Everton legend Joe Royle recalls when ‘damn sexy’ striker Daniel Amokachi substituted himself on and fired Toffees to FA Cup win over Tottenham – ‘It was the best sub I never made’

Former Everton manager Joe Royle has recalled the incredible moment one of his old players substituted himself onto the pitch and fired the Toffees to the FA Cup final.
The Merseyside club host Tottenham in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday night – which is LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on talkSPORT – in a repeat of the tie that featured one of the most famous moments in cup history.
Daniel Amokachi was the hero for Everton against Spurs in 1995 after he ‘tricked’ his way onto the pitchTimes Newspapers Ltd
It’s 26 years since Everton beat Spurs on the road to their last major trophy, the 1995 FA Cup, thanks to a player who wasn’t even meant to be on the pitch, the ‘damn sexy’ – his own words – striker Daniel Amokachi.
Underdogs Everton were leading Tottenham 2-1 with 70 minutes on the clock, but the favourites were threatening a comeback with German star Jurgen Klinsmann on form.
The Toffees were then hit with a potential injury blow with frontman Paul Rideout struggling with a knee problem.
Royle turned to his bench and told Amokachi to start warming up while Rideout was receiving treatment, but the Nigerian either misheard or ignored his instructions, as he seized his chance with both hands.
Joe Royle was manager when Everton won their last major trophyAllsport
He stripped from his tracksuit, fibbed to officials that Royle had ordered for him to be substituted on and, with a look over his shoulder at his boss, vaulted the hoardings and started playing, all without the manager knowing.
In fact, when Amokachi was already halfway onto the field with the sub already made, Royle is said to have ran towards the sideline shouting, ‘what the hell are you doing?!’
Royle was fuming… but that didn’t last for long, as Amokachi scored two quickfire goals to send Everton through to the final, where they beat Manchester United 1-0 to lift the cup.
Royle joined talkSPORT 2 ahead of Everton and Tottenham’s latest FA Cup meeting, and admitted it was ‘the best substitution I never made’!
“I was in the best shape of my life, a damn sexy footballer and I knew I was ready” – Amokachi is his own words about his cheeky subTimes Newspapers Ltd
“Daniel was obviously very keen to get on,” said the former boss.
“I didn’t not want him to come on, I just wanted to see what the situation was with Paul Rideout. He and Graham Stuart had given the Tottenham back-four the right runaround, their mobility and movement was outstanding and they were a great pair together.
“I had the signal from the physio that he wanted a bit of time to look at Paul, so I told Daniel to get warmed up. He obviously thought I’d said, ‘get on Daniel’, because they are very similar.
“And it goes on record as the best substitution I never made!
“He was just waiting at the gate, and the next thing he had jumped the gate – it was as simple as that.
“I only realised he was on when he was already on the pitch! He jumped the gun, somewhat, but I’m glad he did!
Amokachi’s late double against Spurs sent Everton through to the FA Cup final, where they beat Man United to lift the cup in 19952020 Hulton Archive
“We were all laughing about it after the game. Everybody was saying ‘well done Daniel, we’re in the final!’”
The former Everton manager left out the part when he allegedly told the striker: ‘But you ever try that shit again and you’ll be finished’.
Now though, it’s only good memories for Royle.
“Daniel came on and did well, and he could have had another couple of goals as well,” he added.
“He was on two goals like a flash and could have had another couple.
“He was a great guy, by the way, and he was too good for us to keep at Everton when we couldn’t guarantee him a place on the team, and that’s why we let him go, even though he didn’t want to.”
Amokachi was the cup hero for Everton that season, but after struggling for regular first-team football he left for Turkish giants Besiktas a year later.
Now 48, he has turned to a career in politics in Nigeria, where he was appointed as special adviser on sports to President Muhammadu Buhari in August last year.

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