Albion Nostalgia: Remembering that famous February afternoon at The Goldstone against Liverpool

The front cover of the programme when Albion met Liverpool in 1984
The front cover of the programme when Albion met Liverpool in 1984

Albion have beaten Liverpool just twice in the League. Once in 1982 during our last stint in the top flight and once back in 1960/61, when both clubs were in Division Two.

Our two other victories came in the FA Cup. One of those was that famous February afternoon in 1983 but the following season we again knocked them out, this time at The Goldstone. This is the last time we came away with a victory against the Reds.

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At the time, the fortunes of the two clubs couldn’t have been more different. Liverpool were the reigning league champions and on their way to a third successive title. They were also about to win the European Cup for a fourth time. Albion on the other hand, had been relegated at the end of the previous season and were mid table in Division Two.

In his ‘Comment Corner with Chris Cattlin’, the Albion manager praised the opposition saying, “Liverpool is everything that one looks for in a perfect football club”. He goes on to talk about Liverpool centre-back Mark Lawrenson, who made his name alongside Cattlin in the Albion defence in the late 1970s. Another Liverpool player returning to The Goldstone was Michael Robinson, who also had a great spell with The Seagulls.

He finishes with some comments about live TV. The game that day was the first time a second division club had been covered live, although Cattlin was no fan. “I don’t like live football on the box and I don’t think it’s good for the game” he says, going on to comment; “I don’t think it’s good for the game, in fact I think it will have an adverse effect”. I wonder what he makes of it now!

Elsewhere in the programme, the Liverpool player profiles reveal just what Albion were up against. In front of Bruce Grobbelaar, the back four included Alan Hansen alongside Lawrenson. In midfield, Craig Johnston and Sammy Lee joined Graeme Souness and up front, Michael Robinson played alongside Ian Rush. For Albion, Cattlin went with veteran Joe Corrigan in goal behind a back four of Chris Hutchings, Steve Gatting, Steve Foster and Eric Young. In midfield, we had Tony Grealish, Steve Penney, Neil Smillie and Danny Wilson, with Terry Connor and Gerry Ryan up front.

Just over 19,000 were inside The Goldstone, a slightly disappointing attendance put down to the live TV coverage. Liverpool were dominant in the first half, but the Albion defence held firm, with Corrigan and Foster outstanding.

The second half started in the same way but on 57 minutes, Gerry Ryan broke through the Liverpool defence and clipped the ball past Grobbelaar to make it 1-0. The crowd went delirious with joy and things got better just a minute later. Terry Connor was put clean through and he hammered the ball past a stunned goalkeeper to double Albion’s lead. Despite some furious Liverpool pressure in the closing stages, we hung on for another famous victory.

Live TV is a big part of modern-day football but this weekend, we miss out on the coverage. It will be a tough task to come away from Anfield with anything, but history tells us anything is possible where Albion is concerned.