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Opening day beauts and beasties

By David Price :  12/08/2010 :  Comments (29) :
As the big KO approaches, who recalls any favourite first gamers or ones that are too painful to recite?

We don?t have to go too far back for the nightmares... Arsenal, ouch; then Blackburn previously. Further back, Leeds first year back up and big Nev slumping against the post at half-time, 3-0 down, wondering where did it all go wrong.

The most pleasant surprise for me on the big day was back in August ?76. Nice sunny day in the capital, we were lambs to the slaughter facing the runners-up in the league the previous season, QPR. They always say you get strange results on the first day... yeah right... but never in our favour. Enter Bob Latchford, think he got a hat-trick as we tore them apart and won 4-0.

I can?t remember any devastating score lines to go our way since (although Tony Cottee?s hat trick against Newcastle was nice in another 4-goal stormer). Normal service resumed 3 years after the QPR game with a 4-2 home defeat by Norwich.

I get the feeling we are better prepared for Saturday and probably glad it?s away from home, so please Everton, don?t rip the form book up, a sedate 2-0 victory will do nicely.

Reader Comments

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Roberto Birquet
1   Posted 12/08/2010 at 22:29:38

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Cottee hat-trick on his debut in 88. I thought "Could he revive us?" We were never again to be the team we were under Kendall.

Losing 4-1 to Spurs was a shock in 84. We had just showed European Champions Liverpool up at Wembley in the Charity Shield. Maybe should call that the first game.

I was 13, and saw a friend of me dad (a red) who just happened to be sitting nearby blubbing. I thought "you wuss" ? can't remember if that was because he was grown up, or possibly it felt greedy for a red to moan about that. They won everything in my childhood. It was bloody torture.

I was well surprised that Wembley was full of benches. Home of football?
Tony J Williams
2   Posted 12/08/2010 at 22:46:12

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Losing 4-1 to Arsenal, Carsley scored and then Campell said he would take 17 right then. Offloaded him and we came 4th.
Dave Smith
3   Posted 12/08/2010 at 23:41:08

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Tony - I agree. I remember how readily everyone had wrote us off, and how losing 4-1 to Arsenal was proof.

I also remember Marcus Bent stating that the reason he came to Everton was the opportunity to play alongside Rooney. Ddin't exactly inspire me with confidence, but I was never in doubt. I knew we would do ok, I just didn't forsee how ok!
Mike Green
4   Posted 13/08/2010 at 00:15:25

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David - if it's any consolation Arsenal are driving up the M6 to play their opening game on Merseyside again on Sunday... chances of a repeat....?

I'd be interested to see if we've had a worse opening game than last year, can't possibly have.

Alladyce is going to throw every dirty trick in the book at us tomorrow ? and we're going to be playing in pink. I'd love to see us beat them comfortably ? I'd like to think we'll win 2-1 but we're going to have to work really hard for it if we do. From memory, they had one of the best home records going last season..... or was that just a bad dream?

John Maxwell
5   Posted 13/08/2010 at 06:27:56

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Same as Roberto....

The Cottee Hat-trick in 88, this was Harvey's first proper season with the players he bought looking to continue Kendall's legacy... sadly it didn't work out for him, but this was my first game at Goodison and what a start.... 39 seconds and the first one went in. Newcastle were awful but, as a 17-year-old travelling up on my own on the train, it was such a great day.

Worse one, probably Leeds at home 1990, it was their first season back in Division 1, we were 0-3 down after about 25mins (even Varadi scored)... people were running on the pitch confronting players, Southall stormed out of the dressing room after being blamed for one of the goals. I remember one bloke shouting out after the 2nd went in, "Harvey, you'll be out by Cristmas"... and he was.
Eugene Ruane
6   Posted 13/08/2010 at 08:15:25

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I was at that QPR game.

For distance covered, the shortest pitch invasions ever.

Each time Latch scored, Jump over the fence, travel one foot (not even on the pitch) go nuts for 5 seconds, then back over the fence and head down (no cctv - 'appy diiiiize!)

Remember doing the same at Liecester after winning by 4 or 5 (reason ? young, stupid).

For a first day, Chelsea in 78 was good (although very scary after) and didn't we thrash someone on the first day when the 'The New Denis Law' scored a hat-trick?

