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Turning points

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A depressing week on the football front has got me thinking about how, for most of the last 40 years, we have ended up playing second fiddle to the RS. In 1970 we had the edge in trophies (just), money, glamour and reputation (yes, honestly) and facilities. The reason why my generation struggle so much with the current situation is that we were brought up to believe that we were the the ones with the history and heritage who deserved the best.

As with our current 'passing game', most of our wounds down the years have been self-inflicted and the most important errors have undoubtedly been made off the field. The ones that spring to mind are:

  • Lost to Panathanikos in the European Cup and Liverpool in the FA cup semi final in the same week - a blow which knocked the club for six on the field
  • Failed to sack Catterick straight away when he had lost his way and sadly his health ? a crucial error
  • Fucked up the appointment of Bobby Robson ? what might have been
  • Blew the '75 title when we should have strolled it
  • Sold Lineker before the World Cup, at a knockdown price, but more importantly we openly advertised ourselves as a selling club, a policy which has continued ever since
  • Appointed Harvey as manager when the club must have known he was totally unsuited to the top job
  • John Moores leaving the club in limbo with no exit strategy and no funds ? I personally believe this was far and away the most damaging episode in the last 40 years. When his health was still good he must, as a top businessman, have known what would happen. To think that some fans still hold him up as some kind of hero figure ? if I had my way I would dig up his bones and...
  • Reappointing Kendall ? has that ever worked?
  • The King Dock fiaso ? it still hurts and was a golden opportunity lost. For those that love 'Blue Bill' just ask yourself has he ever explained why it went tits up. No, of course not, and to this day no one really knows and this says everything about our current chairman

And what can we learn from the above tale of woe? Get the right people behind the scenes and the rest is easy. I somehow think we have some way to go on that front.
John Doolan, UK     Posted 09/04/2008 at 18:42:51

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Anthony Newell
1   Posted 09/04/2008 at 21:04:35

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Heysel was a pivotal moment but In my opinion the Colin Harvey era has a lot to answer for - that really fucked us up and we’ve been recovering from it ever since. So much transfer funding was entrusted to a guy with very little experience of either top class management or the transfer market and we ended frittering away millions on absolute crap (and not replacing quality with better quality) - I’m talking about the Mike Milligan’s and Neil McDonalds of this world. It was as if Everton FC became easy prey for clubs looking to offload their crap. Once this trend had started it seemed to gather it’s own momentum extending into the Kendall MkII, Mike Walker and indeed Walter Smith eras. From the last time we won the championship to before Moyes took over consider what genuine TOP quality players we have signed and you could write the list on the back of a postage stamp (Beardsley, Kanchelskis, Big Dunc maybe for his initial impact) whereas the list of fucks ups would fill a volume of the yellow pages. It’s repopulating the side with TOP quality players that will only get back to those heady days and that would require EFC to become ’the millionaire’ club again and that unfortunately means waiting for an Abramovich type to appear and not a Chris Samuleson
Victor Tubbs
2   Posted 09/04/2008 at 21:25:30

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Heysel was definately the turning point in Everton?s recent history. We were denied two attempts at the European Cup and as a consequence we lost top players to Rangers, with Lineker going to Barcelona and Kendall off to Spain. This was the period when serious money was starting to be pumped into soccer. I believe that we lost all this because of a minority of Liverpool supporters that ran riot at Heysel.

Liverpool recovered because at that time they were about to go through a rebuilding exercise whilst we had a youngish side that could have stayed together for several years. Liverpool still have that minority of "yobs" as supporters as evidenced once again last week at the Emirates stadium when a number of genuine fans were denied access to the stadium because the "yobs" had forged tickets.

I am in my 60s and I get more bitter about all this as the years pass and see Liverpool getting richer and richer whilst we scratch around to enable one decent signing each year, if that. I hope all this fiasco with Gillett and Hicks ends up as a disaster for the RS.

