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The Team of 87

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Just two questions for the Lads and Ladettes that were around... How did the 87 team compare to 85? I've seen a season review some time ago and to me the team didn't have the flair and panache of 85. Also, why did many of our big players go? Was it simply a case of the lure of European football?
Trevor Thompson, Croydon     Posted 09/07/2010 at 08:58:50

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Andrew Ellams
1   Posted 09/07/2010 at 16:27:46

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In my eyes, the team of '85 was the stronger team but,due to an horrendous injury list, the '87 effort was superb. For the likes of Paul Power, Kevin Langley, Bobby Mimms, Ian Marshall, Neil Adams etc to come in and help push the team to the title was excellent ? in a time when squads were nothing like they are today.

To answer the second part of the question, I have no doubt that European football was a huge reason for most of the players and the manager and this is why they all moved on to leagues that could offer it to them.
David Hallwood
2   Posted 09/07/2010 at 16:21:54

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The '85 team was a geat side but even at the time it was called a team with no stars, which was bolllocks because it had one of the finest midfield units I've seen. When we bought Linacre, we changed our style for the quick ball over the top and wasn't so heavily reliant on midfield build up.

To my mind the '87, stuttered at first as it tried to revert to the style of '85 prior to Linacre. Linacre was replaced by Wayne Clarke (who was our top scorer), but even his mother would admit he wasn't in the same league as Linacre.So was it as good as the '85 team? difficult one to call because on their day they could roll over any team, and of course you don't win the league being crap.

The final point the reason why our players left was to play in Europe, pure & simple. Steven & Stevens ended up at Glasgow Rangers which could be seen as the nearest place that European football was being played, and the team quickly disintergrated by a combination of losing great players, poor transfer policy aided and abetted by not being able to attract the best players because we couldn't give them European football.

This is the root of the bitterness that some Evertonians have toward the RS and with some justification, bacause who knows how well that team would have done in Europe and as we know, success breeds success, and we may never had to endure the perennial relagation battles and watched our great club go into decline that even to this hasn't been arrested.
Mike McLean
3   Posted 09/07/2010 at 17:06:37

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I never really followed why the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool continued to keep up there and we didn't. Not sure the Heysel logic is sound.
Karl Masters
4   Posted 09/07/2010 at 18:04:05

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Some amazing stats from both seasons

84-85 Dec 26, 1984 to May 8, 1985 the team played 28 matches, won 25 and drew 3 with no defeats.

Conversely - that season we conceded 4 goals on 5 occasions! against Spurs, Watford, Norwich, Chelsea and Coventry - twice at Goodison and 3 times away - even with 'the best goalie in the world'.

1986-87. We won 10 League games and drew 1 of the last 12 - only defeat being at Anfield.

We were 9 points behind Liverpool on March 13, but our storming finish blew them away.

1986/7 seemed a bit flatter than 2 years earlier, but of course we had no Europe and were out of the FA Cup in February so were not chasing a treble.

One other thing: Easter Saturday at Villa Park - we won 1-0 against a soon to be relegated Villa at Villa Park. The crowd was just over 31,000 with reliable sources saying 18,000 were from Everton. To this day I have never seen or heard of an away turn out like it. Probably never will with the all-ticket policies of today.

Happy Days! :)
Trevor Thompson
5   Posted 09/07/2010 at 18:48:55

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Mike. I think it was more down to the transfers we made than not being in Europe. I only started supporting Everton in 88 (the season after we finished 4th) and the team was starting to fall apart. We failed to make any really significant transfers and never really replaced our main players with anyone that good. I could be wrong but I'm sure the team was average.
Eugene Ruane
6   Posted 09/07/2010 at 19:07:46

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Trevor the individuals I'm sure would have been judged by supporters of other teams as average but the TEAM most certainly was not.

As I suggested in earlier post (about Holland) great players aren't worth a wank if they can't be made to think team first (ie: France).

For years, as a kid, I frustratedly looked at Liverpool and thought why do they keep winning stuff?

They seemed have so many players who look like...nothing

Just puddins'

Well the reason they won is because they had been sold and bought into the idea of...team.

