Harvey's aim was to keep Everton right at the top. During the
three full seasons Harvey was in charge, Everton were fourth, eight and sixth -
the kind of finishes Everton would have killed for during most of the following decade. There were a few marathon fights
in the FA Cup: in spring 1988 four matches against Sheffield Wednesday (finally
winning the third replay 5-0 away) and three matches against Middlesborough. In 1990 there were
two matches against Middlesbrough and three in the 5th round against
Joe Royle's Oldham Athletic.
Harvey's biggest accomplishment was getting to the FA Cup final between those
two marathon years, that is in spring 1989. West Bromwich Albion and Plymouth
were dealt with in the old fashioned style: first a draw in the away match
and then a win in the home replay. After that, Barnsley were beaten away
and Wimbledon home. In the semi-finals, Norwich were beaten at Villa Park with
a Pat Nevin goal, while in the meantime Liverpool supporters were struck
with the Hillsborough catastrophe.
In the final, the fourth for Everton in the eighties, Liverpool went ahead
in the fourth minute after John Aldridge was given a free shot. It looked
like the score would stay like this until the very end when, with about the
last attack of the match, Stuart McCall struck an equaliser from a goalmouth
scramble after Tony Cottee had jumped over the byline to avoid being offside.
McCall had come in as a substitute to replace Paul Bracewell. The Pool substitute
Ian Rush, who replaced John Aldridge, put Pool ahead again in extra-time
and, even though McCall equalised again with a spectacular volley from 25
yards, Rush struck again to make it 2-3. Balance: two FA Cup finals against
Pool and two defeats. Third time shall tell the truth!
It is often said, that Harvey destroyed the winning team. This
isn't entirely true. It's true, that he inherited a championship team from
Kendall, but it had started to show signs of tiredness. Harvey only bought
Ian Wilson (£300,000) after he was appointed. Wilson was bought to replace
Kevin Sheedy. The titles gained during the Kendall era apparently lowered
the motivation of some of the players, which had an effect on their performances.
On the other hand, no team can stay at the top forever. It was obvious that
the manager's job didn't suit Harvey as well as being the team coach.
After his first season, Harvey tried to build a successful new team with
big money. In the summer of '86 Gary Stevens and Derek Mountfield, a favourite
at Goodison, who had lost his place to Dave Watson, left the team. They were
replaced with four good players: Stevens was replaced by Neil McDonald, of
whom the tribunal set a price of £525,000 when he arrived from Newcastle.
Stuart McCall from Bradford (£850,000 ), a hardworking player, who was
keen to go forward, was brought to the midfield in order to bring in some
new breadth as well as Pat Nevin from Chelsea (tribunal-set fee of
£925,000, the biggest fee they had set). To top it all, a new transfer
record of £2,200,000 was paid for the West Ham star striker and England
International, Tony Cottee.
Small-sized, Cottee was a skillful player with an eye for goals. Cottee's
debut against Newcastle was fantastic, a hat-trick and the first goal after
just 34 seconds with his first touch!
These buys were obviously done with the future in mind: McDonald was 22,
Cottee 23 and both McCall and Nevin 24 years.
In the middle of the season, which went wrong after a great start except
for the FA Cup, Adrian Heath and Peter Reid left the team. Heath was transferred
to Espanol for £500,000 and Reid with a free transfer to QPR. Reid will
be remembered as one of the best midfield dynamos Everton has ever had.
During the summer and early autumn of 1989 the glorious midfield of the
mid-eighties had vanished almost completely, as Trevor Steven and Paul Bracewell
left. Steven joined Stevens at Glasgow Rangers (£1,500,000) and Bracewell
returned to Sunderland, having missed the previous two seasons due to a very
bad ankle injury that required six operations. Pat Van Den Hauwe also left,
But there were also quite a lot of newcomers. The best known was Norman
Whiteside, the "veteran" midfield player from ManU for £750,000, bought
to replace Reid. Mike Newell was brought in from Leicester in a swap deal
that included Wayne Clarke and £500,000. Martin Keown came over from
Villa with a tribunal-set fee of £750,000. Stefan Rehn (£400,000),
the Swedish International, was brought in from Djurgaringrden. Rehn played
only four matches before he moved on to IFK Gothenburg. Newell had a good
start: 6 goals in 6 games and a call-up to the England squad. But, like in
the previous seasons, a good start was wasted, and Newell also quit scoring,
his next League goal coming only in the last match of the season.
