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Our Soul and Inspiration

By James Boden :  11/03/2009 :  Comments (0) :

Everton have had many great sides it must be said but which one is our greatest ever side is certainly debatable. Is it our 1938-39, 1962-63, 1969-70 or 1984-85 sides? Or maybe it’s none of them.

Sadly for me, I have the misfortune of not witnessing any of those but it’s certainly an interesting argument in my book. The 1891 title side was special because it was our first ever Championship and we were the team who stopped the Preston North End domination, which in reality they haven’t recovered from, if that makes any sense. However, this was a decade to be dominated by Aston Villa and the best we could hope for was 2 FA Cup Finals, both sadly lost.

Our 2nd Championship finally came in 1914-15 but given that it was interrupted by the Great War, it probably wasn’t worthwhile. We suffered because of this and it wasn’t until the mid-20s when an unknown 18-year-old who needs no explanation was signed.

The 1927-28 season is memorable not just for Everton being crowned League Champions but for Dixie Dean scoring an incredible 60 league goals. A double satisfaction indeed. However, this victory was to turn sour as, for the first time in 1930, we were relegated to the 2nd Division... Collapse we did not though.

Steamrolling back into the 1st Division and then winning the league for a 4th time the following season and then taking our first trip to Wembley in 1933, where we picked up the FA Cup. In both title-winning seasons, the integral member of the team was Dixie Dean. In either campaign we had two exceptional wingers in Alec Troup and Albert Geldard, who gave the genius great service.

But it could be argued that Dean really did hold together this team. His frightening goalscoring rate was not just down to fantastic wing play but also due to his awesome ability in the air and on the ground. Surely he is Everton’s greatest ever player. But greatest team... considering they got relegated in between? It's arguable...

The next great side was 1938-39. This was the side full of wonderfully talented youngsters who were set to take Everton into the next decade. With the likes of Tommy Lawton, TG Jones, Joe Mercer and Ted Sagar — four of the greatest players ever to have played for our football club dominance in the 40s seemed certain. But a 2nd World War intervened. Once football resumed in the late 40s our team had again been ripped apart and we struggled into the next decade getting relegated before coming back and it wasn’t until John Moores took control that we started to get a grip again. He appointed Harry Catterick, who duly delivered by winning titles in 1962-63 and 1969-70.

Catterick was very wise with the generous funds he spent and bought several exceptional footballers like Alan Ball, Howard Kendall, Johnny Morrissey, Tony Kay and Fred Pickering. He also brought us the FA Cup in 66. However sadly that team of 70 expected to dominate did the opposite and sadly Catterick didn’t recover.

It wasn’t until the 1984 season that Howard Kendall revived us with an FA Cup win and then the next season was a domination few could have dared dream of, amassing 90 points, 13 clear of Liverpool, while playing some of the most gripping football this club has ever seen with some of Kendall's shrewd signings — the likes of Kevin Sheedy, Trevor Steven and Graeme Sharp were hoisted from nowhere to near perfection. Incredibly, despite an injury list that was almost as great as the one we have now, we somehow managed to deliver the League title that year. But the damage had been done. Howard Kendall left that summer due to the European ban and we have never fully recovered. 1986 could have been our year...

So there you have it; on three occasions great sides were ripped apart and somehow didn’t manage to push on for what should have been periods of dominance. If I had to pick out a greatest Everton title-winning side, I'd probably say the 1939 side. Given that we had four of the greatest Everton players ever in that side, then we must have been good. I'd probably put it just ahead of the 1969-70 team but that’s just my opinion and those who have seen the 1970 side or even before are in a better position to comment than I am. It's great football sides like them that are our soul and inspiration and what we aspire Everton to be. COYB

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