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Goal Machines

By Tony Marsh :  17/12/2007 :  Comments (29) :
In1976, I had my first ever away game down in London when Everton visited QPR at Loftus Road. I was 14 and just loving the buzz of it all. Three coach-loads of rowdy Evertonians set off from Barnes Travel on County Road (remember them) and I still laugh now when I think of all those silk scarfs we had tied to our wrists.

Back then a kind of mullet-type hair style was all the rage and Wrangler Jeans and jackets with patches sewn on was the clobber we used to wear. No fancy trainers or trackies in the 70s. It's hard to believe in this day and age that men and boys all dressed and behaved this way. What twats we must of looked.

After what seemed like an eternity on the motorway we arrived in London. In those days you could bevy on the coach but the only trouble was there were no bogs on board so you had to stop at nearly every service station for a slash. Well you can imagine the shennanigins when 150 liquored up Scousers pull in to Knutsford or Watford Gap. It wasn't a pretty sight.

The team that day, from what I can remember, was a cracker: Andy King, Dave Thomas, Duncan Mckenzie, Martin Dobson and Big Bob Latchford to name a few. The first half saw Big Bob net two headers. The first a diving header from a King cross and the second goal one of the finest headers you will ever see. Dave Thomas was fed by King and whipped in a cross from the left. Latch got up and glanced the ball past the keeper from 10 yards. Magic.

We had a decent following with us that day and there was a real sense of more goals to come as the Blues kicked in to the away end. It wasn't long before Big Bob had notched up his hat-trick. This time the ball went in off his gut ? as it so often did with Bob. Just to make the journey back home all the more sweeter, Latchford buried his fourth of the game with a left-footed strike near the end and the scarf-wearing Blues fans went crazy. Some drunken bastard stamped his size 12 Airwear right on me brand new suedies but I didn't care ? the Latch had bagged his fourth!!!

Bob Latchford was the best in the buisness back then and you could always rely on him to come up with the goods. As long as Dave Thomas or Andy King put the ball in the box, Latchford would finish the job off. It didn't matter how he scored he just did. Head, feet, shins, thigh, arse ? they all counted.

This brings me on to Yakubu. Not since the days of Bob Latchford have Everton had such a lethal predator in front of goal. Once again on Saturday the Yak was on the score sheet at Upton Park, putting Everton on the road to a second victory over West Ham in the space of 3 days.

Yakubu's name is now sitting proudly at the top of the Premier League goal scoring charts. When was the last time you could say that about an Everton striker?

Yakubu has made all the difference this season and like Big Bob back in the 70s he is becoming unplayable for defenders. If Yakubu keeps this up then he will surely become another striking legend at Goodison Park adding his name to the list of greats who have pulled on the Royal Blue Jersey over the years.

All Evertonians love a goalscorer (unless he is Welsh with a big nose and can't string to words together when he is on telly) and we are priveliged to have Yakubu playing for us. Enjoy him while he is here because strikers of his calibre don't come around all that often. Andy Johnson is decent enough but I am not sure he is a lethal finisher like the Yak.

This season just gets better and better and long may it continue. Now if only we can find a new Dave Thomas to partner the Yak ? that would be something... Please no-one say AvdM!!!

Reader Comments

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Derek Thomas
1   Posted 18/12/2007 at 05:01:50

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Yeah, the 70’s what ever were we thinking. I went to that game and quite a few others before the kids took all my money. If you, or anybody else for that matter, has a DVD or Video with the highlights on it see how much the game has changed Re tackles. one on Davey Thomas that just got a play on would have had warranted a red card and the one that came after that did get the free kick which led to one of Latch’s goals brought tears to my now de-sensitized eyes...all this and NO SHIN PADS.
Arthur Jones
2   Posted 18/12/2007 at 06:50:44

