The Legend of Terry Mac

Cast your mind back. Back to when VHS was still a glint in some mad scientist’s eye, computers were the size of a small battleship and probably back before many us were born. Errr, ok that could be a problem.
There is a legend. It’s been forgotten, only whispered among those that know it to be true. Many say it’s preposterous, a figment, an illusion. But Terry McDermott is as real as the device you’re currently reading this on.

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Look at him! He’s like a disco Adonis!                                          Picture copyright liverpoolfc.com

A Scouse box to box midfielder who wasn’t shy to put a tackle in, McDermott has tattooed the club’s history, yet he isn’t as revered as others. He could shoot, pass, head and appeared to have been genetically spliced with a horse because he had lungs for days. Throw in a magnificent permed afro and a glorious mustache and who wouldn’t want a player like that in their side?

Bob Paisley did. He made him one of his first signings in 1975, paying £180,000 to bring him home to Anfield from the wilderness of Newcastle United. It would eventually prove to be a very shrewd piece of business. McDermott struggled to keep his place in the side in his first two seasons at the club. He didn’t even play enough games to earn a League winners medal in 1976. Speculation linked him with a move away. McDermott wasn’t having any of it.

His third season was the one. He was a key figure in retaining the League title and also the club’s first European Cup, scoring the opening goal against Borussia Monchengladbach, making him part of that tricky trivia question of Scousers who have scored in a European Cup final. (Can you name them all? Answers on a postcard!) He added another European Cup to his haul the following year, which would then grow like a fertilized weed: Three more Leagues, two League Cups, and another European Cup. Personal accolades were also bestowed upon McDermott during this period; Goal of the Season in ’77, Team of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year FWA Player of the Year in ’80,  and European Cup Top Scorer in ’81. ‘That’ goal against Spurs at White Hart Lane that possibly spawned Matt Le Tissier. ‘That’ header at the Anfield Road end where McDermott finished off a perfect counter attack and is regarded as one of the finest goals ever scored at our ground. ‘That’ chip against the Blue Shite. His credentials almost make him the prototype for a certain Steven.

Liverpool Glory
11th May 1978: Terry McDermott and the winning goal scorer Kenny Dalglish (right) hold aloft European Trophy after their 1-0 victory over FC Bruges in the European Cup final at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images – curated from BBC Sport)

Sadly, at this stage, Paisley’s ruthless streak came out and McDermott was moved aside for younger blood. He returned to Newcastle in 1982, having served the club diligently. He played 329 games for the Reds and scored 81 goals; not bad from midfield. Spells in Ireland and Cyprus saw the end of his playing career, which saw him return to Newcastle again as a coach under Kevin Keegan. If you watch the first 4-3 at Anfield where Keegan is having a heart attack all game, McDermott is sat right next to him. He’s had time at several other clubs since, but hasn’t been able to recreate the success he found at Newcastle. At present, he is plugging his autobiography. Painfully, I don’t know anyone who has read it.

So that’s the Legend of Terry Mac. He’s not a figment, a whisper or rumour. He happened. He was a central cog to much of the Club’s success. Next time you have the privilege of the company of an older supporter, ask about him. Alternatively, if you can get hold of Liverpool: Team of the Decade you can see it all for yourself. ‘What a player, what a guy’ as my old P.E. teacher used to say. What would he be worth in today’s current market? More than a Neymar for me.

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