Kenny Dalglish has recalled stepping out at Anfield for the very first time, with Newcastle United providing the opposition.
The Liverpool legend remembers speaking to Tommy Craig (of sweet left foot fame) as they waited to go out onto the pitch, Kenny Dalglish admitting that seeing the ‘This is Anfield’ sign ‘terrified’ him.
I think we can safely assume that this same sign has terrified many a Newcastle player in these past 39 years, as despite having a pretty good record at St James Park against the scousers (even beating them comfortably last season on the way to relegation), it is now over 20 years since United won at Anfield.
Newcastle won away in both the Premier League (1994) and League Cup (1995) under Kevin Keegan but on not one occasion since then, a period which included Dalglish taking over at Newcastle almost 20 years ago – can you believe it is really that long ago?
That game back in August 1977 saw Liverpool win 2-0 and Kenny Dalglish score.
Newcastle were relegated that season and Liverpool had to settle for ‘only’ the European Cup that year, though winning the league in six of the next eight seasons must have softened that blow…
Whilst Kenny Dalglish was conquering Europe and winning titles, Kevin Keegan came and saved Newcastle United (first time around) and retired from football after leading NUFC back into the top tier in 1984.
That promotion season saw a memorable game at Anfield, though Kenny Dalglish wasn’t involved that Friday night.
Newcastle lost 4-0 in the FA Cup and Kevin Keegan famously said that this was the game that convinced him his legs had gone, in terms of any chance of playing in the top division again.
Any Newcastle fans who were there though, will remember one of the greatest away match atmospheres of all time, as half of Tyneside descended on Merseyside.
Estimates of anything between eleven and fifteen thousand there supporting Kevin Keegan and the black and whites (see brilliant video footage below of the support that night)
Newcastle fans have their memories of Anfield, Kenny Dalglish has his.
Kenny Dalglish talking to Liverpool’s Official TV Channel:
“We were playing Newcastle in the first game I played (at Anfield).
“We drew 1-1 at Middlesbrough in the opening league game and on the Tuesday night Newcastle came.
“There was a boy called Tommy Craig, who was the first £100,000 teenager, who I had grown up with.
“He actually never grew up much…he was only about 3ft2!
“We played for Glasgow schools together, then for Scotland schools when we were 15. He was in the Newcastle dressing room.
“We came out to come down the steps and we got to the ‘This is Anfield’ sign and I said ‘That’s supposed to frighten you’.
“He said ‘Yeah’. I said ‘I’m terrified!’
“That was it, we went out and Ray Kennedy knocked one through in the second half, I went on and scored. It was special from that day onwards.
“It is fantastic we’re staying at Anfield, fantastic we’ve got the extension to the stand, but even more fantastic that the people are going to remain the same with the same outlook and philosophy.”
(Footage put up by ‘Newcastle United 1980 – 1994 Videos’)