Argentinean Diego Maradona described his infamous goal against England in the 1986 World Cup as “The Hand of God,” and more than 25 years after the peak of his time in Everton, Amokachi has lifted the lid on what his blues boss Joe Royle described as “the best substitution I’ve never made.
Everton fans’ favorite Daniel Amokachi suspects that higher forces were at work on the day he snuck onto the field in the 1995 FA Cup semi-final to bring the blues to Wembley.
EXCLUSIVE: First part of our three-part special interview with Everton fan favorite Daniel Amokachi
“For a player who only spent two seasons at Everton, this game alone made me a cult hero.
Today Amokachi is 47 years old and at home in Nigeria, where he told Echo: “It was simply history, and the good Lord wanted it to come alive.
“The doctor went and advised Joe to replace Rideout. The boss said, “Give him five more minutes.
“I am a very believer and I believe in the good Lord. It was so meant to happen, and it happened the way it happened.
“Paul Rideout was attacked a couple of times in the game and the second time he got hurt.
Amokachi went into battle with Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road 20 minutes before the end.
“Five minutes later, Rideout was back on the pitch. You know how it is when a player goes down, you don’t have to wait for the gaffer, you just get ready.
Everton was comfortable and took a 2-0 lead through Matt Jackson (35) and Graham Stuart (55), but a controversial penalty kick, converted by Jurgen Klinsmann, had given the Londoners a lifeline.
However, he had not even received permission to enter the game.
Amokachi was to be the hero in the end, because his late double (with a goal in the 82nd and 90th minute) sealed a comprehensive 4-1 victory.
“Captain Dave Watson, Neville Southall, Joe Parkinson, they all saw it.
He said: “I was pumped up and I knew even before the game that if I had the chance I would take it because in the last few weeks before our game against Tottenham I was really on fire in the reserve.
“I gave the fourth official the substitution slip, the ball went out of play and I was put in the team.
“Joe came running onto the sideline and said, ‘What are you doing?
“But when the governor told me to give Rideout ‘five more minutes’, I felt that he still didn’t have that much confidence in me.