Tony Part
3   Posted 09/04/2008 at 21:46:17

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I think we can blame Heysel for alot of it but once again some shocking management of Everton Football Club has taken place over the last 20 odd years its scary..We should never have been in a position where we almost got relegated twoce on the last day of the season and on both ocassions were saved by Chelsea?s proffessionalism.. Everton reached the FA Cup final in 1989 and after that with the exception of the one year of success in 95 the club has been a total disgrace on and off the field and only recently does it look like coming back to life. I agree that it went from a downward spiral for signing shit player after shit player and as a result we just couldnt get out of that rut...

My only hope is that we dont fall back into mediocrity as even after we finished fourth in 2005 we still managed to have a woeful season afterwards, it could all go wrong again if we start selling our best players and not replacing them (another Everton trait over the years, think Lineker). I hope we are breaking the cycle now but with EFC you just never can look too optomistic without a negative cropping up somewhere..

Roy Coyne
4   Posted 09/04/2008 at 22:10:48

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John Doolan is spot on I agree with everything he has written. We lost our way through negligence at the highest level and we still have not got it right.
Andrew Weston
5   Posted 09/04/2008 at 22:56:45

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I just hope we are not about to add not signing Steven Pienaar for a knock down price to the list. It would be criminal if don’t sign him now
Brian Donnelly
6   Posted 09/04/2008 at 23:13:49

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When we rebuilt the Park End, it should have been a lot bigger with executive boxes. I think Dr David Marsh was the chairman at the time ? he had absolutely no idea.

If this had happened we wouldn?t be having this Kirkby fiasco being forced upon us.
Dickie Price
7   Posted 09/04/2008 at 22:58:16

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Probably one of the best posts ever in my opinion. I also agree with the contributors who focus on Heysel as a turning point for the club. Maybe we wouldn?t have won the European Cup, but we sure as hell would?ve COMPETED for it, which we had never managed to do in previous title-winning eras. The breakthrough ECWC win proved that we were capable of moving on to the next level in Europe, but the side was forced to disband and the rest is history.
Jay Harris
8   Posted 09/04/2008 at 22:57:48

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John
whilst I agree with a number of your thoughts in principle I cannot agree with your feelings on Colin Harvey.

For the record as well as taking us to an FA cup final that we were unlucky to lose in 1990 here are the league placings for the years in charge:

1987-88 40 14 4 2 34 11 5 9 6 19 16 70 4th
1988-89 38 10 7 2 33 18 4 5 10 17 27 54 8th
1989-90 38 14 3 2 40 16 3 5 11 17 30 59 6th

I.e. better than Moyes.

He was only considered a failure because our expectations were so high at the time following Kendall 1. Even a couple of the players of that era said he was only a couple of good players away from being a top side again.

Our main problem was the knock on effect of Heysel which resulted in the loss of key players who wanted European football and also the aging/injury of a number of other stars. Nobody following Harvey with the exception briefly of Joe Royle has managed to get near Harvey?s record until Moyes.
Stefan Tosev
9   Posted 09/04/2008 at 23:37:12

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Jay Harris,
There can be no comparison, Harvey succeeded Championship winning team wherever Moyes has build it from the ashes, moreover Everton were spending in the higher end of the market and are in the low-middle range of it now.
Jay Harris
10   Posted 09/04/2008 at 23:41:49

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Also for the record the period when John Moores owned Everton:

