Of course the year 1989 will be remembered for the Hillsborough tragedy above anything else. It is still something that is so vivid in the memory banks. For so many others as well. Football rightly took a back seat for a few weeks until such time the club and, more importantly, the families felt it was OK to return to football. When we did it only seemed right and fitting that the 1989 FA Cup Final on 20th May 1989 was to be contested by Liverpool and our near neighbours, Everton. The ideal footballing script really for the season’s showcase occasion.
And so it transpired that 20th May 1989 saw the resumption of Merseyside Finals. We had of course triumphed against Everton in the 1986 Final to clinch the league and FA Cup double. Also, we beat them in the 1984 League Final after a replay. Add to that Charity Shields as well and Liverpool v Everton at Wembley was becoming a regular event.
Fittingly though the 1989 FA Cup Final saw masses of Reds and Blues converge on Wembley. Again!!!
20th May 1989 – FA Cup Final v Everton
I remember we went down on the Friday afternoon and stayed with a friend’s brother in Hemel Hempstead. Four of us went down and we were to meet up with some friends at Wembley. Not all of us had tickets to get in. But that was taken care of in the sense that there was a large pub not that far away from Wembley where they had a huge room alongside the bar area. A bit like a function room I suppose. Seats were laid out and it was to be separated between red and blue.
Well organised and no hint of any trouble. All in all an excellent couple of days or so. Topped off of course by the result. Anyway, on to the game itself.
20th May 1989 – Liverpool 3, Everton 2
The game was memorable for several reasons. Not least of all it was because we saw a substitute from each side both score two goals in an FA Cup Final for the first time. I’m not sure if it’s happened since either to be honest.
We got off to a cracking start with John Aldridge giving us the lead in the 4th minute. And so it stayed that way until the 89th minute. A bit of a melee in Liverpool’s goalmouth saw Everton substitute, Stuart McCall, stab home a dramatic late equaliser. 1-1 it finished after 90 minutes, so on to extra-time.
Five minutes into extra-time, our own super sub, Ian Rush, made it 2-1. A lead that was short lived however as McCall again netted five minutes later.
Things were getting tense and the beer was flowing in the pub.
As extra-time moved on it seemed that the Final was taking on a “next goal wins” feel about it. And so it proved as Rushie stooped to head our third goal past his Welsh team mate, Neville Southall.
It was, of course, the second time that Rush had scored two goals in an FA Cup Final against Everton. He did also net two in the 3-1 win back in 1986.
The game ended 3-2 and in a fitting tribute to the 96 (there was 95 at that point), we lifted the FA Cup.
A cracking game and a great weekend away.
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