Amo on THAT Spurs game

The strange story of how Daniel Amokachi decided to come on as sub for Paul Rideout in the 1995 FA Cup Semi-Final, where he went on to score two fantastic break-away goals that secured Everton's place in the Final, and went on to beat Manchester United.

I stumbled upon a stunning story from Daniel Amokachi, who is now coaching in Finland. He tells a remarkable tale of his two goals in the FA Cup semi-final in 1995; I've never heard about this.

The article was translated by me from Finnish.

An ex-professional footballer who is coming to Finland to coach made a stunning decision in his career – "It was an embarrassing and strange situation."

Daniel Amokachi isn't afraid to make controversial decisions. One of them delighted and infuriated back in England.

The playing career of Daniel Amokachi, who is joining Finnish Second Division side, JS Hercules, is like a summary of the old Finnish saying "He who fears should not play". The Nigerian attacker's career saw a few stunning episodes, but one is remembered above all others, and that happened in what was arguably the biggest game of his career.

It was the spring of 1995, and Amokachi's side, Everton, were playing in the FA Cup semi-finals against Tottenham Hotspur. The Spurs side, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, were the media darlings of the time, thanks to some flamboyant football that season.

In the second half, the Blues were winning 2-1, but after Klinsmanns penalty goal, the mood in the Everton camp was getting darker by the minute.

"Tottenham were coming at us like crazy. Klinsmann played a great game. Then our attacker Paul Rideout was hurt. I was on the substitutes bench and I was waving to the manager, that I'm ready to go out on the pitch," Amokachi told us on Wednesday in Helsinki.

Brave decision

The Everton manager, Joe Royle, wasn't interested in making any substitutions. He wanted Rideout to stay on the pitch. The British striker was visibly struggling, but Royle wasn't making any changes, even though, according to Amokachi, the team doctor was saying that the striker should be substituted.

"Even though Rideout was struggling, nothing happened. I was warming up. In the 90s, there weren't as many people telling the refs about substitutions and mixing in between. I walked up to the assistant ref, and told him I'm going on. Rideout came off."

The substitution happened so quickly, that no-one on the Everton bench noticed what Amokachi was up to until it was too late. Royle was fuming.

"I went on, and everybody on our side were in shock. I was, however, already on the pitch and it was our last substitution, so they couldn't take me off, unless they wanted to finish the game shorthanded."

Amokachi knew that, if the game ended with Tottenham equalising and thus forcing a replay, he'd be in big trouble. Football history doesn't hold many examples of players who have managed to get themselves substituted onto the pitch without permission – and even fever where they have actually made it through the discussions with the manager after the game still holding a contract.

"It was an embarrassing and strange situation, but it was worth it. I was in good shape, and everybody knew that."

Good decision

Soon, things started happening. Amokachi and Everton managed to turn the tide, with the Nigerian striking twice in the last 10 minutes. Everton won 4-1 and were moving on to the FA Cup Final.

"I didn't really have a choice. If I would have failed, it would certainly have been my last game for Everton!"

Everton went on to defeat Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in the final, just as they were starting their unstoppable run at the top of English football. Rideout, who injured himself in the semi-final, was the hero with his strike in the 30th minute. Amokachi also got a sniff at the atmosphere in the final.

"People still remember me in Liverpool, and that final was huge in Africa as well. There was maybe two or three TVs in my home village. Everybody was gathered around them. I knew that, because I was always sitting in front of the same TVs in my youth, watching the FA Cup Final and dreaming about playing in it."

Now you are in the position of the manager. How would you react, if one of your players would substitute himself onto the pitch without your blessing?

"If he does that, and makes it on to the pitch, go for it! I would hope he does good things on the pitch. But of course, after the game we would discuss it. Then we are talking about the professionalism of players. My door is always open for my players."

The cup is still the last big win for Everton.

Amokachi went on to play the 1995-96 season at Everton; after that, he went to Fenerbahce in Turkey. After three good seasons, his career deteriorated fast because of knee problems that ended his career at the age of 28.

Translated from the Finnish newspaper, Ilta Sanomat

Share article:

Reader Comments (24)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Jimmy Salt
1 Posted 21/04/2016 at 21:54:04
Haha wow didn't know that, one of my favourite games that semi.
Michael Coffey
2 Posted 21/04/2016 at 21:55:45
I bumped into him in 1997 in a hotel in Lagos the night before a match with Kenya. While very fond of Everton, He made it quite clear that he didn't get on too well with Big Joe.
Nick Entwistle
3 Posted 21/04/2016 at 22:10:58
The FA Cup that season was re-titled Jurgen's dream by every one in the media. Jurgen was still the diving Krout to me, so extra pleasing to stop all that nonsence.

I remember John Motson's commentary for Amo's goals. The delight in his voice was something else. And even though it was officially Everton v Man Utd, the sneaky BBC turned that around.

Joe Clitherow
4 Posted 21/04/2016 at 22:20:09
Waiting for the Cup Final on Wembley Way in 2009, there was a bit of a commotion over the road so I wandered over and saw a big black guy in a baseball cap with a huge grin and the biggest 1980s type video camera I had ever seen. It was Dan strangely on his own with fans mobbing him and shaking his hand (including me). Very weird! Nearly as weird as when he was introduced at Goodison either before a game or at half time and they couldn't get him off the pitch with him milking the applause in some very dark times for Everton under Mike Walker. A significant signing as he was really the first black player we signed (Mike Trebilcock aside).

The only thing I take issue with in this article is "Tottenham were coming at us like crazy" as we absolutely battered them from start to finish in the best Semi-final I can recall, and their penalty award was an absolute travesty. Nick Barmby was a big player for Tottenham and never got a sniff, and Unsy must have had the biggest shorts in the world, not for his massive arse but to fit Jurgen Klinsmann in his pocket.

