Steven Speed profiles a player who is often overlooked when Liverpool fans compile their fantasy team of the greatest Liverpool players of all time.
In my opinion, Terry McDermott belongs among the all-time greats in the history of the club. He was a vital member of the side that won trophies for fun at home and in Europe. His passing was immense and he scored a number of spectacular and unforgettable goals. He also had incredible stamina and epitomised the will to win.
This was never better encapsulated than in his headed goal in the 7-0 win over Spurs in 1978. His stamina was even more impressive considering how much he enjoyed his pints away from the pitch. I have spoken to several former players about the drinking culture at Liverpool and have been told that Terry was incredible for the way he could go out all night, drink everyone under the table and then the next morning be the best and most energetic in training.
Terry was born in 1951 in Liverpool and grew up in Kirkby. He was a massive Liverpool fan growing up and was a regular at Anfield to watch his heroes. He started his football career with Bury in 1969, just before he turned eighteen. He played fairly regularly for the first team over the next four years before moving to Newcastle Utd in March 1973. In his first full season at Newcastle, they reached the 1974 FA Cup final against Liverpool in what was to be Bill Shankly’s final game as manager. Terry was part of the team that was destroyed 3-0 by the Reds that day, but he must have made an impression because six months later Bob Paisley made his dream come true by bringing him home to Anfield.
Terry made his debut for Liverpool on November 16, 1974, in a fierce Merseyside derby. This was truly a baptism of fire for a player to make their debut in this fixture, especially for a passionate Scouser. Phil Neal also made his debut for the Reds in the same game.
Terry wasn’t a regular in the team during the 1974/75 season and had to wait until March 1975 to score his first Liverpool goal, in a 1-1 draw away to Burnley. Liverpool won the First Division and the UEFA Cup in 1975/76 but Terry couldn’t hold down a regular place in the side and didn’t play enough games to win a league title medal, although he did make the squad in Europe.
Terry was rumoured to be leaving Liverpool in 1976 but he made the correct decision to stay and became a vital part of the side in the incredible 1976/77 season. The Reds won the First Division title again and had a chance of winning a historic treble as they reached the finals of the FA Cup and the European Cup.
In the classic FA Cup semi-final against Everton at Maine Road, Terry scored a brilliant goal that would later be awarded the goal of the season. He controlled the ball beautifully on a damp muddy pitch before turning and catching the Everton keeper off his line with an amazing chip. The match ended up finishing 2-2 and is a game that Evertonians bring up regularly to this day. The Blues were denied a late winner when a goal from Brian Hamilton was disallowed and to this day nobody really knows why. Liverpool stuffed them 3-0 in the replay and were off to Wembley to meet Manchester Utd in the final.
Sadly they were denied the chance to win the Treble when the Mancs won 2-1. However the sadness of this defeat was healed just a few days later in what has since become known as ‘The Glory of Rome’. Liverpool had reached their first European Cup Final and the opponents were the German side Borussia Monchengladbach. Terry scored a brilliant goal to open the scoring on the night, before a classic Tommy Smith header and a Phil Neal penalty wrapped up a 3-1 victory and sent thousands of Liverpool fans into rapturous delight.
In November and December 1977 Liverpool played SV Hamburg in the UEFA Super Cup final. Back then it was played over two legs. The first leg in Germany finished in a 1-1 draw. The return leg was Kevin Keegan’s first game back at Anfield since he left to join Hamburg at the end of the previous season. It was not a happy return for Mighty Mouse as the German side was humiliated 6-0. Terry scored a brilliant hat-trick in this game with Keegan’s replacement Kenny Dalglish also getting on the scoresheet.
Liverpool reached their first League Cup final in 1978 when they played Nottingham Forest. The game at Wembley finished 0-0 and Terry had a goal disallowed. In the replay, Terry and the team were robbed twice by the officials. Brian Clough’s men scored with a penalty that was awarded for a foul outside the box before Terry had a perfectly good goal disallowed for handball. Forest went on to win the trophy and then did a double over the Reds by also winning the First Division. Liverpool had consolation however by retaining the European Cup at Wembley with a 1-0 win against the Belgian side Club Brugge. In September 1978, Terry was rewarded for his fine performances when he received the first of twenty five caps for England.
The following season started badly when Liverpool was drawn against Forest in the first round of the European Cup and was once again defeated. From there the season went on to become one of the finest in the clubs history. They won the First Division title in style conceding just sixteen goals, only four of which were at Anfield. Liverpool were unbeaten at home for the entire season with nineteen wins and two draws.
