Former Burnley winger David Eyres: 'It was the first time I'd ever cried when scoring a goal!'

"He's gone inside one, David Eyres, inside two, inside the area, still going! David Eyres with the shot. Oh, yes, David Eyres with a quite fantastic goal. It's a splendid goal and Wembley comes alive!"

Saturday, 6th June 2020, 7:30 am
David Eyres and Gary Parkinson celebrate the winner against Stockport County in the 1994 Division Two play-off final at Wembley.

The former Burnley winger, now 56, will never tire of reliving that famous moment in the 1994 Division Two play-off final at the old home of English football.

The Liverpudlian, signed from Blackpool by Jimmy Mullen in 1993, confessed that he would often log into YouTube to replay his equaliser against Stockport County.

It takes just 12 seconds from the ball leaving Adrian Heath's grip from a throw in for Eyres to beat John Keeley and find the back of the net.

Overcome with emotion, Eyres shed a tear. That moment, in the 29th minute of the game, was the only time he would cry during his career.

"It was an unbelievable feeling, just with the roar itself, and it was the first time I'd ever cried when scoring a goal," he said.

"It was just an incredible feeling when the ball hit the back of the net. Steve Davis tried to catch me and I was just limp so I fell through his arms.

"It was a weird feeling, but I was so overjoyed. For the next five minutes I tried catching my breath because I couldn't breathe and try to comprehend what I'd just done.

"I remember like it was yesterday. It took me some time to settle down and get back into it.

"I'm still watching it now. You can get it on YouTube so I put it on and I well up every time I watch it. I still get goosebumps."

Eyres was already a Wembley veteran at that point. He'd played there twice with the Seasiders, netting the decisive spot kick in the shootout on the second of those occasions.

But the grandeur of the national stadium still took his breath away. Eyres recalled the moment he walked out onto the pitch prior to kick off to soak up the atmosphere.

He said: "I came out of the tunnel, just to look at the pitch, and there were hoards of Burnley fans already congregating inside the stadium hours before kick off.

"I couldn't believe the amount of support we had. After seeing that we just said to each other that we couldn't let these supporters down.

"Singing the national anthem lined up alongside each other built up the emotion and we took that into the game."

The Clarets were able to keep their emotions in check when it mattered. The Hatters, on the other hand, imploded after taking an early lead through Chris Beaumont's header.

Michael Wallace was the first to be sent for an early bath following an altercation with Ted McMinn and referee David Elleray brandished a second red on the hour when County's goalscorer lashed out at Les Thompson.

And it didn't take long for the Clarets - who had finished 12 points shy of their opponents in the league - to capitalise on their numerical advantage.

This time it was Gary Parkinson with the all-important strike. "We didn't start too well in the game, but in the end the scoreline should have been more comfortable," said Eyres.

"We gave an early goal away, but once it went in we settled down. We ended up beating a team that was about 12 points ahead of us, which is cruel, but on the day, for whatever reason, they wanted to kick us off the park and be nasty.

"They'd already had a man sent off by the time I'd equalised and that gave us a bit more of a chance. Then their second man was sent off in the second half."

He added: "We'd have been rightfully slaughtered if we'd have lost the game from there against nine men.

"We went on and thankfully won the game in front of an unbelievable amount of Burnley fans.

"Parky scored the scruffiest goal I've ever seen, which I remember like it was yesterday. The celebrations afterwards were just absolutely brilliant.

"It felt brilliant to see Parky scoring that goal and running away towards the crowd and there's me, Joycey and Ted [McMinn] following him. They are special moments that will live with you forever.

"It was the best day in my footballing life; winning the game, scoring and one of my best mates getting the winner."

As an Evertonian, Eyres had seen his side lift the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium twice. He was too young to remember the thriller in 1966 when Mike Trebilcock's double and Derek Temple's winner overturned a two-goal deficit against Sheffield Wednesday.

However, Eyres was inspired by victory over Watford as a 20-year-old when Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray struck.

The second was just a couple of weeks after the Clarets had suffered relegation in Division One. This time Paul Rideout scored the winner against Manchester United.

Eyres said: "I would watch the FA Cup final live all the time, seeing the build up and the goals going in and I'd think to myself 'I would love to be able to do that one day.'

"I was lucky enough to have done it and it's never going to go away. I'm part of the history of that football club now.

"It was lovely to wake up in the morning, have breakfast and see that we had made the headlines on the back page of every national paper. We'd become quite well known all of a sudden, I felt like a superstar."