Wednesday, May 9 – 1973
Hughes is cleared as champs go for glory
A smile that seemed to stretch from London to Merseyside covered Bill Shankly’s face as he left a Football Association disciplinary hearing at Lancaster Gate yesterday. Minutes earlier, Emlyn Hughes, his England defender, had been told he would not start next season with a three-match ban.
Liverpool boss Shankly missed the last day of preparation for tonight’s UEFA Cup Final with Borussia Moenchengladbach to accompany Hughes to London.
Hughes, who has played a dynamic part in Liverpool’s championship success this season faced suspension after being sent off against Birmingham last month.
The disciplinary committee said they were satisfied that Tonbridge referee Ron Challis was justified in ordering off Hughes.
But they decided that the sending-off was sufficient punishment.
“It’s great, just great,” said Shankly before hurrying off with Hughes to join the rest of the Liverpool squad at a Warrington hotel.
Liverpool have used this hotel on pre-match nights six times this season – and not lost one of those games.
A capacity crowd will make Anfield vibrate – as only Liverpool’s supporters can – as the team go for goals to build a first-leg lead.
Before the game Shankly will join his players in parading the League championship trophy before the fans.
The Germans will need strong nerves not to do be affected by the reaction that will bring.
Liverpool are bidding to become the first side to win the League title and a major European trophy in the same season.
Surprisingly, in nine successive seasons of campaigning across the Continent, a European trophy still eludes Liverpool.
Monchengladbach, with Gunter Netzer and Wimmer in midfield, provide the promise of a tremendous final. They have knocked in seventy-one goals in twenty-nine league games this season.
And they have two outstanding front players in Danish international Henning Jensen and the powerful Josef Heynckes.
It will be Liverpool’s sixty-fifth match – and their twenty-third cup-tie of the season. But all the talk of them being tired is history. Shankly says:
“We’ve got the championship, the players have had ten days’ rest . . . and we’re ready for anything.
“This is the fourth German side we’ve have played this season. Frankfurt, Dynamo Berlin and Dynamo Dresden couldn’t manage a win against us between them.”
Centre-half Larry Lloyd summed up the mood of Liverpool’s double-seeking players when he told me:
“The Germans will come to Anfield and attack.
“We’ll be ready. We stopped Tottenham from scoring at Anfield in the semi-final, and we can do the same again.”
Liverpool know that nothing less than a two-goal advantage will do. With the Kop’s backing I expect them to get it.
(Copyright: Daily Mirror, 09-05-1973, by Harry Miller)