Forty Years Ago — 1973-74: Match 20
Everton had to put the disappointment of the derby defeat behind them as Sheffield United, a team packed with talented players, made their visit to Goodison Park. Although the Blades occupied a mid-table place, they were on their day a match for any side in the division with the players that they had in their squad a mix of dogged defenders and outstanding individual talents.
Ken Furphy had recently been appointed Sheffield United manager, a week before the fixture with Everton, and he had inherited a talented squad, mostly assembled by his predecessor, John Harris. Many pundits had thought that, in Tony Currie, he had one of the nation’s brightest prospects.
Sheffield United had been inconsistent so far in the 1973-74 season, having had a mixture of results which ranged from the demolition of Arsenal (5-0) at Bramall Lane to the home defeats inflicted by Burnley (0-2) and Manchester City (1-2). But it had been their inability to win enough matches that had seen the Blades sat in the middle of the league table.
Sheffield United had beaten Derby County (3-0) and Norwich City (1-0) at Bramall Lane, but they had drawn games with Newcastle United (1-1), Leicester City (1-1) and Birmingham City (1-1) on their home turf. Away from home, they had managed to beat Tottenham Hotspur (2-1), Chelsea (2-1) and Stoke City (2-1). But five defeats and two draws from their other excursions meant that while they were 6 points clear of the relegation zone; their season had been somewhat of a disappointment. The League Cup campaign had also been a big disappointment for the Blades as they had been beaten by Second Division West Bromwich Albion (1-2) in the Second Round of the competition at The Hawthorns.
Billy Bingham tackled some of the issues that faced the game in his Club Talk column. Billy felt that some of the ideas which had been put forward to help to make the game more attractive had on the whole been misguided. Citing the change in the off-side rule which had been trialled in the Watney Cup as interesting; he also believed that changing rules for particular competitions had only led to confusion. Rule changes would only prove successful if adopted in all competitions and at all levels of the game. He had not wanted to see the size of the goals enlarged or a complicated points systems introduced. Billy Bingham had however shown an interest in seeing how the idea of an offside line across the pitch would work... but, rather than the line being drawn at the 18-yard box, he felt that a larger area should be considered up to 30 yards from the goal-line, which he felt would help to reduce midfield congestion. Billy Bingham admitted that, as long as the current rules were in place, his side would use them to the best of their abilities and he refused to apologise for that, as he believed that every manager in the First Division would be doing the same.
Mike Bernard had been interviewed by the magazine and he said that, since Billy Bingham had come to the club, he had been encouraged to get forward more both to help create chances and if possible to score himself. Mike also said that there had been a 100% improvement in the mood of the camp this season when compared to last: “Everyone seems to be pulling for each other, whereas last season it wasn’t too friendly a club at times.”
Mike also said that he had noticed the huge difference between his former club and his new club: “If I were with Stoke and we were 6th in the table, we would be regarded as a success and all feeling highly delighted with ourselves. But I now appreciate that 6th place is just not good enough for Everton and that we won’t be regarded as successful until we have achieved something tangible.”
The Match: Sheffield United’s Eddie Colquhoun (3’) had opened the scoring at Goodison after just three minutes of the game had elapsed, to put the visitors ahead, but Dave Clements (18’) equalised for the Toffees a quarter of an hour later, with a drive from outside of the penalty area at the Park End.
Dave Clements then had the chance in the final minutes of the game to earn Everton both points but he had only managed to put his spot kick over the bar and Everton had missed yet another penalty and yet another opportunity to take maximum points from a game they had probably on balance deserved to win.
Leeds United (34 pts) continued their run of unbeaten games having beaten Chelsea (2-1) at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool (27 pts) had drawn at Carrow Road against Norwich City (1-1); Burnley (26 pts) had beaten Arsenal (2-1) at Turf Moor whilst Newcastle United (22 pts) had lost at home to Derby County (0-2). Southampton (23 pts), by virtue of their home victory over Ipswich Town (2-0), had joined Everton (23 pts) in joint 4th place in the table.
1973-74 — First Division: Saturday, 15 December 1973
Sheffield United @ Goodison Park, Score: 1-1(Clements), Attendance: 21,747
Everton: Lawson; Darracott, Styles, Clements, Kenyon; Hurst, Bernard; Lyons, Royle, Buckley, Connolly.
