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Terry McDermott on Liverpool goal that started Sir Alex Ferguson's famous grudge


For sheer audacity, it was one of Terry McDermott’s best goals for Liverpool, if not the finest.

And 40 years later, he wonders if it planted the seed for one of football’s longest-held grudges – Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous ­mission statement to knock the Liver bird off its perch.

McDermott rarely settled for a tap-in where a goal-of-the-season contender for the archives was available. His exquisite chip over Everton keeper David Lawson, in an FA Cup semi-final, won him the BBC gong in 1977.

But the former England midfielder and Kop legend rates another perfectly-weighted pitching wedge with his left peg, at Aberdeen in a European Cup ‘battle of Britain’ in 1980, as an even better one.

And it’s not because his sheer insolence, from a forbiddingly tight angle, left Dons boss Fergie – who would be headhunted by Manchester United six years later – percolating steam in the ­Pittodrie dugout.

Terry McDermott scored an exquisite goal for Liverpool in a European Cup win over Aberdeen – who were then managed by a certain Alex Ferguson

McDermott discovered ­Fergie still has a memory like an elephant when they were guests at the same function in October 2017.

“A couple of years ago, when Kenny Dalglish opened the stand named after him at Anfield, the guests retired afterwards to the players’ lounge for a cup of tea,” said McDermott, who scored an impressive 80 goals in 328 appearances for Liverpool.

“There were lots of ex-players there, and across the room I ­spotted Chris Lawler, who was at the club when I signed in 1974. I walked over to say hello, and who should turn round next to Chris but Sir Alex Ferguson.

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“I’ve come across ­Fergie many times, especially when I was Kevin Keegan’s assistant at Newcastle, yet the first thing he said to me was ‘I’ll never forgive you for that f***ing goal at Aberdeen!’

McDermott said the goal he scored against Aberdeen still rankles with Ferguson

“It was the last thing I thought he would say to me and we had a laugh about it, but it shows what a long memory he’s got.

“Now, when I think about Sir Alex saying he wanted to knock Liverpool off their perch, as he did at Manchester United, I ­wonder if he got the idea that night. I might have started it!

“I was lucky enough to score in a European Cup final and win goal of the season on Match Of The Day but nobody really talks about that one at Aberdeen.

“When I watch it now, I ask myself ‘What on earth were you doing trying to chip the keeper from there?’ I’ve no idea what made me think I could do it from such a ridiculous angle.”

Sir Alex Ferguson famously vowed to ‘knock Liverpool off their f***ing perch’ – and succeeded

McDermott, 68, used to watch Liverpool from the boys’ pen as a kid before he became part of a joyous Anfield dynasty when Bob Paisley was running the show.

He gets “the same vibe” watching Jurgen Klopp’s side these days, although he is “gobsmacked” by suggestions that the season should be declared null and void, which would deprive the runaway leaders of their first title in 30 years.

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Manchester United baron Rio Ferdinand believes the campaign should be expunged because the coronavirus crisis transcends football and the only results that count are matters of life or death.

McDermott, unsurprisingly, disagrees.

McDermott was part of a legendary Liverpool side – and said he gets ‘the same vibe’ watching Jurgen Klopp’s team

He said: “Teams have blown up on the run-in before, and if Liverpool were only seven or eight points ahead I might agree that it’s not cut and dried.

“But they are 25 points clear. It would be criminal if the whole season was declared void and seven months of hard work counted for nothing. I want to see Jordan Henderson lift the trophy that says Liverpool are champions for the first time in 30 years.

“And I think it would be totally unfair, beyond belief, if they were denied it now. Obscene. We are talking about probably two generations on Merseyside who have waited for this moment.

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“Whatever happens to the football ­season now, somebody is going to be upset because they are denied the chance to win promotion or get into Europe. But nobody would be more upset than Liverpool supporters if they are denied the title.

“Didn’t they shorten the course on the Tour de France last year because of a landslide or something? Haven’t they awarded Grand Prix races to the leader if bad weather means they only complete half the laps?”





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