On This Day in Footballing History - 30 May: Stevie G's Birthday, Play-Off Drama & an FA Cup Final T

The Bundesliga is back. Serie A, La Liga and of course, the Premier League are also in line to return next month. We are slowly getting back to some kind of normality.

Does that mean that we're putting a stop to the On This Day series though? Absolutely not.

On today's edition: play-off drama, European Cup drama and FA Cup final... drama. Let's get cracking.

1979 - Do You Believe in Miracles?

John Robertson Nottingham Forest 1979 European Cup Final

When Brian Clough took over as Nottingham Forest manager in January 1975, the Tricky Trees were languishing in the Second Division. Four years later, after being reunited with his partner in crime Peter Taylor in 1976, Clough's side stood on the brink of immortality.

Their opponents in the 1979 European Cup final were Malmo and the game itself was an extremely cagey affair, with Forest's Terry Francis scoring the only goal just before half time. Clough's triumph was already a miracle and his status as a footballing deity was further strengthened when the club managed to defend their continental crown the following season.

No wonder there's a statue of him in Nottingham city centre.

1980 - Stevie G is Born

Sao Paulo v Liverpool - FIFA Club World Championship Toyota Cup Final

40 years ago today, a fella called Steven George Gerrard was born in Whiston, Merseyside.

At age nine he was spotted by Liverpool scouts and penned terms with the club, dedicating the next two-and-a-half decades of his life to the Redmen.

By the time of his final appearance in 2015 Gerrard had featured over 700 times for his boyhood club, winning a host of honours including the Champions League in 2005 - although a Premier League title eluded him.

1984 - Liverpool Make it Four

European Cup Final

Prior to Istanbul in 2005 there was Rome in 1984, where Liverpool secured the European Cup in similarly dramatic fashion.

Joe Fagan's Reds met Roma in the final and despite La Lupa's home advantage they managed to find a way to win.

Phil Neal gave Liverpool the lead before Roberto Pruzzo's equaliser sent the game to extra time. Then came penalties.

Steve Nicol missed the Reds' first spot kick but a series of misfirings from Roma gave Alan Kennedy - the hero in the 1981 final against Real Madrid - the chance to put the game to bed. The left-back made no mistake, sending Franco Tancredi the wrong way to spark jubilant scenes among the red half of the Stadio Olimpico.

1999 - Manchester City Return to the Second Tier

Man City players

Prior to establishing themselves in the top flight during the early 2000s Manchester City were the archetypal yo-yo club, bouncing between the Premier League and the second tier season after season.

However, during the 1998/1999 campaign the Citizens were plying their trade in the third tier and badly needed to return to the big time in order to stave off the threat of financial ruin.

Their play-off final against Gillingham went right down to the wire but City eventually got the job done on penalties thanks to some heroics by long serving goalkeeper Nicky Weaver.

2005 - Zamora the Hero as Hammers Reach the Promised Land

West Ham United v Preston North End

What is it about play-off finals and Bobby Zamora? Nine years prior to netting a last minute winner to fire Queens Park Rangers into the Premier League, the striker repeated the trick by scoring the only goal in West Ham's triumph over Preston North End.

Just after half time, Matthew Etherington raced after a long ball and swung in a dangerous looking cross.

Zamora - who had been outgunned in the scoring charts by Marlon Harewood all season - was in the right place at right time, ghosting in front of his defender and slotting the ball home to send the Hammers back to the promised land.

2009 - Chelsea Triumph in FA Cup Final


11 years, Chelsea bounced back from the worst possible start to defeat Everton 2-1 at Wembley.

Louis Saha gave the Toffees the lead inside the first 60 seconds - the fastest goal in FA Cup final history - before Mr. Big Game Player™ Didier Drogba levelled things up 20 minutes later.

Frank Lampard then scored a second half winner, unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard drive with his left foot which left Tim Howard with little chance. The final was interim manager Guus Hiddink's last game in charge, despite several senior players urging the Dutchman to stick around.

2011 - Brendan Rodgers Leads Swans to Promotion


Back in 2011, Swansea City became the first Welsh club to win promotion to the Premier League as they defeated Reading 4-2 in the Championship play-off final.

Brendan Rodgers had led the Swans to a third placed finish and they defeated Nottingham Forest in the semi finals to reach Wembley.

Scott Sinclair - who Rodgers would go on to work with at Celtic - scored a hat trick against the Royals, including two penalties, while Stephen Dobie also netted to cancel out a Joe Allen own goal and a Matt Mills header.

2015 - Arsenal Romp to Victory in FA Cup Final


Five years ago, Arsenal retained the FA Cup, thrashing Tim Sherwood's Aston Villa 4-0 in the final.

After surviving relegation on the final day of the season, there was talk that Sherwood might be able to orchestrate a famous giant killing. This idea was all but put to bed when Per Mertesacker nodded home the Gunners' third goal on the hour mark, after Theo Walcott and Alexis Sánchez had already scored.

Olivier Giroud put the icing on the cake in injury time, calmly slotting home after Villa's defence switched off. The triumph was the sixth of seven FA Cups that Arsene Wenger would win as Arsenal boss.

Source : 90min