1960-61 42 13 4 4 47 23 9 2 10 40 46 50 5th
1961-62 42 17 2 2 64 21 3 9 9 24 33 51 4th
1962-63 42 14 7 0 48 17 11 4 6 36 25 61 1st
1963-64 42 14 4 3 53 26 7 6 8 31 38 52 3rd
1964-65 42 9 10 2 37 22 8 5 8 32 38 49 4th
1965-66 42 12 6 3 39 19 3 5 13 17 43 41 11th
1966-67 42 11 4 6 39 22 8 6 7 26 24 48 6th
1967-68 42 18 1 2 43 13 5 5 11 24 27 52 5th
1968-69 42 14 5 2 43 10 7 10 4 34 26 57 3rd
1969-70 42 17 3 1 46 19 12 5 4 26 16 66 1st
1970-71 42 10 7 4 32 16 2 6 13 22 44 37 14th
1971-72 42 8 9 4 28 17 1 9 11 9 31 36 15th
1972-73 42 9 5 7 27 21 4 6 11 14 28 37 17th
1973-74 42 12 7 2 29 14 4 5 12 21 34 44 7th
1974-75 42 10 9 2 33 19 6 9 6 23 23 50 4th
1975-76 42 10 7 4 37 24 5 5 11 23 42 42 11th
1976-77 42 9 7 5 35 24 5 7 9 27 40 42 9th
1977-78 42 14 4 3 47 22 8 7 6 29 23 55 3rd
1978-79 42 12 7 2 32 17 5 10 6 20 23 51 4th
1979-80 42 7 7 7 28 25 2 1 9 15 26 35 19th
1980-81 42 8 6 7 32 25 5 4 12 23 33 36 15th
1981-82 42 11 7 3 33 21 6 6 9 23 29 64* 8th
1982-83 42 13 6 2 43 19 5 4 12 23 29 64 7th
1983-84 42 9 9 3 21 12 7 5 9 23 30 62 7th
1984-85 42 16 3 2 58 17 12 3 6 30 26 90 1st
1985-86 42 16 3 2 54 18 10 5 6 33 23 86 2nd
1986-87 42 16 4 1 49 11 10 4 7 27 20 86 1st
1987-88 40 14 4 2 34 11 5 9 6 19 16 70 4th
1988-89 38 10 7 2 33 18 4 5 10 17 27 54 8th
1989-90 38 14 3 2 40 16 3 5 11 17 30 59 6th
1990-91 38 9 5 5 26 15 4 7 8 24 31 51 9th


I.e. the most sutstained period of success in EFC?s history.

John Moores is an Everton legend and God bless him for what he did for Everton. However, I have to agree he was not good at building Dynasties. His family was very fragmented as was his Littlewoods Empire after he died but even at the age of 94 he attended every Everton match he could and still led from the front.

An absolutely amazing True Blue ? unlike the current Charlatan.
Kieran Kinsella
11   Posted 09/04/2008 at 23:55:33

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Jay Harris

The point about Harvey is that while he did well compared with Moyes he didn?t do well compared with Kendall. Harvey inherited champions and an open check book whereas Moyes inherited debt and a relegation threatened bunch of misfits and has beens. Obviously it would appear that Harvey did "better" but you can only work with the tools you?re given so CH taking Everton down to 4th is actually pathetic compared with Moyes raising Everton to 4th.

As a manager Harvey was to Kendall as Harford was to Dalglish at Blackburn ... a good number 2 but a manager who quickly took the team downhill despite spending a tonne of money. Moyes has never broken a British transfer record to sign a player as Harvey did with Cottee. Yakubu has been his biggest signing and cost half as much as any number of players at the "big 4."

I think Harvey was a great player, great coach and great guy by all accounts but I do personally blame him to a large degree for our demise. His terrible signings left us broke and a succession of other failed managers and terrible directors/owners/Chairman have added to the problem with gross mismanagement.

With regard to Moores the original poster said that Moore?s should have sorted things out before he croaked he didn?t say that Moores was terrible for the entire duration of his reign.
Brendan McLaughlin
12   Posted 09/04/2008 at 23:48:29

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Are you serious, Jay? Harvey inherited a team that had just won the title and did nothing. Moyes took on a club that had been relegation fodder for some 10 years and has put us back at the business end of the Premier League. Harvey better than Moyes? I don?t think so.

And I?m sorry but I don?t buy this shite about key players jumping ship after the European ban. Perhaps my memory is starting to fail me but the key players only left after we started sliding down the table and it was obvious that Harvey wasn?t up to the job.

