McDermott: The night my dreams came true

Friday, 29, August, 2014
Terry McDermott representing England

“I remember it coming over from the left hand side of the pitch and I actually didn’t strike it that well but it flew in the top corner,” a reminiscent Terry McDermott said as he recalls a September evening at Wembley in 1980.

England haven’t always enjoyed the best of records against Norway, but that night 34 years ago the Three Lions were dominant as they blew away their Scandinavian opponents.

Liverpool’s 29-year old midfielder was at the heart of the victory netting two of England’s four goals as Ron Greenwood’s men got their 1982 World Cup qualifying campaign off to the best possible start.

McDermott had never scored for his country before that night but his first half volley got England on their way to a vital victory and set the Reds' man on course for an evening he’d never forget.

“Scoring for your country is what you dream of,” continues McDermott as takes a wistful walk down memory lane.

“I mean, I never dreamed I’d play for Liverpool, my home town club and then to play at Wembley was a great thrill.

“But to score for your country in a World Cup Qualifier, let alone two, well, it’s just what dreams are made of.”

As we continue to chat, McDermott admits discussing that game against Norway at Wembley brings fond memories flooding back.

But talk of the whole of the 1982 World Cup qualifying campaign causes a wry smile to form on his face.

The ex-England man describes a campaign where England sneaked onto the plane to Spain with victory over Hungary in the Three Lions' final game as, ‘up and down’.

One night from that campaign, which England would rather forget, will live in infamy.

And McDermott says he can laugh about the 9 September 1981 now, although at the time it wasn’t so funny.

“We made that qualifying campaign very difficult on ourselves. We were beaten by Norway, beaten by Switzerland and we only drew at home to Romania,” he recalls.

“I was pleased with that campaign because I scored three goals but I also remember the Norway away game vividly.

“I played a bad pass, gave their player the ball and they scored the winner.

“Basically, I caused the ‘Maggie Thatcher are you listening’ stuff,” he says with a chuckle.

McDermott is more than happy to joke about that night knowing, as he does now, that England eventually qualified regardless.

But, as the conversation turns toward playing for England it becomes instantly clear how serious a matter he believes representing the Three Lions is.

“If you’re wearing an England jersey and you’re playing in a friendly you treat it like it’s a World Cup game, there are no friendlies when you play for England,” McDermott passionately declares.

“You are playing for the entire country because everyone in the nation wants England to win.

“When you walk out for England at Wembley it’s something different and something special because you’re representing your country.”

McDermott reckons the fans will see plenty of Three Lions passion against Norway on Wednesday night.

But he feels that national pride is not the only motivating factor for the players.

“Roy Hodgson will send them out there with a simple message, ‘persuade me pick you against Switzerland’.

“It’s a great honour to represent England against Norway but it’s also a chance to cement their place for the Switzerland game.”

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