Thirty Years Ago — 1983-84: Match 20
Andy Gray had been in the Everton side that had faced his old club Wolverhampton Wanderers in Everton’s second fixture of the busy holiday schedule, the day after they had drawn with Sunderland. Everton hadn’t scored a goal in their two league games prior to this fixture and would have hoped that Andy Gray could repeat his feat of scoring against his old club as he had done when he had scored Everton’s previous league goal against Aston Villa earlier in the month.
Graham Hawkins, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager had led his club back into the top division in 1982-83 but his side had found the First Division extremely difficult and his team had been rooted to the foot of the table for most of the campaign as they had won only once in 19 fixtures. That win had come in November, at The Hawthorns, when they had beaten fierce rivals West Bromwich Albion (3-1).
If Evertonians were deeply unhappy with the number of goals their side had scored at Goodison Park (5), the Wolves’ faithful were equally unhappy as their team had only found the net on six occasions and they had yet to see them win at Molineux, where some heavy defeats had been suffered, as QPR (0-4), West Ham United (0-3) and Watford (0-5) all left with three points under their belts. The only points that Wolves had to show from their home games came from five drawn matches, two of which had been goalless.
On the road, apart from that single victory at West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers had lost all of their other eight games and had suffered heavy defeats at Luton Town (0-4), Norwich City (0-3), Manchester United (0-3), Leicester City (1-5) and Nottingham Forest (0-5). All of which meant that Wolves had scored only 13 league goals and had conceded 48. Wolves supporters had received no solace in the Milk Cup as they had lost both legs to Preston North End, at Molineux (2-3) and at Deepdale (0-1), and thus had gone out of the competition.
In his programme notes, Graham Hawkins welcomed Everton, Andy Gray and Howard Kendall to Molineux, saying that both Andy Gray and Howard Kendall were people in the game who he really admired — especially so Howard Kendall, as they had worked together at Blackburn Rovers and Howard had been a positive influence on Graham Hawkins’s career. The Wolves manager also pleaded with the fans to stick with his team and realised that it had been a very difficult season so far; he said he was convinced, if they continued to do the right things a little better, then results would come and their prospects might improve.
An initiative entitled Go With Football featured those supporters who had to write in not more than 100 words what needed to be done to ensure that “you’ll be there” supporting their local club. The Go With Football contest was a joint venture between the Football League and BBC Local Radio: "If you cared for football and its future, the Football League wanted your advice" — If you had entered and won the competition, then you would get the opportunity to attend the League’s annual dinner or be a special matchday guest at a League club of your choice with the possibility of joining a BBC radio commentary team when they covered a big game.
When Everton became League Champions in 1927-28, the relegation battle during that season had been so tight that 13 clubs had still been battling to escape the dreaded drop with two games of the season remaining and, according to the feature Football Focus, among those clubs fighting to stay in the top division were Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. When all the fixtures had been completed, seven clubs had been on 39 points, one with 38 and another with 37, Everton had become champions with 53 points. The two unfortunates to lose their top-flight status had been Tottenham Hotspur and Middlesbrough.
If the three points for a win system had been in place during that season, then some Evertonians may have celebrated a unique treble of record goalscorer, League Champions and neighbours relegated as Liverpool would have been relegated instead of Tottenham Hotspur.
However it had mainly been due to Liverpool’s win in their penultimate match, against Tottenham Hotspur (2-0) at Anfield which had seen the Reds remain in the top division as they had lost their final game at Old Trafford (1-6), while Dixie Dean had been scoring his hat-trick at Goodison to clinch his 60th record-breaking goal.
The Match: Everton supporters had to endure another 90 minutes of League football without their team finding the net as they witnessed what many fans had described as one of the worst displays by Howard Kendall’s team since he had become the manager of the club in 1981. Goals from Wayne Clarke, Mel Eves and Danny Crainie had condemned Everton to become the first team to have lost at Molineux in the 1983-84 season.
Howard Kendall reported that the changes made to his team at Molineux had been due to injuries that had ruined his plans to play the same side that had faced Sunderland. Alan Harper, David Johnson and Adrian Heath had been the injured trio, and although David and Adrian’s injuries had been minor, they had surprisingly failed fitness tests on the day of the game. Alan’s had been a mystery injury as his leg had swelled up after the Sunderland game, even though he hadn’t remembered taking a knock. Howard said that Darren Hughes had been drafted in late but that the youngster had acquitted himself well on his Everton debut.
