Sometimes it?s not a career that determines the title of hero, sometimes it can be that one moment, that when you witness it, you just know that this player is special.
My moment of truth was, like all great things for our club, in the Eighties, before the journey hit full speed, actually close to the point of derailment. Late 1983, Round 2 of the League Cup, at home to Coventry, remember it well? No, didn?t think so. There was myself and 9,000 other hardy souls on a filthy winters night. Everton couldn?t score to save their life in the league and the most popular song on the terraces was ?Kendall Out?.
It was close to depression and the sceptre of relegation was becoming a real threat. To take us away from this we had a Mickey Mouse cup to play in. The fans had voted with their feet and the expectation levels were zero. Deep into the second half, Everton were trailing one nil, we had used our substitute and shortly after,the young striker called Graeme Sharp, still trying to impress, takes a shocking challenge to his ankles and can?t carry on. Down to 10 men with less than 10 minutes to go. Sharpy drags himself to his feet after treatment and can hardly stand. Magnum thinks he should stay off, the game was lost, why risk further damage.
Sharpy beckons to the ref to come back on, Kendall puts him left wing to do whatever. This courage, this determination somehow grabs the crowd by the scruff of the neck, ala Nev?s challenge on Ronaldo. Suddenly 9,000 fans sound like 50,000. To a man, everyone is now behind the team, the team responds, on 88 minutes, Everton work a move into the box, going off memory rather than research, I think Tricky Trev equalises. The crowd are going crazy, and like the rain, Everton pours downward to the Coventry goal. Another move down the right, Tricky Trev gets to the by-line, sends in a clipped cross to the far post, from wide left, Sharpy has literally dragged himself from the touchline to the corner of the 6 yard box and dives full length to head a 90th minute winner.
Oxford away was dubbed Kendall and Everton?s turning point but without that Rd 2 ?non-event?, we wouldn?t have even got to that point. Sharpy is carried off; the match ends 2-1 to the Blues. I knew then in Graeme Sharp we had something special, some-one to be a legend, some-one to be a hero but more importantly, some-one who knew what it was to be an Evertonian.
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1 Posted 31/07/2010 at 00:28:18
2 Posted 31/07/2010 at 01:22:38
David - your words perfectly sum up Alan Ball - my childhood hero.
3 Posted 31/07/2010 at 04:22:25
Perfect! Sharp is a legend!! And I agree with yor analogy. AJ did score twice against the RS but he is hardly in the ranks of a legend IMHO. Dedication, perserverance, die-hard attitude and commitment to club, management, team mates & importantly the fans ... traits of one legend
4 Posted 31/07/2010 at 10:21:39
5 Posted 31/07/2010 at 10:29:40
6 Posted 31/07/2010 at 11:21:48
7 Posted 31/07/2010 at 11:01:22
I am much like Lee and only a kid in the 80's and while I do remember the '84 final, this simply grew an unjustified hatred for Watford.
Big pigeon loving Dunc I loved, no love... He truly is a legend in my eyes. And regardless of the cash, Cahill has that passion.
Also love what Donovan has been saying and I really hope we get him. He's proved to be a hero for his country, and while any legend status for us is clearly a long way off (especially as he's not our player) he could be great for us. But then every player who does the shirt for us gets my support since I sat beratting Gareth Farrelly for being so shit in 1998 on the last day of the season... He's not a hero (of mine), but I will be forever grateful for saving us with that goal.
I still will make comments when a player gets a nose bleed for crossing the halfway line, Toblerone-boot chunts it to nobody ahead or blindly runs and looses the ball - but they're a lot more tempered in general.
8 Posted 31/07/2010 at 11:30:39
We have a few that show something of that desire to win in Heitinga , Jagielka, Fellaini, Cahill, Arteta, Rodwell and young Coleman shows promise of having great strength of will-but up front we lack this attribute and that is were we need to make changes. Donovan shows great will to win allied to skill and he would be the answer if A) we could get him in and B) we play him up front. Saha shows very little desire or fire these days, whilst Yakubu is still a great scorer he maybe on the slide and more useful coming off the bench. Vaughan has the right mental attitude but his body lets him down and Anichibe has all the physical attributes but the wrong attitude ( he hits the ground too easy and can you ever see him dong what Sharp did?). Maybe Beckford will be the answer but its to early to judge.
The manager should start to build the attitude by refusing to use the Sky word word 'Premiership' which we have never won and is therefore a limiting term and should only use the word 'title' or 'Champions' which we have been 9 times and is therefore not a limiting term. That which we have been before we can be again.
9 Posted 31/07/2010 at 12:08:38
Then I got to see Davy Hickson and from that point my future was set in stone.
Ball, Young, Sharp, Pickering and Latchford became favourites but the only one to pull at the emotions in the same way as Davy was big Dunc.
Ok, so he wasn't everymans cup of tea but at a time when we needed an inspirational fighter for the cause he was the one.
10 Posted 31/07/2010 at 13:27:07
e.g. Granby Street, Princes Park, Liverpool 8 - Toxteth was just 2 nameplates, one on Park Place and other on Smithdown Road/Lodge Lane corner
11 Posted 31/07/2010 at 13:03:59
I quite clearly remember watching a 'Sportsnight' special on tv that focused on that Everton team of 84/85 and featured Reidy and his parents. They just seemed like a really nice, down to earth family and talked about switching allegiances from the RS to the blues, with Reid saying he must of been off his head supporting 'that lot' when he was younger.
Later on, during the dark days of the nineties, Dave Watson was by far and away my favourite Everton player due to his longevity, commitment to the club and the fact he was the only one you could rely on not to fuck up. Although the constant flirtations with relegation were bad enough, things could have been a lot worse without good old Waggy.
12 Posted 31/07/2010 at 14:39:31
13 Posted 31/07/2010 at 17:25:05
14 Posted 31/07/2010 at 20:41:50
15 Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:06:21
Come to think about it, is there any real difference?
The Essex St. scuffers did not care which title you used when polishing their boots.
Ah' but that is another story and not for this site.
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