Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Good luck to all the English media in Rome tonight. Things are rarely straightforward on big one-off occasions and Rome seems to specialise in throwing up unexpected challenges. The best tale to come out of the 1977 final there, Liverpool 3 Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, was from Stuart Hall. Stuart was reporting for BBC TV but UEFA (not for the last time; I can be definite about that!) cocked up their media accreditation and Stuart found himself without a pass for the game. Liverpool's coaching staff, Joe Fagan and Ronnie Moran, helped him out. They gave him an LFC tracksuit, told him to get on the team coach when it left the hotel, and he walked into the stadium as part of the backroom staff! Stuart watched the European Cup Final from the bench, alongside Bob Paisley!
Finding transport to get away from the Stadio Olimpico in those days was a nightmare. Seven years on, 1984 when Liverpool beat Roma on penalties, it was no better. There were no taxis to be seen. A couple of us got a lift from a very generous Roma fan. Half a mile or so later we came across a lonely figure walking along the road. It was Emlyn Hughes, the man who had lifted the trophy for the Reds in '77. Emlyn was working for the BBC in '84 and had given up trying to find transport back to the hotel. We scooped him up and got him safely back to base.
Then there was the 1981 final in Paris when a JCB dug up the commentary lines outside the stadium a few hours before kick-off. Clive Tyldesley, now of ITV and then with Radio City, did his commentary down the telephone.
Clear lines and punctual taxis for all tonight, I hope!

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