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Liverpool fan signed for club with ‘no negotiations’ and broke drinking rules before scoring Anfield’s greatest goal

Terry McDermott graduated from the Boys Pen and the Kop to the Anfield pitch and was an integral figure in the one of the greatest periods in Liverpool history, providing a host of memorable moments on and off the pitch.

Liverpool over the years have been blessed with some great goalscorers as well as scorers of great goals. Few however have combined both attributes as well as a Scouser whose love affair with his hometown club began by watching the great Billy Liddell playing for the Reds’ reserves towards the end of the iconic Scot’s celebrated career.


He would graduate to cheering on Liverpool’s first team from the Boys Pen and then the Kop and, after cutting his teeth in professional football elsewhere, finally got to pull on the red shirt he adored and won almost every major honour in the game while putting together a showreel of goals of sublime quality and quantity.


Terry McDermott first appeared on the Anfield pitch as an enthusiastic 11-year-old having run onto the hallowed turf with scores of other youngsters in delight when Bill Shankly’s side clinched promotion in April 1962 after eight years in the wilderness of the Second Division.


Terry McDermott graduated from the Boys Pen and the Kop to the Anfield pitch and was an integral figure in the one of the greatest periods in Liverpool history, providing a host of memorable moments on and off the pitch.

The football-mad youngster trooped back to Kirkby that evening with brother Peter dreaming of emulating his heroes one day but would have to bide his time before making it a reality. Although he represented a successful Kirkby Boys team which reached the quarter-finals of English Schools Trophy, he was one of only two players in the side not to sign schoolboy forms with Football League clubs, the other being Dennis Mortimer (who years later would become only the second Scouser after Phil Thompson to lift the European Cup when he captained Aston Villa to glory over Bayern Munich in Rotterdam in 1982).


McDermott would eventually be snapped up by lowly Bury and it was at Gigg Lane where he cut his teeth in the professional game, making 90 appearances and scoring eight goals from midfield before making the jump from the Fourth to the First Division when Newcastle United paid £22,000 for him in February 1973. Despite the step up in class, manager Joe Harvey soon gave the 21-year-old his chance in the first team and he settled in quickly, helped by being sent to live with the family of young Magpies left-back Alan Kennedy who would later become an Anfield team-mate, and by the end of McDermott’s first – and, as it would turn out, only – full season at St James Park the Geordies had won through to the FA Cup final where their opponents would be Liverpool.


It was the dream final for the young Scouser who only the previous season had been plying his trade against the likes of Exeter and Gillingham on the bottom rung of the English league ladder, but it turned into something of a nightmare with Liverpool, in what proved to be Shankly’s last game as manager before his shock retirement the following July, comprehensively winning 3-0 to put the pre-match boasts by Newcastle centre-forward Malcolm Macdonald of how he was going to destroy the Reds defence firmly in the shade.


“I always found Malcolm a bit flash for the north east,” McDermott recalled in his autobiography, ‘Living For The Moment’. “I don’t feel bitter towards him now but it wasn’t the wisest thing to do and without a doubt wound Liverpool up. Loads of my family were at Wembley that day with their black and white scarves and rosettes. They had mostly travelled down with the Liverpool fans, some of whom they knew, but for one day they had given up their allegiance to the Reds and were supporting me and Newcastle. The game itself was an utter embarrassment and it could and should have been even worse. I was completely devastated after the game. People were saying I couldn’t lose because of my Liverpool roots. You must be joking. I felt physically sick because we got utterly stuffed. All in all, it was a terrible experience.”


McDermott’s spirits were lifted during the summer when newspaper reports began to link him with a move to Liverpool – Bob Paisley having reluctantly agreed to step up from the Boot Room and take charge after Shankly’s abrupt exit – although the young midfielder initially did not pay the transfer talk much mind until he received a letter from Phil Thompson, another fanatical Red from Kirkby, who had already forced his way into the Liverpool side after coming through the youth ranks but was in hospital waiting for an operation having played against McDermott at Wembley the previous May.


“I was in my hospital bed when Bob Paisley phoned me,” he recalled in his book, Stand Up Pinocchio. “He said, ‘the boy McDermott. I’m reading in the press that he is not happy at Newcastle. Do you know him?’ ‘Not really’, I said. ‘He’s a Kirkby lad, but he’s a bit older than me. I only got to meet him in the Cup final where we swapped shirts’. Bob said, ‘I fancy him as a Liverpool player. Can you get in touch with him?’ I told him there was no phone number for Macca, but I could write and I sent Terry a letter from my hospital bed, saying I understood he was not happy and that Bob Paisley had been talking about him. I explained that Bob felt he had all the attributes to be a Liverpool player, adding, ‘if you know what I mean’.


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