Tyldesley: Evertonian Gave Me 'Remember The Name' Line

by Adam Clark

“Remember the name…” said Clive Tyldesley as the ball arced past Arsenal’s David Seaman and in off the crossbar.

That, 15 years on, the sentence can still be completed by football fans the world over is testament both to its powerful simplicity as a piece of commentary and the brilliance of the strike it described.

It was a purely instinctive line to mark the first Premier League goal of a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney and one of the most iconic moments in Everton’s recent history.

Or, then again, maybe not.

“It was actually a direct lift from a gentleman whose name I can never quite establish,” Tyldesley tells evertonfc.com a decade and a half on. “I had a very good friend who was an Everton Season Ticket holder in one of the lounges at the time called Ernie Perez, who was very good to me and my dad.

“He had a pal, I can see him now - he had a very striking beard and moustache.

“He came to me at the end of a charity function at the Club a couple of months earlier and was whispering to me about Wayne Rooney, and it was his way of tipping me off. It was him who said, ‘Remember the name, Wayne Rooney’, and, for some reason, that came to mind. A Season Ticket holder at Everton, he gave me the line. Although he did also tell me a few other names which I’ve never found myself saying!” 

As well as learning of Rooney via the hearsay of excited Evertonians, Tyldesley recalls arriving at Goodison that October afternoon, intrigued to see if the teenager who had netted his first senior goals in a League Cup tie at Wrexham two weeks earlier - and whose name had long been whispered in football circles - would be involved.

“I think a lot of us were aware of him and his growing reputation,” the Radcliffe-born 63-year-old says. “Great judges and indeed harsh judges such as Colin Harvey had been quietly waxing lyrical about his ability. He had shown what he was capable of in the FA Youth Cup, he demanded a chance in the first team with those performances at junior level, it had come and he had capped it at Wrexham by scoring.

“I often think that when I see the film of the Arsenal goal - that Arsene Wenger must have been aware of his name, and must have briefed his players.

“But the long looping ball forward by Thomas Graveson came to Wayne, who controlled it instantly and turned, and you see the Arsenal players step back. No-one went towards him, almost saying, ‘We have heard about you, now show us what you have got’. And he showed them with the most magnificent strike, and a really important goal too, because it was a winning goal.

“I still remember, though, he almost capped it a minute later with an even more impudent attempt to chip David Seaman that landed just on the roof of the net down at the Park End.”

Having followed Rooney across the globe since that moment, to Champions League finals, Premier League title wins and almost all of his record-breaking 53 England goals, Tyldesley believes the curling effort that ended Arsenal’s unbeaten 30-game run and introduced his name to those football fans who, unlike Ernie Perez’s friend, were unaware of his talents, remains his most iconic.

“I think Wayne is a delightfully old-fashioned, natural, instinctive footballer who has left us with so many memories,” adds Tyldesley. “If you were to ask fans to name the single biggest moment of Wayne Rooney’s career, there would be some candidates. But, for me, his first great moment in football is his most memorable.

“I think the lasting memory of Wayne’s career - and it is far from over - is the first memory he gave us. That first glimpse of what he was capable of. It was a wonderful moment.”

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