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Everyone has their own list of great sporting moments which is unique to them. For those who attend live sport regularly this list will probably largely consist of events at which they were present as somehow these are always more meaningful.
There will also always be occasions which may not seem terribly important to the world in general but which have special significance to an individual. I experienced one such great moment back in 1996.
I had been a fan of Stan Collymore for some time and was delighted when he signed for my club, Liverpool. His form had been a little up and down but it had become obvious that he was capable of great things. It is rare to see a player who is powerful, skilful with their feet, has great heading ability and is genuinely two-footed but Collymore was all of things and more. He was a bit of a riddle wrapped up in an enigma but every great team needs one of those!
I was having a serious debate on whether to attend the fixture in question as it had been postponed twice due to FA Cup replays and was now scheduled for a Wednesday night. When you are facing a 500 mile round trip that is a bit awkward but ultimately I decided that as I had tickets and that Liverpool were still in with a chance of winning the league, I should go. After all, sleep is overrated!
As I set off for the game I had a strange tingle of anticipation for no particular reason that I could fathom. It was a match between two teams at the top of the table which would normally produce a tactical and nervy game with few goals but somehow I felt this one might be different.
When I entered the stadium there was a real buzz about the place and an edge to the atmosphere that I had not felt for some time. I think this was a case of the crowd sharing my feelings, a kind of collective telepathy.
We all believed we were about to witness something special and we weren’t wrong!
This was Liverpool V Newcastle April 1996. It was the game that would be voted match of the decade and for me it was the match of that or any decade! What transpired was a breathless end to end game of extraordinary quality with the stars on the pitch really showing what they could do and no quarter given. There was an extreme intensity to proceedings that I had never witnessed before.
By the time the 90 minute mark had arrived I was emotionally exhausted. The score stood at 3:3 and I was shouting vigorously for the final whistle not wanting an amazing occasion to be ruined by a Newcastle winner. Deep into injury time Liverpool broke forward and then entrance none other than Stan Collymore to smash the winner into the net! I was ecstatic and nearly peed my nudie jeans!
What a night!
After a three hour journey I arrived home and immediately put the television on to watch the highlights of what I just witnessed. Since that day I have watched this match again and again and have never tired of seeing it.
In fact I think I am going to have to watch it again now!
Sally Stacey is a regular blogger and ardent football fan who has been following the game for over 30 years.She is currently writing on behalf of Jeanstore.
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