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Real’s drummers from Parc des Princes
were playing the good music
Liverpool in 1981, however, won the European Cup
The music of Souness, Kennedy and Dalglish was heard,
Were they drummers or dreamers ? I don’t know
Were they dreamers or drummers ? I don’t know
but they made the history,
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The first ever final of the European Cup was played
The first ever champions were Real Madrid
probably followed by their drummers
But in 1981 in Paris Souness, Kennedy and Dalglish
were DRUMMERS and DREAMERS
© Gacina Bozidar
Liverpool did more than win the European Cup in the Parc des Princes tonight. They overcame a season that by their own standards was inauspicious, and joined THE exclusive company of those who have won the trophy three times or more. The cup remains in England and that for a fifth successive year, Liverpool themselves began the sequence in 1977 and retained the trophy the following year.
Nottingham Forest followed them in the last two seasons. It was fitting that Liverpool should confirm their place in football history here in Paris where the first final was played in 1956 and that they should beat Real Madrid, the first champions, whose football in those days guaranteed spreading interest in the competition.
Unfortunately, the neutral observer will have to live with memories, for this was a final that for an hour was absorbing but waned disappointingly before Alan Kennedy restored the trophy to Liverpool with an excellently taken goal seven minutes from the end when extra time loomed. The Real heirs to the majestic football of Di Stefano, Puskas, Santamaria and the others of that rare breed came here without hope of serious comparisons but optimistic at least that they had inherited sufficient skill to outwit the allegedly more prosaic football of Liverpool. The very suggestion would have fired Liverpool’s spirit and they were encouraged by the presence of far more of their supporters than had been expected. Clearly tickets had been found locally to increase the miserly allocation of 12.000.
If Liverpool took a slight risk with the fitness of Dalglish, Real gambled with their inclusion of Cunningham, the former West Bromwich Albion winger, who had not played a full match since November. Within two minutes, he danced inside Neal and brought Clemence across to intercept his centre, aggravating the stranded Neal, who had been fouled by Camacho. Even in the early moments there were signs of a rigorous theme. Real were as aware of the need to control Souness in midfield as Liverpool were that they had to watch Stielike, Sabido immediately charged into Souness, a challenge that had no lasting effect, and Liverpool stole the initiative in a game that became increasingly more interesting.
As Mc Dermott enjoyed more freedom than Souness, he became Liverpool’s play-maker, feeding good passes through to Dalglish and Johnson who soon exposed the known flaws in the Real defence. Cortes was reduced to grabbing Dalglish as the Scot, showing no sign of hindrance from his injury, approached dangerously on the left. Alan Kennedy’s low shot sent Augustin scouring to turn it away at the post. Meanwhile, only Juanito seriously bothered them and in 20 minutes
Real failed to bring Clemence into the game. Cunningham switched from one wing to the other and his curled, long passes were impressive on this broad, lush pitch. But Juanito remained Real’s ace ,attacking in the middle behind Santillana. The more Juanito warmed to the game, the more involved Real became. A particularly perceptive through pass put Camacho into space with the Liverpool defence stretched. Clemence had no move out to meet the danger AND Camacho lobbed the ball over him but wide. Real’s drummers high on the terraces were now beating the advance and raised their tempo when Kennedy challenged the Spanish goalkeeper.
When appearing to make peace, Kennedy had his name taken by an erratic referee. Liverpool strode through a period of difficulty, when Cunningham regularly teased Alan Kennedy, and, towards half-time, were steadily rebuilding the foundations. An elegant advance by Hansen and a shrewd pass through midfield to Neal led to Dalglish squaring the ball for Souness, whose drive rebounded off Agustin and was cleared scrappily. While Juanito was alert to the chance of breaking the Liverpool defence from midfield, their tendency to pay Real too much respect was understandable. Indeed, a breakaway by Camacho early in the second half caught the Liverpool defence square. By the time Camacho had lifted his shot over Clemence and the crossbar, the linesman had flagged for offside, but the warning for Liverpool was clear. Admittedly, Johnson and Dalglish were treated cruelly by the Real defenders and when a superb long pass from McDermott gave Johnson a clear run towards the corner of the penalty area, Sabido had no qualms about chopping him down. Not for the first time, Liverpool made no capital out of the free kick and, indeed, the general quality of play deteriorated.
The balance of the game was such that the slightest error could win the trophy. Thompson was almost the culprit when letting Santillana snatch the ball away in the penalty area, but Neal rectified the error by taking the ball off the centre forward’s foot. Liverpool recovered composure and patiently persevered. With the threat of extra time ahead, some energy conservation was necessary although obviously no one had mentioned it to Juanito whose skill on the ball was the individual highlight of a match that deteriorated in the last half an hour. With both teams intercepting movements in the middle of the field the need was for something unexpected. McDermott rarely in better form this season, was eager to provide such inspiration yet Real’s defence, so ill-considered in advance, ensured that much of his work did not reach Dalglish or Johnson. And when Johnson was given chances to strike with his speed, his control was not equal to his pace. The error we awaited came in the 83rd minute when Ray Kennedy’s throw-in was badly missed by Cortes. Alan Kennedy ran on down the left, cut into the penalty area and hit a splendid shot inside the far post to give Liverpool the European Cup.
So the mistake and unexpected came at once and if it has to be said that in many ways this was not an exceptional final, there was no denying Liverpool’s strength, their determination and most of all their experience. (The Times May 28 1981)