Jay Harris
13   Posted 10/04/2008 at 00:21:36

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Kieran
I didn't intend to suggest Harvey was a better coach than Moyes; what I was trying to point out was that, with the situation he inherited, ie, a disillusioned squad used to winning championships and cups and some past their sell-by dates, his short record stands against most and therefore he was not as bad as many thought.

And I don't apportion much blame to Harvey for our demise. The whole squad needed rebuilding and "The Premiership" was looming and we hit the "Down"cycle at exactly the wrong time. We needed stability and building and we got instability and destruction instead mainly brought on by the Johnson/Kenwright era at the time.

Matt Traynor
14   Posted 10/04/2008 at 02:45:50

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Excellent post.
Couple of points though.
- Lineker was sold after the World Cup, when he finished with the Golden Boot. Carter decided to cash in. Lineker has always said he wanted to stay, but was sold by the club. This played a big part in Kendall?s decision to leave. Manage in Europe, Atletic Bilbao - think about it...
- Harvey never wanted the job, never asked for it, but his feeling for Everton was such that he felt he could not turn it down. In hindsight he wishes he had done.
- I remember meeting Sir John in 1990 or 91 when I worked in one of the sponsor?s lounges. You could see then he was on his way out. In a wheelchair and to be honest, looked more like Davros than the great Businessmen so many had told me about. But a lovely, genuine guy to the end (though told he was ruthless in the boardroom, and rightly so).

Otherwise top post.
Jason Lam
15   Posted 10/04/2008 at 02:42:24

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I agree with the wrong timing of the Premier League and the way our club was running/players we had, up to its launch. Previously life for most of the top clubs were pretty much a level playing ground. You could rebuild and challenge for the top honours. I don’t think many realized how the Premier League shook the whole foundations once and for all.

Although now there’s more investment in clubs like Spurs, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Villa, West Ham, I believe the top4 will always continue to be one step ahead of the chasing pack. It’s something that the FA, UEFA, FIFA, Act of God must interfere and change the way football’s run, for the continuing interest of the sport.
Sean Condon
16   Posted 10/04/2008 at 03:38:32

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An excellent post. I, too, believe that (Heysel aside) the most damaging events in the club?s history were the appointment of the unsuitable and unproven Harvey, and the mess that resulted from John Moores exit.

Also, what?s the deal with Lord Granchester? When my grandad was alive he used to write to me bitching about the "fifth wealthiest man in Britain" being on EFC?s board and refusing to spend a penny of his cash on us. Is this true? Is he still around?

Michael Kenrick
17   Posted 10/04/2008 at 05:26:58

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Lord Grantchester, aka John C Suenson-Taylor, was an Everton Director until 2000, now a wealthy gentleman farmer in Cheshire. He was the last of the Moores family on the Everton Board of Directors although he did not have the wealth of his grandfather, Sir John Moores.

His claim to fame more recently is playing a significant role (and coughing up a not insignificant wedge of ready cash) to facilitate the purchase of the David France Collection and provide it wiith a permanent home accessible to all Evertonians.

Sean’s question, however, raises this common misconception about the role of Everton Directors, and especially the thorny issue of their financial contribution. There is an requirement that they own shares in the club, although the number is nominal (1 or 3). Th thing about that "investment" is that it is a one-off, and it really does not benefit the club.

As I understand it, however, there really is no other mechanism, behind simply handing over the cash, for them to invest further in Everton... and why should they? People of power and wealth don’t start simply giving away their hard-earned for no return. To expect as much is plain daft.

Why do some Evertonians believe that is their fuction?
Sandeep Sahi
18   Posted 10/04/2008 at 08:33:45

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We appointed Colin Harvey as manager as dare I say it we looked at the success the RS had achieved in the 70/80’s by "promoting within". Colin Harvey was/is an Everton man through and through and at the time it seemed the right choice. I’ve felt that Everton’s decline over the years (pre Moyes) is down to the fact that as a club we simply don’t generate enough cash to compete with other major clubs in this country and this obviously impacts the kind of players we’ve been able to buy. It’s funny that alot of the comment on these pages seems to suggest that it’s all down to the Directors and their lack of "investment" over the years. What if it’s actually down to not getting the size of crowds other large clubs get and alao that as a club in a not very affluent part of the country, what our fans can afford to spend in watching the club is less, alot less than say a club in London? This all ultimately impacts what we can spend on players.
Richard Parker
19   Posted 10/04/2008 at 09:40:13

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I think everyone needs to get over the whole Heysel thing. It was unfortunate timing and could quite possibly have changed things for us, but every other English club went through that period and it is absolutely not an excuse for falling behind.

