Thursday, 27 May 2021

1986: Helmuth Duckadam becomes a hero

Not all penalty shootouts are as free scoring as the recent Europa League final between Villarreal and Manchester United. After 21 successful spot kicks, it would be goalkeeper David de Gea who missed the only penalty, the Spaniards winning 11-10 to claim their first European trophy.

Goalkeepers are often heroes in the drama of a penalty shootout. In Gdansk it was the turn of Geronimo Rulli to assume the role, even finding time to score a penalty, before saving the crucial kick. Conceding eleven penalties and then missing from the spot, De Gea would experience the other end of the emotional scale. Very much more Peter Shilton than Helmuth Duckadam.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

1986: England v New Zealand Second Test

England had battled to draw in the first Test of the 1986 series against New Zealand. But there was little respite as the team prepared to face up to Richard Hadlee at his second home of Trent Bridge.

As England and New Zealand prepared for the second Test of the 1986 series, two all-rounders were very much in the spotlight. Ian Botham, beginning his comeback after his cannabis related ban, was never far from the thoughts of England fans enduring a terrible 1986. New Zealand supporters had no such worries.

Friday, 7 May 2021

FA Cup final day

As another FA Cup final approaches, my mind cannot help but drift back to a happier time for the competition. An era when trying to win the famous old trophy was not seen as a major distraction for clubs involved in multiple competitions, or others trying to stay in or gain entry to the top flight.

We all know money is the root of all evil, and that the Premier League, Champions League and too much live football has destroyed the magic of the cup. But some of us more mature members of the football family can at least hark back to our formative years and remember what it was like to wake up on FA Cup final day with the prospect of hours of television coverage to look forward to.