DICK KRZYWICKI can picture the moment with crystal clarity – and almost 41 years on, never tires of talking about it!
A telling through ball by Alan Durban, a sprint past Bobby Moore, a low shot beyond Gordon Banks and 50,000 Welshmen in full voice.
“It has to be the highlight of my career,” says the former Town flier of the goal that rocked England as Wales prepare to tackle their old rivals in Cardiff once again.
While this afternoon’s Euro 2012 qualifier takes place at the Millennium Stadium, the Home International meeting of April 1970, which finished 1-1, was at Ninian Park.
England, under Sir Alf Ramsey, were the World Cup holders preparing to defend the Jules Rimet Trophy out in Mexico.
That added even more spice to what was always a feisty meeting and Krzywicki, who had become Town’s then-record signing at £45,000 from West Brom only a month earlier, was buzzing.
“It was a fantastic feeling to get that goal and it capped a really exciting time for me,” recalls the son of a Polish paratrooper who was born in the North Wales town of Flint.
“I was living out of a suitcase after my transfer from West Brom, and Town had just clinched promotion to the old First Division.”
Krzywicki, who had made his debut for Ian Greaves’ side as a substitute in a 1-0 win at Cardiff, had netted four times in five full appearances.
Two of his goals came as Town celebrated their success with a 3-1 win over Watford in front of 27,916 at Leeds Road.
“We got presented with the Division II trophy after that game, which was on the Tuesday before Wales played England on the Saturday,” explains Krzywicki, who still lives in Huddersfield.
“The day after Watford, I joined up with the Welsh squad in Porthcawl, so I was pretty much running on adrenaline and little else.
“Ninian Park was packed to the rafters, the atmosphere was fantastic, and we gave England a real game.
“My goal came about five minutes before half-time, and when Alan Durban played me in, I just put my head down and kept going.
“Gordon Banks came out to narrow the angle, but unusually for him, left a bit of space to the left-hand side as I looked.
“That’s where I put the shot, and I can still recall the roar of the crowd as it rolled into the net. Getting the better of two fantastic players like Moore and Banks was quite something for me.”
Unfortunately for Wales, Franny Lee levelled after 71 minutes, but the draw, in what was the third of Krzywicki’s eight appearances for the full national side, was still a big achievement.
“I was besieged by journalists in the dressing room after the game,” adds the 64-year-old, now retired after working for the Football in the Community national coaching scheme.
“They all wanted to interview me, and after the game was shown on Match of the Day that night, the Sunday papers were full of articles mentioning the goal.
“It’s funny that all these years later, journalists still ring up and ask me about it, but it’s certainly not a problem!”
Krzywicki figured in all three Home International games that year as Wales finished the annual tournament level on points with England and Scotland.
And he’s hoping his compatriots can match Fabio Capello’s men in the first of two meetings in the next six months.
“I worry that international football isn’t quite what it was,” he confesses.
“In my day, it was the absolute pinnacle to play for your country, and very few pulled out, whether they were injured or not.
“These days, with the Champions League taking centre stage, it seems international are not quite what they were, but at least the fans seem to be.
“Welsh football has always gone in cycles, and we’ve been through a tough time in recent years,” says Krzywicki, who scored eight times in 51 Town games before joining Lincoln in 1974.
“But it’s good to see a younger man like Gary Speed come in with some fresh ideas, and with talents like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey on the scene, things are looking up.
“Welsh people are still passionate about the team, and so am I, and it any game against England will stir the emotions.”