I managed to pull out a photo recently and thought that I would share it with you. I am standing in the middle of Wembley Stadium watching the Captains shake hands prior to kick off.
This was the MERCANTILE CENTENARY GAME – FOOTBAL LEAGUE V REST OF THE WORLD, standing in front of me is DIEGO MARADONA at the time regarded as the World’s number one player.
Maradona had ended the career of Tunisian Referee ALI BIN NASSER when during the World Cup in Mexico v England he jumped above goalkeeper Peter Shilton and deliberately handled the ball, projecting it into the net creating the famous “HAND OF GOD” incident.
Sadly, England lost the game 2-1 with Gary Lineker in his usual fashion finding the net to score. However, in that game Maradona demonstrated why he was the number one by scoring a second and certainly one of the best goals ever to grace a World Cup game.
That result dumped England out of the World Cup.
Here at Wembley 8th August 1987 the Centenary Game pulled together some of the best players from around the world.
Football League XI: Peter Shilton (Derby County), Richard Gough (Tottenham), Kenny Sansom (Arsenal), John McClelland (Watford), Paul McGrath (Manchester United), Liam Brady (West Ham), Bryan Robson (Manchester United), Neil Webb (Nottingham Forest), Clive Allen (Tottenham), Peter Beardsley (Liverpool), Chris Waddle (Tottenham). Substitutes: Steve Ogrizovic (Coventry), Steve Clarke (Chelsea), Pat Nevin (Everton), Osvaldo Ardiles (QPR), Norman Whiteside (Manchester United), Alan Smith (Arsenal). Manager: Bobby Robson.
Rest of the World XI: Rinat Dasaev (USSR), Josimar (Brazil), Celso (Portugal), Julio Alberto (Spain), Glenn Hysen (Sweden), Salvatori Bagni (Italy), Thomas Berthold (West Germany), Gary Lineker (England), Michel Platini (France), Diego Maradona (Argentina), Paulo Futre (Portugal). Substitutes: Andoni Zubizarreta (Spain), Lajos Detari (Hungary), Dragan Stojkovic (Yugoslavia), Igor Belanov (USSR), Preben Elkjær Larsen (Denmark), Lars Larsson (Sweden), Alexandre Zavarov (USSR). Manager: Terry Venables.
The game started well and was played in front of a rather sparse crowd of around 41,000. The second half was ruined by the Football League administrators insisting that every player that turned up should get a few minutes of playing time.
Sadly the momentum of a competitive game was lost with far too many changes taking place.
The Football League team turned out the winners and I finally managed to get a second handshake from the games Guest of Honour PELE.