Author Topic: RAWK Advent Calendar #15: Liverpool 2 - Bolton 1. League Cup Final 1995.  (Read 4389 times)

Offline Foregone Concussion

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1995 League Cup Final

Liverpool 2 -1 Bolton Wanderers


Liverpool - David James, Rob Jones, Phil Babb, John Scales, Neil Ruddock, Stig Inge Bjornebye, John Barnes, Jamie Redknapp, Steve McManaman, Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler. Subs - Alec Chamberlain, Mark Walters, Michael Thomas. Manager - Roy Evans.

Bolton - Keith Branagan, Scott Green, Mark Seagraves, Alan Stubbs, Jimmy Phillips, David Lee, Richard Sneekes, Jason McAteer, Alan Thompson, Mixu Paatelainen, John McGinlay. Subs - Gudni Bergsson, Aidan Davison, Mark Patterson. Manager - Bruce Rioch.

I don't remember much about the 1994/1995 season - Fowler's four minute hat trick against Arsenal, John Barnes' overhead kick against Blackburn and the final day of the season stand out. And us winning the League Cup. The first trophy I ever saw us lift. Because of that alone, it holds a special place in my heart.

We were up against First Division Bolton Wanderers, a team I knew little about but they did have a Dutchman in Richard Sneekes so I naturally assumed he was the danger man. Oh and Jason McAteer who we'd see more of in the coming years. As for us, we had our stalwarts in John Barnes and Ian Rush, and our exciting youngsters in Rob Jones, Jamie Redknapp, Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler - I couldn't wait to see us in action. We also had Alec Chamberlain (which I didn't know until I was researching for this. Not sure if it was related to Michael Stensgaard injuring himself with an ironing board). Anyway, we should win comfortably right? With all those wonderful players (and Neil Ruddock) we have in the side and the fact that Bolton were a division below us at the time, I could only think we were going to win. At least up until the day of the final.

The run up to the final is a bit of a haze but I do clearly remember being extremely nervous on the day of the match. And as it wore on, that feeling only increased. I was with my brother older brother at the time and he seemed extraordinarily calm. That's what it looked like anyway and as I tended to copy him in life anyway, I tried to follow his lead on this as well. I don't think I was particularly successful at it.

Eventually it was 3.00pm and the match started and I remember us starting well and generally being on top throughout the first half with Fowler and in particular McManaman causing Bolton numerous problems. Although it wouldn't be Liverpool without a few scares - typically David James rushing off his line and making a mistake and then totally redeeming himself with a save onto the bar from Alan Thompson. Still, it was 0-0 after the half hour but not for long after that. McManaman picked the ball up in midfield and ran at their defence, going past one, then another before eventually getting to the right hand side of the box and placing the ball past Keith Branagan and into net. It was probably scuffed a little but I refused to believe that at the time because it may as well have been Maradona running past all those players in 1986, that's how great a goal it was to me. I celebrated like a madman, or at least I think I did, I remember jumping up and down alongside my brother and that's about it. That goal was pretty much in my mind for the rest of the half and half time came pretty soon after that.

So, 1-0 up at half time felt great and I didn't want the second half to start, just wanted to bask in our slender lead and salivate over McManaman's wonder goal. I kept replaying it in my mind because it was the most awesome goal I ever saw. Unfortunately, no prizes are given out at half time and the second half had to start and yep, typically like us, we did our damnedest to let Bolton back into the game and again there were some scares. Those heart in the mouth moments are the same ones I have today so I guess I should be thankful I was introduced to them during the biggest match of my Liverpool supporting career to that date. Like Roy Evans' team in general though, we were great going forward, still looking exciting and hitting the post and creating chances and eventually we got our second with that man McManaman scoring another solo goal and if his first one was slightly lucky with the finish (the sensible part of me can accept that now), his second was anything but, picking the ball up on the left, coming inside one defender, wrong footing another before pass a delicious shot into the far corner (and honestly, someone as skinny as him wasn't going to blast it). Whilst writing this, I've had to reanalyse my favourite Liverpool goals as McManaman's second goal wasn't on my list but thinking back to it, remembering how I felt when that second goal went in, because it was special goal which won us the trophy, it's definitely on my list now.

Again, I went crazy, jumping up and down waving my arms about (I think) - we were leading with two special goals and were edging closer to the trophy.

And yet, as is always the way, it wasn't particularly comfortable for us because immediately they pulled one back, a superb volley from Alan Thompson into the top corner. I froze and the nerves began to increase. There's twenty minutes to go of this and honestly, it was the most nerve wracking I'd felt whilst watching football. The match kicked off again it did feel like it was all Bolton at that stage and for the final twenty minutes I was on the edge of my seat, just hoping and praying we wouldn't concede another - and eighteen years later and it's still the flipping same. Bloody football. We've played in numerous finals since then and there hasn't been one which has been comfortable in any sense of the word, whether it's been Bolton and Cardiff or Milan and Man Utd, so thank you Roy Evans and the 1995 Liverpool squad for my first taste of clock watching, stressing out and praying that the opposition don't score.

They didn't and we managed to hold on and victory was ours! Relief and more jumping around then ensued and it was the greatest feeling in the world, watching us win a trophy. Post match was a bit of blur really but it was my first taste of us winning anything and I'll never forget it - the joy and elation (and relief) of seeing us lift that cup. Yeah, it's not that elusive league championship or the Champions League I thought we'd never have a chance of winning or even the most famous domestic cup competition in the world but it's still one of my best memories in football and for that I'm very thankful.

Some thoughts that stand out:

McManaman's two goals were two wonderful goals and his all round performance was special enough to move Stanley Matthews to state: "He reminds me of me when I was playing." Watching this back reminded me of how great McManaman was for us.

The more I think about it, the more I feel that Barnes was a lovely central midfielder. It's not what he's remembered for from those who saw him play but it's my only experience of him as a Liverpool player.

It was a minor disappointment at the time that Fowler didn't get on the scoresheet but he put that right in 2001.

And, having been at the club all his life up until that point, it was great that Roy Evans did win a trophy whilst managing us,

Enjoy:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/AHsMYY7ZjA4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/AHsMYY7ZjA4</a>
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 03:43:08 PM by Let us prayzell »
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Offline Hinesy

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #15: Liverpool 2 - Bolton 1. League Cup Final 1995.
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 11:55:36 PM »
Happy days. Enjoy the 15th day of our Advent series with another great post!
Yep.

Offline Hellrazor

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #15: Liverpool 2 - Bolton 1. League Cup Final 1995.
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 10:40:48 AM »
smashing!

i dunno why but i always remember the clip of the guy celebrating mcmanamans second wearing a lazio jersey

two brilliant goals. it was indeed a nerve wracking game

i really enjoyed that season. we played some great stuff.

good call about Barnes too, central midfield he was good. just wasnt appreciated then. he was kind of a missing link between an old school bruiser or a goalscoring mid and the current defensive midfield crop

the type like lucas, allen, schneiderlein that just arent appreciated.

yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

Offline The 92A

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #15: Liverpool 2 - Bolton 1. League Cup Final 1995.
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 04:27:32 PM »
Looking back at that team we could play some great football. Love this series.
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Offline Hinesy

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #15: Liverpool 2 - Bolton 1. League Cup Final 1995.
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2013, 12:03:17 AM »
Bump for Christmas
Yep.