This day in football history – May 30: Steve G’s birthday, play-off drama and FA Cup final thrashing

The Bundesliga is back. Serie A, La Liga and of course the Premier League are also in line to return next month. We are slowly returning to some sort of normalcy.

Does this mean we’re stopping the On This Day series though? Absolutely not.

On today’s edition: play-off drama, European Cup drama and FA Cup final… drama. Let’s get cracking.

John Robertson Nottingham Forest 1979 European Cup Final / Getty Images / Getty Images

When Brian Clough took over as Nottingham Forest manager in January 1975, the tough trees were dying out in the Second Division. Four years later, after reuniting with his partner in crime Peter Taylor in 1976, Clough’s side stood on the brink of immortality.

Their opponents in the 1979 European Cup final were Malmo and the game itself was a highly entertaining affair, with Forest’s Terry Francis scoring the only goal just before half-time. Clough’s victory was already a miracle and his status as a footballing god was further cemented when the club managed to defend their continental crown the following season.

No wonder there is a statue of him in Nottingham city centre.

Sao Paulo vs Liverpool – FIFA Club World Championship Toyota Cup Final / Etsu Hara/Getty Images

40 years ago today, a man called Steven George Gerrard was born in Wiston, Merseyside.

At the age of nine he was spotted by Liverpool scouts and penned terms with the club, dedicating the next two and a half decades of his life to the Red Men.

By the time of his final appearance in 2015, Gerrard had featured more than 700 times for his boyhood club, winning a host of honours, including the Champions League in 2005 – although the Premier League title eluded him.

European Cup Final / Getty Images / Getty Images

Istanbul in 2005 was preceded by Rome in 1984, where Liverpool won the European Cup in similarly dramatic fashion.

Joe Fagan’s Reds met Roma in the final and managed to find a way to win despite La Lopa’s home advantage.

Phil Neal gave Liverpool the lead before Roberto Prozzo’s equalizer sent the game into extra time. Then came the fines.

Steve Nicol missed the Reds’ first spot-kick but a series of misfires from Roma gave Alan Kennedy – the hero in the 1981 final against Real Madrid – the chance to put the game to bed. The left-back made no mistake, sending Franco Tancredi the wrong way to happy scenes amid the red half of the Stadio Olimpico.

Man City Players/Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Before Manchester City established themselves in the top flight in the early 2000s, they were archetypal clubs, bouncing between the Premier League and the second tier season after season.

However, the Citizens were plying their trade in the third tier during the 1998/1999 campaign and were in dire need of a return to the big time to stave off the threat of financial collapse.

Their play-off final against Gillingham went right down to the wire but City eventually held on on penalties thanks to some heroics from goalkeeper Nicky Weaver.

West Ham United v Preston North End / Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

What about the playoff finals and Bobby Zamora? Nine years before scoring a last-minute winner to fire Queens Park Rangers to the Premier League, the striker repeated the trick by scoring the only goal in West Ham’s victory over Preston North End.

Just after half-time, Matthew Etherington ran after a long ball and swung in a dangerous-looking cross.

Zamora – who had been surpassed in the scoring charts all season by Marlon Harewood – was in the right place at the right time, spinning in front of his defender and slotting the ball home to send the Hammers back to the promised land. had lived.

Chelsea Celebration / David Ashdown / Getty Images

11 years on, Chelsea bounced back from the worst possible start to beat Everton 2-1 at Wembley.

Louis Saha gave the Toffees the lead in the first 60 seconds – the fastest goal in FA Cup Final history – before Mr Big Game Player™ Didier Drogba leveled things 20 minutes later.

Frank Lampard then scored the second-half winner, unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard drive with his left foot that left Tim Howard with little chance. The final was interim manager Guus Hiddink’s last game in charge, despite several senior players urging the Dutchman to stay on.


Back in 2011, Swansea City became the first Welsh club to win promotion to the Premier League as they beat Reading 4-2 in the Championship play-off final.

Brendan Rodgers guided the Swans to third place and they beat Nottingham Forest in the semi-finals to reach Wembley.

Scott Sinclair – who Rodgers will work with at Celtic – scored a hat-trick against Royals, including two penalties, while Stephen Dubie also canceled out Joe Allen’s own goal and Matt Mills’ header. Trapped.


Five years ago, Arsenal retained the FA Cup by beating Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa 4-0 in the final.

After avoiding deportation on the final day of the season, it is talked about that Sherwood may be able to orchestrate a famous giant killing. That idea was put to bed after Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez had already scored when Mertesacker nodded the Gunners’ third goal on the hour mark.

Olivier Giroud put the icing on the cake in injury time, calmly slotting home after Villa’s defense closed in. The victory was the sixth of seven FA Cups that Arsene Wenger would win as Arsenal boss.

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