Forty Years Ago — 1973-74
Everton had travelled to Highbury on the Saturday before Christmas 1973, a ground which had yielded only four victories from the 24 First Division games they had played there since the end of the Second World War. The last league victory for Everton at Highbury had come in August 1969 when John Hurst had scored the all-important goal in a victory which had helped to set Everton on the road to becoming Champions that season.
Since Arsenal’s defeat at Goodison in September 1973, they had only won one match at Highbury when they had beaten Birmingham City (1-0) and had drawn with Ipswich Town (1-1), Chelsea (0-0), Coventry City (2-2) and Wolves (2-2). Liverpool (0-2) had been the only side to win at Highbury since Leeds United (1-2) had beaten them earlier in the season.
On their travels Arsenal had lost at Tottenham Hotspur (0-2), QPR (0-2) and Burnley (1-2), but they had won their games with Manchester City (2-1) and West Ham United (3-1). They had drawn just one game away from home since their defeat at Goodison, which came when they visited Derby County (1-1). At the start of play Arsenal (20 pts.) were three points behind Everton (23 pts.) and sat in twelfth place in the First Division table.
Arsenal had been unhappy that they had had to play a First Division match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday 4th December, with a 2pm kick off - due to the power shortages it couldn’t be played in the evening. Arsenal had not included a Cup coupon for that game with Wolves as they had realised that fewer people would be able to attend Highbury in the middle of a working day, they were proved correct as a crowd of under 13,000 had turned up for the game. Tommy Docherty the Manchester United manager had also felt strongly about playing mid-week fixtures in the afternoon and he felt that those fixtures should be postponed until the summer he said “if generators are not available or clubs’ can’t afford to hire them, then I suggest we play in the summer. England are not involved in the World Cup, so there is no clash.”
John Radford scored the winner on the last occasion that Everton had travelled to Highbury in November 1972, prior to that game Everton had visited Highbury for a League Cup second round tie played in September 1972, when they were beaten by a goal scored by Peter Storey (57’), Alan Ball then put his penalty kick wide of the post which prevented his team from taking a two-goal lead, but Everton couldn’t find an equaliser and Arsenal progressed in the competition, ultimately reaching the quarter-finals.
As Everton had won the first game against Arsenal at Goodison earlier in the season, courtesy of a John McLaughlin strike, the Toffees had the chance to do the double over Arsenal for the first time since 1965-66 when the Blues had beaten Arsenal (1-0) at Highbury in March 1966 and had won the first game at Goodison (3-1) in September 1965. Brian Harris, Fred Pickering and Derek Temple had scored in the game at Goodison and Fred Pickering had scored the winning goal at Highbury.
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup had been made and Everton had been drawn to play Blackburn Rovers at Goodison Park while Arsenal had been drawn to face Norwich City at Carrow Road a ground that they had won by four goals to nil, in their First Division fixture earlier in the season.
The Match: The elusive double over Arsenal had once again eluded Everton as former Everton star – and still the favourite player of many Evertonians – Alan Ball, settled the match in the Gunners' favour, not exactly the Christmas present that the Toffees and their supporters had put on their wish list to Santa. In a game which had seen George Telfer make his Everton debut, Alan Ball (68’) had scored the winning goal midway through the second-half.
Everton (23 pts) had slipped to 7th place as Derby County (24 pts) had beaten Tottenham Hotspur (2-0) at the Baseball Ground and QPR (23 pts) had shared five goals with Newcastle United (3-2) at Loftus Road, Arsenal (22 pts) had moved up to 11th. Leeds United (36 pts) had played half of their scheduled league fixtures and remained unbeaten as they had beaten Norwich City (1-0) at Elland Road; their closest challengers Liverpool (29 pts) had beaten Manchester United (2-0) at Anfield, whilst Burnley (26 pts) had lost at Maine Road to Manchester City (0-2).