Howard Kendall believed that, during the first 20 minutes of the game with Wolves, it had looked like it would be a case of how many goals Everton would win by... but, as soon as Wolves had taken the lead, Everton had put in a very disappointing performance. Neville Southall had taken responsibility for the two other Wolves goals, but Howard said that, despite losing key players to injuries, his team should have had enough to have beaten Wolves.
The bottom clubs had all closed in on Everton (23 pts) as Notts County (18 pts) had drawn at Old Trafford (3-3), Leicester City (21 pts) had drawn at Anfield with Liverpool (2-2) and Birmingham City (19 pts) had gained a point at Highbury (1-1). After a thoroughly bad day at the office, Everton and its supporters had become all too aware that their dreams of qualifying for Europe had had little bearing on reality and that they were faced with the fact that a potential battle against relegation had become the most likely scenario.
Following the match at Molineux, I wonder just how many Evertonians had filled in those Go With Football application forms and had sent in their novel ideas to the local radio station stating in not more than 100 words what they thought needed to be done to ensure that they would be there supporting their club in the near future. I would hazard a guess that, if there were any such entries made, then a lot fewer than 100 words were needed to express their thoughts on that particular journey home from the West Midlands.
1983-84 — First Division: Tuesday, 27 December 1983
Wolverhampton Wanderers @ Molineux, Score: 0-3 Attendance: 12,761
Everton: Southall; Stevens, Hughes, Ratcliffe, Mountfield; Reid, Irvine, Richardson; Gray, Rimmer S, Sheedy (Steven).
Twenty Years Ago — 1993-94: Match 20
Another difficult away fixture awaited Everton, as they travelled to Dave Bassett’s uncompromising Sheffield United side. Jimmy Gabriel was once again responsible for first team affairs as there had been no clear indication of who would ultimately step into the hot-seat at Goodison, but to be fair it had only been a week since Howard Kendall had resigned.
Sheffield United (16 pts) had 8 points less than Everton (24 pts) and 2 more points than the third from bottom club Chelsea (14 pts) prior to the home game with Everton. The Blades had been pretty poor on their travels and they only had three goalless draws with Blackburn Rovers, Coventry City and Swindon Town added to a score draw at Southampton (3-3) to show for their efforts whilst they had lost all six of their remaining Premier League fixtures.
At Bramall Lane, the story had been slightly better: despite losing their most recent game against Manchester United (0-3), they had beaten Swindon Town (3-1), Wimbledon (2-1) and Chelsea (1-0) to add to the points they had gained from Ipswich Town (1-1), Tottenham Hotspur (2-2) and Sheffield Wednesday (1-1). As well as the defeat to Manchester United, they had also lost to Manchester City (0-1) and Norwich City (1-2) at Bramall Lane.
In the League Cup, Sheffield United had beaten Blackpool (2-0) in the second-leg at Bramall Lane but it hadn’t been enough to keep them in the competition as they had lost the first leg at Bloomfield Road (0-3) and went out on aggregate (2-3).
Rusty Blade, whose Daft about the Blades highlights the vagaries of being a football supporter and he wrote in his column that following any football team can be like riding on a runaway bus in that you have little control of where it’s going but you can never get off.
He continued by saying supporting Everton or Sheffield United at that time also meant that you had to endure the taunts of your city rivals who believed that they were bigger and better than the side that you supported. But the supporters of Sheffield United and Everton could always point out that they were discerning, far-sighted and loyal as they stuck with their own team through good and bad times, whilst those rivals from across the city could be described as shallow and lacking in initiative.
Rusty ends the article by saying “In truth, our allegiance is more likely to be an accident of birth – having been born in a particular area of the city, or taken to a match at a young and impressionable age by a parent or relative… Or could it mean that we’re all a bit soft in the head?”
Everton’s early-season victory against Sheffield United (4-2) at Goodison Park meant that Everton couldn’t repeat a feat that they had enjoyed in 1908-09 and 1931-32. According to a snippet entitled Not This Time!, Sheffield United had only been beaten by five goals to one on thirty occasions in their long history and Everton had done it four times, having beaten the Blades (5-1) twice in the same season on two occasions. No other club had managed to score five or more goals against Sheffield United twice in the same season.
The Match: Unfortunately, there were no goals to report from this encounter between the two sides at Bramall Lane as both teams fought out a goalless draw on a mud-bath of a pitch. Jimmy Gabriel said that, as had been the case in Manchester earlier in that week, Everton had been unable to play the way he would have liked them to, but they had battled and defended well. Jimmy said that the heavy pitch had suited the home side more, as they liked to get the ball up to their centre-forward as quickly as possible. Mr Gabriel had given his players licence to use the pace of Robert Warzycha, but it had been to no avail.
