Reader Comments (45)

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Danny O’Neill
1 Posted 26/05/2021 at 16:18:35
Another great trip down memory lane John Senior.

Bobby Robson. What a true gentleman of football. Great manager & coach also.

The 85-86 season. On the back of last weekend, we talk about disappointing seasons and just missing out. Oh my. May 10th 1986 was a low point for me. To finish 2nd and be runners up in the FA Cup should be considered a decent season. I was devastated.

Middlesborough staring down the abyss of existence. I remember Wolves being in a similar situation not many years previous. We are rightly self-critical of Everton, but since 1954 we have only known top tier football. We have not been subject to what the likes of Wolves, Manchester City and Leeds United supporters have endured and come back from.

Was it only that late when we could name 2 subs?! That surprised me.

On Everton, I still think that 86-87 was arguably Howard Kendall's best achievement. The 84-85 title winning side were formidable and rightfully get the plaudits. But against the backdrop of the psychological impact of missing out on the double and with a decimated squad, Kendall showed true management to win a second title in 3 years. It still should have been 3 but I won't go back to 85-86 as it still hurts!!

The FA cup marathons with Sheffield Wednesday & Middlesborough. I attended just about every one. Also watching Everton & Wayne Clarke stop Liverpool on their way to an unbeaten season. In reflection, what is stark about that season is we considered 4th failure.

David Seaman. Was it just me or does anyone else think he was overrated? Don't get me wrong, he was a good keeper, but I think he was blessed to play in front of one of the tightest and best organised defences I've personally seen. A lot of half decent keepers could have looked good in front of that defence.

That half time sit down protest! How bizarre was that?

Ron Atkinson. Maybe not the best, but decent and what a character in the game! I just see jewellery!!

Leicester fans suing Millwall for having a poor view? We must have good lawyers and very tolerant home fans!!

The 4-4. The 1-0 against Liverpool in the cup. I mentioned on my own post about listening or receiving Everton results in faraway locations & situations. When that Dave Watson goal crackled in over the radio I shouldn't have been listening too on a hilltop somewhere, I made way too much noise than I should have done. But I then had a huge smile on my face and was focussed on the job!!

John McFarlane Snr
2 Posted 26/05/2021 at 17:37:43
Hi Danny [1] I'm so glad that my article gave you so much pleasure, and brought back so many pleasant memories, [along with one or two not so pleasant.] Quite a lot of the incidents spring readily to mind, but I'm afraid I have no recollection of many of the others, the saying '"We live and learn' applies".
John McFarlane Snr
3 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:00:23
Hi Danny [1] I'm making you 'President of my' Appreciation Society, because you are the only one to respond to my article, even the regular posters have avoided doing so. I took pleasure in sharing what information was at hand, but this looks like the end of the line for my sort of submissions, I should have paid more attention when I was told "There's no future in nostalgia".
Derek Moore
4 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:19:52
Mr McFarlane sir, may I just point out that the end of the season leads to an inevitable need to stop visiting this site in the short term. I'm sure Messrs Lloyd or Kenrick long-suffering wallets get a little (and I mean little!) respite on the hosting costs at this time of year.

In addition, I come here fairly assiduously and it was only your comment in the comments section made me aware this piece – which I enjoyed greatly – was even here. Whilst not trying to be critical to the editors of this great site, finding content such as John's on mobile is quite difficult if it is not at the very top of the page.

No sir, it is not the quality of the article or the subject matter of the article that is lacking here. It is mere timing and circumstances, a point I feel most gently proven by the almost overwhelmingly positive feedback you have enjoyed when penning pieces such as these.

Many contributors have of course, ceased or reduced their contributions on here and that is their right. And yours, Mr MacFarlane. But allow my voice to join Danny's in saying I'll always make the time to read what you've written and I thank you for it.

Derek Moore
5 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:25:34
Oh, and by the way Danny, yes Seaman was shite. Should never have been lobbed by Ronaldinho because he should have been nowhere near the team. Always preferred Nigel Martyn in goal for England, and he hadn't played for us at that stage!

Lineker, never booked never sent off. He'd get called out for being a layabout and a passenger these days wouldn't he?

Although to be fair, the threshold to get booked in those days was much higher. The tackle to break Maradona's leg was sadly pretty typical of the time, the bad old days were on the way out but we weren't all the way there yet. I don't mourn the likes of Vinny Jones not being able to get a game these days anyway.