Terry scored one of the greatest Liverpool goals of all time in September 1978, during a 7-0 win over Spurs. The move started with Liverpool defending a corner and Terry in the area to help out. Liverpool cleared the corner and the ball was cleared out to Steve Heighway on the left wing. Meanwhile Terry was sprinting up the pitch. Heighway hit the ball first time and it was the most perfect cross ever seen at Anfield. Terry who had sprinted seventy yards arrived in the box with perfect timing to meet the cross and score a quite stupendous header. What makes this goal a little extra impressive is that it was near the end of the game and Terry didn’t need to do that run, but it just shows how committed he was to the team winning, and indeed winning in style, that he was prepared to do that.
Terry had another fantastic season in 1979/80 as he helped Liverpool to another First Division title. It was also a brilliant season for him personally as he was awarded the PFA Player of the Year. One highlight during the season came at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup when, for the second season in a row, Terry scored an absolute beauty against Spurs. Ardiles misplaced a pass straight to Terry who flicked the ball into the air and then volleyed into the top corner from about thirty yards to the right of the area. It’s a goal I regularly watch on YouTube and every time I rewind it repeatedly and say “wow”. He also scored two brilliant goals in the 1979 Charity Shield as Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley.
Liverpool lost the league title in 1981 to Aston Villa but the trophies kept coming. The League Cup was won for the first time after a replayed final against West Ham Utd. Terry then played in his third European Cup final as Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 in Paris. Earlier in the competition, he scored another one of his classic goals away to Aberdeen with a sublime chip from the left of the area.
During the 1981/82 season Terry was still a regular in the side, but unlike previous seasons he didn’t play every week. He was then thirty years old and younger players like Ronnie Whelan and Sammy Lee were starting to make their mark and stake their claims for first team places. Terry played twenty nine league games that season, whereas he had played forty the previous one. He played in the 1982 League Cup final which Liverpool won 3-1 against Spurs and then won another First Division title medal.
He travelled to Spain as part of the England squad for the 1982 World Cup but didn’t play in any of the games. This was quite odd as he had played in all of the qualifiers. Terry never played for England again.
Life after Liverpool
The 1982 league title was Terry’s final medal as a Liverpool player, as he was sold back to Newcastle in September 1982 after eight years of sublime service and incredible success. He was reunited with Kevin Keegan on Tyneside and played an important part in helping Newcastle get promoted back to Division One in 1984. In 1985, Terry left Newcastle and joined Cork City in Ireland. After five appearances for the League of Ireland side, he moved abroad to Cyprus and joined APOEL.
In his first season in Cyprus, Terry won even more medals as he helped APOEL to a double of the league title and the Super Cup in 1986. The league title win meant that they qualified for the European Cup. Sadly, Terry never got the chance to play in the competition again due to some controversial circumstances. APOEL were drawn against the Turkish champions Besiktas in the second round of the competition. The Cypriot government refused to allow APOEL to play against a team from Turkey and APOEL were kicked out the competition by UEFA and banned for one year from European competition. After one more season in Cyprus, 1986/87, Terry retired from playing.
After five years away from the spotlight, Terry began a long career in coaching. He was brought back to Newcastle by the new manager Kevin Keegan in February 1992. Terry worked as the first team coach and in a parallel from nine years earlier, the combination of Terry and Keegan along with Peter Beardsley who had also returned, as a player, led the club to promotion into the newly formed Premier League. Under Keegan and Terry’s leadership Newcastle had an exciting few years as they regularly challenged for titles, coming the closest in 1996 when they blew a huge lead. They were twelve points ahead of Man Utd in January and appeared to be cruising to the title. They went on a poor run of results in March and April, including the famous 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and allowed Man Utd to overtake them and win the title. Keegan left in 1997 but Terry stayed on to work with the new boss, and another former Liverpool team-mate, Kenny Dalglish. Kenny left after one season and Terry also departed the club in 1998 when new boss Ruud Gullit brought his own coaches in.
He returned to Newcastle as a coach in 2005, when he was brought back by another old mate, Graeme Souness. After Souness was sacked Terry remained at the club under subsequent managers, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce and then Kevin Keegan who came back for a second spell. Keegan and Terry both left the club again in September 2008.
After leaving Newcastle, Terry became the assistant manager at League One side Huddersfield Town, alongside former Newcastle player Lee Clark. In February 2012, Terry and Clark were both sacked. In June 2012, Lee Clark became the manager of Birmingham City and brought Terry in as his assistant.
Terry McDermott is one of the most loved Liverpool players of all time and his part in the glory years of the mid 1970s to the early 1980s will never be forgotten. In 2006, Terry was voted in by Liverpool fans at number 37 in the series ‘100 Players Who Shook the Kop’ on the Liverpool FC website. In the 2013 version he came in at number 42.
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