Author Topic: RAWK advent calendar #24 1991-2 Liverpool vs United, the days of our lives  (Read 2485 times)

Offline Jingle Hells Razor Smells

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“Sometimes I get to feelin'
I was back in the old days - long ago”


It was as if the teams switched positions, Liverpool the champions on a regular basis became a team that piddled around the top 6, United changed from the team that won no league for years and plodding around, to championship challengers. This season was when the pendulum swung in their favour. But today was by no means the changing of the guard; it was us teaching a lesson to the young pups who wanted to knock us off a pedestal (or maybe our perch).

In the previous year we had undergone radical changes, a new manager and a huge turnover of players, injuries riddled the squad, some players had aged, some that came in including some youngsters weren’t good enough or ready to compete at this level.

“You can't turn back the clock, you can't turn back the tide
Ain't that a shame?”


Over at united they had lead the league for much of the season, expensive players from the past like Gary Pallister and Paul Ince had bedded in, youngsters like Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs emerged, old heads like Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Brian McClair and Mark Hughes were still performing at high levels while new players like Andrei Kanchelskis, Dennis Irwin and Peter Schmeichel had added quality to a side that was a sleeping giant of English football.

The Red Devils stormed out of the blocks and by mid-October had built a 6 point lead with some already saying the title was over. Leeds United never gave in though, but towards the end of the season it seemed the title was Man United’s to lose, they lead by 2 points with a game in hand.

The wheels unbelievably came off, well they didn’t just come off, the car leading the race comfortably had not just lost its wheels, it had careered into the barriers. United surprisingly lost at home to Nottingham Forest on Easter Monday, whilst Leeds beat Coventry. The Yorkshire side were now one point ahead, United did have a game in hand but it was only already relegated West Ham away, but amazingly United lost that as well.

On this day Leeds had won an early kick off thanks to some scrappy goals in a 3-2 win at Sheffield United so they were 4 points clear, United needed to beat us to take the title race to the last day of the season.  We couldn’t finish any higher than 6th, we had one eye on an FA cup final, we had numerous players injured, even our manager Graeme Souness was struggling, the Scotsman was taken to hospital following our FA Cup semi-final and underwent bypass surgery so Ronnie Moran was in charge. But this was a chance to stop Man United winning the league, we couldn’t let that pass now could we? This was after all Liverpool vs Man United.

I was just 9 years old, I had just missed the golden years of Liverpool, but every single one of my close mates at the time were Liverpool fans and oh yeah, we fucking hated man u! I found it hard to support a team though once so great, but now slipping off the pace but at the time it seemed like just a bad year. After all, this was a season where Ian Rush, Ronnie Whelan and John Barnes hardly even played. For this day Bruce Grobellaar, the promising Steve McManaman, and veteran Steve Nicol all joined the injury list. You always felt if they stayed fit we would get back to normal, but there always seemed to be at least 4 senior players crocked.

The team lined up with Mike Hooper in goal, Rob Jones right back, Nicky Tanner and Mark Wright centre back and David Burrows left back. Right midfield was Ray Houghton with Jan Molby and Michael Thomas in the centre and John Barnes on the left. Ian Rush partnered Dean Saunders upfront. The game started well with a perfectly weighted pass from Barnes releasing Rush who slotted the ball over Peter Schmeichel and Liverpool lead inside 10 minutes, remarkably it was Rush’s first goal against United ever!

United needed to win to have any chance so had to attack and it left them prone to a Liverpool side dangerous on the break, but United had chances too, they came close to an equalizer when Bryan Robson mowed through Jan Molby and released Paul Ince who hit a tremendous shot which had Hooper beat, but crashed off the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.

Maybe nerves had got the better of United in the run in, it was after all something they had never experienced before and they seemed very cagey at the back. Dean Saunders should have made it two but from 6 yards out he was denied by the shins of Schmeichel. A horrendous back pass was then cut out by Barnes and his back heel left Barry Venison (on for the injured Tanner) with an open goal but remarkably, Venison smashed the ball wide from 2 yards out. Perhaps even worse was when Mark Walters blocked a shot on United’s goal line and deflected it wide (Walters had replaced the injured Rush, more about Walters later).

“No use sitting and thinkin' on what you did,
When you can lay back and enjoy it through your kids.”


My Dad watched with us, an adopted Liverpool fan standing by his Scouse worshipping sons, Dad didn’t mince his words when angry at the replay of Walters denying his own team a goal “JESUS THAT GOBSHITE!”

