If only...

by   |   10/10/2021  87 Comments  [Jump to last]

We have had some of the greatest players of the last 50 years on our books:

Jennings
Sansom
Gough
Gascoigne
Rooney
Ginola
Hughes
Rooney
Eto'o
James
Whiteside
Who else?

Sadly, they were on the books of other clubs when they were great players. If only we were not their retirement home.

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Reader Comments (87)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 10/10/2021 at 20:53:35
You can't leave out our 20-goal-a-season super-hero...

Romelu Lukaku!

Peter Mills
2 Posted 10/10/2021 at 21:22:51
You can add Louis Saha and Colin Todd to that squad, Andy.
Dennis Stevens
3 Posted 10/10/2021 at 21:36:01
He may have been knocking on but Gough was a quality player for Everton. Similarly with Nigel Martyn, even though we signed him later than we should have.
Tony Everan
4 Posted 10/10/2021 at 22:02:21
Gareth Barry came to us aged 33 I think and did a real professional job. Would have loved him in his mid twenties and had him around longer.
Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 11/10/2021 at 04:23:18
Or we could look at our "finest" International XI:

Baarden
Hottiger
Krøldrup
Heitinga
Pistone
Nyarko
James
Van de Meyde
Jo
Niasse.

That is the team, not the subs bench, although we could add one with the likes of Matterazzi, Dacourt etc and a host of Scandinavians.

Ajay Gopal
6 Posted 11/10/2021 at 06:42:07
Alan, how could you leave out Alcazar and Funes Mori? And Mo Besic, Sandro Ramirez, Davy Klaassen? Our list of the 'finest' is long indeed.
Derek Knox
7 Posted 11/10/2021 at 06:45:11
If only... we had signed Riquelme! :-)
Danny O’Neill
8 Posted 11/10/2021 at 07:18:41
The stark thing about that list, Andy, is that at first glance (no research, so open here), we had most of those players as they approached their twighlight. Nigel Martyn definitely deserves a call, but again, we had him at the end of his career.

Michael calls out Lukaku, who we had before he was the finished article, but could still finish. Some didn't have the patience with him and I would add John Stones to that category. Materazzi as well; even in the one season we had with him, I sensed he would go on to great things. All down to opinions obviously.

Matt Traynor
9 Posted 11/10/2021 at 07:39:42
Whiteside was 24 when we signed him... Sadly because he'd been playing regularly for club and country since the age of 16, he was knackered.

Great first season – joint top scorer (with Cottee) with 14 goals, from I think about 28 appearances. Just a single appearance the next season and that was him done.

Colin Glassar
10 Posted 11/10/2021 at 08:11:18
If only we had bought a footballer from Arsenal and not, Alex Iwobi.
Les Green
11 Posted 11/10/2021 at 08:48:07
Tim Cahill could make that list in my opinion.
Brendan McLaughlin
12 Posted 11/10/2021 at 09:27:06
James Rodriguez
Pete Clarke
13 Posted 11/10/2021 at 09:40:05
I'm with Peter Mills on this. Colin Todd was a brilliant center-half but we go and use him as a right-back for most of the season he was with us.

David Johnson came to us too late... as did Bruce Ricoh.

Brian Harrison
14 Posted 11/10/2021 at 09:48:20
That list certainly has some very talented players on it, the problem being they were all well past their sell-by date when we got them.
Clive Rogers
15 Posted 11/10/2021 at 10:39:47
Assuming that the stories are true, Whiteside didn't exactly look after his body. Ironically he became a physio to look after other footballers' bodies!!!
Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 11/10/2021 at 10:51:05
Interesting about Whiteside. I never realised he was only 24 when he signed for us. He seemed to have the body of a 34 year old!

My best mate idolised "Big Norm". I was not a huge fan.

Wasn't sure if that was because I didn't rate him at the time (he was great in some of his time at United), or I was just still re-living that Cup Final goal every time he took to the pitch.

Michael Kenrick
17 Posted 11/10/2021 at 11:05:47
Matt @9,

I honestly don't remember Whiteside scoring as many goals as Cottee.

Looks like Whiteside scored 9 in the League (26 starts) and 4 in the cups for a total of 13 (same as Sheedy, though; maybe that's what you remembered).

Cottee scored 13 in the League (25 starts) and 2 in the cups for a total of 15.

And talking of one-season wonders... is nobody going to mention a certain Gary Lineker?

Martin Nicholls
18 Posted 11/10/2021 at 11:40:10
Michael #17 and others,

As I've posted elsewhere, I had the good fortune to spend some time with Norman Whiteside in Hotel Football after the Old Trafford game. He talked fondly of his time at Goodison and as well as saying without hesitation, that Neville Southall was the best Everton player he played alongside, he referred to vying with Tony Cottee for top scorer.