1973-74 — First Division: Saturday, 22 December 1973
Arsenal @ Highbury, Score: 0-1, Attendance: 19,986
Everton: Lawson; Darracott, Styles, Clements, Kenyon; Hurst, Bernard; Buckley (Harper), Lyons, Royle, Telfer
Thirty Years Ago: 1983-84
Four days after their Molineux mauling, Everton had returned to Goodison Park, to face Coventry City, a side they had beaten in the Milk Cup, seven weeks prior to this New Year’s Eve fixture, albeit with no little difficulty, but the pressure that had been present before that cup-tie had made a re-appearance, as Everton’s failures to score, had begun to shake the faith of the Evertonians and more of them had begun to consider the future of their club and its manager.
Coventry City since that defeat to Everton at Goodison had purchased a non-league player by the name of Stuart Pearce for around £30k from Wealdstone – an astute signing by their manager Bobby Gould as Stuart went on to become a full England international and captain of his country. On the road Coventry City had beaten Luton Town (4-2), but had lost at the City Ground to Nottingham Forest (0-3). The Sky Blues other two matches away from home had resulted in goalless draws with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Norwich City. At Highfield Road, Coventry City had beaten QPR (1-0) and Liverpool (4-0), whilst drawing with Southampton (0-0) and Manchester United (1-1). All of which added to their early season tally meant that City were handily placed in seventh spot in the table only three points adrift of third placed Southampton.
Howard Kendall welcomed the return of wingers to the First Division in recent times and he cited a number of clubs and players including
McDermott (Arsenal), Walters (Aston Villa), Gayle (Birmingham), Bennett (Coventry), Curran & Irvine (Everton), O’Callaghan (Ipswich), Moss (Luton), Graham (Man U), Donawa & Barham (Norwich), Walsh & Wigley (Forest), Chiedozie (Notts C.), Wallace (S’ton), Chamberlain (Stoke), James (Sunderland), Dick & Cooke (Spurs), Barnes & Callaghan (Watford) and Morley (WBA). [Most of those players I can recall vividly, but there are one or two of them, I have difficulty remembering]
The Reserves and Youths segment reported that Everton’s progress in the Central League had continued unabated as the reserve team had beaten Aston Villa (1-0) where the winning goal had been scored by Trevor Steven. That victory meant that Everton had won their last ten league matches and they hadn’t been beaten since 22nd February 1983 when Aston Villa had beaten Everton (0-1) on home soil. The reserves had played 21 matches since that defeat and had won 18 and drawn 3. Everton were sat proudly at the top of the Central League with 30 points, 4 points ahead of their nearest challengers Liverpool who had played three more games than the Blues’. Unfortunately the reserves run had come to an end on December 14th 1983 at Goodison when Manchester United had beaten Everton (0-1) and to exacerbate the situation, the team then lost on December 17th again on home turf, in the Mini-derby with Liverpool (1-2).
The Line-up for the match when Everton reserves had beaten Aston Villa reserves on the 7th December was as follows - Arnold, Harper, Marshall, Bateman, Bailey, Morrissey, Richardson, Steven, Higginbottom (Bishop), Johnson and Stuart Rimmer.
The Match: The last day of the year had not heralded a change in fortune in front of goal for Howard Kendall and his team, as Everton saw out the year with a dull and miserable goalless draw with Coventry City. Howard Kendall admitted that if any team had looked like winning the game it had been the visitors, especially so in the second-half of the game. Howard also understood the frustration of the Everton supporters as his team had once again failed to score, for the fourth successive league game.
BBC’s Match of The Day added to the woes or had spared the embarrassment of the Evertonians, depending on your point of view, as the editors of the programme, felt that it had been such a poor offering of football that the minimum amount of air-time contractually allowed, had been devoted to the fixture, making it one of, if not the shortest ‘highlights’ of a game broadcast by the show.
