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What a Pass ? Echos of '85

By John Sheron :  19/12/2007 :  Comments (22) :
Two nights ago, ESPN presented Everton versus Sunderland at Goodison Park in the Championship season of 1985.

I was at that match and I have seen it again several times on TV over the years but not for about a decade. Two things stuck me about that game; first, and the main reason for this post, was the sheer excellence of the Paul Bracewell cross-field pass to Trevor Steven leading to the third goal; second was the sheer joy on the faces of the players as they assuredly marched on to the title.

The Bracewell volley pass of about 35 yards into the path of an on-running Steven was nothing-less than the pass of the season ? let alone the decade. If that pass had appeared on live TV during the age of Sky, it would feature in every call-in and analysis show for a month. Bracewell was indeed a great player and is generally recognised as the unsung hero in that side (he did all of Reidy?s running for him).

Finally, it is clear today in 2007 as it was in 1985 that this Everton squad thoroughly enjoy playing together; sharing the joy of a goal, the odd laugh during a build-up and the amount of visible encouragement in the middle of a game is a pleasure to observe.

I am not yet comparing the two squads because in 1985 we won the title and the Cup Winners Cup but certainly green sprouts of similarity do exist and those of us who have seen it before are beginning to recognise it again.

Reader Comments

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Dave Griffin
1   Posted 19/12/2007 at 12:33:57

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A few weeks ago I rubbished a suggestion on this forum that the current team could in any way be compared with the great mid-80s side. It gives me huge pleasure to have to revise that opinion a little after the events of the past couple of months. I agree with John about the team spirit of the present side which is a joy to see, and there are other obvious similarities between the two teams. One is the disdain in which Everton were, and are, regarded in the national media. Even before Sky invented football in 1992 it was the same. Fleet Street ? what a bunch of ignorant wankers.
Brian Williams
2   Posted 19/12/2007 at 12:31:16

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I was at that game too. I distinctly remember saying to my mate after Sunderland opened the scoring at the Park end " They’ll be sorry they scored first, coz they’ve pissed our players off bigtime".
I was that confident, the team was THAT good that we knew the result was never in doubt despite the fact that we’d gone one down.
As much as I’m "over the moon" with our present play and the run we’ve managed to get going I can’t honestly compare this team to the one in ’85.
Not just for reasons of a straight forward comparison but more to do with how the game (and the world in general) has changed.
I fully agree that the team spirit seems to be thriving and that for little snippets of a game we now appear to be able to play some excellent football. I’ve noticed a swagger about the play of the likes of Arteta and Pienaar, which at times verges on taking the piss out of the opposition (I’m all for that)....but the green shoots you talk of, nowadays have to be nurtured (sad but true) with millions upon millions of pounds, in order for those shoots to become the best in the garden ( huh???)
Anyway, lets not compare, lets not look back too much, let’s just for once (even if it may be fleeting) enjoy the fact that Monday mornings are good again for facing colleagues in work, that Saturday night’s out with the wife are so much more enjoyable, and that as Evertonians we have something of which we can be genuinely proud, and can relax and enjoy !!!!!
Steve Hogan
3   Posted 19/12/2007 at 12:39:19

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Appreciate the comparisons, but don’t get too carried away John, the current Premiership league is dominated by the mega-spending power of the so called ’top four’, a phenomenon which simply did’nt exist in the eighties.

Having access to some of the world’s greatest players will always bring you a cup or two for those fortunate enough to buy top quality when dealing in the transfer market.

Everton still have a long long way to go before we can match the squad size and depth of those above us.

Me, I’m just enjoying the ride and seeing a talented bunch of players who seem to recognise the club’s history and the passion of the (mostly local ) fans and genuinly enjoy playing for us at this time.

Long may it continue.

Tony Bell
4   Posted 19/12/2007 at 13:06:23

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Steve Hogan, why add the "mostly local" part to your piece. Are the out of town supporters not as passionate?? I have been going since i was 5 years old and i’m now 27, have a huge Everton tattoo on my back and and loving the current run of form and the impressive football we are currently playing.
Tony Williams
5   Posted 19/12/2007 at 13:50:49

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Brian, good shout mate.