He jokingly talked of Cottee nicking a goal from him by sliding in on the ball after it had already crossed the line! Colin Harvey apparently persuaded him to let Cottee have the goal as he was a striker! No dubious goals panel in those days to award the strike to Norman!

As for Lineker, he'd have been far more than a one-season wonder for us had he not moved on because of the Heysel induced European ban.

Martin Nicholls
19 Posted 11/10/2021 at 11:52:58
Alan J Thompson #5 – how could you omit that massive waste of money (and space!) Claus Thomsen from your first eleven?!

I've just looked at the TW profile of him which describes him to perfection. It lists strengths as tall, handsome blue eyed blonde and weaknesses as statuesque, ineffective and immobile. Couldn't have put it better myself!

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 11/10/2021 at 11:53:12
He was, Michael, but what a 40-goal one-season wonder he was.

Don't drop the Heysel grenade as you'll ruin my day off and that of my wife! Who knows, if he'd have known Everton could have offered him European football and in the top competition, he could have been a 5- or 6-season wonder.

Not a great footballer though. Poor touch, couldn't dribble, can't remember him being a great passer of the ball. But he could finish.

Sound familiar to someone more recent mentioned above?

Michael Kenrick
21 Posted 11/10/2021 at 12:12:10
Martin @18,

That's a great story – and it would vindicate Matt @9 if Big Norm had one more and Cottee one less – both on 14!

Martin Nicholls
22 Posted 11/10/2021 at 12:40:53
Michael - I've just researched that story and it seems the match in question was on 10 February 1990 against Charlton. The goal in question was our equaliser in a 2-1 win.
Barry Hesketh
23 Posted 11/10/2021 at 13:01:21
I'm not sure that either Cottee or Whiteside should lay claim to that goal, looks as if it might be an own goal?

EFC v Charlton

Player Records 89-90

Peter Mills
24 Posted 11/10/2021 at 13:02:26
I’ve just reviewed that Cottee goal on YouTube and reckon it was an oggy.
Stephen Vincent
25 Posted 11/10/2021 at 13:09:23
What about Bilyaletdinov? Scorer of one the finest strikes seen at Goodison in recent years. Almost last kick of the season vs Pompey, to give us a 1-0 win.

Landon Donovan and who can forget Preki?

Martin Nicholls
26 Posted 11/10/2021 at 13:12:21
Barry & Peter - you're probably right but I'll leave it to you to tell Big Norman!
Ken Kneale
27 Posted 11/10/2021 at 14:08:23
Peter @2 and Pete @13,

Spot on with Colin Todd – a great player totally wasted. I remember being very pleased with the signing only to see Gordon Lee and the player clearly at loggerheads. It was around this time that Gordon's first couple of promising seasons started to unravel as I recall, with both the football on offer and the league position falling rapidly.

Perhaps we should start another list of players signed who were excellent in their chosen role but who – annoyingly for supporters – the incumbent manager insisted on playing out of position.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 11/10/2021 at 14:28:28
Danny (20), Len Shackleton, a great footballer but a maverick, writing in a Sunday paper, described Gary Lineker as a very good goalscorer but a puddin' of a footballer which is the way you also picture him – great minds thinking alike there Danny?
Brian Wilkinson
29 Posted 11/10/2021 at 17:11:02
Peter @13, are we not doing the same now with one of our finest centre-backs in Godfrey, playing him at right- and left-back, instead of leaving him in his favoured position.

Agree about ColinTodd.

Brian Wilkinson
30 Posted 11/10/2021 at 17:14:57
Come on, guys... what about Royston Drenthe or Peter Beagrie?

No, okay then, I raise you all Ashley Williams.

Dale Self
31 Posted 11/10/2021 at 18:17:32
John Fucking Collins, that's who! Apologies to the Collins family but that man knew how to play football.
Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 11/10/2021 at 20:42:25
Dave Abrahams @28, I wouldn't call mine a great mind! Humble, occasionally opinionated, but far from great!!

Lineker done what he was good at and Howard changed our style to accommodate it. It very nearly came off and again, was testimony to Kendall's and Harvey's ability to adapt when you look at those 3 seasons.

John Collins. Now there was a tidy player, Dale. An Everton player who unfortunately joined Everton at the wrong time. The planets didn't align, as they say.

Jim Lloyd
33 Posted 11/10/2021 at 21:15:25
I remember a story about Bill Shankly, when he used to come to our games, that he thought Colin Todd was one of the finest English centre-halves going.

