Terry McDermott – Kevin’s buffer and what a player
Terry McDermott was one of the finest midfielders to grace the English game for most of the 1970s and early 1980s.
A man who could at times make Perry Como look like a nervous wreck, he first came to prominence in a Newcastle midfield that included real class – the likes of “Jinky”Jimmy Smith, Tommy Cassidy and Terry Hibbitt.
Brought in from Bury at the age of 21 by our own Great Joe Harvey in 1973, Terry McDermott made such an impression that he soon caught the attention of Liverpool’s own legendary boss Bill Shankly and signed for club he had supported as a boy in 1974 after the scousers had beaten us in the FA Cup final.
Terry made the right move as Liverpool were on the verge of dominance within the English game and Europe. He would go on to win five League Championship medals and three European Cups. Indeed, it was Terry who set Liverpool on their way in Rome in 1977 with the opening goal in their first European Cup Final.
A man who played his final game for Liverpool that night was Terry’s big pal…Kevin Keegan.
Terry was an England regular and in the late 70s the annual Goal of the Season competition in the old First Division seemed to always include a “Terry Mac special.”
In 1982, Terry McDermott was the last to leave the Liverpool midfield old guard after Jimmy Case and Ray Kennedy.
Where better place to go then, than go back and join his old mate King Kev at Newcastle?
He was welcomed with open arms but we all knew that Terry could never have been as good as in his former days. Nevertheless class always prevails and he slotted in nicely next to David McCreery and John Trewick, another two Arthur Cox purchases.
In 1984, Kevin Keegan accomplished what he had set out to do and Newcastle were promoted and back in the promised land. Kevin emotionally left in a helicopter but Terry Mac’s exit was much lower profile, though the friendship and NUFC connection the two of them shared was not to end there.
Our promotion was another false dawn and Waddle, Beardsley, Gascoigne and another local lad, Neil Macdonald, were all eventually sold on. As we entered the early 1990s the club was in total disarray and in the 1991/92 season it looked like we were going to slip into the old Third Division.
Divine intervention, call it what you want, then occurred.
Sir John Hall who had recently taken control of the club appointed none other than Kevin Keegan. The first thing Kevin did after his press conference was telephone his mate Terry Mac.
Kevin told him that the two of them were going to save Newcastle by keeping them up, get promoted and then conquer English football. He even promised him it would happen. Only a madcap like Terry would have swallowed it, but like he always says in his inimitable way, Kevin has so much enthusiasm that you want to believe him anyway.
Kevin had his problems regarding strengthening the team in the first few months and thought Sir John had gone back on promises regarding backing to strengthen the squad. This led to him departing St James’ after a home victory against Swindon Town. The team had showed a considerable improvement under Keegan and the manager was definitely being let down because of the few decent results we were having. It was Terry McDermott who went after KK and told him it was now or never for the Toon. They had to return and give the chairman an ultimatum or the club they both dearly loved was doomed.
Sir John relented and Kevin came home with Terry….and the likes of Brian Kilcline and Kevin Sheedy were brought in shortly after. Kevin Keegan wears his heart on his sleeve and Terry Mac could read him like a book.
What happened in the next four years was unreal and Keegan nearly fulfilled his prophecy and promise to Terry.
Just don’t let any of those Harry Enfield scouse brothers parodies cloud anyone’s judgement, as to how important Terry McDermott is in the Newcastle United Hall of Fame.
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