The 1984 European Cup Final: A History

The Anfield Talk’s Robin (@robbiemac72) recounts his memories and the history of the 1984 European Cup final against AS Roma…

My memories of the ‘84 Final. I was very young when I started to follow Liverpool in the early 80’s, we were doing quite well on the domestic front and Ian Rush and Co. were beating everyone in the old First Division. Rushie became my hero and all time favorite player when during the 1983-84 season he scored 47 goals in all competitions en route to clinching a 15th League title and their fourth European Cup.

My first vivid memory of Liverpool playing in Europe was the 1984 European Cup Final against AS Roma in their own backyard. It was here that I realized how unique and special Liverpool being in Europe was. The atmosphere oozed from the TV, the noise, the excitement of the buildup. I knew I’d be a fan for life. Winning the League title was brilliant but the European nights sold it for me. I was now hooked on Liverpool FC.

So as a fan the foundations of becoming a true Red were laid on the domestic front and cemented in Rome in that balmy May evening in 1984. Everyone was talking up AS Roma since no team that had played in a final in their own home stadium had ever been beaten. Graeme Souness playing in his last game for Liverpool before joining Sampdoria forgot to read the script on that one!

Liverpool’s Alan Kennedy, recounts the Liverpool players mood, “I remember standing next to them in the tunnel and they looked taller than us, with an air of confidence about them. But Graeme Souness was looking them straight in the eye and saying, ‘I’m as good as you if not better than you and I’m going to prove it out there.'”

When Liverpool appointed Joe Fagan as Liverpool Manager upon Paisley’s retirement in 1983 at the age of 62 people were scratching their heads at an appointment of a man who’d never managed before, but he came from the fabled Boot Room. Legend has it that when Elton John was a guest in there the then Watford chairman, requested a pink gin. “We’ve brown ale, Guinness or whisky lad,” Fagan replied. This was a streetwise Liverpool and Manager and stood in good steed as they prepared to play AS Roma in Rome in front of their adoring fans.

Ian Rush in an Interview with an English newspaper recalled, “It was like going into the Colosseum, playing a European Cup final against Roma in Rome,”

“We respected Roma but our singing in the tunnel prior to walking out was a nice way of letting our opponent know they were up against Liverpool and our supporters. We didn’t care that the game was in Rome. Every stage was the same to us. I think that played a big part on the night. They tried all sorts of intimidation tactics over there but we overcame them as a team, not as individuals. They did the usual thing of trying to keep us awake all night by blasting horns outside our hotel but we deflated them by our singing in the tunnel.”

An AS Roma fan’s memories are recounted here:

Stefano Sale, a fan who lives in Dublin and is the founder and President of the AS Roma Ireland supporters club established in 2014, who was at the 1984 European Cup Final spoke to me in an interview recounting his experience of that memorable evening.

“The Cup final in Rome was something special. Roma had just won it’s second Italian League title. Roma’s first ever recorded title was in 1942, so 41 years later Roma are as Serie A Champions are in the European Final. A fantastic team made of fresh World Cup winners (1982) and top quality players like never seen before in the final In Rome! A golden opportunity that will never come back again, ever. Pity, that this Liverpool team was one of the best teams ever seen in European football.

Match-Day. The streets of Rome are finally filled with Roma and Liverpool fans, it was all strangely calm and relaxed. I remember talking to some Reds fans near Termini Railway Station, sipping beer in a cafeteria. We were slagging each other, but it all was all very friendly. Unfortunately it did not go like this later on. Strong scenes fans clashing outside the stadium and around the city were recorded, and in fairness it was Roma fans who did it. Liverpool fans were systematically attacked and many were injured. Even many Liverpool fans and Roma witnesses agree that the media largely ignored what happened.”

We all know the Final was won by Liverpool on penalties after a 1-1 draw, with Phil Neal scoring in normal play in front of a crowd of 69,693. Liverpool won the shoot-out 4–2 to claim their fourth European Cup. A final made famous by Bruce Grobbelaar’s wobbly legs tactics in the goal during the penalty shootout which played a role in distracting Francesco Graziani who was left bewildered as he prepared to take the spot-kick and Grobbelaar’s antics paid off when the forward’s strike grazed against the top of the bar as it flew over.

We now look forward to the Champions League game against Roma at Anfield and another memorable European night to enthrall a new generation of supporters from both teams. Forza Liverpool!

Mo Salah will surely play a big part this evening, against his former club, and Steve Nicol, a member of the 1984 Liverpool team spoke exclusively to The Anfield Talk on his thoughts on Mo Salah’s PFA award and tonight’s game:

“On Salah, an easy decision, on the game, we must play the way we have all season on the front foot.”

This is what we’re in it for. These Europeans nights under the lights, the buzz of excitement around the city.

A Champions League semi final.

Bring on yer Roma by the score.

Robin McNamara

Former journalist Insight Magazine Dublin & published poet. Currently work at Cartamundi Ireland. Liverpool fan since I was 10. Slowly embracing blogging or whatever this is.⚽️👍🏼✨

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