The recent post about Alan Balls missed penalty against Ipswich back in 1969 shows how trophy success can hang on the thread. Those fortunate to have been in Goodison Park during the 1968-69 season witnessed the finest football side since the war in the opinion of the Chairman of Wolves and the FA, John Ireland. Yet the team didn't win any trophy or qualify for any European competition.
When Alan Ball missed a late penalty against Ipswich, the point dropped was a result of one of the most bizarre refereeing decisions ever. The goal that was allowed by Maurice Fussey was punched into the Gwladys Street goal by Ray Crawford and seen by everyone in the ground, even Gordon West stood on his line awaiting whistle, given Crawford was 15 yards offside when he punched the ball into the net.
All the other teams chasing the top spot won that day. And when Alan Ball left the pitch that afternoon, he faced a 2-week suspension. My only good memory of the game was winning the Golden Goal, scored by Sandy Brown with a 20-yard grass-cutter!
The Blues' form held up and, after defeating Man Utd at Old Trafford in the FA Cup 6th Round in March, they were well placed to win a trophy.
Sadly they produced their worst their performance of the season in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Villa Park against Man City, who they had beaten home and away earlier in the season. City were the reigning League Champions at the time. The next game for the Blues was a Saturday night affair against Chelsea which they lost 2-1.
From there, form tailed off which meant they finished 4th, behind 3rd placed Liverpool, who claimed a place in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup under their rule of one place per city, meaning Everton lost out, allowing Newcastle an entry despite finishing 6th in the league.
It was always accepted that the fast interplaying style of Everton in 1968-69 wasn't quite matched when they won the league the following season. That year, an inspired opening to the season was concluded by Alan Whittle showing the killer goalscoring instinct in a final run of 11 games that brought the League title home to Goodison Park.
Reader Comments (6)
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1 Posted 05/03/2019 at 00:03:33
Liverpool qualified from 2nd place (sorry, Peter, but Wikipedia disputes your league places) so Everton in 3rd missed out.
Chelsea qualified from 5th place despite finishing behind Arsenal.
Newcastle qualified from 9th place despite Southampton finishing above them in 7th.
Was it down to clubs applying to participate in the competition or was there other forces at play?
2 Posted 06/03/2019 at 09:52:43
3 Posted 06/03/2019 at 11:32:47
So if, for example the top positions were occupied by Merseyside, Manchester and London clubs, only 3 would be accepted. top obviously got the European Cup slot. They'd then go down the table until they got the full quota. The crazy thing about that 68-69 season was they went down to about 8th or 9th to find the last two teams, Newcastle and Southampton... and Newcastle went onto win it.
When this daft rule was overturned in the 70's Stoke City appealed as we went into the tournament and they were below us and would have got into Europe under the old rule. Look at Everton's league placings in the 60s and see how many times we lost out.
4 Posted 06/03/2019 at 11:41:44
5 Posted 08/03/2019 at 16:14:49
6 Posted 18/03/2019 at 18:19:28
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