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The man who " walks on water " was one of my all time favourite blues , (2nd only to Bally) and I can see a lot of the Latch in the Yak , not as good in the air as Bob but not many were , they both know where the net is though and if he stays for a few years I can see the Yak possibly getting as many goals as sharpy . !!!!
Peter Pridgeon
3   Posted 18/12/2007 at 07:07:44

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I started watching Everton at Goodison with the old man in 1972 as a twelve year old, until then he took my older brother. My brother had started work and the old man had a few more shillings to spend
I spent the seventies watching the blues, virtually every match some seasons including memorable trips to Rotterdam, Wembley and Maine Road.
I loved Big Bob Latchford, he was my hero as a teenager, however I grew to dislike him after he handed in a transfer request and carried on doing so for the rest of his time at Everton.
I was on an extended backpacking trip in Europe when Kendall took over and his first action was to get rid of Latchford, I remember reading about it in an out dated copy of the Daily Telegraph I had procured in back wash Greek Island.
Incidentally the other main piece of news we found tucked away in the lesser pages was a one column three centimetre obituary entitled Reggae singer Bob Marley had dies.
I was glad that Latchford (but not Bob Marley) had gone even though he was a great goal scorer he took his stay at Everton and support we gave him for granted.
Barry Bragg
4   Posted 18/12/2007 at 08:03:30

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We have been spoiled over the years although perhaps not so much in recent years. I read an article in the echo last year which stated that Everton have had the Domestic Golden Boot more times than any other English club. Something else to be proud of and hopefully Yak will keep that tradition going.
Phil Belllis
5   Posted 18/12/2007 at 10:16:31

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Thanks Tony..shafts of sunlight amidst the gloom of the 70s.
The Latch used to back-off his marker(s) in the box and drift into space; that was his gift. The sight of Dave Thomas with his socks down, sans shinpads and wearing gym shoes..unbelievable. It was awful being a Blue in the 70s - I had the privilege of a night out with Bally in Oct 06 and he said he’s never forgiven Catterick. When I told him it was older Evertonians’ belief that it took us 14 years to recover from the loss, there were tears in his eyes.
Joe Clitherow
6   Posted 18/12/2007 at 10:59:16

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Not sure about the comment about not having such a lethal predator since Bob Latchford - for one season only we had a certain Gary Winston Lineker.

Whatever else you think of that, 40 goals in one season speaks for itself. Everton were reigning champions in his season and changed the style of play of the entire team to accomodate him.
Cindy Cole
7   Posted 18/12/2007 at 12:17:32

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Joe, I must say that I hated Linekar for the very fact that he was only with us for one season (after which he sold out for the big-time). Also, we won the league either side of his contribution but conceded the title and the cup to the ?shite? whilst he was with us. I therefore question whether it was wise to change the team?s style to suit him (if, as you suggest, we did). Apart from that, he?s a boring, up himself, head-boy kind of BBC and England darling goody-two-shoes, who was quick to distance himself from all things blue (but thanks for the goals).

Latchford was before my time but as for the Yak, Tony, I agree he is special?very special. I only hope that the recent rumours re: Chelski are just rumours and that he doesn?t do a Linekar and desert us at the end of the season. In Vaughan and Anichebe we have two more potential goal machines and hence Everton legends, too. Oh! happy days!
Steve Lyth
8   Posted 18/12/2007 at 13:02:03

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A Suedies man like myself at the same game, cept you were two years younger.
How time rolls on
Steve Sanchez
9   Posted 18/12/2007 at 14:19:07

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Does anyone know if its possible to transfer a player twice in 1 season? If its not possible then the Yak?s goin nowhere!
Harvey Shearer
10   Posted 18/12/2007 at 14:07:11

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Some wonderful "positive" memories there Tony.
Being born in ’62 I think I’m the same age as you. I went to QPR that year, but didn’t we also win 5-1 at Leicester same year?
All the good games in the seventies seem to blend into one season.
The silk scarves bring back some dodgy memories of feather cuts and butcher coats that I’d sooner forget!!!
Dutch Schaffaer
11   Posted 18/12/2007 at 14:31:10

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Lets not get carried away. Yakubu has been on a fine run of form but its his long-term contribution that worries me.

