THIS year, the Champions League final will be held in Paris for the first time since 2006.
The French capital has a unique place in European football history as the city has hosted some of the greatest finals the game has ever seen. In 2006 Barcelona’s European dynasty began at the Stade de France when they beat Arsenal 2-1. The same venue also gave Real Madrid the stage to maul Valencia 3-0 in the Champions League final in 2000.
One of the most infamous games in Paris, the 1981 final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, ended up having worldwide ramifications, and it even influenced Cork City FC.
The link between that night in the French capital and the Rebel Army is Terry McDermott, who joined City in 1985.
The transfer was a fascinating move by a player whose career began in 1969 in the Third Division with Bury.
At the Shakers, McDermott made 90 appearances and scored eight goals before joining Newcastle United in 1973.
McDermott won the Anglo-Italian Cup and the Texaco Cup on Tyneside and he also played in the 1974 FA Cup final against Liverpool.
Newcastle lost 3-0 that day and six months later, Liverpool signed the McDermott from the Magpies.
After a trophyless first season with Liverpool, he made nine appearances the following year and this was enough to earn him a league winners medal.
The domestic success was followed by victory over Club Brugge in the UEFA Cup final at season’s end. A third trophy was added to the cabinet in the summer after Liverpool beat Southampton 1-0 in the Charity Shield.
The success was a prelude to a historic 1976-77 season on Merseyside. Their campaign was fought on three fronts and ended with Liverpool retaining their league title and winning the European Cup for a first time, beating Borussia Mönchengladbach in the final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
McDermott played the full game in the Italian capital and he started for Liverpool in that season’s FA Cup final, which ended in defeat to Manchester United. The midfielder stayed at Liverpool until 1983 and during this period he won two more European Cups and three more league titles. He also lifted two League Cups, a European Super Cup, and two more Charity Shields.
The only competitions he didn’t win during this spell were the FA Cup and Intercontinental Cup.
1979-80 saw the midfielder in the form of his life and he finished that season by getting named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.
McDermott played the full European Cup final in 1981 and he watched on as Alan Kennedy scored the winning goal against Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes.
A year on from that game, McDermott re-joined Newcastle and he spent two seasons in the north-east.
The midfielder’s last year was his most successful in black and white as he helped the club finish third in the Second Division which ensured promotion to the English top flight.
Shortly after leaving Newcastle, a surprising phone call led to the midfielder signing for Cork City in Ireland.
At the time the Irish club, which were founded in 1984, were struggling and relegation was a real possibility.
That December, Bobby Tambling departed as manager and Tony Allen took over the struggling first team. His first two games saw back-to-back wins, with the latter against Dundalk at Flower Lodge.
Then they lost 2-1 against Waterford and the club decided that drastic action was needed.
Allen, alongside directors Jim Hennebry and Kieran Lynch, went to England to look for talent that would bolster his squad for the run-in.
During the frantic search for talent, McDermott crossed paths with the City boss.
“Eventually I got a telephone call from Cork City,” he wrote in his autobiography, Terry Mac - Living for the Moment. “They said they would look after me and help me get fit.
“They would pay me a decent amount and playing in the League of Ireland would place me in the shop window, plus I didn’t even have to move to Ireland.”
This was the start of a rather unusual living situation for Terry, who never trained with City. The next afternoon I’m playing and after the game they would take me to the airport to return home until I was due back in Ireland for the next game.
“I would leave with a big brown envelope.”
The three-time European Cup winner had an immediate impact on the club.
“Having Terry around for our training sessions would help immensely,” Tucker told the Irish Press at the time.
While things went well in training, Irish football was a bit of a culture shock to him.
“There was a big difference,” he compared Irish and English football to The 42 in 2017. “I’d be making the runs I used to make at Liverpool and unfortunately, the players couldn’t find you because they’re not looking for you.
“When I did that for Liverpool, I could get Ray Kennedy, Jimmy Case, Graeme Souness, knocking balls into space where I could do my stuff and score a goal or two. But players (at that level) aren’t looking for those sort of balls.”
McDermott played seven games City and then an offer came in from APOEL FC in Cyprus.
The midfielder couldn’t turn this down and he agreed to move to the Mediterranean island.
Regardless of how things ended, McDermott played a small part in City finishing the 1984-85 season in ninth place and this kept them in the Premier Division.