Jimmy Case of Liverpool: The punch I didn't land
'I felt I had to try something to help the forwards, so I moved infield'
Saturday 18 February 2006
On the day, though, things seemed to go against us, especially that second goal. Stuart Pearson scored first for United just after half-time and I equalised a few minutes later from a position I should not have been in. I was supposed to be playing wide right but in those few minutes after Pearson's goal all I could think about was how we could get one back. I felt I had to try something to help the forwards, no matter how small, so I moved infield closer to Kevin Keegan.
Then Joey Jones played a ball into Kevin but he went under it and I brought it down on one knee and struck it past Alex Stepney with the other foot from the edge of the area. Only recently I met Alex, Pearson and Jimmy Greenhoff at a football memorabilia function at the NEC and Alex admitted he never saw it.
We felt comfortable during the game. We had the majority of the play and though a few things didn't go our way it's no good harping on about how we should have won. You win on your own merit and we couldn't deny United the FA Cup, even if their second goal was a fluke.
It wasn't just another game. To go from the elation of winning the League to losing the FA Cup final was so deflating. All of my family were in the crowd and, as one of the younger players, it really got to me. We had the European Cup final to come in Rome only a few days later, but we really wanted that treble. That was such a big deal at the time, that was our idea, and it had gone. For over a month there had been constant talk of the treble.
It was such a strange week. One minute we were League champions, the next we were FA Cup losers who had to lift ourselves for the club's first European Cup final against Borussia Mönchengladbach. We left London on the Monday but many fans had started travelling to Italy as soon as they left Wembley. One supporter sold his car so that he could afford to go.
Once we arrived back from Rome with the European Cup a rumour went around that I had punched Kevin Keegan in the changing-room at Wembley because I thought he'd had a poor game. It started when everyone spotted he had a black eye during the open-top bus parade through the city. What really happened was that, on the morning after the European Cup final, we decided to throw all the reporters who had travelled with us into the hotel swimming pool. Phil Neal, I think, grabbed one journalist's legs and Kevin took his arms. As they threw him into the water his arm caught Kevin in the face, hence the black eye. I was completely innocent.
The truth is in the changing-room after the FA Cup final I was dejected. In 1974 I had been invited down with the team as one of the young reserve players and we had a meal at the Savoy after beating Newcastle. I remember thinking, "I'm going to be part of this one day". I had scored what some people say was one of the best Wembley goals, but on that day I came away with nothing.
Interview by Andy Hunter
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