We were going into Everton's first European Final less than 72 hours before we would face Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.
There were no complaints from us. That was the way the fixtures were. You got on with it. After all, we were going for a Treble, having won the league title two weeks earlier. There was a special buzz around Liverpool before the European Final against Austrian side Rapid Vienna.
Being the first Everton side to reach a European final was amazing and the city was buzzing. But our boss Howard Kendall treated the build up like he did for any game. We were just told not to drink too much coffee or coke because of the caffeine content as players would be drug tested afterwards. It didn't bother us that we were favorites as we had an amazing team spirit and work ethic. We had a goal disallowed before the break when I headed on a Kevin Sheedy free kick and Andy Gray finished it off, but I was given offside.
The boss gave me a rollocking at half time but I insisted I was onside and videos proved me right. But it didn't effect the outcome. Gray's volley from a Graeme Sharp cross put us ahead and a Trevor Steven tap in made it 2-0. People say I set up the second goal by dummying a Sheedy corner. The truth is I got there too late.
Hans Krankl pulled one back on 84 minutes with a goal that we were convinced was offside. But it didn't matter as a minute latter we made it 3-1 when Sheedy shimmered through. The scenes at the end were fantastic on the pitch and in the dressing room. Unfortunately my team mates Sheedy and Gary Stevens missd out a bit as they were picked for the drug test and spent 40 minutes away from us. And, all that while, there were wonderful scenes of people celebrating and singing in the bath. Then, out on the bus there was singing and dancing with the fans. It was a wonderful hour of my life I'll always remember.
Sadly for us, we couldn't add the FA Cup too. Having less than 72 hours between each final probably cost us in the end. We battled hard but a Norman Whiteside winner setlled it. Nowadays I'm a sports coach for the Wirral Schools Sports Partnership but that ends in August when, like many others, I will be made redundant by the Government's spending cuts. I'm an ambassador for the North West Special Olympics, the Games for people with learning difficulties. (Interview ends)
Well that's about it, except to say if it wasn't for the European ban it would've been very interesting to see how we would've done in the European Cup that next season. It could've been on display at Goodison for all to see in the summer of 1986 instead of in some hall in Romania (play ten men behind the ball and win each game on penalties, Steaua Bucharest) , which is how they won in '86.
What we got instead was another great season, albeit with no end product, after the 1987 Championship year, Kendall left for Spain and it was never really the same... was it?
Still, it was a good article from a time when Everton FC really were Britain's best.
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1 Posted 10/05/2011 at 07:34:59
2 Posted 10/05/2011 at 08:16:22
3 Posted 10/05/2011 at 09:21:02
4 Posted 10/05/2011 at 12:22:14
He used to live a few hundred yards from me, nr Carr Lane, Moreton, Wirral. I delivered papers to the houses in his street (used to drive a Nissan coupe if I remember correctly!). This was around 85-87.
Never did get to see him, but always glanced over as he was only a stone's throw from my favourite fishing pond.
Legend, and an unsung hero.
5 Posted 10/05/2011 at 13:12:42
6 Posted 11/05/2011 at 08:41:11
Mind you, winning a few medals hopefully compensated.
7 Posted 11/05/2011 at 11:09:13
An Evertonian through and through.
Good luck to him in finding work as a victim of these vicious cuts.
8 Posted 11/05/2011 at 11:45:22
9 Posted 13/05/2011 at 07:26:29
10 Posted 13/05/2011 at 11:29:42
I think it might have been 14, but someone will correct me if I am wrong.
When I asked him about these goals he claimed that most of the credit should have gone to Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven who provided him with "fantastic service." He also told me that as a schoolboy he was a striker, and it was only after the age of about 14 that he dropped back into defence.
11 Posted 18/05/2011 at 22:05:33
I'm sure he'll find a suitable post in a short space of time. Thanks, Derek, keep up the good work.
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