In November 1989, Peter Beagrie was bought from Stoke for a £750,000
fee. Beagrie was a skilled winger who had a good shot with both feet. He
earned his reputation as a colourful player by making somersaults after scoring.
But perhaps the most comforting thing was
John Ebbrell's breakthrough to
the first team either as a fullback or midfielder.
Despite these investments, Everton were unable to get back to the top. So
early in season 1990-91, Harvey bought Oldham's midfield leader Mike Milligan
for a million pounds, and Andy
Hinchcliffe, a promising fullback from Man. City, in exchange for Neil
Pointon plus 800,000 pounds. Harvey's fourth year at the helm started badly,
and the first victory didn't come until the seventh match of the season.
But the team didn't improve and some were becoming worried about relegation.
Harvey was sacked at the end of October 1990 after Everton had lost to
rock-bottom Sheffield United in the League Cup. Jimmy Gabriel took temporary
charge of the team, and Everton defeated QPR at home 3-0.
Harvey returned just days after his dismissal, this time as an assistant
to Kendall, who made a sensational comeback. Even though he had done a good
job at Manchester City after his return from Spain, Kendall made his feelings
clear: City was a romance, Everton was a marriage. There were many who warned
Kendall that "you should never go back", so Kendall was fully aware of the
risks when he moved back to Merseyside.
Kendall was already a living legend when he returned. Most people of course
waited and hoped that the old magic would come back. But the rest of the
season went pretty much as it had started, even though relegation worries
were lifted after a good run at the turn of the year. The only bright spots
in the League were two fine away wins in February and March against Manchester
U (2-0) and Southampton (4-3). In March, Kendall bought the quick Polish
right winger Robert Warzycha from Gornik Zabrze to compete for a place with
Pat Nevin, who had had an up-and-down season. Kendall didn't make any other
changes to the team for most of the season. To counter the dullness of the
League campaign, there was plenty of drama in that year's FA Cup.
Howard Kendall had big hopes when he took over at Goodison. Some of his purchases
were good, some were bad. But eventually Kendall's plans were overshadowed
by huge financial problems. Attendances at Goodison Park had been going down
from the almost 30,000 per match in the previous championship season to slightly
over 20,000 in 92-93. Added to this, no-one at the board was willing or able
to finance the team. Everton went into the red very quickly and there was
no money for big new signings. Suddenly there were talks about Everton having
4-6 million pounds of debts and there were speculations about the shares
of the late John Moores, a long-time benefactor of the team, who died in
Things weren't quite this bad in the summer of 1991. Most of the
Everton supporters were still quite disappointed with the departure of Graeme
Sharp to Oldham for £500,000 and Stuart McCall's departure to Glasgow
Rangers for £1,200,000. They were replaced by the glorious Peter Beardsley,
who Kendall stole from Liverpool for a mere one million pounds. Beardsley
continued to show the abilities that had made him famous: he created chances
and was able to win matches by himself. One other significant buy was a previous
youth player, Mike Ward, who came from West Ham. Ward was a quick and technical
winger and his first season at Goodison was a very good one.
In the middle of the season, Kendall strenghtened the team with young Matthew
Jackson from Luton (£600,000); Mo Johnston, who sparked quite a lot
of talk when he arrived from Rangers for £1,500,000; and
Gary Ablett from Liverpool for
£750,000. Departures included Neil McDonald to Oldham (£500,000),
Mike Newell to Blackburn (£1,100,000) and the great Kevins of the
mid-eighties, Sheedy (to Newcastle) and Ratcliffe (to Dundee) who left early
Despite the heavy rebuilding, Everton's 91-92 season was yet again mediocre.
