It’s 26 years since Everton and Tottenham last met in the FA Cup and Nigeria international Daniel Amokachi stole that occasion at Elland Road after one of the most bizarre substitutions ever made.
‘The gaffer wasn’t happy but hey, it was God’s way. If it had gone wrong, it would have been my last game for Everton and we wouldn’t be doing this interview.’
Back in 1995, with 70 minutes gone Everton were leading favourites Tottenham 2-1 but Jurgen Klinsmann was threatening a comeback.
Everton striker Paul Rideout, who had been carrying a knee injury, went down in agony yet physio Les Helm signalled for Royle to give him a few minutes. As Royle pressed for a clearer assessment from Helm, Amokachi seized his chance.
‘I was in the best shape of my life, a damn sexy footballer and I knew I was ready,’ laughs Amokachi.
‘I told Jimmy Gabriel who was in charge of subs that the gaffer had said I was to go on. Jimmy gave the paper to the fourth official and I ran on the pitch. I turned just as the gaffer was running towards the sideline shouting ”what the hell are you doing?” Poor Jimmy was left to explain.’
Fortunately, Amokachi’s introduction was one of dreams as he scored twice to secure a 4-1 win.
‘I wanted them to hold on for a few seconds but Daniel wandered on to the pitch and that was it,’ said Royle. ‘He was desperate to play but he should not have been on.’