MX23RW : Tuesday, February 19 15:46:44

On this day: Boyhood fan Oyvind Leonhardsen joins Liverpool

Back on this day in 1997, Norwegian midfielder Oyvind Leonhardsen leaves Wimbledon to link up with Liverpool.

It's the dream of every football fan to one day represent the club that they supported as a child. Sadly, the reality is that only a few are able to experience that feeling.

One of the lucky minority, though, is Oyvind Leonhardsen, who while growing up in Norway was an avid follower of Liverpool.

Having learned his trade in his homeland with Molde and Rosenborg, the midfielder moved to England in 1994, bound for London and, more specifically, Wimbledon.

The industrious Leonhardsen would go on to spend the next three years at Selhurst Park, during which time he captured the attention of Liverpool manager Roy Evans, who would part with £3.5m to take him to Anfield 17 years ago today.

Upon his arrival on Merseyside, the Norwegian international said: "I supported Liverpool as a kid. We saw English matches on Norwegian TV every week and Liverpool were always on because they were the best. My heroes were Kevin Keegan and later Kenny Dalglish and I had Liverpool posters on my bedroom wall."

Leonhardsen was a regular fixture in the starting lineup throughout his first season with the club, but he soon fell out of favour when Gerard Houllier took sole charge of the first team from Evans in 1998.

It meant that in the summer of 1999 and after 49 appearances, in which he had scored seven goals, Leonhardsen was on the move again. Reports claimed that Sheffield Wednesday were extremely interested in his services, but the boyhood Liverpool fan eventually opted for a switch back to the capital with Tottenham Hotspur.

Stints with Aston Villa, Lyn Oslo and Stromsgodset then followed, before he brought an end to his playing career in 2007 having also turned out for his Scandinavian country on 86 occasions.

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Neil Redfearn of Barnsley challenges Oyvind Leonhardsen of Liverpool during the FA Carling Premiership match at Oakwell on March 28, 1998
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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