At Boro Yakubu started off well and lost interest after awhile. Can Moyes keep him motivated?

Remember Kevin Campbell hit a run of form like this when he first signed for Everton but in later years he was strickly a single-figure goalscorer.
Andy Ellams
12   Posted 18/12/2007 at 15:12:04

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Yakubu can?t sign for Chelsea this season as he has already played Prem games for Everton and ?Boro and I?m willing to bet Chelsea go for Anelka anyway.
chris keightley
13   Posted 18/12/2007 at 15:44:28

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Kevin campbell’s a legend for me for crucial goals in preserving evertons status in the top flight without him we may well have been struggling to drag ourselves out of the championship hard worker and loved everton with a passion true gent and a legend in our dark days anyone agree ??
Ray Roche
14   Posted 18/12/2007 at 16:43:20

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Harvey Shearer
You?re right mate, Sept 10th, 1977, Leicester 1- 5 EFC. QPR was on 8th October according to the record books, so Tonys memory is beginning to fade a little! Only 12 months out! No doubting the affect that Dave Thomas had on Latch, though. Down to the by-line and a pin-point cross for the big man?s head! We were the top scorers in the League that season with 76, the last 6 when we beat Chalsea with Latch getting the two he needed for thirty league goals, and, I think, £10k from the Daily Express.
Robert Carney
15   Posted 18/12/2007 at 16:42:05

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Hi Chris, I agree with you totally. Kevin Campbell will always be remembered
for keeping us up(many would say single handed). The latch was great though. Remember when he scored the penalty against Chelsea to register his thirthieth league goal that season. A feat if I recall correctly led to a sum of £10.000 by a national newspaper. One of Murdochs shit reads. It had been a few years since anyone had done it.

Re. Linekar, he claimed publicly that he would play for the team that wanted him to play. There was a story that Kendal expected to join him the following season.

As next year is the Anniversary of Dixies great achievement would it not be wonderful to see an Everton player top the premeir leagues scoring charts.
Keith Glazzard
16   Posted 18/12/2007 at 16:45:48

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SuperKev’s achievement must always be remembered - it was so important. But we have to be careful about using a term like ’legend’. We have to wait until the end of their time with us, or even their whole career (on the field and possibly after it - they might just go and work for Sky and become braindead).
Chris Keightley
17   Posted 18/12/2007 at 17:21:14

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Keith for me Kevs achievements and goals kept everton in the top flight for that he will always be remembered in my household as a legend but yes i agree legend should be kept for the dixies and latchfords and youngs
Peter Laing
18   Posted 18/12/2007 at 17:37:11

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Big Bob Latchford was undoubtedly a legend and a ray of hope during some gloomy days in the 70’s. Lineker however was a player more during my time as a kid in the 80’s and made such an impact in 86 with 40 goals, top scorer in the World Cup claiming the golden boot and securing a platinum contract with Barcelona. Although we went on to reclaim the title in 87 it was the pinnacle in Kendal’s tenure, the sale of Lineker was pivotal in Everton’s subseqent decline mirroring the situation with Alan Ball where the board cashed in. The 86 Cup final was a travesty brought on by Southall’s injury, some terrible defending by Gary Stevens and the usual luck of the devil that the darkside continually rely upon.
Dave Wilson
19   Posted 18/12/2007 at 17:35:31

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Remember both games now you’ve brought them up. I’m sure I remember a young Ray - Butch in them days - Wilkins kicking off big time when the Latch’s penalty was given, sure he got booked, we stook 6 past Coventry too, Dave Thomas ran riot. the Latch got a hatrick that game as well. the last one had Gerald Sinstatd - sorry cant spell it -orgasmic
Gavin Ramejkis
20   Posted 18/12/2007 at 18:53:55

