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Fans Comment
Mark Langley

What A Difference A Year (Or Eleven) Makes!
17 January 2006

Paul Rideout: Scoring the winning
goal of the 1995 FA Cup final
to defeat Manchester United.


So, we're still in the FA Cup Third Round, and Everton have struggled against lower league opposition, but think back if you will to the last major piece of silverware our illustrious club won.  The 1995 FA Cup the last real underdogs to win in the final and what should have been the springboard to further success of course, we all know what happened next.  Enough years have now elapsed that we could have bought a new player each year, to improve and push on.  But has anything changed?

In goal was that famous day was of course Big Nev, once one of the finest keepers in the world, with superb shot stopping ability.  Yet in 1995 he was undoubtedly past his best, but sadly still the best goalkeeper at the club.  Many came and tried to take his place and many failed.  Sound familiar to Big Nige?!

At right back we had Matt Jackson; like Tony Hibbert, Jackson was a local lad, tough tackling but with poor distribution. Dave Unsworth was at centre-back; now this is one area that we have improved.  Although Rhino was an absolute legend, he wasnt the most subtle of defenders; if he couldnt tackle you, hed flatten you, whereas Joe Yobo is one of the most complete centre-backs in the Premiership although they both had question marks over their distribution, especially when we have a big man upfront.  Dave Watson was the other centre-back, another former great past his best; no pace but still the best tackler at the club.  David Weir is almost a carbon copy.  Although we have four left-backs now, all of them are equally inept at defending as Gary Ablett was in 1995.  The names Pistone, Valente, Ferrari or Naysmith are hardly going to send shivers down the spine of any right-wingers!

Barry Horne was the lynchpin of midfield; combative, all action, full of running and with a hell of a shot on him.  Tim Cahill anyone?!  Andy Hinchcliffe was on the left wing despite being a defender (one of our favourite tricks nowadays with the signing of Phil Neville) like Andy Van Der Meyde, Hinchcliffe had no pace but could swing in a great cross almost always landing it on the striker's head.  Joe Parkinson, the Man of the Match that day, was one of the best defensive midfielders we have had, Phil Neville is almost exactly the same.  Both could tackle anyone but going forward they left a lot to be desired!!  They may as well not cross into the opponents half.  As for Limpar on the right, good pace, skills, a great cross and some great corners.  Mikel Arteta is exactly the same except more consistent (consistency wasnt Anders forte!!).

And the strikers, well Big Dunc and Rideout were both good in the air, so naturally the rest of the team ignored their feet.  Neither scored as much as they should but both were still the best goal scorers at the club.  (Sad really when you think of the legendary strikers weve had!!)  Graham Stuart played behind Rideout that day, our modern-day equivalent is Jimmy McFadden!!!  Both like to shoot, both missed sitters, both never reached double figures in a season!

The similarities dont stop there; both managers were once fans favourites who ended up being jeered after a bad run.  Royle ended up being sacked let's hope the same doesnt happen to Moysey.  There was also the enigma that was Daniel Amokachi: no one knew who he was; he came, caused a stir amongst supporters wanting to know more about him, and see him play, then left.  Although I'm comparing him to Per Krldrup, Amo was as good as ever present.  John Ebrell sat out that day due to injury, despite being the best ball-playing midfielder at the club a bit like Li Tie, some would say.

So there you have it: a summary of the team then and the team now the similarities are striking.  Except for one thing: back then the team was known as the Dogs of War our only 'named' team since the School of Science days for their all action, hardworking, never-say-die attitude supporters felt that was bound to propel us up the league.  Now, the team with the exact same attitude and beliefs is jeered and called talent-less (amongst other things!).  Now, those same fans are saying today's players are going to drag us into the Championship

Funny how things change.

Mark Langley


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