I woke up this morning thinking where was I 30 years ago? It was probably in Ostend, Belgium as we had taken the overnight ferry from Dover which was full of blues drinking and singing.

We then took a train from Ostend through to Rotterdam. We had nowhere to stay but didn’t care as we were going to watch Everton play in a European final. I will say it again slowly for our younger readers…. WE WERE GOING TO WATCH EVERTON PLAY IN A EUROPEAN FINAL.

I know it sounds impossible (well it was 30 years ago) and guess what: we had a fantastic football team and we were favourites to beat our opposition, Rapid Vienna.

On arriving in Rotterdam, we found a city eager to welcome the Blue hordes. Every bar was packed with Blues and the canal banks that ran through the city center were also packed with Blues. There was even a football match in the main square between the Dutch Police and Evertonians!

Time for the match and as expected the then mighty Blues completely dominated and won the game 3-1 with a display that Brian Clough hailed as the best by a British team in a European final.

Can you believe it! Everton were League Champions and now had won the European Cup Winners Cup. That night we stayed a the house of a Dutch couple who took us in after approaching us in a bar as they had watched the game and had been impressed with Everton (4 of us aged 19 to 29).

The following day we headed back to Dover on the ferry as the coming Saturday we had Wembley for the FA Cup final with Man Utd and the chance of a historic treble. We lost but after the season we had it did not seem to matter as much.

How proud we were to be blues that day, Everton, the Champions of England were feared throughout Europe. Surely we would march on and dominate football for years… 30 years on and very little to show in terms of further success. Are we known much throughout Europe? And certainly not feared!

I ask one question: Do you trust the current Chairman and Manager to give our younger fans a chance of experiencing some of those highs of 30 years ago?

30 years on and we fans still dream... that’s what keeps us going – but come on, Everton, please show some ambition. Please gives us some hope that you have the ambition and share our dreams rather than just willing to survive in the big boys league.

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Reader Comments (14)

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Paul Gladwell
1 Posted 15/05/2015 at 16:40:36
Ian, spot on mate, I was gutted I couldnÂ’t go as my poor mother just could not afford it on her own so I bunked off school and listened all day to Billy Butler live from Rotterdam in all the pubs, I was jealous but also bloody proud and excited.

Sadly your last sentence sums it up for me and no matter how much of a blue he claims to be, Kenwright had never shown that desire or ambition to give us that, alls heÂ’s wanted was to keep his little train set and its dragged our club to mediocrity and in the process has dragged the greatest club ground in the country to a shack, wasting money on pie in the sky garbage when a slow development over the years like villa etc would have meant the ground would never have been an issue with any potential buyer.

I get a feeling more are siding with enough is enough of this board and hopefully the change will come sooner than we think.

Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 15/05/2015 at 21:23:31
What great memories. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as we left the stadium singing, "just like the team thatÂ’s gonna win the fucking lot, we shall not be moved"!

Only a couple of seasons before the fans were having a whip-round to sign Terry Curran, and now we were being awarded World Team Of The Year!

Ian Smitham
3 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:17:55
Still got the letter off EFC saying do not go if you have not got a ticket. Went Dover to Zebrugge, on a overnight boat full of singers of the "and we love our..." . Got there found a novel to stay in and began drinking at lunch o clock. Had a bout 6 pints of whatever. Bit later, the Police moved everyone to the ground, I got a ticket in their "end" and got the Police to move me into the English end. In the ground found they were serving Lager so had a load more. Felt Ok so on my next visit to the bar I asked if they had anything stronger? The lady behind the bar queried " stronger?" I explained proudly that I had had 6 pints outside the ground and nearly the same in the ground and did not feel drunk. She smiled, then told me it was non alcholic Lager!

After the game, it was back out in to the town for Lager with their supporters.

Missed the boat back.

Did not see an Evertonian all the way back till I got to that services on the M6 just North of Spagetti junction. Walked in and just cried, it was as full as can be of our glorious fans.

Call me a bitter blue, I really do not care, but I saw the best team in Europe win in Europe and then a week later our fire was extinguished .

Ian Smitham
4 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:35:05
Deliberately not mentioned the game. Can remember screeching at Southall to waste time with a few to go but he hurried up land kicked it up the pitch much to my annoyance, and we scored. Shows what I know.

Decided I needed to get on to the pitch at the end.

Anyone else remember those dogs making sure you did not climb over the fence? Scary

Ian Smitham
5 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:49:22
Sorry to bore you. When I went I left clear, oh so clear instructions to Video (remember them) the game.