Don Alexander
6 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:29:07
Another great read John, thanks. Hadn't seen the post until just now. Good memories!
David Cooper
7 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:30:33
John Sir, there is so much we temporarily forget and it needs you to remind all EFC fans that supporting the Blues is a long journey of happiness and despair. As Dickens said “the 80s were the best of times and the worst of times”. Both for EFC and myself. I lost my dad who is the reason I am a Toffeeman and my daughter was born in 1984 a few months after we won the against Watford.
Before he did we went one last time to Highbury to watch EFC lose in a midweek League Cup game. They lost every time we went to watch them in London. Strangely enough I remember because Inchy had just signed and had a shocker, I think. I am sure my dad was looking down and pulling a few heavenly strings guiding Brock's backpass at Oxford! But he never got to enjoy the best of the HK years, though I did! No live coverage in those days and if you were lucky EFC might be on BBC radio for second half commentary. By the time the 80s finished so were we. Thatcherism, banned from Europe etc. We sold up and emigrated to Canada where it was even more difficult to hear or see any live commentary. Again if you were lucky you might get the last 20 minutes on BBC World radio sport, that's if you could find it on the radio!
So that kind of covers the years you have described. The 90s were a desert except for the 1995 oasis. Watched on tv as that was the only game broadcast on Canadian TV!
Thanks for the memories!
Jay Harris
8 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:45:32
Sir John,

Good to see you back in fine health and posting some great nostalgia again.

The thing that stood out for me is how low the transfer fees were compared to the megabucks deals today and of course how great the '80s were to be a blue.

Keep posting and stay healthy.

John McFarlane Snr
9 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:50:19
Hi Derek [4] I took exactly the same view as yourself regarding the timing of my submission, but it's my belief that this is true at any stage of the season. I put it down in the main, to the location, I submit it as an article but it is invariably placed in the General Forum slot which is halfway down the site.

My main reason for reminiscing is to remind fans of my generation, and to give younger fans an idea of what we were fortunate (or unfortunate) to have witnessed. I thank you for your kind words. I enjoy the involvement, but as a one-fingered operator it really is a "Labour of Love", quite often taking me 2 or 3 hours to accomplish, and 'John' sounds a lot friendlier to me, than Mr McFarlane.

Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:59:46
John (3), just come across your latest and always welcome nostalgic contributions to ToffeeWeb. Regarding the Alan Shearer hat-trick, was that in his debut game for Southampton? Give you a little bit of work there, John, to get your magic books out for the answer.

I hope you are keeping okay in these sad, but hopefully getting better times. How is Josh getting on with his football? Is there a summer league starting in your area for Josh to play in? I take it there hasn't been much football for him to play in during this lockdown, which will leave you both disappointed.

Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:00:34
Nigel Martyn. Now there was a keeper Derek.

We missed a trick when we didn't pull out the stops and he opted for Leeds.

Fortunate enough to have seen him play for Everton and even though that was in his twilight, the best Everton Keeper I've seen aside from Southall.

Kieran Kinsella
12 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:28:35
John

Up until now I've read your articles to learn about the past but now you've hit the era where it's nostalgia for me as I can actually remember this time period.

Steve Bull I remember well as he almost single handedly dragged Wolves up the league from the brink of oblivion. I had a Wolves Subbuteo team at the time (it happened to be on sale) so his plastic version was often in action against either my Everton 86 (white bibs) or 89 Subbuteo teams. He had to sub in for Brazil sometimes because one of their players got crushed when my sister stepped on his and the orange was passable as yellow.

Waddle I remember was joined for a time in Marseille by Trevor Steven. I think Trev ended back at Rangers pretty quickly though after Bernard Tapie was jailed and that whole match fixing scandal sunk Marseille.

Mark Dennis, a right thug he was. Much like Terry Hurlock of Millwall. The Wallace brothers were good, I think Rodney surpassed Danny ultimately as the best of the three. Likewise, there were the Allens although they were cousins not brothers. Clive had that incredible season but somehow couldn't get much of a shot with England, due to the form of Lineker. Young Tony Cottee was also favored ahead of him by Robson, and even Steve Bull despite playing in the second tier.

Great times. You did a great job of picking out many and varied highlights. Each one struck a bell. Cheers John

John McFarlane Snr
13 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:35:15
Hi again Derek [5] you're correct in stating that the threshold for bookings and sending-offs was much higher in those days, then you may have witnessed a few bookings, while a sending off was headline news. I have been reprimanded on this site once or twice for revealing my age, so I'll give you a clue I was born on the 15th of July 1938.

Hi Don [6] I'm pleased learn that you enjoyed my contribution, but as I have stressed previously, I'm only relaying the information from books.

