Bob Paisley’s career was so successful that it seems odd that he can ever have been doubted. Yet that was the case when his first season ended without a trophy, after the Reds had won three in the previous two seasons. If Bob was going to prove that he was the man to take over from Bill Shankly then he needed to win something as soon as possible.
As the 1976 season wound down there were two possibilities. We had scraped a 3-2 win in the first leg of the UEFA Cup final at home to Bruges but the away leg seemed a formidable obstacle and then there was the League title which all boiled down to one game against Wolves. This was the last game of the season. A win or a low scoring draw would do; anything else and the title would be won by QPR. Just to add spice, Wolves had to win to avoid relegation.
These days, such an important match would be shown on TV, but not then. Reds who couldn’t get to the Midlands would have to listen on the radio. There was no first half commentary, just score flashes so the agony can be imagined, especially when Steve Kindon put Wolves ahead after 13 minutes. Space was already being cleared in the Harold Steptoe trophy cabinet.
I can remember being completely unable to sit down during the second half commentary, just relentlessly pacing the room as the Reds dominated but just couldn’t score. Finally, with less than 15 minutes to go Kevin Keegan equalised. The title was ours as long as we held on but we did more than that, scoring twice more in the final fiveminutes. Talk about the agony and the ecstasy!
Inspired by this win, we went on to draw in Bruges to take the UEFA Cup. Sir Bob was up and running!
Clemence; Smith, Hughes, Thompson, Neal; Callaghan, Case (Fairclough 60), Kennedy; Keegan, Toshack, Heighway