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Alan, Imre, Dave and Don

By Mike Owen :  12/02/2009 :  Comments (0) :
Oh, the joy of Alan Ball leaping what seemed to be 7ft to volley that ball into the Liverpool net to knock the Reds out of the FA Cup in 1967. Oh the joy of Imre Varadi scoring at the Street End to put them out of the Cup in 1981. Oh the joy of Dave Watson knocking them out in 1991. Oh the joy of Dan Gosling's pirouette and shot last week to put the Blues into the next round.

But will this year be different? Because in '67, '81 and '91, we never went on to Wembley. Despair was just up the road.

The names Ian Storey-Moore, Tommy Hutchison and Stuart Slater will jog a few memories.

After knocking out the Reds in '67 we went to Nottingham Forest in the next round and, if I'm not mistaken, we took a 2-0 lead before crumbling as Storey-Moore scored a hat-trick. We were out. The irony was that, if memory serves me right, Forest were managed by Johnny Carey who had been sacked by John Moores to make way for Harry Catterick.

After knocking out the Reds in '81, we went to Southampton and beat them in a Goodison replay in the Eamonn O'Keefe game when the little fella we signed from non-league football scored the winner for us in extra-time. This was the night there could have been a disaster outside Goodison when the gates were shut before kick-off with thousands still outside, some of whom legged it round to the Enclosure entrance by the Church. That rectangle of space became a heaving mass of bodies. It was scary. In the 6th round we were drawn against Manchester City. It was a mean and moody affair and a young Kevin Ratcliffe was sent off, having been deemed to have butted Tommy Hutchison. We drew 2-2 and lost the replay.

After knocking out the Reds in '91, we were drawn away at West Ham. Our dreams were ripped apart by Stuart Slater, a super-starlet on his way to nowhere.

David Moyes has been here seven years, but he still hasn't experienced the fervour of Evertonians when the Blues are on a proper, good FA Cup run. It's something else. I love it when We Shall Not Be Moved is wheeled out. But whatever happened to the E-V-E-R-T-O-N, Everton, Everton song? And that 80s' mantra, Come On You Blues, Come On You Blues? The words aren't exactly hard to learn. Not like our 70s' song When You're Smiling.

Will 2009 be the year? More than anything, I'd like to see the Evertonians aged under 21 have a day out at Wembley. There are North Koreans who have had more joy than our young Blues.

I think you'll find both semis are being held at Wembley this year. That makes it one game easier to get to Wembley, and tickets for a semi will be easier to get than for the final.

Am I getting ahead of myself here? I remember this talk before, the thought that knock out Liverpool and it's an automatic bye to Wembley. So I've been pleased to read of a few of the players saying it's no good knocking Liverpool out if we don't progress further in the Cup. Well lads, it is good, it's very, very good, but I know what you mean and it's great that you intend to go further.

Villa will obviously be a tough game, possibly a grim one. I predict a draw and a win for us in the replay. Then obviously an away trip in the 6th Round - to Swansea or Fulham. Just you wait and see.

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