Hi David [7] although your Dad may have missed the glory of the 80s I feel sure he would have enjoyed the magic of the 60s.

Hi Jay [8] you are spot on regarding transfer fees, and may I add, the wages paid to players was the maximum of £20 a week, although very few would have received that amount. If memory serves me right, Everton players were paid £16 a week during the season and £12 pound in the close season, it may not sound much but it was higher than the working man's pay.

John Keating
14 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:35:23
I remember watching big Nev coming out and sitting down. I thought... well, I don't know what I thought.... Bizarre.

Have to say though, John, the '80's were the only period we actually put a few seasons together
My team was the 63 lot but we never really built on it, as was 1970
Howards team was the catalyst and though we have so many posters telling us we shouldn't live in the past and make excuses Heysel really fucked us

Peter Warren
15 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:02:29
Hi John, thanks for taking the time to write this. I don't know about a lot of the stuff you wrote and found it really interesting.

I only started watching Everton properly circa 93-94 I guess when I was 13/14. The Wimbledon game wasn't as bad for me as others as I mistakenly thought we only needed a draw so I was relaxed after Stuart scored our 3rd!

I was fortunate to go to odd game such as 89' cup final but 93/94 and Limpar coming in for Beagrie I think under Walker. What a player Limpar turned out to be in my opinion. Anfield with Kanchelskis a couple of seasons after with them both on the wings was ace.

David Cooper
16 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:14:10
Hi John #13,

The trouble in the 60s EFC did not get on TV too often except the 1966 FA Cup Final! So the only way was by reading newspaper reports. How things have changed! Even in their pomp the Golden Vision, the Welsh Wizard and the Holy Trinity rarely won at Highbury!

John McFarlane Snr
17 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:22:01
Hi Dave [10, I must confess that I had to cheat a little by accessing 'Google' I learned that it was indeed his full debut, he however he had made a couple of appearances as a substitute. Josh is still playing for West Lancs and the season has just started, he has played a few games and I think that they beat Tranmere Rovers but I'll need to check that out.

Hi Danny [11] It's quite likely that by the time I've typed this post someone will have told you that an Everton gave him directions to Leeds.

Hi Kieran [12] I envy you managing a Subbuteo team, I had to make do with 'Blow Football' Dave Abrahams and others of our generation will describe that to you.

Hi John [14] I was at the Gwladys Street end that day, while Southall staged his 'Protest' at the Park End, although my book describes it as a 'Protest sit down' I think it was @Hissy Fit'

Hi Peter [15] I was unable to attend that Wimbledon game, I had just started a new job which entailed Saturday working, I sneaked out to my car to grab a piece of the action, and heard the commentator say "If Everton are going to take anything from this game they'll have to score." It was only later that I learned that they were 2-0 down at that stage.

Martin Mason
18 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:25:11
The question is, has there been any football since 1992?
Derek Moore
19 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:33:10
The binman on strike I hadn't thought of in a few decades and I did laugh!

Kieran stirred some memories, "Deadly" Dean Saunders whose goals would have propelled Derby into Europe but for errm....Heysel.

Ironically he ended up going to the RS and being somewhat of a scapegoat for what was the very death throes of the boot room era.

Limpar unironically was like Overmars for us for a brief period. We had some enigmatic foreign players in that general era. Preki anyone?

Hurlock was an out-and-out thug. If Jamie from America sees this he might compare the eighties to the ice hockey he's very much also a fan of. Every team back then seemed to have one - or more - goons or if not goons hard fellas quite capable of handing it out if they deemed it necessary. (ala Reidy).

Was all so very different, especially the terraces, which as a kid would sometimes terrify me. It seemed a very lawless place compared to the rest of my then world! I remember watching Euro 88 and that truly fantastic Dutch team and wishing Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit played in England. Was Ossie Ardiles still the most exotic player in the league?

Great memories again John and others, many thanks.

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:47:51
Derek, that 1988 Dutch team was truly fantastic to watch. I don't think I saw a collectively better international team until the Germany team of 2014 in terms of combining individual talent with team cohesion.
John McFarlane Snr
21 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:50:12
Hi again David [16] this may come across as a selfish statement, but I didn't mind the lack of televised football, because as a match going supporter I got my 'fix'. I did however [as I do now] sympathise with anyone unable to attend games for whatever reason.

Hi Martin [18] I sense a hint of frustration and sarcasm which I fully understand, but unfortunately that is the plight of any football fan, we all experience it at one time or another.

Hi Again Danny [11] I omitted the word 'Director', in relation to Nigel Martyn's journey to Leeds.

Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:53:46
Derek

Yeah Ossie would probably be the most exotic coming from South America and there were very from even from outside the British Isles. Nico Claesen of Spurs, Johnny Metgod, Molby, Jesper Olsen, Sivebaek, Of course we briefly had Warzycha, Rehn and Atteveld. I think it was a few years later Peter Ndlovu, Nii Lamptey and other African players (excluding South Africans who'd been around a while like Grobelaar, Wegerle and Bailey) started to arrive. Oh and Mirandinha, was he about 1988? I remember that was a big deal, Brazilian striker coming to England! didn't pan out though.

Kieran Kinsella
23 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:57:26
Danny 20,

It was a surprise that Dutch team never got going at the 1990 World Cup. Three uninspiring draws then Rijkaard got drawn into a spitting match with Voeller that pretty well finished them off.

Danny O’Neill
24 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:04:09
Very good point Kieran.

No research here, so shooting from the hip and the ageing memory but it was a time when there were few foreign player in the English league as we entered the 80s.

I think Bobby Robson at Ipswich started bringing in players from the likes of the Netherlands and yes, Tottenham brought in the 2 Argentinians.

Without politicising this, it was also a difficult time for both Ardiles and Villa given they landed here at time of conflict between our respective countries. Credit to them and credit to the majority of football supporters for looking beyond that and judging them on football. It wasn't Everton, but I'll never forget Ricky Villa's goal in that FA Cup Final replay against Manchester City. Magnificent footballing moment.

Danny O’Neill
25 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:11:47
I think that's always been a problem with the Dutch, Kieran. They have so much talent, but squad harmony is often something that escapes them.
Derek Moore
26 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:12:57
Italia 90, whilst a triumph of sorts for England, was absolutely dire and lead to a host of - for the time - revolutionary rule changes to basically, discourage teams "spoiling" the game.

The fact the Germans and the Argentinians could play such anti-football and play in the games greatest showpiece was viewed with some disdain at the time. It was the last World Cup to allow the tackle from behind, the back pass, offside where you had to be behind the defender not just level. The Dutch were mugged was my memory.

Cameroon was definitely a great story from that World Cup, but the football they played I won't even begin to describe. A few years ago I rewatched some games from the tournament on YouTube and it was very very negative. The Dutch, not for the first or last time, had the right team at the wrong time in 1990. Not unlike those Magic Magyars John has pointed out in one or two of his pieces. Football is in some ways the cruelest of games.

Kieran Kinsella
27 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:22:56
Derek 26

Great point. The tournament started as it ended with a rough house 1-0 with two men sent off. Argentina featured in both which says a lot about how they approached that tourney.

Aside from the dreadful fouling, I'd say Klinsmann took diving to a new level with that ridiculous flop in the final where he went to ground then sort of body popped himself feet first up into the air again before crash landing a second time. Cannigia was another big time diver but Bernard Massing and was it Kana Biyick (?) absolutely assaulted him in that first game.

Kieran Kinsella
28 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:25:34
Danny 24

Yeah I believe Arnold Muhren who was a veteran by the time I saw him at Euro had years before been a foreign pioneer of sorts under Robson at Ipswich.

Barry Rathbone
29 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:40:53
I actually think the zenith of football was 1970, epitomised by Brazil and, dare I say it, our Everton. The game began to divert from technique to athleticism, eradicating dribbling, culminating in the chess games that infest international and domestic competitions today.

I think the only game I've managed to watch in it's entirety over several decades was the "Agueroooooo!!" game when City won their first Premier League title.

Yes, footy existed before the Premier League... but it was already in decline.

Kieran Kinsella
30 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:48:28
Barry

Style-wise maybe you're right but I would have loved to watch the old ploughed potato field, long johns and top hats glory days when people other than Maradona could randomly use their hands without a complaint from the ref, and the crowd were kept off the field by an old rope.

Danny O’Neill
31 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:56:07
Although Cruyff came after that, Barry – not long after admittedly. For me, the perfect footballer if you're talking technique.

And now I'll set myself up to get laughed out of town. But from an Everton perspective in my lifetime, Kevin Sheedy.

No Cryruff, but what a joy to watch in an Everton shirt.

Derek Moore
32 Posted 27/05/2021 at 19:28:36
I remember Beardsley playing for us and wishing we'd bought him earlier. And kept him longer. What a truly terrific player for us he was at the end of the old first division.

We never adequately replaced Sheeds or Beardsley and a look at the squad in hindsight shows why we came within a Hans Segers Pickford moment of ruin not long thereafter. It didn't seem so obvious at the time!