The team was in the midtable for most of the season and there were only a
few bright spots, namely beating the reigning champions Arsenal in the first
home match by 3-1 and the last away match at Tottenham, Gary Lineker's last
match in England, where Everton came back from being 0-3 down. The equaliser
was scored by an 18-year old debutant called
David Unsworth. As there were
early exits from both cups, the season was practically over in January.
When season 92-93 (and the new Premier League) began, Everton's financial
problems started to show. A £2M loss was confirmed for the previous
season. The club wasn't able to compete for the star players any more, so
Kendall had to content himself with "left-overs". Hard-man
Barry Horne arrived from Southampton
(£675,000), striker Paul
Rideout from Rangers (£500,000), and
Paul Holmes was bought in March
'93 from Birmingham for 100,000. Martin Keown was sold to Arsenal for two
million pounds to level the books in February '93. At the start of the season,
Pat Nevin was sold to Tranmere at a bargain price of £250,000.
The season still started brightly: ManU were beaten 3-0 away and the
"millionaires" Blackburn were beaten 3-2 away. Then it all crumbled and there
were very few things to cheer about. Firstly, Liverpool were beaten 2-1 at
home after being a goal down and Beardsley, who scored the winner, became
only the second player (along with David Johnson) to have scored for both
teams in derby matches. The cup competitions didn't bring any comfort and
there were even relegation worries by the turn of the year. A 5-2 away win
with a few Beagrie somersaults late in the season over Man. City shed some
hope. Preki showed promising signs during the late season.
Summer '93 and shock news to the Toffee supporters: Peter Beardsley was sold
to his native Newcastle for £1,500,000. Everton continuously had financial
problems, so the only signing was Graham
Stuart from Chelsea for £850,000. The season started with three
consecutive wins and continued with two defeats. A fine 2-0 home victory
over Liverpool brought smiles, but they vanished after a staggering 1-5 home
defeat to Norwich. And things weren't going well after this, either. After
a 1-0 home victory against Southampton, the big news was released: Howard
Kendall had resigned.
According to the papers, Kendall resigned because the board refused to fund
a £1,500,000 bid for Dion Dublin. Reserve manager Jimmy Gabriel took
over while Everton were looking for a new manager. The problems just multiplied
when the search for a manager lengthened, and the performances on the field
were very bad. In the seven matches under Gabriel, Everton lost 6 and only
managed one goal.
After much speculation, Everton managed to get
Mike Walker, who had done a good
job at Norwich. The Canaries' chairman sued Everton for poaching and Everton
had to pay substantial compensation. Walker, who brought a lot of hope to
the supporters, started well with a 6-2 home win over Swindon in his first
match. But eventually the problems started to show. There still wasn't much
money available, and Walker bought three quite cheap players: Brett Angell,
Gary Rowett and
Joe Parkinson for a total of
£1,550,000. But the selling of Peter Beagrie to Man. City for
£1,100,000 was something, that most supporters couldn't swallow, even
though Anders Limpar was bought
from Arsenal to replace him. Limpar was well known for his skills, but he
was widely regarded as being past his prime, whereas Beagrie had become Everton's
play-maker after Beardsley left. With all the problems, Everton were plunged
into a relegation battle, and the drop wasn't avoided until a dramatic match
against Wimbledon on the last day of the season.
It's apparent that the players were also affected by the media circus going
around speculation about Everton's new chairman. Peter Johnson from Tranmere
finally bought the majority of Everton's shares in June 1994 and Billy Kenwright
and his supporters joined with him. Walker bought
Vinny Samways from Tottenham for
£2,200,000 during the summer and early in the autumn he brought in
Daniel Amokachi from FC Brugge
for a new club record of £3,000,000. The start of the season was traumatic,
with Everton rooted to the bottom of the table from the third match. In October
94, Walker was sacked after just ten months in charge. Ironically, things
seemed to have turned around with the first win of the season
at home to West Ham. But
it was not enough to save Walker.
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* Everton deducted 10 points for PSR breachView full table