What a great day out in Leeds!! :-)

Brian Williams
5 Posted 21/04/2016 at 22:23:55
Yeh I've known what happened for a long time. Remember hearing about it not long after it happened.
Joe Royle was gonna kill him 'til he scored.
Andy Mack
6 Posted 21/04/2016 at 23:40:24
Thats amazing. I had no idea either. I still remember Amo racing to the crowd like a nodding dog after sticking in his first goal. One of my favourite Everton games ever. I wish we had that sort of spirit now. Good on you Amo lad. Like Straq., one of those players you love and don't know why.
Jack Convery
7 Posted 21/04/2016 at 23:46:23
I loved the guy because he played with a smile, something the present bunch will do again when RM goes. The sooner the better.
Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 21/04/2016 at 23:50:31
Hopefully Duncan Ferguson will sub himself on this weekend
Robin Cannon
9 Posted 22/04/2016 at 03:48:26
I think my favorite single Everton game to have been at.
James Byrne
10 Posted 22/04/2016 at 04:06:21
That day will live long for me as I totally missed the game. I'd been offshore Great Yarmouth and had to be flown off due to illness the day before the match. I had an ingrowing hair in my lower back and decided to go to the Royal and not get surgery in Norwich.

So I traveled all day on the worst and longest train journey ever from Norwich to Lime Street. Once I hit Liverpool I didn't believe anyone what the score was, fkn fantastic! Amakochi went on to score one of the best home goals against Newcastle in the next season (I think). I think Amokachi went on to Besiktas not Fern.

Emotional day also having Gary Ablett in a blue shirt that day.

Matt Traynor
11 Posted 22/04/2016 at 04:07:08
Joe #4, I agree about our domination in that game, although you'll remember for Amo's 1st goal, Nev blocked a Stuart Nethercott shot that really should've made it 2-2. 20 seconds later, it was 3-1.

Like Robin #9, I think it was my most memorable game to have attended.

Brian Wilkinson
12 Posted 22/04/2016 at 05:22:21
Are you reading this Niasse, as soon as Kone leaves the field of play, go for it lad, do an Eddie Cavanagh onto the pitch.
Jim Bennings
13 Posted 22/04/2016 at 07:38:47
That was an Everton team you knew could surprise you, despite being limited it had surprise element to it.

We struggled in the league that season but still managed to take four points off Liverpool, it was the season of our last win at Chelsea and we also beat Manchester United TWICE in three months, one of course being the Final.

Can we say this present team has the capability to pull out a shock win?

Christopher Timmins
14 Posted 22/04/2016 at 10:56:49
That Easter Sunday at Beeston was our best performance since the decline of the Championship winning side of the 1980,s and has not been matched since. We wiped them out from start to finish.
Lee Brownlie
15 Posted 22/04/2016 at 11:49:10
Remember the great former Arsenal leftie, Anders Limpar, playing on our right. Some great 'break-away' goals including in the final when 'Diamonds' Stuart should have bagged the glory but barred it for Rideout to nod emphatically home!! Shivers down my spine even now remembering Big Joe on the touchline heading it in (then going into celebratory hug-dance-mode!!) before even Rideout did!!!
James Cuthbert
16 Posted 22/04/2016 at 13:09:05
My brother is a Spurs fan and we watched this match together. A very personally satisfying afternoon. Amo was such a frustration sometimes, but you can't say his heart wasn't in it.
Terry Underwood
17 Posted 22/04/2016 at 15:41:34
A team with more spirit than talent... maybe that is our problem now, too many players that believe THEY are too good for the rest of the side... would rather have a side full of tryers than a side of prima donna "stars"
Liam Reilly
19 Posted 22/04/2016 at 16:33:29
Wow - that is some story.

Brave man; I'd say Big Joe would've ripped him a brand new arsehole if he hadn't scored.

Alex Kociuba
20 Posted 22/04/2016 at 21:37:45
It's nice hearing this story form the horse's mouth, I always suspected it might have been made up.
Peter Thistle
21 Posted 23/04/2016 at 02:36:55
That's brilliant from Amo. To substitute Rideout for himself without permission seems unbelievable but we all know it was the perfect move. He should have got a hat-trick in the end. One of my favourite Everton games ever. Loved it. Good on ya Amo !!!
Jim Bennings
22 Posted 23/04/2016 at 09:02:06
Regularly called dogs of war but correct about the fantastic goals we scored on the break, Limpar was at times quite simply sublime with what he could do with a football, skipped across the pitch with the ball at his feet like a stone skimming water, remember his solo brilliance skipping past five Liverpool players at Anfield then laying an inch perfect ball on a plate for Kanchelskis to rip David James arm off with the second goal.

That team was not just dogs of war.

Nick Entwistle
23 Posted 23/04/2016 at 09:22:17
We all know the media love their puns and at the time Shearer and Sutton were banging them in for Blackburn and were thus called the SAS. Unbelievable that with Rideout and Ferguson getting on the end of crosses that nobody could follow suit and call then the RAF. Still bothers me to this day.
Ernie Baywood
24 Posted 23/04/2016 at 09:23:45
Maybe it wasn't done as widely as the SAS, but I do remember them being called the RAF?
Ernie Baywood
25 Posted 23/04/2016 at 09:26:06
Jim, dead right that we were better than given credit for. In particular Joe Parkinson, who by the time people outside of Goodison got the message, unfortunately was starting to succumb to injury.

Andy Hinchcliffe would be a premier league footballer today.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© Jens Björknäs. All rights reserved.