Right then, this goal is the one that bridges all generations for me. It’s the story of a young boy watching his all time hero play and score, and a middle aged man with the memory of a senile senior citizen trying to remember it.
It’s funny how the memory plays tricks on me the older I get. I was talking to one of my lads about a game when Ian Rush got red carded after the final whistle. For some reason, I was in the Anny Road for that match. I could have sworn it was Coventry we played. I could have also sworn it was winter too. There was also a possibility that I swore on the day in question. So I spoke to our kid about it, and he said “Yer daft twat, it was against Man City at the beginning of the season. Couldn’t have been any later than August.” Turned out he was right, and yes I can confirm that I am indeed a daft twat.
So with my faultless memory not quite intact, I searched through the archives of my brain for my favourite King Kenny goal. My favourite was one he scored playing for Scotland against Wales at Anfield. But I wasn’t there so I would have had to try and remember the commentary from David Coleman or Harry Carpenter. But every time I scanned the memory banks for Harry’s commentary, all I could hear was Frank Bruno saying “After this fight, know what I mean ‘Arry, all I’m thinking about is keeping my Black and Decker up. Know what I mean ‘Arry? Hur hur hur!” This was neither use nor fucking Christmas ornament. King Kenny’s against Bruges, I wasn’t there for either. So I went with this one against Crystal Palace instead.
Frank Bruno And Harry Carpenter
I was absolutely certain it was a warm day, but when I checked the archives, it turned out it was in December; in fact today is actually 35 years to the day since the game. Quick check with our kid who clearly takes more Omega Oils than me – “Actually, it was dead warm in December that year.” “Was it sunny in the second half then mate?” “4 O’clock on a December afternoon? That’d be the floodlights, yer daft twat.” So, my memory for this goal was now only half as bad as the Ian Rush red card. Just to be on the safe side, I googled some site that had weather details throughout the ages, and it did confirm that the temperature would have been between 12C and 15C, so it was like Blackpool in the summer.
Back to the game. Strolling into town come the new Cockney wide boys, Crystal Palace. Recently promoted from the old second division, they’d found themselves right at the top of the league. The manager, oh the manager; a smug, smarmy, greasy, envelope taking motherfucker if ever you’ve seen one. If dear old Deputy Dawg faced ‘Arry Redknapp and Mike Read off Runaround had a baby together, it would have been Terry Venables.
It was in the year of our lord 1979 BB (Before Brucie) and I swear this fucking big galoot of a goalie started doing back flips and walking on his hands. John Budgie Burridge was his name, and he still holds the record for being the oldest player to play professionally in the top division, so Wiki reliably informs me. I think if he’d caught all the old 10p’s that got lashed at him for acting the twat before kick off, he could have retired comfortably. Or at least have had about 1000 games of Galaxians. He actually was a really good goalie, but a complete and utter nobhead.
Kenny Sansom who went on to seek fame, fortune and trophies with Arsenal was at right back. Only won one trophy in his time there, and is now famous for losing his fortune, so I suppose you can call that a partial success at best. Gerry Francis, he of the bad ted and sidies haircut on Saturday Soccer occasionally played for them. Also on their team was one of the very few black footballers in the league, Vince Hilaire. He was a winger of some repute; unfortunately that reputation was that he was a shit footy player but looked like the bellend out of Boney M, only not quite as nimble on his feet. The rest of them were shit, and we battered them mercilessly. It could well have been 10 in all honesty.
Vince Hilaire Gerry Francis
On to the game itself now, and the full line up was:
Graeme Souness and Terry McDermott
And of course, the one and only King Kenny
It turns out I don’t need my memory as much as I thought I did, what with this here new fangled interweb and Rudetube. Here are the highlights of the game for you, well worth watching them all just to see how good we really were back in the day. The commentary was provided by Gerald Sinstadt, who was so delighted by King Kenny’s goal, he might possibly have had to pop down to the Eros in London Road for a sly wank after the match had finished.
We were 1 – 0 up courtesy of a thunderbolt header from Jimmy Case just before half time. As the second half started, we absolutely tore into them. Starting at 4:40 on the video, you’ll see the King in all his majesty outSuarezing Suarez. As much as I loved watching that mad Uruguayan bastard playing for us, Kenny had already done it and done it better. A corner came in and was met by a bullet header from David Johnson. Unfortunately on the day, our gunman on the grassy knoll had got the aim of a kid who has been twizzied round on a tyre swing until he couldn’t see straight. It was cleared and followed up by a quick game of pinball and head tennis, until King Kenny jumped in between three defenders and picked their pockets. Not content with making a dickhead of three defenders, Kenny waited for their mate to join him so he didn’t feel left out. As he did so, he deftly chipped it left footed over all of them, past the keeper and into the bottom corner. Gerald Sinstadt described it like this “What an astonishing goal by Kenny Dalglish! A mixture of cheek and genius. What time is The Eros open till lads, I’m dying for a quick hand shandy? What do you mean, the fucking microphone is still on?” He may not have said all of that though, that darn memory playing tricks again.
My memory might play tricks on me, but that goal is etched into it hopefully forever because of the sheer skill and audacity of it. Not without good reason did many of his peers think he was the greatest player, not just for Liverpool, but ever to play football. Just my opinion but no disrespect to any of the greats who have worn our shirt, but for me there is King Kenny, and a very long way in the distance, Stevie comes in second. After that, they can all fight it out for the other places.
So there’s my entry for the RAWK Advent Calendar. 35 years ago today, the great King Kenny made a small boy ecstatically happy. 35 years later, he made a middle aged man very confused, but still as grateful nonetheless. For all the joyless miserable twats who want nothing better than to moan and whinge and whine, bah fucking humbug. I hope you all get a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking, yer ma burns the turkey and the brushes burn out on your Race ‘N’ Chase by Boxing Day. For those who don’t celebrate Christmas because of religious or ideological reasons, what the fuck are you reading an Advent Calendar for, you crazy voyeurs? For everyone though, I genuinely mean it when I wish you a heartfelt and Happy Christmas to you and all your families and loved ones.