In March 1980, Geoff Nulty was on the receiving end of one of the most notorious incidents in Merseyside derby history. Just minutes into the Goodison encounter, Liverpool’s purported midfield hardman, Jimmy Case, the latest in a tradition of Anfield hatchet man wheeled out whenever foul means were more likely to yield victory than fair, launched a knee high assault on Nulty that destroyed his knee and ended a lengthy career.
It was an outrageous, spiteful, cowardly challenge still recalled with horror by watching Evertonians. Nearly thirty years later, Alan Kirwin wrote on Toffeeweb.com: ‘I can still hear the crack of Geoff Nulty’s leg as Jimmy Shithouse Case’s boot made contact with his upper tibia about 7 mins after the ball had gone. And the complete lack of remorse, or even interest in the plight of a fellow professional, whose career he had just ended.’
Nulty had joined Everton twenty months previously from Newcastle for £40,000. At St James’s Park he had been Gordon Lee’s captain, dependable, experienced and adept in midfield or central defence. It was his versatility and professionalism that attracted Lee back to his former charge, and although his performances never really won over the Goodison faithful, his commitment was never in doubt.
Following the horror challenge Nulty was appointed to Lee’s Goodison coaching staff and later followed him to Preston North End.