Imagine my surprise (effing horror actually) when I settled to watch the video and at half time it switches to Dallas on the other channel. Someone thought that more worthy.

However, the bit that was recorded included the late Brain Clough saying that Everton are the best team in Europe and will win the European cup next year.

Bitter Blue?? I plead guilty.

Paul Hewitt
6 Posted 16/05/2015 at 00:12:19
We were Ian and we would but for the RS.
Andy Crooks
7 Posted 16/05/2015 at 00:55:38
Brilliant piece. ItÂ’s not thirty years ago, it surely canÂ’t be? Where has it gone? It was meant to be the beginning...
Dennis Stevens
8 Posted 16/05/2015 at 01:01:35
I wish IÂ’d bought one of NevÂ’s red shirts when Toffs did them a few years back.
John Keating
9 Posted 16/05/2015 at 19:58:56
Went drinking all day with the family. Met up in the Philarmonic that night to meet a shed load more. After closing, we got on the bus with our "not allowed" carry outs. TheyÂ’d gone by Birmingham but the 2 drivers had a ton more "not allowed" drink in the underneath luggage compartment. They told us it would last till we got home.

By Calais it had long gone. We stocked up at Calais for enough to get home. We thankfully just made Rotterdam! Spent late afternoon having a wee refresher before going the match.

The drivers were great as they stocked up in Rotterdam with enough drink to get us home. Fortunately we stopped in Calais to replenish the empty luggage bay.

That night we got dropped off in London Road and had a few liveners. Phoned my mam and she told me IÂ’d been adopted.

Next day, we headed down South for the FA Cup Final! I canÂ’t last a night on the bevvy now but those days ........ Still talk about it now!

Colin Grierson
10 Posted 20/05/2015 at 07:55:47
Does anyone remember when Duncan McKenzie was introduced to the crowd in the main square before the game. There must have been 15 thousand singing "We all agree, Duncan McKenzie is magic" while he was hoisted in the air and carried " around the square on a fans shoulders. He was crying his eyes out. ItÂ’s a moment I always remember when thinking back to that Final. Just brilliant.
Ian Glassey
11 Posted 20/05/2015 at 08:24:43
Remember it well Colin, best couple of days ever donÂ’t think my liver has recovered yet. Oh to go back to those days, we can dream.
Ray Robinson
12 Posted 20/05/2015 at 09:11:54
Great memories but unlike some I was gutted after losing to United in the Final after clearly running out of legs. We would have been talking about treble winners.

It’s funny what you remember about such occasions – apart from the sheer elation of it all. I recall having to run the gauntlet of snarling alsatians as we disembarked at Ostende with the Belgian police seemingly trying to provoke us, the constant banging of metal advertising boards in the stadium that seemed to be in danger of falling off onto the crowd below, the fact that I couldn’t find a programme seller anywhere and the ease and good nature with which the Everton and Vienna fans mingled, the slight worry that Celtic fans were going to come over and cause trouble (over a ban they received in the earlier rounds – didn’t one of their fans run onto the pitch and kick an opposition goalie? Someone enlighten me?).

No sign of the trouble that was to mar English football a mere few weeks later and help cause the premature disintegration of the best Everton team ever. If I remember rightly, those were dark days in Thatcher Britain and many thousands of fans (my match-going mate included) could not afford to travel either through unemployment. There were still about 25,000 there.

I fear that at the age of 61, I may not see such nights again but I live in hope!

Paul Tran
13 Posted 20/05/2015 at 21:58:45
Ray, Celtic lost their fist leg 3-1 and battered Vienna 3-0 in the second leg. During he second half, a bottle landed ten feet away from a Vienna player, who picked it up and rolled around like heÂ’d been shot. Obviously UEFA ordered the game replayed and Celtic lost 1-0. ViennaÂ’s keeper baited the crown throughout the game and a Celtic fan staggered on the pitch and chinned him.

A great trip.3 ESCLA coaches left from Kings Cross. All I remember was drinking, drinking and drinking. Two guys on our bus missed the first half after returning to a hooker in Amsterdam. I met a dozen people I hadnÂ’t seen for years at half time. A great performance, with the classic Everton wobble which was extinguished by Sheedy within a minute.

I had some time to kill in and went to the National Football Museum. They have the cup we won on display and I bought the DVD of the Final and Semi final. I watched it in the airport bar and started welling up.

They’ll never take that great trip from us – how good could that team have become?

From never thinking I’d ever see us win a trophy, I thought we’d never lose a big game again – well that lasted three days!

Colin Grierson
14 Posted 20/05/2015 at 23:05:43
But what a three days that was, Paul!

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