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I still tie my scarf around my wrist in the park end and get the back torn out of me mostly by blokes the same age who remember it first time around, talking to the steward every game he like me thinks Yak is just like Bob maybe not as good yet with his head but my money s always on Yak not the keeper in a one on one. The casual away days on the train were ace before it all got ruined by knobheads.
Steve Taylor
21   Posted 18/12/2007 at 21:06:16

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I’ll never forget Latch’s 30 - the 30 coming up with a penalty in the 6-0 home drubbing of Chelsea (oh ho times change)

I remember the Daily Mirror were running a competition that season with a prize for any 1st Division striker that netted 30 league goals - if I remember rightly the prize was £10,000!

I was delighted when we signed the Yak & I’m chuffed that he’s settled in & doing what he does & does bloody well - which is score goals, all sorts of goals - the lad’s a natural goalscorer, he has the knack of creating 1/2 yard for himself & he’s incredibly composed in front of goal.

The key to retaining the services of the Yak (& the likes of Arteta etc) is CL qualification - if we can achieve that - there’s no reason for players of their calibre to want to move on - we can achieve that this season IMO, as we’ve now got the momentum that our competitors haven’t. The Xmas period will show us just how far we’ve come, starting at OT on Sunday & the home game with Arsenal is a huge one.

I can’t remember feeling so positive about our prospects since the 80’s - it’s a great feeling after years of under acheivement & being honest, pretty crap football - we’re rapidly becoming a side that the neutral would want to watch!
Connor Rohrer
22   Posted 18/12/2007 at 21:41:35

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Yakubu’s a quality player and anyone who doubts that needs to watch his game more. He has a very good all round game. Strong, quick over short bursts, can hold the ball up and link play and as Tony said is lethal in front of goal. The only thing I had doubts over where his work rate and his conditioning but it was obvious to see he wasn’t fully fit and now his work rate has improved so I can not say anything bad about him.

I was speaking to my nephew the other day and he said he’s the best striker he’s seen in a Blue shirt and I agree with him. Its good that the kids finally have a striker they can cherish. The likes of Campbell, Ferguson, Johnson, Rooney and Radzinski all showed promise but they where never top notch goal scorers which Yakubu has proved to be. Anyway, excellent for the younger generation.

Dutch Schaffaer, you really do bore me. Is it something personal with Yakubu because every time he is praised you come on and spout the same shit. How do you know he lost interest? Maybe it could have been down to lack of service. Boro and Pompey where generally relegation battling teams while Yak was there so the quality around him was average yet he still scored 16, 19 and 16 in three seasons.

11 goals in 16 starts is excellent form and only 1 off our top scorer last season with 12. Johnson runs his heart out week in week out but his contribution last season is still less than Yakubu’s.

Where not getting carried away we are just excited as to what this man can bring to Everton Football club. Its better than saying after 5 games we should get rid in January which if I remember is exactly what you said.

Good Post Tony.
Mark Joseph
23   Posted 18/12/2007 at 23:08:32

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Big Bad Bob and The Yak are very similar in SIZE and the way they play the game.
I think it is fair to say that neither will be dribbling from the half way line, taking on 6 and rounding the Goalie!

As a young lad and Streetender back in the day I adored BBB but hell he would also frustrate the life out of you! "Get yer arse in gear latch, it’s effin’ big enough," were often the retorts from The Street.

I don’t think he ever did get it in gear but who cared in the end, as long as the onion sack was given a shake!

By the way, I’ve still got my silk scarves and my flat "pizza" cap. I’ve even still got my Wrangler jacket with homemade EFC blue velvet letters that were glued on with Copydex (remember that? dead cows, that stunk!!).
Sadly the Oxford Bags and Birmingham Bags are resigned to memory, but there are still a pair of Flemings in the loft. Oh how I wish they all still fitted!!! The good news is, the scarves and the oxblood "Docs" still fit!

