As it is 36 years today since the 1980 League Cup final, we have perhaps had ample previous opportunity to learn and remind ourselves what victory meant to John Barnwell’s heroic side.
But how has Nottingham Forest’s unexpected defeat sat with their players over the decades? They were League champions and double European Cup winners around that time, as well as League Cup specialists, so one Wembley disappointment was presumably easier for them to bear…..
“I met Trevor Francis last year at Jasper Carrott’s 70th birthday party and, at various times, I’ve been at golf days with Kenny Burns – one of the players who was closest to Andy Gray and myself on the day,” said Wolves Heroes’ co-owner John Richards this afternoon.
“Kenny and Larry Lloyd, who I have also seen, are good lads, even if they did used to kick us a bit. They still don’t particularly like to talk about the fact they lost. It must say something about their mentality and the fact they won so much under Brian Clough and Peter Taylor that they were hurt by losing to us.
“They were expected by most to win but it was our day, although we had our backs to the wall for long spells and it wasn’t anything like as good a spectacle as the 1974 final against Manchester City had been.
“It was quite dull to be honest; not a game for coming off and saying how much we had enjoyed playing in it – more about just being glad we had come through and won it.”
It was against Ron Saunders’s City six years earlier that Richards had struck the most important and memorable of his 194 Wolves goals.
The scoring honours in 1980 fell to Andy Gray, who we shocked six years ago today by telling him it was 30 years since his tap-in decider after a convenient collision between Peter Shilton and David Needham near the edge of the area.
“I still tell Andy that it was the fastest he moved all match – and that the ball was going in anyway as an own goal,” Richards added.
“We both know it was the lads at the back who won it for us. They were outstanding and had to be because Forest were a very good side.
“I actually have one of the match balls as a souvenir – it’s white with red zig-zags. The ball boys had spares to help keep the game moving and I got hold of one and got players from both sides to sign it. The Forest lads were good enough about doing that.”