Given the circumstances surrounding the club at that time, a draw might not have been such a bad result in the long-run as at least it kept the gap between the Blades (17 pts) and the Toffees (25 pts) at 8 points. Wimbledon (25 pts) had moved level on points with Everton following their win against Aston Villa (1-0) at Villa Park whilst Swindon Town (11 pts) had drawn with Liverpool (2-2) at Anfield, Tottenham Hotspur (2-0) had beaten Manchester City (19 pts) at Maine Road, Oldham Athletic (18 pts) had lost at home to Blackburn Rovers (1-2) and Southampton (14 pts) had lost to QPR (0-1) at the Dell.
1993-94 — Premier League: Wednesday, 8 December 1993
Sheffield United @ Bramall Lane, Score: 0-0, Attendance: 15,135
Everton: Southall; Jackson, Snodin, Watson, Ablett; Warzycha, Ward; Beagrie, Cottee, Stuart, Ebbrell. Unused Subs: Kearton, Grant.
Ten Years Ago — 2003-04: Match 20
Arsenal arrived at Goodison Park for the first Premier League game of 2004 which signalled the start of the second-half of the season. With 19 games played, Arsenal (45 pts) were behind league leaders Manchester United (46 pts) and ahead of Chelsea (42 pts). The top three teams in the Premier League were 12 points clear of 4th-placed Charlton Athletic (30 pts), whilst Everton (23 pts) occupied a mid-table position. Once again, Arsenal arrived on a long unbeaten run and they had reached the Semi-Finals of the League Cup, yet they still found themselves adrift of Manchester United in the title race, much to the chagrin of their manager Arsene Wenger.
Highbury had been a fortress for Arsenal in their quest for the Premier League title as they had taken maximum points on seven occasions and had only dropped points to Portsmouth (1-1) and Fulham (0-0). The match with Fulham had been the first time that Arsenal had failed to score at Highbury in a Premier League game since April 2001 when they had been beaten by Middlesbrough (0-3). Away from home, the club had taken maximum points on six occasions and had only dropped points at Manchester United (0-0), Charlton Athletic (1-1), Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers (1-1).
The Gunners had also managed to progress to the last 16 of the Champions League where Celta Vigo awaited them. Progress in the League Cup had been achieved due to the abilities of the younger players in Wenger’s squad and the fact that Cesc Fabregas became Arsenal’s youngest ever first-team player and the youngest player to score for the club when the Gunner’s had beaten Wolves (5-1) in the League Cup exemplified the talents of the younger members of the squad.
Michael Dunford, in his regular column, said that he hadn’t expected much business to be carried out in the transfer window and, whilst he initially felt the window had been unnecessary, he saw the merits of having one. Mr Dunford also said that, judging by his conversations with his peers at other clubs, he had not expected many large transfer fees at all and that “There’s just not the money circulating in the game these days, nor I suspect the appetite for big-money transfers, and caution is the key word at the moment.”
A tribute had been paid to the passing of Everton legend TG Jones who had died the previous Saturday at the age of 86. Three years prior, TG had been named as an Everton Millennium Giant of the 1940s and had also received a lifetime achievement award from the Welsh FA.
During his time at Goodison, TG had won a League Championship medal in 1939 and he had also been subject to a £15,000 bid from Italian side Roma in 1946-47, an offer that the club had accepted but the deal had collapsed due to foreign exchange issues. TG had been capped 17 times for Wales and had made another 10 war-time appearances for his country. TG became Everton Club Captain in 1949, taking over from Peter Farrell. Brian Labone commented that TG was known as the “Prince of Centre-Halves” and Brian said it was an appropriate description of the man he described as “an outstanding player and an Everton legend in every sense of the word.”
An article about the impact of substitutes since their introduction in 1965-66 noted that Wayne Rooney’s goal against Leicester City at Goodison Park the previous month had been the 100th scored by a substitute for Everton in a first team fixture. Wayne of course had come to national attention when he had come on as substitute in the 2002-03 game against Arsenal and then scored that magnificent winning goal. Fifty different players had scored for Everton when coming off the bench and nine times the substitute had scored in the final minute of the game. Sandy Brown had been Everton’s first substitute to score for the club when he had netted against Liverpool (3-1) in August 1966, but it had taken another five years before a substitute netted for the Blues’ when David Johnson had equalised in the final minute of the game against Panathinaikos in 1971.