Good piece Tony, you might even break into a smile the way we are playing eh?.........

What was it you said a while ago??

"Moyes and Silverware in the same breath? don’t make me laugh" I think it was.

Still laughing Tony?
Dave OBrien
24   Posted 19/12/2007 at 00:04:23

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How can anyone criticise Campbell? He got goals for us and the last time I remember an Everton player being top of the goalscoring charts it was a certain Mr Campbellwith 4 I think in Moyes’s 2nd season. Wash your mouth out!
lee rogers
25   Posted 19/12/2007 at 00:11:49

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bob latchford what a striker,my hero.didn’t bob share the 10,000 he won with the rest of the team.i put a bet on the yak to score first and us to win 1-0 and if your listening aj you owe me 34 squid. looks like beans on toast with council pop all week again now
Will Leaf
26   Posted 19/12/2007 at 04:56:56

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Ah Bob Latchford...he’s the reason I started supporting the Blues.

I agree with Steve T. that at the very least we need CL qualification if we have any hope of keeping a player the "Big Four" target for acquisition.

The problem will remain , however, that we may never be able to match the wages that a Chelsea can throw at a player (in addition to their consistent CL play and the "status" that goes with playing for the Big Four).

That, IMO, is the sad reality that separates us from the Merseyside Millionaires days. We have done well under Moyes to now inhabit the stepping stone immediately below the top four, but any player like Yak, if he keeps this up, will be extremely vulnerable to unsettling by those with the silly money.
Paul Thompson
27   Posted 19/12/2007 at 09:52:17

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I was also at Goodison for the fantastic finale to the season that Bob needed three goals to reach 30 and whatever the award was. Like Tony, I’ve been increasingly thinking how similar Yak and the Latch are. Neither are/were pretty players and Latchford did even less outside the box, but they are/were lethal inside it. Yak has better all round play, but can’t head the ball as well, so it more or less evens itself out. Another key thing, however, as many contributors have pointed out, is service. Dave Thomas was a winger, who, whatever his other faults, could certainly cross a ball. The current Everton side have improved hugely, but could probably still do with a real flank player who can get to the bye-line more often and get some good crosses in.
John Steadman
28   Posted 19/12/2007 at 18:42:43

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The Yak, as good as he is will never be as good as Big Bob, the man was a legend, it didn’t matter how the ball came to him in the box, he would either score or make the keeper work, great days, Lineker was good but not the same, outstanding pace but not much else, Graeme Sharp was most probably as close as you got to Latch. Andy Gray in the 1950’s would have scored hundreds. One goal at a time Bobby Latchford, that’s all we ask of you, when you hit the bar we all say aargh.
Long live Bob Latchford!
Robert Carney
29   Posted 19/12/2007 at 18:57:32

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Lee I did the opposite, Johnson and 2-0. Seeing he was not on the pitch when the yak scored the bookies paid a straight 2-0 result. Better luck next time.

Is it not strange when some people read things once, they take as gospel. The dutch scaffer was obviously quoteing Steve Gibson who took our money gladly and then appeased the Boro fans with a silly comment.

When we talk about Dave Thomas, I agree he was a great crosser of the ball but he could also be very frustrating as many wingers are when trying one dribble too many.

The first half of that season Ronnie Goodlass also provided many great crosses. As we have just destroyed West Ham, how many of you were at the game when Ronnie scored one of the greatest goals ever seen in English football.
Beating the goalkeeper from just inside his own half. A feat we have seen since with Beckham et al. The Sunday Express at the time (then a broadsheet) did a half page explanation and reminded its readers that the great Pele had tried but failed . Ronnie was also on the wing when he let fly. The home fans in the main stand that day stood and applauded the goal. I was priveledged to be there. I was also at the same ground when Colin Harvey scored what I remember to be his last goal for Everton. Again another cracker. It is great fun to look back. Well done Tony, a much more poistive article than normal.

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