FA Cup 1985-86

The Cup Final of 1986 was the first ever all Merseyside affair.  Ultimately, it was the Reds, Liverpool who prevailed.  Gary Lineker had given Everton the lead just before the half hour mark, and in a largely undistinguished first half they had looked quite in control.

Things seemed to be going Everton’s way in the second half too, as tensions came to a head in the Liverpool defence with Bruce Grobbelaar’s infamous rant at young Irish full back Jim Beglin.  However, Liverpool had been crowned League Champions only a week earlier, so it was no surprise when Ian Rush equalised just before the hour and then Craig Johnston added a second a few minutes later.  When Rush made it 3-1 with less than 10 minutes to go, Liverpool became only the fifth team to win the Double.

The semi finals had seen Liverpool defeat Southampton at White Hart Lane, whilst Everton had accounted for Sheffield Wednesday at Villa Park.  Brighton and Hove Albion had kept up their recent good run of form in the FA Cup, this time making it through to the sixth round.  Perhaps the biggest shock of the competition had come in the 3rd round when Altrincham had knocked out Birmingham City who were then in Division 1.

Tuesday 1 April 1986

Nice day today.  April Fool’s day, although I make no note about any pranks that were played either on or by me.  We played our extended chase game, Fox and Hounds.  It’s a simple game, Team 1 runs off up the course of the old railway line, which ran behind our houses, then after a decent delay, the other team goes off to find them.  There were lots and lots of great places to hide.

The further you went ‘up the line’, the steeper the embankments became.  The undergrowth was a tangled, matted mess, so if you wanted, you could secrete yourself under a bramble and stay there all day.  But where’s the fun in that?  As ever, it’s the thrill of the chase.  A member of Team 2 spies you hidden there and the shout goes up and the chase is on.  Fine fun.

According to my revision schedule, I should have been doing some Maths revision.  Don’t think I did any tho’.  I had a cold, or in my 16 year old’s parlance, ‘… a b*****d of a cold!’

Wednesday 2 April 1986

My cold kept me awake last night until 2.30.  Now I’m not now, nor was I then a bad sleeper, so I felt really miserable.  But I am a trooper, so I got up, I guess at the normal time, did my papers and then got on me bike to school for a game of football.  Of course there was no one else foolhardy enough to get there on time, so I had an hour to kill.  I went to my Aunt’s house.  Boy was I a user eh?!

At last, the gang arrived and by 1 o’clock we were playing rugby in the hockey goals at school.  Rugby?!  Now, none of us were / are egg chasers, but someone had the bright idea, so we went for for it.  Probably one of the more enlightened – maybe he who suggested the idea – knew some of the rules or had an idea, so we bodged some sort of game up.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t that many of us, so I don’t think that we stayed for long – with that it was back on me bike and home for tea.

Thursday 3 April 1986

I went to bed at 12 last night and luckily went straight off to sleep.  I got up at 9am and did my papers in leisurely style – my mum had even been to the shop to fetch them for me.  Kids eh?!  Don’t know they’re bleddy born, little beggars.

I then went on to complian that I had done very little homework and zero revision.  This is, after all, the Easter Holidays.  Anyway, sod that for a game… let’s play football.

Friday 4 April 1986

Now I don’t want to come across all maudlin here, but there’s no getting away from it.  We had a cancer sufferer in our immediate family.  A cousin of my Dad’s, who lived across the road from us, to be precise.  I remember that he’d been suffering for a long time with what he thought was a bad back.  He’d been everywhere to get his back sorted, but eventually the correct diagnosis had been revealed, and by now it was too late.  My mum took him to Wolverhampton for treatment.  A desperate attempt at chemotherapy or some palliative therapy, I don’t remember very well, but he didn’t live for very long afterwards – I think that it was in June that he died, aged 40 something.

I’ve just taken a look ahead in my diary, but I can’t find any other mention of our poor cousin.  I do remember his death though (I was watching the World Cup when his girlfriend came across the road in floods, naturally) and his funeral.

Us kids, being what we were though, were hard at it playing Fox and Hounds up the old railway line and of course a game of football was fitted in too.  And in the evening, we watched Auf Wiedersehen Pet, which was ‘bl**dy marvellous’ again.

Saturday 5 April 1986

Ooh wow!  What a day.  First things first, my bike was now fully mine!  Yes, today I made the final payment on it!  What a relief!

West Tip won the Grand National at Aintree and in football news, Liverpool defeated Southampton 2-0 in their FA Cup semi final at White Hart Lane, whilst Everton booked their passage to Wembley by defeating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.  So the first ever Merseyside Derby in the Cup Final was in booked.

And finally, I announced to the world, well to my diary, that my brother was a pain in the neck.  I know I know, but I was 16 he was 14, it’s a teenage brothers thing.

Monday 7 April 1986

Oh dear, we had thought that Spring had sprung, but according to today’s entry, it was an ‘utter b*****d of a day’.  It was wet and windy, and surprise surprise, there was nothing at all to do.  I was frustrated by the fire, which I could not get to light, well not until I had put three firelighters on it.  Why, there wasn’t even much on the telly.  Boo and indeed, hoo.

No homework or revision reported, I should have been doing some Physics.

Tuesday 8 April 1986

Just as boring today as it was yesterday.  Oh dear.  I played Football Manager on the C64, and did a little catching up, by doing some Physics homework.  I reported that I was thinking of buying a stereo if my brother, ‘tightness’ was agreeable.  Just a quickie about this, I was a spendthrift and my brother was very careful.  Careful to the extent that he would eschew spending his own money on things, wait for muggins to buy it and then make with it like it was his own!  The bleeder.  He wasn’t stupid was he…

Wednesday 9 April 1986

Oh no.  Another ‘boring’ day.  Again, I played Football Manager on the C64.  I also went to the library, and amongst all those books I was still bored.

At least Man Utd could offer us some entertainment as they lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea this evening.

And over on Channel 4 we had some seminal 1980’s TV, Prospects.  Following the adventures of Jimmy ‘Pincey’ Pince, played by the late great Gary Olsen and Billy, played by Brian Bovell, Prospects was a cult hit for Channel 4 – one of the programmes that only Channel 4 could make.

The sun sets on the Thames, another day comes to an end…