Duncan McKenzie had a little phrase about Mr Lee, which included a new bolt for Christmas.

Phil Gardner
34 Posted 11/10/2021 at 22:51:41
I think some of these guys came here too late. I know that some did very well for us, but we never really had them at their absolute peak:

Kevin Campbell
Alex Cleland
John Collins
John Goldman
Paul Power
Andy Gray
Don Hutchison
Mo Johnston
Brian Kidd
Anders Limpar
Paul Rideout
Vinny Samways
Alan Stubbs
Dave Thomas.

Danny O’Neill
35 Posted 11/10/2021 at 23:32:29
But a lot of them won trophies with us, Phil. Which demonstrates the benefit of blending experience with potential.

Andy Gray: League title, FA Cup winner and European trophy.
Paul Power: League title.
Anders Limpar: FA Cup winner
Paul Rideout: FA Cup winner & scored the goal that won it

Even Vinny Samways was part of that 95 FA Cup winning squad but didn't play, although he scored the goal that won us the Charity / Community Shield that followed.

Stubbs; interesting one. I wish he'd have gone to Everton sooner in his career.

Drew O’Neall
36 Posted 12/10/2021 at 01:15:29
Jesper Blomqvist, another one on the scrap heap at Man Utd offloaded to gullible Everton.
Geoff Lambert
37 Posted 12/10/2021 at 02:25:35
What about Peter Beardsley.
Danny O’Neill
38 Posted 12/10/2021 at 06:36:06
Peter Beardsley. Now there's a shout, Geoff.

He may have been edging towards the end of his career and therefore takes his place on Andy's list, but he was still a joy to watch in an Everton shirt, in my opinion.

You could see he was too good for the Everton team he played in. I never really used to hear the Goodison crowd criticise when one of his intelligent passes went amiss. It was more frustration at the players just not being on the same level and reading the game as he did. He was always one or two steps ahead in mind and thought process.

Very underrated player when we talk of English greats, in my opinion. But it's all about opinion, I suppose.

Matt Traynor
39 Posted 12/10/2021 at 07:01:12
Danny #38,

I was working in Liverpool when we signed him. I was walking back to the office from a meeting elsewhere, and saw the headline on the Echo. I did something I never normally did – bought it. As soon as I got into the lift at the office, with it draped over my arm and the headline visible, a Red saw it, and was apoplectic. "An absolute steal that" – at the £1M fee, even for a 30-year-old.

Sadly I saw our game at Anfield the following season when we lost 1-3 I think, and had the red hordes chanting "What a waste of talent".

I recall Kendall sold him at a 50% profit, as he was about the only sellable asset we had, and Kendall himself left a few months later when the Board blocked his attempts to sign Dion Dublin.

Danny O’Neill
40 Posted 12/10/2021 at 07:57:37
Matt, in a way, but not exactly the same, that Dion Dublin scenario has parallels to the Tore Andre Flo saga that ultimately led to Joe Royle throwing the towel in. Back me or sack me.

Dion Dublin; good enough for Alex Ferguson and rated by Howard Kendall. Okay, Ferguson moved on and got Cantona, so Dublin was surplus as well as suffering injury. I've used the phrase previously, Ferguson was "stepping stone" building towards success. But to have 2 winners, on the pitch (Kendall) and from the dugout (Kendall & Ferguson), rate a player, you listen right?

In some way, you want the board to listen to the football people. But as we've seen recently, if they do so blindly, it can go wrong. A balance as always, but the key point here is that with the Dublin & Flo scenarios, the board were being advised by league title winners. But then again, Ronald Koeman!!

Football. As much as we preach the School of Science, it's just not scientific!!

Tony Abrahams
41 Posted 12/10/2021 at 08:09:07
Phil@34, looking back at your list, I'd say that Don Hutchison, was playing very well for Everton, and was probably our best player, when we sold our captain way too cheaply, for around £4 million, and this was possibly a sign of how much trouble Everton were in financially around this time?

I've just looked it up: he was sold to Sunderland in the July for £2.5 million, and they sold him to West Ham, the following summer and doubled their money. Hutchison was sold because Everton wouldn't give their captain parity with the higher earners at the club.

Guess what: I looked up when Bill Kenwright purchased Everton, and wasn't surprised to see it wasn't long before Hutchison was sold.

