YOU wouldn’t think Manchester United legend Denis Law and Wasps fly half Andy Goode have much in common.
But compare Old Trafford on the final day of the 1974 football season to events at Sixways last Friday.
On both occasions a former star returned with the opposition and on both occasions he provided the telling moment that effectively relegated their former club.
For Law it was a backheel, for Goode it was a conversion with the last kick of the game; neither player could bring themselves to celebrate in front of fans that used to adore them.
Goode said: “I was delighted I got it over and that we won, but Worcester is a club I played at for three years and I didn’t want to celebrate in front of fans that were so great to me.
“It’s just a respect thing. I have a lot of time for [Worcester chairman] Cecil Duckworth, he has poured his heart and soul into the club, and Dean Ryan is a great bloke.
“While I went into the game desperate for Wasps to win and put everything into it – that was my main focus – for us to win it in that way was heartbreaking for them in the situation they’re in.
“Inside I was pretty happy but I felt for Worcester as well.”
Goode’s dramatic intervention goes some way to making up for the now famous punt against the post against Harlequins at Twickenham on the opening day of the season.
He said: “The first one of the season against Quins – which I’ve seen a million times now, I can’t get away from it – was unlucky.
“On another day it goes over and the one at Worcester misses. I was also delighted with the drop goal at Exeter, the last kick of the game as well, and as a kicker it’s your job to get them over.
“Sometimes they go over and sometimes they don’t, but luckily two last-minute kicks have gone over and one hasn’t. I’m in profit this season.”
Goode’s conversion at Sixways was far from straightforward though.
The match situation was one thing he had to contend with, his side were level at 11-11 after Jake Cooper-Woolley’s last-minute try, while the elements posed an equally stiff challenge.
Goode said: “First thing I always check for when we arrive on the bus for any game is to see what the trees are doing.
“As a kicker you want no wind at all and when we turned up it was lovely. But 20 minutes later a storm came in. The wind can get quite strong at Sixways and it was swirling around.
“Ryan Lamb used one of their guys to hold the ball for him, but I was happy my ball was stable enough on the tee.
“Every kick you have, the preparation is the same. You take into consideration the elements and I had to judge the wind and just hit it straight and true.
“I didn’t want to get too much height on it so the wind could deviate it, and luckily it went straight through.
“We didn’t play well at all but to get the win was brilliant for us.”