Saturday 1 JuNE 1985

The Day I Played At Wembley

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Pre-match in the dressing room

Jennings Sanders Rix Tongue

These photos – like many of the others on this site – were ones taken with my Kodak Disc camera, so not great quality. Nice idea, but terribly grainy results because of the tiny sized negatives.

This photo anyhow appears to have Steve Tongue (holding perhaps a team-sheet) and Graham Rix briefing me on where I would be playing. Pat Jennings is in the foreground. He had been goalkeeper for the Arsenal side that won the FA Cup with Arsenal just six years earlier, in the incredible final of 1979. He had only recently finished playing for Arsenal, but wasn’t quite finished with football, even though he was just short of his 40th birthday. He went back to Tottenham to keep match-fit, not playing in any further matches for them, but went on to play for Northern Ireland in the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico, and was even back at Wembley on the bench for Everton in the 1986 FA Cup final as cover for Neville Southall.

Jennings Best

Here are Pat Jennings and George Best (above). Both appear to be possibly pulling their shorts up – but luckily my photo stayed above waist height. Both players made their international debuts for Northern Ireland in the same match – against Wales in April 1964 in the old ‘Home’ internationals series. Jennings was just 18 years old then, Best still only 17 – the same age as me when I played against him. I remember in my radio interview, when asked why I wanted to be interviewed with George that I noted that I felt a bit of an imposter, that after all he had been representing his country at 17, being that good – not just making an appearance as a competition winner!

Sanders Hollins

Here am I with John Hollins, who as noted elsewhere was kind enough to give me some sound advice on heading the ball downward when trying to score with an attacking header. It was good advice of course – as an Arsenal fan I was a great admirer of Frank Stapleton and – SPOILER ALERT – when I ‘scored’ I was consciously trying to emulate his goal for Arsenal against Manchester United in the 1979 FA Cup final. Same kind of finish, same pitch, same penalty box. Thinking about it now, and seeing that John was actually playing for the England side and NOT the LBC side, it was very generous of him to tip me off about firing it downward, since it was advice to an opponent and helped me put it past his former Chelsea team-mate Bonetti, both had been FA Cup winners in 1970 with Chelsea.



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