All these 'facts' (dates) could be wrong, my memory is shocking.
Ed Staunton
7   Posted 13/08/2010 at 08:47:16

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I was at that QPR game, I was also there the season before when they beat us 5-0. I think we beat them 4-1 the season after that as well. All this after watching EFC almost every away game since 74 without an away win to our name.
David Parks
8   Posted 13/08/2010 at 08:57:24

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As I am from a slightly younger generation, my favourite was beating Newcastle in 1995 (I think) with Speed and Ferguson scoring. I am sure it was Shearer's debut for Newcastle and we were fantastic.

Worst, apart from last year, was the Utd game when Yobo gave it to Rooney and he ran off screaming. They still play it on Sky and everytime I see it I rage.
Chris Matheson
9   Posted 13/08/2010 at 09:11:43

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The one that always stays in my head was Forest away in the early 90's one year. I remember that it was roasting hot, and we had a few new signings, Mark Ward being one of them I think. And walking back to Nottingham station someone asking me "do you know how Notts went on?" which I think was referring to Notts County. Daft as it is, I can't actually remember the result.
James Lauwervine
10   Posted 13/08/2010 at 09:16:08

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Roberto, the Charity Shield you mention was, I think, the one where Grobbelaar scored a bizarre own-goal with the ball ricocheting off the post back onto his shin and into the net.

I know this is irrelevant to the subject of the article but I was at a charity function about 2 years ago where Grobbelaar was speaking (actually he wasn't bad) and after his speech I joined the queue to get him to sign the event programme for my brother who lives in Ireland and supports the dark side (virtually compulsory over there anyway). I asked Grobbelaar to write 'From one eejit to another' and fair play to him because he did - it's now framed on the wall of my bro's bathroom. I then asked him what was the best goal he ever conceded and he replied that there's no such thing as a best goal from a goalie's point of view. I obviously pointed out a certain event from October 84 and he said 'Oh no, a bluenose!'. I then reminded him about the aforementioned own goal from the charity shield to which he said that there's no such thing as an own goal by a goalie. At this point I realised that everyone else had sat down and the compare was waiting for me to bugger off so he could get on with the show. Grobbelaar took my harassment in good spirits though and the immense dislike I had for him previously ebbed away just a little.

On the point of worst opening days I missed last season's fortunately but the one before was an absolute shocker. Sat in the Bullens right next to the Blackburn supporters and we were as bad as I've ever seen. The pre-season had been awful and we looked a complete mess. Roll on tomorrow for a nice 2-1 with the Spaniard we love getting the winner from the spot late on.

Phil Bellis
11   Posted 13/08/2010 at 10:00:59

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Fulham (A) 1966
Hitching to London with £1.11s. 8d, days after seeing Wilson, Hunt, Labone and Yeats running round Goodison with the League Trophy, World and FA Cups

Watching the man who became my hero and the greatest Everton player I've ever seen
Coming home to pick up the Football Echo and seeing the headine "No Reservations - Ball Will Do"
Ray Roche
12   Posted 13/08/2010 at 10:55:15

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Last year's debacle is probably the worst, I felt ashamed at our performance, and the 1-4 at home to Spurs was bad but at least we went on to win the League that year. But the away thrashing of Manure 0-4 in the Charity Shield was a great day out; however, a couple of weeks later they battered us 5-1, again, at Old Trafford.
Phil Bellis
13   Posted 13/08/2010 at 11:37:12

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Ah yes, Ray... but we snotted `em 4-0 again in December ? happy days!
Ray Roche
14   Posted 13/08/2010 at 12:20:22

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That's true, Phil, but I just thought that the turnaround in fortunes was worth a mention!
Martin Mason
15   Posted 13/08/2010 at 15:39:38

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For me, the most amazing start was 69-70 when we beat a very good Arsenal team at Highbury on the Saturday and then destroyed United 3-1 at Old Trafford on the Wednesday night.

I still feel the pain thinking about it now. I got a few whacks at Arsenal and then me and my brother were set on by about 30 United fans lying in wait on the road back to Warwick Road station. Amazingly there were some Evertonian blokes in a pub across the road and they ran out and after a brief one-sided exchange the United fans legged it to avoid further punishment. Thanks guys.