I remeber thinking the same in the 80’s, in that if a team scored against us first it was a case of, "You’ll regret that"

Nowhere near that now but the team spirit seems to be amazing, as on Blue Kipper, I was made up with Yak’s reaction on the bench when we scored the second against West Spam, that is a smile I could get used to for about 20-30 times a season....
Nick Entwistle
6   Posted 19/12/2007 at 14:33:43

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That team wasn’t in 6th....
Steve Lyth
7   Posted 19/12/2007 at 15:09:45

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Brian, fair assessment that fella
Barry Bragg
8   Posted 19/12/2007 at 16:47:25

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Yoy will find the Bracewell pass on this video clip at 4min and 45 seconds. Also on here are the famous sheedy left then right corner free kick, Sharpy’s derby goal, the 5 - 0 mauling of Utd and many more crackers from 84/85 Was it really that long ago? Seems like yesterday
Guy Wilkinson
9   Posted 19/12/2007 at 18:47:30

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Currently we dont have reliable delivery from corners. Arteta?s weakness is the dead ball - we need accurate delivery with pace similar to the MU vidic goal that did us this season.
Sean Joyce
10   Posted 19/12/2007 at 19:49:15

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I was also at that game, and the majority of all the other games at home and away that season. The one aspect of that season that I remember most vividly is the thought during our travels that we were never ever going to get beat. Having recently travelled to the last 3/4 away games, that familiar feeling is present again, and not for one minute during any of the games did I think we would loose. Now I am not saying we are as good as that magnificent 1985 side.......yet....... and similararities are present between both sides, who knows what we might achieve this season. But I can think of no better fans who would grace Wembley in any of the cup finals, can you
Jarislav Woklevicz
11   Posted 19/12/2007 at 22:49:13

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I started supporting Everton when I was 3 around 1985. I can only recall from the 90s on but have lived on stories and old film of the glory days of the 1980s.
At last I can really sense something special with this team. And the good news is we are only getting started. From strength to strength Moyes is showing how a football club should be run.
Even in those dark days of the 90s I was so proud to wear the shirt here in Belfast,surrounded by soft Kopites and ManU fans.
We really are a lesson for life.
Through the mud,humiliation and defeats into joy,humility and success.
I?m even making myself cringe at this.
Steve Hogan
12   Posted 19/12/2007 at 19:20:51

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Tony Bell, hang on mate, by largely local supporters I meant that we don’t have the hordes of fan ’tourists from Norway and Denmark etc that certain other teams have.

I stand by my comments that Everton’s mainstream support is fairly local.

I was born and bred in Liverpool and now travel 25 miles to each game at Goodison, but I still class myself as local!’
Steve Parry
13   Posted 20/12/2007 at 01:34:23

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John, I see where you’re going with this and agree. Whilst we can all agree that there is a long way to go to match the great 85 side, nevertheless the green shoots are there for all to see.
For me this can be evidenced by the West Ham Carling Cup match. I was also at that Sunderland game and my clear recollection was first how unusual it was to go behind, but overwhelmingly (as indicated by other posters) there was not a hint of concern amongst Evertonians in the stadium - on or off the pitch - because we all knew that in the end the result was assured.
Returning to the recent West Ham match I watched it live on the TV (I live overseas now and it was an early start but well worth it) and when we went one down, for the first time in years I didn’t feel anxious, in fact I felt confident that we would come back. But even more importantly it looked as though the team believed that.
So here’s looking forward to those shoots growing and getting stronger, and many more games like Sunderland 85 and West Ham 07.
peter bradshaw
14   Posted 20/12/2007 at 06:01:15

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I live in Australia, born and bred in Liverpool and still consider myself a scouser. Too many comments about local supporters as long as you love the club and follow the club whats the problem. But all in all a good post, one of the favourite games from that time was Sheff Wed away won 1-0, they battered us for ninety minutes and the bin man kept them out, as a keeper myself I rate big Nev as nearly as good as me.
Cheers guys, great site
John Welsby
15   Posted 20/12/2007 at 13:16:47

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As for the ?local? debate:

I started supporting Everton in 1986 cos the first game I saw was the Cup Final and I wanted the underdog to win. I was about 8 yrs old. We lost 3-1 but that?s it - I?d chosen. And despite not being from Liverpool I love the team feverently and defended them many all the time against the glory loving fans of Man U and Liverpool.

I?m from London and go to games as and when I can - I used to be a member of ESCLA: Everton Supporters Club London Area so got a ticket for the 1995 cup final. Quality result.

