Liverpool’s Phil Brazier, Eddie Turkington, Stuart Quinn and Michael Owen celebrate winning the FA Youth Cup after beating West Ham United during the Final second leg at Anfield in 1996 (Image: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
25 years ago today, Liverpool who are also in the final of this season’s competition – won the FA Youth Cup for the first time.
I spoke to their captain Phil Brazier about overcoming Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand plus his subsequent quarter of a century in football.
Some 25 years on, Liverpool’s first FA Youth Cup-winning captain Phil Brazier has recalled how the young Reds bounced back from goals by Eric Cantona and Frank Lampard – six days and 200 miles apart – to lift the trophy.
May 17, 1996 came at the end of what had until that point been a week to forget for Reds fans.
The previous Saturday, Liverpool had been beaten by old foes Manchester United in one of the most turgid of FA Cup finals on record with the stalemate only broken by Cantona’s 85th minute strike at Wembley to break Kopites’ hearts.
Despite the great disappointment, their loyal supporters still turned out in big numbers to cheer their young players in the second leg of the FA Youth Cup final with the hosts bringing a 2-0 first leg advantage back to Anfield.
Brazier told the ECHO:
“The second leg was on the Friday night after the FA Cup final with the famous cream suits.
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“It’s flown but when you look back it’s a long time and I’ve many memories since then.
“It was an unbelievable night and an unbelievable season.
“They had quality. Rio Ferdinand was in the side and Frank Lampard too.
“Although they were big and strong, they liked to play football and were a bit like ourselves in that respect but I think we had a bit more strength in depth.
“There was 26,000 there so to get a crowd like that, the week after Liverpool had been beaten by Manchester United in the FA Cup final was great for us and made it a really big occasion for all of us involved.
“We found ourselves behind though after less than a minute when Frank Lampard hit a half volley from the edge of the box.
“It was a great strike and just the type of goal that he became renowned for throughout his career and when that went in so early we all thought ‘Jeez, what are we in for here?’ but we steadied the ship, knuckled down and ended up winning the game 2-1.”
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