Brian Murray
42 Posted 12/10/2021 at 08:17:10
Tony. On that very same point, I asked Kenwright outside Goodison why they won't give our best player Hutchison a new contract but offered a then 31-year-old Campbell a new 5-year one. He gave his usual bumbling response, something about Walter making the call on it.
Peter Warren
43 Posted 12/10/2021 at 08:55:39
Beardsley (although he was great for us).
Danny O’Neill
44 Posted 12/10/2021 at 09:02:20
There was a comment on here (not this thread) about dark times recently and that this is as bad as someone has seen it.

Tony & Barry have probably taken me back to my darkest as an Evertonian! Thanks guys!!

Selling probably our best player at the time (Hutchison) and equally important, a leader on the pitch, to Sunderland. Sunderland? Fucking Sunderland?? Apologies for repeating and I'll go and say my Hail Marys for the language.

The Walter Smith years. It may have got bad and we sailed close to the wind with Kendall's 2nd & 3rd reigns along with Mike Walker, but Walter Smith. I've never known such a depressing cloud over the club. That Middlesborough FA Cup match, that I recall put the nail in the coffin, epitomised it for me. I don't think I ever had been or ever will be as low as I was that day watching Everton.

That's just my view obviously.

Clive Rogers
45 Posted 12/10/2021 at 09:29:25
Wages were the issue with Hutchison. He was incensed that John Collins was on £28k a week while he was on single figures. He was offered £12k, called it derisory and was made to train outside the first-team squad. He went on to £40k at Sunderland. Collins was a blue-eyed boy of course but never really performed for us while Walter Smith was a nasty tyrant.
Andrew Ellams
46 Posted 12/10/2021 at 09:55:06
Peter Beardsley is still one of the best English footballers I've seen in my lifetime and he did not get a single cap under Graham Taylor.
Brian Harrison
47 Posted 12/10/2021 at 10:00:16
I think what this thread highlights is the amount of absolute dross we have signed over the decades. No wonder we have been struggling to win trophies when you see the names on these lists.

I guess a lot of the dross was signed when we no longer had the financial clout of Sir John Moores in control. I think the biggest "if only" is our lack of finding proper replacements of ownership when trying to replace him because, once we didn't have his financial backing, this club went downhill fast. Even now, we have a billionaire owner who, through his poor leadership, we have spent a fortune to go backwards, and have now fell foul to FFP.

Many of our fans are hoping that, when we have built our new stadium, things might change, given the added revenue it will bring. But, as we are seeing, where once it was the wish of fans to get a billionaire owner to take us to the next level, it hasn't happened; I don't believe that the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will be the panacea we all hope for.

Danny O’Neill
48 Posted 12/10/2021 at 10:34:23
He wouldn't have Andrew Ellams @46. They didn't get the tag "Graham's Grafters" for nothing.

One of the original advocators of the percentage game that plagued English football and set it back.

Why pick Peter Beardsley when you have Carlton Palmer?

Clive Rogers
49 Posted 12/10/2021 at 11:35:51
Brian #47,

As you say, we went downhill fast after Moores, although contrary to popular belief, he never gave EFC a single penny. He was an astute businessman who ran a tight ship who gave interest-free loans when necessary which were always paid back.

We went downhill under Kenwright who recently admitted “I haven't got a clue about business.” He reportedly turned down both Paul Gregg and Sheikh Mansour takeovers rather than give up the Chairmanship.

Phil Gardner
50 Posted 12/10/2021 at 12:28:09
Danny (34),

I sort of qualified that by stating that some had done very well for us. My contention was that we had most of them, trophies notwithstanding, when they had already peaked and in keeping with the subject of the post, it would have been nicer to have had them earlier. I think that goes for Rideout, Gray, Power, Limpar and Samways.

Hutchison was flogged when he was our Player of the Season, as was Speed… Everton that!

Barry Hesketh
51 Posted 12/10/2021 at 12:41:59
Most exciting Premier League era Everton starting line-up, regardless of whether they were successful at Goodison or had their success elsewhere but they are selected at the peak of their careers and turned out for Everton in the Premier League.

Neville Southall; Michael Ball, John Stones, Dave Watson, Leighton Baines; Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley; Andrei Kanchelskis, Wayne Rooney, Romelu Lukaku, Anders Limpar.

Nicholas Ryan
52 Posted 12/10/2021 at 12:53:16
Danny [44]... never been as low as that day... Sure?

How about Everton v Coventry, December 1983; 0-0, crowd at Goodison Park (on a Saturday afternoon)... 13,000!

Pete Clarke
53 Posted 12/10/2021 at 13:44:33
Nicholas. I was at that game and admit to giving Kendall a bit of stick. Me and my mate were kicking an empty can to each other, there was so much space. That was a terrible time to be blue but luckily Howard took notice of me and turned it all around 😉
Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 12/10/2021 at 13:47:43
I loved Limpar, Phil. And I wish we'd have had Gary Speed (RiP) for longer too.

