HomeViews and OpinionsDerby Day 1982: Rush scored four and the conga around Goodison Park

Derby Day 1982: Rush scored four and the conga around Goodison Park

So how on earth did I get a ticket? Back in the day when you paid into Anfield, they gave out vouchers at certain games, usually the smaller ones like Grimsby in the League Cup, and I’d collect the said vouchers like gold dust.

Then you’d send them to the club with a stamped addressed envelope and a cheque to cover the ticket and wait… and wait… and wait…

Every day I’d run to the post, hoping. The only other time I’d wait with such anticipation for the post was around school report time, when I’d occasionally intervene with a set of marker pens, but that’s a different story.

Anyway, the golden ticket arrived. It was for the paddock at Goodison Park. Park End would have been ideal, but at least I was in.

Times were different then. I’d go to games with my ‘blue-nose’ mate, Richard who had a car. He picked me up, me in my red, him in his blue, and drive up to the ground. We parked in the Anfield car park, and walked through Stanley Park together.

I loved derby day. The excitement in the city was palpable for the week before. The pubs (mine was the Childwall Abbey) were awash with banter and chat. Always fun, never nasty. 20-a-side red v blue games on the school yard with a tennis ball. Ah those were the days!

So I remember it was packed and our support was even more vocal than usual.

It was a typical derby. The wind blew, and challenges were flying in.

I just loved Alan ‘Jockey’ Hansen and he was soon to show me why. As was his way, he nipped in front of David Johnson (an ex-red) and escaped a tackle from Steve McMahon (a massive red to be) before stroking a beautiful ball through to Mr Rush. The thing about Ian Rush was he wasn’t flashy. He didn’t have obvious wondrous skills, he just scored with nearly every chance he was given, as was the case here. Mass celebrations ensued. God it was hot. My programme, as ever, placed between my T-shirt and actual shirt to keep it pristine, was already feeling slightly sticky!

Soon after, King Kenny scored with a header to make it 2-0. Sadly it was not to be as the linesman put his flag up. I thought it was ‘on’ to be honest.

Our very next attack changed the game although, to be frank, we were already well on top. Again, Hansen played the ball thorough what these days we’d call a ‘high line’. Now high lines are all very good when you’ve got fast, high-class defenders, but poor Glen Keeley was neither. He pulled our Kenny back and was rightfully sent off.

We went in at half-time only a goal up. Everton were somehow still in it.

The second half was a mauling. Without the amazing Neville Southall we would have scored more.

Rush got his second with a deflection, I seem to remember. I can’t remember too much of the build up, but you can only imagine how our ‘away end’ responded. Bedlam.

I loved Mark Lawrenson. He was a delightful defender to watch and a perfect foil for Hansen. He was to score the next, Dalglish crossing from the right for a tap in at the back post.

The scene was set for Rush to create history and form the basis of songs which still echo around Anfield.

His hattrick was a shot which Southall somehow saved, but Rush tucked in the rebound. Next, as was the way, Kenny played him in with a perfect through ball, and he rounded Southall with ease.

The ground emptied, but we stayed in to celebrate in the very home of our fiercest of rivals. ‘Bragging rights’ for months to come, especially after the mauling they received.

I estimate these were around 10,000 of us in that day. To be honest, I’m not sure how we were given so many tickets. Then came something I’ll never forget. We danced out of the ground in a massive ‘conga’ and went round the whole ground twice, singing the conga song in the faces of all the desolate blues. A moment to cherish!

I got back to Richard’s car late. I had to lap up every celebratory moment, and why not?

I simply smiled, knowing conversation with my best mate might be limited. A bit like when I passed my medical finals but my mate didn’t, over celebration was curtailed.

‘Don’t say a fxxxing word’ was all I got. I didn’t; but my overwhelming feeling of happiness obviously oozed out of every pore..

What a day!