Mis-management was to blame, we were on top in England and we fell off big time.
Ravo Stanley
20   Posted 10/04/2008 at 09:26:11

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RE: Sir John Moores and the Moores Family

Both my Dad and Uncle worked for Littlewood’s Pool’s for 25 years apiece. My Dad says that when John had all his faculties he was indeed a very shrewd operator and even ruthless with his own family.

Although he made Everton into the Mersey Millionaires this was in the form of an interest free loan(s).

Both John and Cecil Moores left this world as paupers; however they left their children as asset rather than cash rich.

This allied to the fact that none of the Moores children have absolutley no business acumen (David Moores used to spend his days at the Walton Hall Ave Office reading Shoot!) led to the gradual selling off of their businesses, and running the pool’s side into the ground and the need for DM to sell LFC.

So I understand why Lord Granchester hasn’t bought the club, he’s just a non-entitiy when the issue comes up.
Micky Norman
21   Posted 10/04/2008 at 09:25:22

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Brilliant post to start off an excellent thread. Really made me think about 45 years as a blue. Selling Alan Ball was the most gut-wrenching one I can remember. Turning points can go in both directions and whilst the contributors here have valid points there have also been a couple which have gone for us as well.

The last game defeat of Wimbledon and the last day survival in Kendall III come to mind as the obviuous ones. The sale of Dunc to Newcastle when it was obvious that the hamperman?s empire was going tits up and the fans finally had seen enough stopped us turning into a Sheffield Wednesday. Not sacking Moyes during his terrible 3rd season and after the Villarreal / Uefa Cup exits was also pivotal.

Not being a great fan of BK, I would say that this was more down to lack of other available options than to clear thinking but had he succumbed to some of the screaming at the time we would now be a Yo-Yo club like West Brom.

Chris Thornton
22   Posted 10/04/2008 at 10:28:21

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I think this is one of the best posts I’ve seen on this site and it sums up neatly the key points in our decline over the past 20 years.
To my mind Everton were badly damaged at the end of Sir John Moores’ reign, when the club was left in limbo.
Colin Harvey wasn’t cut out for management, but that’s hindsight talking ? at the time it seemed a good idea.
James Marshall
23   Posted 10/04/2008 at 11:31:22

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Rich people love giving away their money, especially to football clubs - thats why they’re rich right kids!?!?
Denis Byrne
24   Posted 10/04/2008 at 11:57:35

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Great thread - but all of you are wrong. The most successful Everton team was the great and under recognised team of giants that set the tone for everything after - the pre (first world) war era between 1893-1915 saw a phenomenal league record;
Season Pos

1892-93 3rd
1893-94 6th
1894-95 2nd
1895-96 3rd
1896-97 7th
1897-98 4th
1898-99 4th
1899-1900 11th
1900-01 7th
1901-02 2nd
1902-03 12th
1903-04 3rd
1904-05 2nd
1905-06 11th
1906-07 3rd
1907-08 11th
1908-09 2nd
1909-10 10th
1910-11 4th
1911-12 2nd
1912-13 11th
1913-14 15th
1914-15 1st

In this time they also won the FA cup only once, but reached 3 finals and 3 semi finals. With greats such as Geary, Sharp, Makepeace, Jack Bell, Freeman to name a few. The tragedy is these hero’s have never been given the recognition they deserve - we couldn’t even organise anything a few years ago to celebrate 100 years since our first FA cup win (my 7 year old son pointed out that cock up). So, given we all know our history so well, lets give these arl’ fella’s their long overdue praise.
Joe McMahon
25   Posted 10/04/2008 at 12:28:51

