Along with Uwe Rosler and Peter Beagrie, Paul Walsh was one of three
players signed by manager Brian Horton at the end of the 1993/94 season.
Already a veteran of some 13 years and more than 450 League games,
Walsh cost the Blues £700,000 on March 10th from Portsmouth, the fifth
professional club he'd played for since joining Charlton Athletic as an
apprentice in 1979. In between times he'd been voted the PFA Young
Player of the Year (in 1984), played in finals of both the European and
League Cups and won a Championship medal with Liverpool and had been
capped by England at Youth, Under 21 and full level.
Standing just 5
feet 7 inches tall, Walsh was on the small side for an attacking player
but any apparent lack of inches was more than made up for by boundless
energy and enthusiasm. Having made his debut in a disappointing home
defeat by Wimbledon, Walsh played in each of the remaining ten League
games that season (scoring four times) as City gradually pulled away
from the relegation zone to finish 16th. He began 1994/95 in sparkling
style and by the beginning of November had already scored ten goals in
the League. These included braces against Everton and Southampton with
perhaps his best double coming in a 5-2 win against one of his former
clubs Tottenham in October.
Regrettably though it was a run of form that
neither player nor team could maintain throughout the season. On a
personal note Walsh played in a total of 48 games (more than anyone
else) and found the net 15 times, a tally that placed him second behind
Rosler who scored 22. The team failed to win any of the last four games
and finished one place worse off than last time out. Although City had
undoubtedly struggled of late, Paul Walsh had been a huge success and
had established himself as a firm favourite on the terraces.
fans were shocked, therefore, when new manager Alan Ball exchanged Walsh
for Portsmouth's Gerry Creaney in a £500,000 deal on September 11th
after Walsh had played in just three League games of the 1995/96 season.
He'd scored 19 goals in 63 combined appearances in City's colours. A
cruciate ligament injury sustained at Portsmouth caused his eventual
retirement from the game in December 1997. (Ian Penney - author of The Legends of Manchester City)