The world took notice and that is why Paul Walsh is content
Ex-Liverpool forward is content as is former Red Devil Olsen, even if they never quite hit the heights
Their early story was of a promise of endless sunshine, each possessed a football talent that suggested a career of goals, thrills, gleaming trophies, hero worship and spectacular headlines.
It never quite worked out that way in the end for two of the golden boys of the 1980s, Jesper Olsen and Paul Walsh, such is the fickle nature of sport, where talent alone is never enough.
Denmark's Olsen was touted as the next George Best at Manchester United and England's Walsh was handpicked as Kenny Dalglish's successor at Liverpool, but it was not to be.
Today, Olsen is 58 and Walsh 57, and both had little time for regret when I spoke to them about their stints at Old Trafford and Anfield.
Olsen was 23 when he left Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam and signed for Man United in 1984, and he remembers all the comparisons with Best, regarded by many to be the greatest Red Devil.
"It was flattering. United were a big club that wanted to win things. The team had very promising players," he said.
"The whole experience for me was very much learning a completely different way of training and playing football.
"The English game was tough, every game was tough. Whether you went to Luton Town or Liverpool or Queens Park Rangers or Tottenham Hotspur, it was tough and that was a surprise because, in other leagues, sometimes you have games that are easier.
"And there were a lot of games, FA Cup, League Cup, league games, and you still play for Denmark. There was less rest in between games, and a lot more physical games.
"It was probably not my style as much."
More than three decades later, Olsen and Walsh were set to renew old rivalries in the Battle of the Reds at the National Stadium on Saturday, only for the Dane to pull out yesterday after a family member fell ill.
Olsen and Walsh did play for two of the most famous football clubs in the world.
They also pulled on their country's jerseys, were teammates with some of the biggest stars in the game and ran out onto the grandest football theatres.
It is remarkable how similar their stories are.
Olsen and Walsh were slightly built attackers, all style with their flowing locks, the Dane a left-footed dribbling winger who, at his best, seemed to glide over grass; the Englishman an unerring finisher who could also unlock defences with a thread-of-the-needle pass.
While Walsh says there will always be regrets, he believes his time at Liverpool was a success.
He said: "My first serious game for Liverpool was in the 1984 Charity Shield in front of 102,000 people.
"I played in the 1985 European Cup Final, FA Cup semi-final at the end of that season, played in the double-winning campaign the following season, the League Cup final that we lost to Arsenal in 1987.
"When you play football, you want to win trophies and Liverpool were always in and around the area.
"Could it have been better? Yes, but I still put it in perspective and deem it a success."
Walsh signed for Liverpool from Luton in 1984 after being crowned PFA Young Player of the Year. He was 22 and had five caps for England that year.
He started up front alongside Dalglish and Rush in the European Cup final against Michel Platini's Juventus at Heysel Stadium in 1985.
Olsen was a teammate of Johan Cruyff at Ajax and together, they won two league titles and a league and cup double in Holland.
He announced himself to the world with a last-gasp individual effort that saw Denmark hold England 2-2 in a Euro qualifier in 1982.
In his final year at the club, Walsh says he played with one of the two best players in the world at the time in John Barnes, who he says was as unstoppable as Diego Maradona in 1987-88.
It was also a time when Walsh's fortunes at Liverpool changed.
When Joe Fagan resigned as manager before the 1985-86 season after the death of 39 fans in the Heysel tragedy, Dalglish, the man Walsh had been signed to replace, became player-manager of Liverpool.
Walsh, who had never truly settled at Anfield after a bad run with injuries, had to start looking over his shoulder and he said: "Like anything in football, things change. My dynamic started to change.
"Those type of big events change the course of your life."
Olsen would know what Walsh meant.
He was part of a star-laden Denmark side that had football purring during the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico, only for Spain to stun them in the last 16 with a 5-1 thrashing.
Olsen had actually opened the scoring with a nerveless penalty, but he turned villain with a poor back pass to goalkeeper Lars Hogh that Emilio Butragueno pounced to equalise just before half-time, and the Danes never recovered.
"I blame the goalkeeper! Why play the ball to me," Olsen chuckled, before turning serious.
"It's football I suppose. The ball bobbled up a bit and I used my right foot. There were so many good things in my career, but I suppose that was a little bit of a black spot because it was such an important game.
"But that's football."
Many feel they could have been so much more, but Olsen and Walsh seem content.
Olsen summed it up best when he said: "I just think we have to appreciate when we see good players and the excitement we get from watching them. That is what it's about, isn't it?"
Yes it is. Olsen and Walsh made the world sit up and take notice, and that is more than most footballers will ever achieve.