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I actually thought the Colin Harvey team was entertaining, he purchased Tony Cottee, and I thought the football was actually better to watch than it is now, didn?t he also sign Norman Whiteside, Pat Nevin & Stuart McCall ? ALL good footballing players?
Tony Marsh
26   Posted 10/04/2008 at 12:40:13

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If we are playing the blame game, how about Mike Walker? Wasted a bucket load of money on shite and would've taken us down if Big Joe hadn't come to the rescue.
Add to that the man who employed Walker, Peter Johnson, and there you have two culprits for our sad recent demise.
John Maxwell
27   Posted 10/04/2008 at 12:30:50

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Well said Richard Parker, I sickens me to hear people blame Heysel and Liverpool for our decline..

Its purely down to gross mis-management.. With hindsight Colin Harvey should of never been given the job, but at the time he was the perfect choice.

I am one of those Evertonians who like many others have posted here have witnessed the decline from pitchside.. I managed to get to see a couple of games in 86-87 being only 15.. But my most attended games are from 87-88 to the present day.

Its all been very painful up until the past few seasons.

Harvey in my mind turned us from a championship winning side into relegation material in 3-4 years.

Ok so players get old and lose their form or move on, but look at their replacements.

Stephan Rehn, Ray Atteveld, Mike Milligan, Neil McDonald, maybe Cottee ? They never really replaced what we had.

The football we played then was awful and it got even worse for many years to come..

Its not all Harveys fault, you have to look at the board, where did all the money go ??

How were a club like Everton in 87 allowed to slip into debt ridden relegation material.

God knows how we stayed up and what would of happened if we had gone down..

Thank you Hans Segers !

But please dont blame Heysel and Liverpool for everything.. Arent we better than that ?
Brian Richardson
28   Posted 10/04/2008 at 13:11:00

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I’ll agree with Tony Marsh, the Peter Johnson-Mike Walker combination was devastating for our club. Wally Smith was hardly any better, he had no ambition for the club. All I will thank Smith for is recommending Moyes who has, I think everyone will now agree, performed miracles in the time he has been with us.
Denis Byrne
29   Posted 10/04/2008 at 13:25:22

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John Houlding sperm of satan, its all his fault. If it wasn?t for him we wouldn?t have to experience the nightmare horror show of last Tuesday night and we would be World Champions and win the European Cup every year, and we would have signed Eusebio.
Gareth Lewis
30   Posted 10/04/2008 at 13:20:11

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The Harvey period wasn?t disastrous, but nor should it have been given the team inherited, and the fact that we still had top money to spend.

How anyone can blame John Moores is beyond me. Without his investment we may never have reached the heights of the 60s, nevermind the 80s. To have only finished in the bottom half 5 times in 30 years is a fantastic achievement. While doffing a cap to the early Everton teams, the league was well and truly established by the 60s and so much more competetive.

Heysel, obviously had a big impact with players leaving, however we have never really had a long period of absolute success, unlike some neighbours in red. So I?m not convinced that it had the impact that we all assume it must have done.

One of the big mistakes we made was not taking advantage of the Premier League era. At the time of the discussions for the Premier League, we were still well and truly at the forefront of English football and actually had an input into how it was to be formed etc.

A failure to invest in the team at that point left us slipping to the lower half of the table where we were unable to escape until Moyes.

It?s hard to remember but UTD had won only 7 league titles at the start of the 1st PL season, 2 less than us. They now stand on 16. They have benefitted hugely from the exposure of winning during the PL explosion.