The year had ended with Everton having fulfilled half of their league fixtures, lying in sixteenth place in the league, six points clear of third from bottom Notts County (18 Pts.). County had lost at Ipswich Town (0-1), Stoke (16 Pts.) had lost at Manchester United (0-1), but Wolves (14 pts.) had won again at Molineux having beaten Norwich City (2-0). At the other end of the table Liverpool (44 pts.) had won at Nottingham Forest (1-0) and West Ham United (39 pts.)had got themselves back on track by beating Tottenham Hotspur (4-1) at Upton Park..
1983 had ended in an extremely disappointing manner for the Blues’ and the Evertonians would have hoped that 1984 would see a welcome change in fortunes for the club, its manager and its players.
Prior to the Boxing Day game against Sunderland, Howard Kendall had made a Christmas wish list, where he had outlined the things that he had wanted to see happen to Everton FC, in the New Year “A reduction in Injuries, an improvement in home form and climbing the table” he also added “I want to see us going all the way in cup competitions.”
1983-84 First Division Saturday 31st December 1983
Coventry City @ Goodison Park 0-0 Attendance: 13,659
Everton: Southall, Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Reid, Irvine, Heath (Richardson), Gray, King, Sheedy
Twenty Years Ago: 1993-94
The last Saturday before Christmas had been a traditionally poor one for top-flight attendances, but perversely almost double the number of people had turned up at Goodison Park for the game with Newcastle United, than had been in the ground for Howard Kendall’s final game as Everton manager at home to Southampton.
Newcastle United had stormed to the First Division title in 1992-93 and they had started their first season in the Premier League in similar fashion. They had won six of their ten games at St. James Park and had only lost to Tottenham Hotspur (0-1) in their opening day fixture and to QPR (1-2), draws against teams who were competing at the top end of the division had also been gained when they shared the points with Blackburn Rovers (1-1), Manchester United (1-1) and Leeds United (1-1). On their travels they had beaten Aston Villa (2-0), Oldham Athletic (3-1) and in their most recent away fixture they had won at Tottenham Hotspur (2-1). Three games had been lost at Coventry City (1-2), Southampton (1-2) and at Highbury where they had lost to Arsenal (1-2) and the Magpies had drawn their other three away fixtures. The only fixture that the Magpies had failed to score in had been the opening day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. In the League Cup Newcastle United had overcome Notts County (11-2) on aggregate a tie in which Andy Cole had scored a hat-trick in each leg, but had lost away to Wimbledon (1-2) in the third round.
Everton’s Chairman Dr D M Marsh wrote a statement in the programme for the Newcastle United match in which he said :
“Everyone connected with the club was shocked and saddened by Mr Kendall’s unexpected decision to terminate his employment following our last home game with Southampton. There was no specific reason for his decision, but, as in the case of Kenny Dalglish, it is symptomatic of the great stress all top managers are under in their constant struggle for success. Mr Kendall made it quite clear that had had reached a firm decision, and in the circumstances the Directors had no option but to accept his resignation. Whatever he chooses to do in the future he will be remembered with much affection and as the most successful Manager in the history of Everton Football Club. He leaves with the good wishes of all Evertonians.”
Happier times for Everton were recalled in the Match of the Past section when the opening day fixture of the 1988-89 season with Newcastle United at Goodison Park had been highlighted. Tony Cottee as every Evertonian who was there will know scored a hat-trick on his debut as immediately he started to repay the faith of Colin Harvey, and the £2.2m fee, which at the time had been a record fee between British clubs, which Everton had paid to West Ham United for his services.
As well as Tony Cottee, Pat Nevin, Neil McDonald and Stuart McCall had also made their debuts on that sunny August afternoon in 1988. Tony Cottee’s first goal had arrived on just 34 seconds and just after the hour mark he had completed his hat-trick. Tony Cottee said in the article “It was an absolute dream day for me. Not only for my goals either. Everything seemed just right – the ground, the atmosphere with a crowd of over 40,000” he added that he always felt that the hat-trick had cemented his relationship with the Everton supporters, but he wished that things had gone as smoothly for him and the club in the five years that had passed since that debut hat-trick. Graeme Sharp had scored the fourth goal on the afternoon that saw Everton defeat Newcastle United (4-0)
Everton: Southall, McDonald, Pointon, Snodin, Watson, Reid, Steven (Sheedy), McCall, Sharp, Cottee & Nevin.
Newcastle United: Beasant, Anderson, Tinnion, McCreery, Jackson P, Thorn, Hendrie, Robertson, Mirandinha (Jackson D), Wharton & O’Neill.
Other hat-tricks by Everton players against Newcastle are mentioned, as WR Dean had scored hat-tricks on three occasions against the Magpies twice at Goodison in April 1926 and December 1928 and once at St James Park in December 1925. Bobby Collins in November 1960, Wayne Clarke in April 1987 and Tony Cottee in August 1988 had all achieved what the great Dixie Dean had done by scoring hat-tricks at Goodison against Newcastle United.
Two Everton players past and future had started their careers with Newcastle United, when Steve Watson became the Magpies youngest ever first-team player in November 1990 against Wolves he was aged 16years and 223 days and he had taken the record away from the previous owner Neil McDonald.
The Match: Andy Cole with his 24th goal of the season and Peter Beardsley with his 11th, both scored for Newcastle United as the Magpies took all three points away from Goodison Park. What would the Evertonians have given to have both of those players in the Toffees’ attack, the fact that Peter Beardsley had been at Goodison up until the summer of 1993 seemed to rub salt into the wounds of the fans as they began to fear that this season was on the point of implosion, the Everton FC Board, had at this time, failed to reach a decision as to who would take over from the former Everton boss Howard Kendall, as a fog of inertia surrounded the club.
This was to some extent expressed by the caretaker-manager, Jimmy Gabriel, who in his notes in the next programme said:
“Obviously the time leading up to Christmas was one of uncertainty for everyone at the club. On the surface, the players seemed to cope quite well and I would expect that of professionals. I have always felt that, whatever the circumstances, players should say to themselves, “I’m a footballer, I’m proud to play, let’s get on with the job.” At the same time, you know, it’s a false situation. The time comes when they will think that the bloke picking the team is not their manager, and that a new manager is going to have to come in with the power to do things. My view has never altered. From the day I was asked to keep things ticking over, I felt that the sooner the position was resolved, the better it would be for the club.”
With half of the Premier League fixtures fulfilled Everton (25 pts.) found themselves in fifteenth position in the table and they remained ten points clear of third from bottom club Chelsea (15 pts.). The win for Newcastle United (35 pts.) had put them a point ahead of fifth placed Arsenal (34 pts.) with a game in hand on the Gunners and only four points behind second-placed Leeds United (39 pts.) also with a game in hand. Manchester United (52 pts.) had created a thirteen point gap between them and Leeds United and they looked odds on to retain the Premiership at a canter.
1993-94 Premier League, Saturday 18th December 1993
Newcastle United @ Goodison Park Score 0-2 Attendance: 25,189
Everton: Southall, Jackson, Snodin, Watson, Ablett, Warzycha (Preki), Ward, Barlow, Cottee, Stuart, Ebbrell Unused Subs Kearton & Horne
Ten Years Ago: 2003-04
Buoyed by the performance against Arsenal in their previous Premier League encounter, the Everton players had travelled to Loftus Road with high hopes that they could return to Goodison with at least a point. But Fulham were having a good campaign and Everton’s record against them away from Goodison had been pretty poor over the years. The two sides had been drawn to play each other in the 4th Round of the FA Cup at Goodison to be played at Goodison on the 25th of January. Fulham (28 pts.) were sat in 7th place in the Premier League just four points ahead of Everton (24 pts.), as they had dropped a couple of places having lost at Middlesbrough (1-2) in their most recent fixture.
Fulham had been Everton’s first opponents at Goodison in the current campaign and the Toffees had been victorious winning the game by three goals to one. Since that fixture the Cottagers had beaten Tottenham Hotspur (3-0), Blackburn (2-0) and Manchester United (3-1) on the road but that victory at Old Trafford had been followed by defeats at Charlton Athletic (1-3), Leeds United (2-3), Aston Villa (0-3) and Middlesbrough (1-2) whilst they had drawn at Arsenal (0-0) and Birmingham City (2-2).
At their temporary home of Loftus Road Fulham had beaten Middlesbrough (3-2), Leicester City (3-2), Portsmouth (2-0), Bolton Wanderers (2-1) and Southampton (2-0), but they had lost to Newcastle United (2-3), Liverpool (1-2) and Chelsea (0-1) and had drawn their other games at home against Man City (2-2) and Wolves (0-0). In the League Cup Fulham had surprisingly been knocked out by Wigan (0-1) away from home and in the FA Cup they had scraped past Cheltenham Town (2-1) in the Third Round of the competition that had set up a fourth round tie with Everton.
The two meetings from 2002-03 were featured in the Everton section of the magazine and extracts of the match reports from the BBC were reproduced for the first game at Goodison in which the Blues’ had beaten Fulham (2-0) the report stated “After starting brightly Fulham were stunned as first Kevin Campbell put Everton ahead in the 45th minute and seconds later Thomas Gravesen notched a second.”
In the second game played in May Fulham had beaten Everton (0-2) and the BBC said “Fulham guaranteed their place in the Premiership next season thanks to a brace of Everton own goals. Alan Stubbs and Richard Wright were the culprits as Everton lost the game in the space of seven minutes in the closing stages of the first half. The defeat leaves Everton’s Uefa Cup hopes hanging by a thread as David Moyes’ side may need to pick up points at home to Manchester United next weekend.”
Silver Service a section of the programme dedicated to the commercial side of Fulham FC reported that they were excited about returning to Craven Cottage in July 2004 and that they had been inundated with requests about what the new facilities would be like, they also welcomed Premiership Referee Dermot Gallagher as their special guest in the lounges for today’s encounter with Everton. I personally found this as odd. a) Why hadn’t he been on duty somewhere else in the league? and b) Although nobody would have known it on the day it had been Mr Gallagher who would take charge of the Everton v Fulham FA Cup third round tie to be played at Goodison just a fortnight later.
The Match: Two goals conceded either side of the half-time break the first a penalty awarded by Graham Poll and converted by Louis Saha (44’) and another strike from Steve Malbranque (46’) had forced David Moyes’ to change things around and on or about the hour mark he made a triple substitution as Everton found themselves chasing the game at Loftus Road. McFadden, Ferguson and Rooney all came on to replace Carsley, Campbell and Radzinski, although Kevin Kilbane (81’) scored with a fantastic strike it hadn’t been enough as yet again Everton were left with nothing but a consolation goal to take back to Goodison. The travelling Blues’ fans had only seen Everton take five points from the ten games played away from home and Kevin Kilbane’s strike had only been the ninth Premier League goal that they had witnessed away from Goodison Park.
David Moyes had been disappointed with the result at Loftus Road but not with the attitude of his players, and he felt that his side’s lack of goals had put undue pressure on his defenders especially in tight matches. Everton (24 pts.) remained in and around mid-table five points clear of third from bottom Leicester City (19 pts.) who had lost to Chelsea (0-4). Manchester United (50 pts.) had seen the gap closed by Arsenal (49 pts.) who had beaten Middlesbrough (4-1). Fulham (31 pts.) thanks to their victory over Everton lay in sixth spot three points behind Everton’s next opponents Charlton Athletic (34 pts.) who had occupied the last of the Champions League places.
2003-04 Premier League Saturday 10th January, 2004
Fulham @ Loftus Road 1-2 (Kilbane) Attendance: 17,103
Everton: Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Unsworth, Naysmith, Carsley (McFadden), Linderoth, Kilbane Jeffers, Campbell (Ferguson), Radzinski (Rooney) Unused Subs: Simonsen & Pistone
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