I?m not from Liverpool but love the club passionatly: many of you would disagree with my credentials of being a fan given my geography but I assure you I love the club deeply
Peter Rigby
16   Posted 20/12/2007 at 14:59:42

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When you are an Evertonian, you are chosen, not manufactured. I beleive that no matter where you are from, the fact you support Everton is because you love Everton and are not basking in reflected glory, like fans of other currently more sucsessfull clubs from outside of their geographical area do.

I have followed Everton for 54 of my 58 years, I have watched them ,I think, either live or on TV on every continent(except Oz) and I have met thousands of Evertonians all over the world who genuinely love our team, and are none less Evertonians than anyone of us lucky enough to go every home game.
What a very interesting thread though.
Chris Masey
17   Posted 20/12/2007 at 17:02:47

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Peter - sounds like your allegiance is with another independent everton website? ;)
steve cavanagh
18   Posted 21/12/2007 at 10:15:18

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this morning i was at a national park on a gorgeous hot, sunny day to see a geyser erupt in spectacular fashion. after that i again witnessed the workings of our still-forming planet via bubbling mud pools. less than 100k from where i live there was major structural damage caused by an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the richter scale.

exciting eh?
nah...."what’s the everton score?" i was asking anyone who i thought might be on the same wavelength.
i live 12,000 miles away from goodison now but don’t give me any of that ’local’ shit.
i was at goodison to see westies last game, andy kings winner v the red shite, with my nan in the front row of the park end stand to see latch get the 30th against chelsea (he waved to her after scoring), 5 nils against man u and forest, the bayern night, danny cads goal against the shite, rooney v arsenal, the pain & joy v wimbledon and coventry etc.
i get up at 2, 3 or 4am every sat / sun / mon morning to watch the games live and get tapes sent over for the ones that aren’t shown live here (uefa / carling).
i can’s sleep if i don’t know the result.

ALL OF US who post on this site do so because we care....passionately.
the team are on a great run and who can predict where it will go. remember howie was on the precipice before the oxford game and look what happened after that.
everton forever.....from new zealand
Paul Johnson
19   Posted 21/12/2007 at 11:49:36

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The ’80s team, and the fans at the time, really did think we would win every game, which we nearly did! Happy days...

The current team is finally resembling just that - a team. That’s the biggest similarity with the ’80s, we’re finally playing as a team and playing to the strengths of the individual players.

As for Steve Hogan’s comment:

"the current Premiership league is dominated by the mega-spending power of the so called ?top four?, a phenomenon which simply did?nt exist in the eighties."

What a bunch of arse.

Football has been long dominated by the richest clubs, ourselves included. We were bankrolled from the ’60s onwards by the Moores family. Remember we were called the ’Mersey Millionaires’???

It’s impossible to ignore the fact the we have broken the British transfer record on many occasions, so let’s not try and make ill-founded excuses about the current ’big four’, of which we were a member until relatively recently.

On the flip side, Man U have been rich for donkeys years and hadn’t won the league since 1967 until Alex Ferguson took over. It’s not all about the dosh, but it certainly helps.


John Welsby
20   Posted 21/12/2007 at 12:42:33

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Did you see the way the team celebrated after Jag?s goal?

It?s as if they knew he?s taken a while to settle, that he might have felt at fault for AZ?s 1st goal and wanted to show him how happy they were for him at scoring (witness Lescott picking him up!)

Team spirit: love it!
Steve Hogan
21   Posted 21/12/2007 at 14:05:36

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Paul Johnson, don’t go all indignant on me!

If you truly believe that money doesn’t have any influence in todays game, have a look at the number of teams outside the top four (oopps I’ve said it again) who have managed to win any sort of trophy over the last 10 years and then come back with a convincing argument.

The facts speak for themselves...
Paul Johnson
22   Posted 21/12/2007 at 15:38:56

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I didn’t say money has no influence did I?

I agreed that it does by making the point that we have historically been a rich club, and therefore shouldn’t complain too loudly, which you appear to be doing.

I also pointed out that money doesn’t guarantee success by highlighting the barren years that the ever-rich Man Utd suffered.

I could have mentioned the RS being wealthy but no league wins for 18 years. Chelski also failed to win the league last year despite the biggest wealth we’re ever likely to see in the game.

Neither of these two points can be construed as supporting the claim that money has no influence.

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