Kendall Mk II clearly wasn?t the answer, but the refusal to buy Dion Dublin, was symptomatic of that period where we really fell behind the leading figures of English football.
Jay Harris
31   Posted 10/04/2008 at 13:58:47

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Gareth agree with you totally and dont forget United were in the second division just prior to the formation of the Premier League. But what Ferguson did was poach the best youth players in the country and build them into a team of winners. Sad to say but we didn't have the same foresight with Johnson/Walker and Kenwright/Smith.
Sean Condon
32   Posted 10/04/2008 at 14:41:57

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United were in the 2nd division for one season in the mid-70?s...about 15 years before the formation of the Premier League.
I agree with Micky Norman that not sacking Moyes during the disastrous first couple of months of the Villareal season was a huge thing for us re: on-field stability. How many other top-flight clubs would?ve stuck with the manager who had won, what, one of the first ten league matches?
Roy Coyne
33   Posted 10/04/2008 at 15:03:11

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If you go back to John Moores, no chairman since then has been up to the job. Carter, Marsh etc up to and including Bill. For the life of me all the years we were like a rudderless ship, with no taking control with Mr Moores illness why no one stepped in and highlighted the problem instead of sheep like just plodding on for fear of upsetting the Moore?s family who unlike John didn?t give a toss for Everton. Football was evolving and we instead of being among the leaders where we should have been were struggling to tread water.
Neil Madden
34   Posted 10/04/2008 at 16:43:12

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That crowd have outperformed us for less than 40 years out of the 120 that professional football has been played. That means they’ll have to maintain the status quo for another 40 before we can call it a draw. Regarding trophies won, for the huge majority of time football has been played in this country there were only 2 trophies that existed. They had won only 1 of them until 80 years into the history of the game and won the other during most of our lifetimes. How may times would we have won the League Cup, UEFA or dare I say it the European Cup if they had existed long before they did? Judging success just by numbers of trophies won is a crude measure of a clubs standing if you don’t take that into account. Cheer up mate, Everton FC’s greatest days are in the future. Stay Blue.
Karl Masters
35   Posted 10/04/2008 at 17:32:12

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I think that the leaders of the Club have lacked foresight since probably the early 70’s.

At that time the Club tried all money making schemes you can think of - even opening up a Travel Agents under thge Bullens Road stand! We were the first Club with an electronic scoreboard, a triple decker stand, seats and standing on all 4 sides, undersoil heating, Bellefield was the best training ground in the country, we were the first team ,along with Liverpool, to put sponsors’ names on shirts. The list is endless.

Then nothing. Whilst cash may have been tight on Merseyside in the mid 70’s, eighties and nineties it does not excuse the utter complacency of our Directors since then. Whilst most other Clubs have re-built their stadia after the Taylor Report, all Everton have done is build the Partk End at a cost of only £800k after grants. Ok, some other stadia were much worse ( eg Stamford Bridge ) , but spending only £800k plus £1m on a Gwladys Street roof in 1987 as your only major stadium investment in nearly 40 years is a fucking disgrace.

It brings us neatly back to where we are now and a Club still badly run off the pitch ( you all know what I mean, the list is endless ) and being transplanted in Kirkby. It’s no too late to re-invest in Goodison and get the facilities and money making operations up to scratch, but after 30 years of cock ups this looks like the one to top them all.
Alan Clarke
36   Posted 10/04/2008 at 17:48:49

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No-one has really mentioned the formation of the Premier League and the club’s full support behind it as one of the ’big 6’ at the time. It is Sky’s input into football that has really fucked us and everyone except those top 4 over. Maybe a good European cup run in 1986 would have raised our profile but although we had a good side there’s no saying we would have won it. Villa won it 1981 and they’ve been grossly mismanaged since.

I think the appointment of Harvey and Kendall for a second (and third) time plus Mike walker meant we never capitalised on the new money coming in when the Premiership was formed. We got left behind.