When you can get all your players to believe in the concept, you (us, anyone) can move mountains (although probably not Billy Wright!).
Ray Robinson
7   Posted 09/07/2010 at 19:12:56

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Karl, I was at Villa Park that day right behind the goal where Sheedy volleyed the winner. There were Evertonians down 3 sides of the ground. The only other comparable away following that I have experienced was when we beat Stoke away 2-0 in 1985 in the run-in to the title. The crowd was officially 18,000 but Stoke's previous home match had been attended by just 4,000. Amazingly, the Everton fans were kept in after the game by the police while the Stoke fans dispersed!

There was a big recession on at the time (much harder hitting than the current one) and eighties crowds were severely impacted, so the turnout was amazing.

In my opinion, the 84-85 side was the superior one. At times they were unbeatable and unquestionably the best team in Europe. Shame they were never able to prove it.
Brendan McLaughlin
8   Posted 09/07/2010 at 19:28:39

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The 85 team were relatively lucky in terms of injuries apart from Adrian Heath & even then we had a more than adequate replacement in Andy Gray. So Kendall was able to field almost always his first choice eleven. In 87 we were decimated by injuries and it is a testament to Kendall and the players he brought in that we managed to regain the title that year. In all honesty, however, if everyone had been available the 87 first eleven would only have been say three players different from the 85 team.

As for why it all went pear-shaped, I'm still asking myself why. I mean Kendall was still a very young manager and the European ban was always only going to last for a couple of years. We got it badly wrong in appointing Colin Harvey as Kendall's successor. The promotion of the number two to the top job was more prevalent back then but it very rarely proved successful unless of course you were in league with the devil.

Anyway its a mistake to believe that players started to leave for the prospect of European football. They left because they saw the writing on the wall but either weren't allowed to join Everton's rivals by the club or perhaps didn't want to turn out against the club where they had enjoyed so much success.

David Hallwood
9   Posted 09/07/2010 at 20:10:10

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Karl & Ray (7 & 4), as we're strolling down Memory Lane, do you remember the reception Andy Gray got with the entire ground singing "Andy Gray, Andy Gray, Andy Gray"? Ah happy memories, at the time Villa Park was practically our 2nd home cos of all the semis we were involved in. I just want to stop to wipe away a tear or three?
Steve Pugh
10   Posted 09/07/2010 at 21:55:46

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Trevor, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man U were already big European clubs so the impact of Heysel was less. We were on the verge of breaking through, I honestly believe that the squad at that time would have won the European Cup, which would have made Everton an internationally known big club, thus increasing the fan base and lots of income streams.
Brendan O'Doherty
11   Posted 09/07/2010 at 22:42:59

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"We got it badly wrong in appointing Colin Harvey as Kendall's successor. The promotion of the number two to the top job was more prevalent back then."

Yes, Brendan, I agree with that. What really got me about it though is that it smacked of copying them across the park, as it was a tactic that had paid dividends for them. Our board at the time weren't exactly forward-thinking with their decision-making processes.

I also blame Graeme Sourpuss. If he hadn't taken over at Glasgow Rangers, and had the then revolutionary ideas of getting English players and Catholics to play for them, our team might have remained intact. Conjecture, of course...
Guy Hastings
12   Posted 09/07/2010 at 23:00:23

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Ray, I remember that Stoke game ? police everywhere, pubs shut etc ? all because the then Sports Minister (possibly Moynihan) was making a token appearance at his only football match of the season.
Trevor Williams
13   Posted 10/07/2010 at 10:47:38

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The team of 85 was amazing...

I will forever remember beating Sunderland 4-1 and 3 of the goals were goal of the month, with one ending up goal of the season (Trevor Steven).

Bracewell and Reid were immense, Steven and Sheedy were incredible on the wings. Ratcliffe was like lightening (until he did his groin a couple of years later at Sheff Wed). Even if they got by us we had the worlds best keeper (of all time).

As a fan, I used to go to a game and, even if we went 1-0 down, we didn't really mind as we knew in most cases we would turn it around with interest.

Ste Traverse
14   Posted 10/07/2010 at 11:50:56

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Some of the football played in 86/87 was the equal of anything played 2 years earlier. Who could forget the 4-0 demoliton of West Ham, the destruction of Norwich when Sheedy scooped the ball over their back 4 for Heath to volley in, or Sheedy's volleys against Villa home and away.

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