Mick Lyons when he had scored the second goal against Arsenal (2-0) in 1981 became the first substitute to score for Everton in the FA Cup. Two players had netted for Everton in FA Cup Semi-Finals: Alan Harper versus Sheffield Wednesday (2-1) in 1986 at Villa Park, and Daniel Amokachi (2) at Elland Road versus Tottenham Hotspur (4-1). Only once have two Everton players who had come on as substitutes and had then scored in the same game which is what had happened when Preki and Stuart Barlow had both found the net in the game with QPR at Goodison Park on Easter Monday 1993. Despite Everton scoring 125 goals in all competitions during the 1984-85 campaign, not a single one of those goals had been scored by an Everton substitute.
Gary Buckland, in his Bits and Bobs column, reported that Danny Cadamarteri and Michael Ball had been the only instance of two 17-year-olds scoring for Everton in the same Premier League game. Both the youngsters had scored in the draw with Arsenal (2-2) played at Goodison Park in September 1997. He also noted that the first non-Englishman to have scored in the Premier League had been Barry Horne when he had netted in the 44th minute, against Sheffield Wednesday (1-1) in August 1992 and that Robert Warzycha’s strike at Old Trafford in the following game against Manchester United (3-0), had meant that ‘Bob the Pole’ had become the first overseas player to score in the Premier League for any team.
Gary also reported that Les Ferdinand’s strike against Everton in the recent league game at Goodison had meant that he had struck 16 league goals against the Blues, which had taken him past Alan Shearer and Derek Kevan who had both scored 15 goals against Everton in the post-war era. Derek Kevan played for West Brom in the 1950s and 1960s. Remember folks, that this had been correct at the beginning of the game with Arsenal, as I believe that Alan Shearer has scored more goals against the Blues, taking his tally to 18 (17 League and 1 FA Cup). I am also aware that the real nemesis for Everton had been Ian Rush who by the time his career had ended he had found the net on 26 occasions 13 of which had come in the top flight and 7 in the League Cup and FA Cup with 6 in other competitions including the charity shield.
Les Ferdinand had also joined an elite group of players who had scored for four different clubs against Everton – the other players in that list were Derek Dougan, Lee Chapman, Dean Saunders and Gary McAllister.
Another player with an impressive record of finding the net against Everton had been Charles Buchan who had struck 17 League goals and two FA cup goals, Buchan had made his final appearance at Goodison Park on the day that Dixie Dean had scored his record 60th league goal of the campaign in 1928. A reprinted cover of the matchday programme from the match played at Goodison Park between Everton and Arsenal on 28 August 1937 informed the readers that this game had been the final time that Dixie Dean had scored for Everton, the last of his 377 goals for the club, perhaps fittingly given that Dixie had made his debut for Everton against Arsenal, although the result a 4-1 defeat for Everton would not have been the way that Dixie would have wanted his goal-scoring record to come to an end for the Toffees.
The Pub Question in this edition had asked the readers to name the 8 players who had scored hat-tricks for Everton in domestic and European cup-ties since 1970? But perhaps the question from the previous match had been a little trickier: Which nine players had appeared in their only FA Cup final for Everton during the 1980s?
The Match: Kevin Campbell had made his 500th appearance in English football when he came on as substitute for Everton scorer Tomasz Radzinski (75’), who had equalised for Everton following Kanu’s (29’) opening goal. Radzinski’s goal came following a typical Duncan Ferguson knock-down which Francis Jeffers had latched onto, his shot had been parried by Jens Lehmann but Radzinski did what all good strikers should do and he followed in to gleefully put it into the Arsenal net. A good point for the Blues considering the quality of the opposition, but it dented Arsenal’s hopes of catching Manchester United as they had won at Bolton (2-1). Everton remained in mid-table, 5 points clear of third from bottom club Portsmouth who had lost at Aston Villa (1-2) the previous evening.
2003-04 — Premier League: Wednesday, 7 January 2004
Arsenal @ Goodison Park, Score: 1-1 (Radzinski), Attendance: 38,726
Everton: Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Unsworth, Naysmith; Carsley, Li Tie (Linderoth), Kilbane (Jeffers); Rooney, Ferguson, Radzinski (Campbell). Unused Subs: Simonsen, Yobo.
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