Danny O’Neill
33 Posted 27/05/2021 at 19:34:20
Derek, you're keeping me active on here today!

Said it previously about Beardsley. A player of the highest quality looking up and not having many options due to the lack of quality around him.

Often he would play a pass and we all knew it was a good pass so would bemoan the other players for not reading the game as he could.

One of the most intelligent players I've watched in terms of a footballing brain.

Mike Doyle
34 Posted 27/05/2021 at 19:49:35
Agree with Derek & Danny. I was delighted when Beardsley joined us (still surprised Liverpool let him go). He was 30 when we signed him and approaching 33 when he left us. (Too early in my view but I guess we needed the money!)

Outstanding player - a consistently high performer during his time with us and who maintained a 1-in-3 strike rate for another 4 years with the Barcodes.

Joe McMahon
35 Posted 27/05/2021 at 20:11:08
Correct Mike, Peter Beardsley was a very talented player. And I agree I'd rather he stayed longer.
John McFarlane Snr
36 Posted 27/05/2021 at 20:26:51
Hi Derek [32] Danny [33] and Mike [34], I said at that time, the early 90s, that the only players worth watching were Neville Southall and Peter Beardsley. I've seen the word dross mentioned on this site numerous times, and if it means what I think it does, then that's the time it could have been directed at the team. Peter Beardsley and Neville Southall were ever-presents (42 League games), Everton finishing in 12th position.

Before I post, I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to this thread, and hope that my next submission, if there is one, may be placed in a more prominent place.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:01:08
Derek (32), a lot of Everton fans seem to infer that the Hans Seeger mistake in the Wimbledon game was less than honest, yet no Everton fan moans about Grobbelar's mistake in the derby game at Anfield when Ratcliffe's shot, from about 40 yards, went under Bruce's arm and trickled into the net.

Maybe neither of those goals were mistakes.

Mike Doyle
38 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:03:04
John McF.

Thanks for taking us back to a time when football people had ‘proper names' (with Ron Noades being a prime example) and even the appalling hairstyles were better than the now popular ‘bun'.

Thomas Richards
39 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:07:27
Brilliant John.

Excellent work.

Paul Swan
40 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:53:21
Dave (37) my abiding memory of the Wimbledon game was walking into the Chepstow on County Road to meet up with several match going mates and although elated with the result we all said the same thing. What was Segers doing on that goal? This was in the days before flashing up the goal on a big screen and obviously before we were able to review on match of the day but we instinctively knew something appeared wrong with that goal. The later reported connection with Grobellar just compounded that thought. Looking at it now on re-runs it's not so obvious but on the day live something seemed not right. It's sometimes like a sixth sense at a game, you know seem to instinctively when a ball crosses a line or a handball takes place - that was the same sort of thing
Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 27/05/2021 at 22:19:14
Paul (40) I understand your point of view regarding both goals, but I find it very hard to believe that Grobbellar would concede that goal in the way he did in a Derby game in front of the Kop, and it looked a much bigger mistake than Seegers. I think Seeger won his court case, in which he was accused of cheating, and the Everton game was included in the case, while Bruce lost his court case, and an awful lot of money, when he was accused of cheating.I suppose we will never know the truth of either goal.
Don Alexander
42 Posted 27/05/2021 at 23:40:22
My memory of Big Nev's sit-down was that it was as a result of a fall-out between him and Martin Keown, our centre-back, during the first half. I seem to recall a report of punches being exchanged between Keown and Sheeds in pre-season training too. I'm happy to be corrected on either distant memory though!

Talking of thugs in football the worst I've ever seen was Andoni Goikoetxea, aka The Butcher of Bilbao. He was a real psycho who makes Ramos seem like a fairy, and to me that's what the greats of yesteryear had to deal with all season every season, and they were still brilliant!

Kieran Kinsella
43 Posted 27/05/2021 at 00:00:07
Don 42

I remember him, an absolute psycho. Made Vinnie Jones look like a ballerina.

Derek Moore
44 Posted 28/05/2021 at 06:39:20
Don (#42), yep, that's the asshat who broke Maradonas leg.

I don't think for a second Segers let it in deliberately, but it was a rather poor piece of keeping. If we'd conceded a similar goal to go down what would the reaction have been?

Bill Watson
45 Posted 30/05/2021 at 10:51:09
Thanks for another fascinating trip down Memory Lane, John.

Just to clarify the points made about the comparatively low transfer fees paid in the 1980 and the maximum wage. The maximum wage had been abolished in 1961 after threats of strike action by the PFA, led by Fulham's Jimmy Hill.


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