That was the night I saw Johan Cruyff, England v the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium. England lost 2-0, thanks to a brace from young tyro Jan Peters. It was a very good game and one in which England actually gave a decent account of themselves, contrary to what the English media said the following day.

England were in the midst of failing to qualify for the 1978 world cup in Argentina whereas the visitors were on a road that would take them all the way to defeat in the final. Perhaps if Cruyff had actually been in the Dutch squad, they might have won, but he wasn’t and once again the Netherlands were the best team never to win the World Cup.

I remember Cruyff at Wembley, like it was yesterday. He was a sublime footballer, always in acres of space, with his head up and his brain a light year ahead of everyone else. His range of passing was simply insane, almost always with little or no back lift. Peters got all the plaudits, but Cruyff was the big difference between the teams.

Years later, he became coach at Barcelona who I believe were and still are the best footballing side on the planet. Guardiola rightly gained praise for his many achievements as Enrique does today, but none of it would be possible without Cruyff. The upset and distress in Catalonia today will be palpable. Football has today lost a man who bears comparison with Pele, Maradona, Best and Messi. He really was that good.

He will also be remembered for the Cruyff turn, which to mere mortals is too much to even take in, never mind attempt in a game. It was one of the greatest moments in football.

As well as the Barcelona revolution, Cruyff changed the trajectory of Dutch football too with what became known as total football.

But I was there at Wembley, high up in the Gods, seeing the magician weave his spells. Lucky me.

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