Cast your mind back to June 1970, the searing heat of Mexico City and over 100,000 people watching the World Cup Final between Brazil and Italy. This match in Sandwich was nothing like that. Instead there was a constant downpour and barely a handful of onlookers. But just like then, there was a match to be won and two great teams who both wanted to win it.
Bay City, just like Brazil, started fast. They won the toss and decided to defend the end with the dodgy floodlight clearly hoping that the Canterbury forwards would be unable to see in the gloom. The plan worked as they hardly had a shot on target in the first half.
Canterbury, just like Italy, fought hard and were not frightened of putting in the odd meaty challenge. This was a game for men. But Bay City had Pat Jairzinho and Chris Rivelino in midfield. Their passing and movement were excellent …and upfront they had the goal machine that is Martin Pele.
3 – 0 at half time. But the job was only half done. Peter Alberto, the Bay City captain reorganised his team and urged them on. He knew the fundamental truth of football. The team that scored the most goals would be the winner. Oranges were handed out. Substitutes were brought on: Ken Clodoaldo and Peter Tostao.
As feared, the team in yellow came out fighting and dominated the early exchanges. Only to run aground against the rock like defence of Rob Piazza and Jim Brito. The few times they did get through they were thwarted by the legendary, ever youthful, agile Lawrence Felix.
Two more goals came before Canterbury were able to get their consolation. A fierce shot by Trevor Bonninsegna somehow found its way into the net. Was it handball? Was it a foul? Was it offside? Only the ref knew and he was keeping quiet.
So 5- 1 was the final score. On another day, in another time, in another place it could have been more. It could have been less. It could have been the same.
But as the players came off and headed to the bar they all knew one thing. There were no losers here tonight. Only winners. The beautiful game had been played beautifully again.