Football: Kennedy Recalls His Finest Hour for Reds; European Hero Reveals Fight to Make 1981 Final

Article excerpt

Byline: By JAMES PEARCE

PUCKER UP! Alan Kennedy kisses the European Cup after the win in Paris

ALAN KENNEDY feared he would be forced to sit and watch Liver-pool's bid for European Cup final glory in 1981.

Injury had forced the left-back to miss the semi-final win over Bayern Munich but boss Bob Paisley gave him the nod to face Real Madrid in Paris and he duly etched his name in folklore.

Kennedy's late strike sealed the Reds' third European Cup triumph and he repeated the trick three years later with the winning spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out victory over Roma.

He remains the only British player to score winning goals in two European Cup finals.

"It was a great era for English football with Liverpool having won it in '77 and '78 and Notts Forest lifting the cup in '79 and '80," he recalled.

"We wanted to continue that run and with '81 being my first European Cup final, it was extra special.

"I had been out in the build-up to the final with a broken wrist. I had to have a special cast made so I could get back playing.

"Richard Money had been in the side for the semi-final and he did a great job. I thought I would struggle to get back in the side but I was called up for the last home game of the season.

"I obviously did enough to convince the manager I was fit enough to take part. But I didn't know I was playing un-til Bob Paisley announced his team a couple of hours before kick-off.

"I was delighted he decided to show faith in me and when Bob said I was playing I felt emotional."

Kennedy will be reunited with the class of '81 at the annual LFC Former Players Dinner at the Crowne Plaza on Monday, November 13. The ECHO-or-ganised night - which is sponsored by BT and open to fans who are quick to book tables - will celebrate the 25th an-niversary of the Reds' victory in Paris when Kennedy rose to the occasion.

The 52-year-old said: "The game was tight, real cloak and dagger stuff, and I remember they pinpointed Graeme Souness for some rough treatment. …