Half time recapped Liverpool’s missed chances which would surely have handed Leeds the title had they been converted. I used to love watching ITV on Sundays; Elton Welsby presented “The Match” along with the excellent commentary duo of Brian Moore (RIP) and Liverpool legend Ian St. John.

I still look up this the odd time on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP_kY__KumE

This incidentally was the last top flight game ITV ever showed, and they were going out with a bang.

As the second half got underway United tried their best to stay in the league title race which was slipping away from them, Brian McClair headed a Ryan Giggs free kick against the bar and from the rebound Andrei Kanchelskis also struck the bar, it wasn’t their day. Take nothing away from Liverpool who deserved to be ahead and should have increased it further when Saunders burst clear but was denied again by Schmeichel. The big Dane in the United goal then denied his fellow country man Jan Molby, whilst the rebound was blasted high over the bar by Michael Thomas who limped away heavily. Liverpool could ill afford any more injuries, with Tanner and Rush already off, the Reds had already used both subs by half time.

As United committed more men forward, we began to exploit the gaps, and United sold themselves again when Michael Thomas (recovered from his knock) picked up a loose ball and burst clear down the wing. We leapt off the couch, this was it surely, after wasting multiple chances we would finally put these to the sword. Thomas played the ball across the box and Ray Houghton arrived smashing it goal bound, the Kop roared in excitement as once more the brilliant Schmeichel somehow got a fingertip to it to deflect it on to the underside of the bar. The roar continued unabated when Mark Walters atoned for his earlier mishap by knocking the rebound over the line. I loved the late Moore’s commentary, he had the perfect voice for it and always turned it up a few decibels near goal, you couldn’t help but get excited when he did.

Moore: “well inside the last 5 minutes now as THOMAS GOES ON ONE OF THEM SURGES THROUGH THE MIDDLE, SHAKING OFF EVEN HIS OWN TEAM MATES THERE, Michael Thomas, across the face of the goal, HOUGHTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s in there by Walters, and now the title goes to Leeds United without any doubt at all, its 2-0 to Liverpool!”

We could have made it 3 late on but John Barnes was denied once more by the brilliant Schmeichel and limped off the pitch following a collision with the great Dane who had single handedly kept his team in the game.

For united the game was up, their league title challenge was over, one of few they had mustered in 25 years, oh how sweet it was, and I loved it in school the next day reminding everyone after all my Liverpool mates reminisced about how we took them down. My brother in law got no sympathy for being a man united fan either; we loved every second of it.

"When we were kids, when we were young
Things seemed so perfect - you know?
The days were endless, we were crazy - we were young
The sun was always shinin' - we just lived for fun”


It was a season in which United and Liverpool had contrasting league fortunes but it wasn’t the changing of the guard, that could wait until another day, but on this day we showed we would always be a thorn in their side.

Over 20 years later to this day we have never won the league, it was our turn to fade away from the days of winning titles, despite various teams being built and rebuilt. But I was only 9; I didn’t have to worry about that just yet did I? Times change but Liverpool doesn’t in many respects.

“Those were the days of our lives,
The bad things in life were so few,
Those days are all gone now
But, one thing’s still true,
When I look and I find,
I still love you”

 



 


« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 11:33:41 AM by Mistletoe & Winesy »
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

Offline Hinesy

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Smashing.
Yep.

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I nearly chose this game? I was at this one, absolutely electric atmosphere. Beating the Mancs, denying them there first title in 20 odd years, it was too good to be true. Never knew what was awaiting round the corner!

Offline Hinesy

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Re: RAWK advent calendar #24 1991-2 Liverpool vs United, the days of our lives
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2013, 12:03:43 AM »
Happy Christmas Eve everyone. Here's a great game to remember.
Yep.

Offline John C

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Re: RAWK advent calendar #24 1991-2 Liverpool vs United, the days of our lives
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2013, 12:23:21 AM »
Great write up mate, you've gone to some trouble there.

I remember the day well, beyond the hilarity of what we'd just accomplished was when the radio or TV got Howard Wilkinson on the phone for his comments on winning the league - and don't forget it was a fantastic achievement. Well, the interview was as if he was talking about a bereavement in his family, fuck me the man was a lugubrious fucker.


Offline Hinesy

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Re: RAWK advent calendar #24 1991-2 Liverpool vs United, the days of our lives
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2013, 11:59:33 PM »
Bump for Christmas
Yep.

Offline Jingle Hells Razor Smells

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Re: RAWK advent calendar #24 1991-2 Liverpool vs United, the days of our lives
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2013, 12:01:40 AM »
Many thanks for the nice comments people

May you ball have a very merry Christmas
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR