It is often said that history repeats itself. So let me take you back 50 years to September 1964.
There is a nip in the air on Merseyside and the nights are drawing in. One topic of conversation is Cilla Black, due to her third hit single, It’s For You. Evertonians though are more concerned with the Blues’ poor form, particularly as we are going to Anfield on Saturday for the first derby of the season and a generation has grown up since we last won a league game at our former ground.
On top of that, there is an away trip looming to some place in Europe we had never heard of before the draw was made for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the forerunner of the Europa League, which we had qualified for by winning 21 league games the previous campaign, playing some lovely football.
But right now, we are misfiring on all cylinders and supporters are arguing about the causes. The manager is coming in for criticism. Everton have gone five league games without a win – three draws and two defeats, the last loss coming in the midweek period before going to Anfield. After that, we are flying off to play Valerengen.
The similarities with today are striking. So what did happen at Anfield when we went there full of foreboding in September 1964? On Grandstand and on BBC Radio's Sports Report, the classified results reader enunciated: “Liv-er-pool Nil ... Ev-err-tun Fourrrr.” The same can happen this Saturday, if we play our best team, as I believe we will.
In 1964, Liverpool had not got off to the best of starts. The same is true in 2014. And today many people are again talking about Cilla Black due to that TV drama series about her. I have not seen it, but I believe the main man is called “Bobby”. Roberto will obviously be key on Saturday. No rotation, please, just the best team for the day from the players available.
Our section in the Anfield Road could be crucial too. I’d like to hear us bellowing only pro-Everton chants. The negative anti-Red stuff that Evertonians often come out with in derbies depresses me. It does nothing for our players, most of whom don’t understand it. They need to hear the word "Everton" and the names they are familiar with.
And don't let's assume, as we usually do, that the Reds will be jammy. Let us be the lucky ones. Let them be complaining afterwards. In '64, there were tabloid claims, lapped up by disappointed Reds, that Harry Catterick had given our players "purple hearts", a little pill each that acted as a stimulant, supposedly.
So, Roberto, go the club shop and buy a bag of Everton mints. As kick-off approaches and the players line up in the corridor in front of the TV cameras, give each of our lot an Everton mint, a "stripey heart". Better still, on Friday night, do a spot of Cloughie-Kendallist team-bonding and take the players for a few pints. Get some Cilla tunes on the karaoke. Anyone Who Had A Heart...
Our scorers on that glorious day in September 1964 were Fred Pickering whose huge transfer fee was also a talking point (£85,000), Derek Temple, Johnny Morrissey and Colin Harvey. I’d say the modern-day comparisons are big centre-forward, Romelu Lukaku; play-anywhere-across-the-front, Kevin Mirallas; braveheart attacker-who-can-also-tackle-a-defender, Steven Naismith; and skilful local midfielder Leon Osman.
I’m not saying history will repeat itself precisely. I admit that we might not win by four goals. It might be five or six. Surprise, Surprise... But, should we win, don’t expect a great deal of media coverage. That’s because of Americans with sticks walking around holes in Scotland.
Reader Comments (9)
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1 Posted 25/09/2014 at 17:36:10
2 Posted 25/09/2014 at 19:17:21
3 Posted 25/09/2014 at 19:30:13
It's going to happen, isn't it? I will be drunk until the following weekend.
4 Posted 25/09/2014 at 20:54:51
5 Posted 25/09/2014 at 21:17:21
6 Posted 26/09/2014 at 02:13:02
7 Posted 26/09/2014 at 08:03:49
8 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:27:16
9 Posted 28/09/2014 at 17:13:30
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