moment, he should phone Asa Hartford for a chat.

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