On This Day: David James signs for Liverpool

David James former England goalkeeper talks during the Leaders In Sport conference at Stamford Bridge on October 11, 2012
© Getty Images
Twenty-two years ago today, Liverpool complete the signing of future England international goalkeeper David James from Watford.

For all his eccentricities, Bruce Grobbelaar's record as goalkeeper of Liverpool cannot be questioned. Between 1981 and 1990, the Zimbabwean won six First Division titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and the European Cup once.

Nevertheless, as he approached his mid-30s in the summer of 1992, manager Graeme Souness decided that the time was right to secure the services of Grobbelaar's replacement. After some speculation, he eventually plumped for England Under-21 international David James, who signed on at Anfield from Watford 22 years ago today.

The youngster would establish himself between the posts almost immediately, but while he provided a similar sort of unpredictably to Grobbelaar, James's stint with the Merseysiders was arguably too error-strewn.

Capable of making an outstanding save, the shot stopper also had a habit of making a mistake in the biggest of games. None more so was that point relevant than in the 1996 FA Cup final against rivals Manchester United, which with the scores locked at 0-0, appeared to be heading for extra-time.

However, moments before the final whistle, James raced off his line in a bid to punch away David Beckham's corner. His clearance only found Eric Cantona, though, who fired past the stranded keeper to hand United the trophy. It was around that time that James, along with teammates Steve McManaman, Jamie Redknapp, and Robbie Fowler, were dubbed 'The Spice Boys' for their perceived partying antics off the pitch.

That's not to say that there weren't moments of success for James, who helped Liverpool to win the League Cup in 1995 courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers at Wembley.

What's more, the Welwyn Garden City-born keeper made 159 consecutive Premier League outings between 1993 and 1998 - a record that was not beaten until the 2005-06 campaign by former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.

He eventually departed Liverpool in the summer of 1999 having turned out 277 times for the club in all competitions. He was sold to Aston Villa for £1.8m, before having spells of varying length with West Ham United, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Bristol City, Bournemouth and Icelandic side IBV.

In terms of his international career, James was capped on 53 occasions by England. Although injuries or a loss of form often curtailed his appearances, James still kept goal at Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Portgual's Rui Costa celebrates scoring against England on June 24, 2004.
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