I read some quotes from the Burnley chairman in the 1960s when football was beginning to be televised, he banned tv cameras from Turf Moor saying television would be the death of football. I think he was right.
Sandeep Sahi
37   Posted 10/04/2008 at 18:38:34

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Karl, I agree with your point re stadium developement. I can?t think of another major club which has spent less on their ground over the past 30 years, but despite spending so little... we are still so much in debt! This just highlights the fact that we generate so little money (in relative terms). To me, that is the prime reason why we haven?t been a takeover target.
Bob Patterson
38   Posted 10/04/2008 at 18:52:07

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Where would we be today, goes right back to 63/64 season when we were drawn against INTER MILAN in the European cup (first round). All the newspapers at that time said WHOEVER WON would go on and win the CUP.
Over two legs EVERTON 0 INTER MILAN 1.
Jason Lam
39   Posted 11/04/2008 at 08:11:59

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From a objective standpoint this is a great thread. But my God it makes for depressive reading.

As a few of us mentioned, in the light of current predicaments (Premier League, Sky4, no finance, 4-5-1, lazy Yak), where do we go from here? I suppose Joe Royle winning the Cup gives us hope. COYBs
Roy Warne
40   Posted 11/04/2008 at 08:34:54

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Whilst you cannot blame Heysel for the bad decisions that followed by the board and various managers, Heysel did undoubtedly begin a domino effect that led to the leaving of Kendall and key players in the team such as Steven and Stevens which led to a period where we imploded at exactly the wrong time in the early 90s when success at the start of the Premier League era should have been pivotal going forward into the ?money? era.

The replacement of Lineker, Sheedy and Reid with Cottee, McCall and Nevin was the first nail in the coffin. Good players but not fit to lace the boots of the aforementioned.

the next key disaster in my opinion was the decision to build the existing Park End instead of a massive stand like Villa and the RS did. Had we have done that back in 1993 the redevelopment of GP would no doubt have followed.

Paul Chisholm
41   Posted 11/04/2008 at 09:58:19

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Losing the Double inside a week to an inferior RS in 86, must surely rank as the worst moment in our illustrious history. Thinking about it even now still brings a tear to my glass eye.
David Edwards
42   Posted 11/04/2008 at 15:38:19

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In the good old days when you had football on a Saturday, and rugby league on a Sunday, I used to love seeing Widnes as well as the Blues. I think there are a lot of parallels between the story of Everton and Widnes over the last decade or so, and I think Sky TV has a lot to answer for with both.

Widnes had great cup and league success in the 70s and 80s, but some bad financial control led to an exodus of quality players (such as Lydon and Offiah) and the emergence of a team (Wigan) that dominated the sport in the same way that the RS did in the 70s and 80s - boring the pants off supporters of other teams who knew they were only playing for 2nd spot at best.

Lo and behold, Sky TV come along and revamp the game in the form of the Super League, but unfortunately at a time when Widnes’s form and resources were at their lowest ebb. Not only do they miss out financially from not being in the Super League in those initial years (with an effect on their fanbase, sponsorship etc.), but they find themselves poorly equipped to re-join the big boys when they are able to gain temporary promotion to the Super League in recent years.

I agree with most of the reasons cited for Everton’s problems in recent years, but I think the lousy running of the club in those years just prior to the formation of the Premier League has had the most effect on us. If we could have been anything like the team we were in the mid-80s, we would have been able to immediately benefit financially as a result of our league position, gained more European exposure, attracted better players and gained more of a national following amongst the albeit fickle TV generation of young football fans.

Sadly, a bit like Widnes, timing was against us and by not benefitting from Sky in those earlier years like the usual suspects have done, we have been playing catch-up ever since, until the gap between us and the Sky 4 is significant and more than the single league position would suggest.

For us to be as close as we are now, despite the Harvey, Walker, Royle (FA Cup blip excepted), Smith and Johnson years, reflects superbly on Davey Moyes, but is this about as good as it gets?

Sky TV and the emphasis on money-generation which the EPL and CL have brought have changed football for ever, and unfortunately, unless you have a ’Sugar Daddy’, if you didn’t get on the gravy train in the 90s, you’ve been left behind. Depressing thought, really....

By the way, I agree with Paul Chisholm. That week in 1986 was dreadful. Thanks for mentioning it - it’s put some of the recent disappointments in perspective.

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