The run went on until about 14 games later when we got beat by Cloughie's brilliant Derby side down at the Baseball Ground. What a wonderful season which should have been the first of many at the top. The biggest mystery ever was why we didn't do it.

Alan Clarke
16   Posted 13/08/2010 at 15:48:26

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We've not been beaten at Ewood in the last 6 games and were one of only 3 teams to beat them there last season. We were deined a victory 2 seasons before that with a perfectly good goal being disallowed.

Our record is very good against Blackburn and I actually think we'll batter them tomorrow. Blackburn will also end up having at least one man sent off after kicking out and getting frustrated from chasing shadows all game.
Dave Wilson
17   Posted 13/08/2010 at 15:42:46

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Stepney, Crerand, Stiles, Charlton, The Law Man and The Belfast Boy.... etc. etc. Sir Matt's team was truely great, they went on to be crowned Champions of Europe.

But when they turned up at the Cat's School of Science on the opening day of the season, they were given a football lesson they would never forget.

Everton were dazzling.
Tony I'Anson
18   Posted 13/08/2010 at 16:56:21

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Ray, I remember the Spurs game but all I recall was sitting on the wall separating the the front and rear of the Lower Gwladys with a terrible hangover. I was nearly 16.
Ray Roche
19   Posted 13/08/2010 at 17:07:43

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16? Hangover? I hope you're thoroughly ashamed of yourself.
Jimmy Hacking
20   Posted 13/08/2010 at 17:25:14

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Technically this doesn't count as it's the opening 3 games, but I still fondly remember when we were top of the league in 93 after winning our first 3 games... until the Red shite overtook us on the Sunday. Bollocks.
Andy Crooks
21   Posted 13/08/2010 at 20:42:56

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The opening game I remember most is the 1-3 defeat to the newly promoted Nottingham Forest. Clough said there were many others he'd rather have done it to than Gordon Lee. By the end of the season, that result didn't seem nearly as bad.
Tony I'Anson
22   Posted 13/08/2010 at 21:18:41

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I know Ray, I was. By 16 I should have been able to get over a hangover by lunchtime at the latest.
David Price
23   Posted 13/08/2010 at 21:21:34

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Remember the Forest game and in awe of their two wingers, Robertson and O'Neill who got the goals between them. Whatever happenend to them?
Dave Smith
24   Posted 13/08/2010 at 21:28:55

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Jimmy - The Sheff Utd game was my first. We went 0-1 down before battering them 4-2. If memory serves me right, Cottee got a hat-trick. I was only 7 at the time, so I wasn't hugly aware of our position in the league untill, after the final whistle, everyone started singing 'Top of the league'. Pure magic

ps: My strongest memory of that game is me not being tall enough to see over everyone when they stood. I celebrated the 4th goal in my dad's arms so I could see!
Ray Roche
25   Posted 13/08/2010 at 23:01:53

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How are you managing your drink now? You're not that bloke who lives in a ditch and shouts at pigeons are you?
Alan Clarke
26   Posted 14/08/2010 at 00:16:20

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Welcome back, Dave Wilson!

As opening day defeats go, nothing can surely beat that awful two-nil home defeat to Crystal Palace when Lombardo scored. We'd been promised a "world class" manager by agent Johnson and in desperation ended up with Kendall Mark III. That was the beginning of one of our worst seasons. As critical as any of us have ever been of Moyes, thank God we've moved on since then.
Tony I'Anson
27   Posted 14/08/2010 at 10:23:05

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The very man. But I keep the laptop hidden under me coat so no one can see me updating my SQL server database via the open wireless LAN connection that the local shop hasn't locked down.
Joeynkoo Ludden
28   Posted 14/08/2010 at 11:43:17

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Dave (24) - your right, I was there too. Think SU pegged us back to 3-2 in the last minute, but there was time for Cottee to get his hat trick and put us top of the league on GD if memory serves.
Tony I'Anson
29   Posted 14/08/2010 at 17:00:33

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I remember sitting at my PC at the start of the 2010 season to watch us get beat 1 nil at Blackburn due to a howler from Howard, after all the positive hype we created for ourselves. Now I've got to do some work instead of drowning my sorrows.

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