Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Two years in the reserves followed as Nicol flirted with the first team picture in order to gain experience, then became a regular in 1984 under new boss Joe Fagan. He won a League championship medal in his first season though was not picked for the League Cup final victory over fierce Merseyside rivals Everton. In the European Cup final in Rome, Nicol played well and earned a winner's medal after a penalty shoot-out, despite undergoing personal trauma when he missed his own spot-kick in the shoot-out. He wasn't expected to take one of the kicks but volunteered and therefore had to be allowed - a refusal to accept his offer would have been seen as a lack of confidence in the young defender. He then missed, but opponents AS Roma subsequently failed to score two of their kicks and Liverpool won.
Nicol stayed in the team for pretty much the next decade, winning the League championship and FA Cup "double" in 1986, while also settling into an international career with Scotland which would ultimately yield 27 caps and a place in the World Cup squad of 1986 in Mexico.
A versatile player, he turned out most often at right back following the departure of Phil Neal in 1986, though also featured at left back, in the centre of defence and as a midfield player. The No.4 shirt was always his, no matter which position he was asked to fill.
In 1988, Nicol was pretty much ever-present and actually began the season on a hot goalscoring streak, despite playing in a position not naturally conducive to attacking. This included a memorable hat-trick at Newcastle United and a phenomenal long-range header at Arsenal. Inevitably the goals dried up but Nicol's defensive qualities were much admired as Liverpool coasted to the League title and missed out on another "double" when Wimbledon surprisingly beat them 1-0 at Wembley. Nicol was the last Liverpool player to have a chance to equalise and force extra-time, seeing a diving header in injury time fly narrowly over the crossbar.
A year later, Nicol accompanied his team-mates to the funerals and memorial services of the 96 fans who died at the Hillsborough disaster, and played his part as Liverpool won the FA Cup, again versus Everton, but lost the League title in a decider against Arsenal with virtually the last kick of the season. The campaign ended on a personal high for Nicol as he was named Footballer Of The Year by football writers.
When Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 9-0 the following season to accumulate the club's biggest-ever League victory, Nicol was the only player to score twice, getting the first and last goals of the game. Liverpool regained the League title that season - their last to date - and, two years later, Nicol was in the team which, under Graeme Souness, won the FA Cup again in 1992.
He moved to the USA where he was an interim coach for the New England Revolution and then coached the Boston Bulldogs of the A-League. He returned to the Revoluion in 2002, and was named MLS Coach of the Year in his first year. One of the coaches who works under him is ex-Ipswich Town, Arsenal and England centre forward Paul Mariner.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details