Howard Gayle's Liverpool career comprised just five first team appearances. Not exactly the stuff of legends, you might think. But cast your mind back to April 1981, to a balmy spring evening in the Olympic Stadium, Munich, and think again.
The occasion was, of course, the European Cup semi-final second leg against the mighty Bayern. A date in Paris was the prize on offer and, following a goalless first leg at Anfield, the Germans were hot favourites to claim it. What followed was one of the most famous nights in Liverpool's rich European history. Against all odds a place in the Final was secured. Bob Paisley rated it the club's finest performance in Europe and later admitted that without the contribution of Gayle it may never have been achieved.
Then a reserve team regular, with just 19 minutes previous first team experience under his belt, he was the shock inclusion in the squad that travelled to Munich.
"It came as a great surprise and I was made up just to be part of the travelling squad. I had no idea whatsoever that I'd play a part."
An injury ravaged Liverpool side was seemingly on a hiding to nothing, especially when Dalglish limped off in the early stages. It was the cue for Bob Paisley to unleash the virtually unknown Gayle onto Liverpool's unsuspecting opponents.
"When Roy Evans told me I was going on I just gave him a wry look because I thought he was winding me up. When I realised Roy was being serious it took only a matter of seconds to strip off and then I was out there. I wasn't nervous because there was no time for nerves."
Gayle made a dramatic entrance. He terrorised the Germans with his blistering pace and dazzling ball control, while his frequent probing forays into Bayern territory silenced the vast home crowd. The experienced Munich defenders were clearly rattled. So much so that they responded by trying to kick lumps out of the rookie winger.
"B reitner had slaughtered us after the first leg. He told the German media how poor we were and what Bayern were going to do to us in the return. When Kenny went off everyone must have been writing off our chances. Ronnie Moran told me to stay wide and keep going at them and it worked. I remember ripping them to bits and we should have had a penalty in the first half when I was blatantly brought down."
In the face of such brutal intimidation Gayle's hot temperament eventually got the better of him and, after being booked, there was every danger of him receiving his marching orders. Wisely, Gayle was substituted, having successfully completed the task that was required of him. He'd run the Bayern defence ragged and paved the way for Ray Kennedy's crucial strike seven minutes from time.
Of course, Gayle's niche in the Liverpool record books was assured even before his heroics in Munich. He was the first black player to ever play for the club and it's a claim to fame that he cherishes.
"I was, and still am, very proud of that fact. I could lose my medals but the one thing that can't be taken away from me is that I was the first black player to represent Liverpool."
Born and bred in Toxteth, Gayle is a lifelong Liverpudlian. In November 1977 he realised his boyhood dream when John Bennison spotted him playing for Sunday League side Bedford. A lengthy apprenticeship in the Reds reserve side followed, as did a loan spell at Fulham, before Gayle made his long awaited competitive first team debut as a substitute at Maine Road in October 1980.
Six months later, in the aftermath of the Bayern game, Gayle was handed his first senior start. He celebrated by scoring in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham and with the European Cup Final only a matter of weeks away there was genuine talk of him making the starting line up against Real Madrid.
"If I had been at any other club I would have been disappointed. There was a famous old saying at Liverpool that one swallow doesn't m ake a summer. And it's right. I've seen players at Liverpool score hat tricks on their debuts and then find themselves out of the team for the next game," he says philosophically.
"The competition for striking places against Real Madrid was fierce. As a professional I have to say I would've loved to have played but as a fan I was content to be on the bench, fortunate to be in a position where thousands of others would have loved to have been."
Unfortunately, the touchline of the Parc des Prince was the closest Gayle would get to another first team outing and the following season saw him fade back in to Central League obscurity.
In January 1983, after another loan spell this time at Newcastle, he finally admitted defeat in his battle for a regular first team place at Anfield and reluctantly left his beloved Reds for good, joining Birmingham City for £75,000. It was a heart wrenching decision for him to make.
"I loved the club and it was never about wages and money with me. I hated the thought of leaving Liverpool and was gutted when I eventually left, although it was my own decision to leave. When you've had a taste of first team football it's very hard to go back to playing in front of a couple of hundred fans in the reserves."
At St Andrews, Gayle, at last, enjoyed a prolonged run of regular first team football and won two England under-21 caps in the process. He moved on to Sunderland, with whom he played at Wembley in the Milk Cup Final, before playing out his career in the lower leagues with Blackburn, Stoke and Halifax.
Sadly, the early promise he had shown in Munich was never fulfilled. At Anfield though, his European heroics against Bayern in 1981 will never be forgotten.
Well in Howard, I'll never forget Munich in 1981, worth every penny mate.