I'll give you that, Nicholas. 1983, Kendall must go and the leaflets. My Uncle Patrick went on about that for years after. "Hold your nerve" he said!

I think I was blessed with youthful ignorance at the time as I knew (as much as any 12-year-old can) we were going to come good.

Fast forward to 2002 and the 30-year-old, more realistic Danny is sat watching in despair wondering when it will end!!

I might be 50 now, but I'm going to stick to youthful ignorance and blind faith!!

John McFarlane Snr
55 Posted 12/10/2021 at 14:57:37
Hi Nicholas [52] and Danny [54],

There are dark and even darker days... my darkest day was on Saturday 5 May 1951, when a point [0-0] at Hillsborough would have been enough to secure Everton's top-flight position. A 6-0 defeat resulted in relegation and Sheffield Wednesday despite their victory, accompanied us to the Second Division. Everton were bottom on goal average, below Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea.

As a 12-year-old approaching 13 it was, despite many subsequent disappointments, the last time Everton made me cry, but they've come mighty close on occasion.

Steve Brown
56 Posted 12/10/2021 at 15:01:28
Everton 0 Norwich 2 on 11 April 1981, with a crowd of 16,000. Gordon Lee's last season and Norwich relegated. The only cheer was when Joe Royle scored ......for Norwich.

Kevin Molloy
57 Posted 12/10/2021 at 15:12:41
On the subject of players and money, I just read an article about Trevor Steven. Apparently during the whole of his time here, he never earned even a thousand pounds a week. Astonishing.

Apparently that was one of the attractions of Rangers, they were going to pay him a decent wedge.

Ian Horan
58 Posted 12/10/2021 at 16:09:48
My worst Everton experience was the Glenn Keeley derby, in the Bullens Paddock with my older brother, a copper kept standing in front of us, obstructing our view. My brother Jake shouted to the copper: "Have you paid to get in?"

The reply was "No!" To which my brother said "We have, so can you move!!!" Fair play to the copper, he started walking up and down.

When Rush got his 3rd goal, my brother shouted to the copper "For fuck's sake, come and stand in front of us please!!!" The copper burst out laughing.

So worst memory and obviously one of the funniest.

Brian Murray
59 Posted 12/10/2021 at 16:37:11
Ian.

Even as a 15-year-old I had got the measure of what we were all about and done one after the second. The pain losing a derby to this day makes me sick.

Stephen Vincent
60 Posted 12/10/2021 at 17:25:28
A reminder, there is just about 6 hours left on the auction for the signed Pat Nevin autobiography the only bid to date is £30. All proceeds to the TW Golf Day charity appeal. Given that the price of the book is £20 I would have thought that the auction would have raised more.

Come on blues be generous.

Pete Clarke
61 Posted 12/10/2021 at 23:11:56
Ian.

I will agree with the Glen Keeley derby as my worst memory. I could not get a ticket but someone offered me one just before kick-off, for the Park End stand.

Stupidly I went in and my body still shakes in the memory of those hordes of crap singing "1,2,1-2-3,1-2-3-4, 5-0". I couldn't even get out until 10 minutes from time.

Always puzzled me why Kendall signed Keeley as we had Mike Walsh on the bench that day if memory served me right.

Danny O’Neill
62 Posted 13/10/2021 at 06:31:03
I always try and erase the Ian Rush derby from my memory, Peter. And now you've stirred up another unpleasant day in my life: 10 May 1986. Distraught.

That day I was crying, John Senior, although in context and hindsight, it was on the back of narrowly missing out on a league and cup double, not relegation!

Brian Wilkinson
63 Posted 13/10/2021 at 16:23:41
Mine has to be the 1986 FA Cup Final.

Everton in total cruise control, a goal to the good, the Red Shite arguing among themselves on the pitch, we had them on the ropes.

Then the dark forces kick in and Gary Stevens plays a stray pass... the rest is history.

Mike Gaynes
64 Posted 13/10/2021 at 16:35:36
From a Guardian article on Olivier Giroud... it wasn't his wife who made him turn down Everton.

In his book he details how he decided not to go to Everton or Inter after one of his mother's friends, named Nicole, got in touch both times to tell him about prophetic dreams she had had, warning that the moves would not give the striker the satisfaction he sought. Each time subsequent events suggested the advice had been good. Giroud values Nicole's visions.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2021/oct/12/a-sign-from-heaven-olivier-giroud-on-turning-down-everton-and-his-mbappe-feud?utm_term=10aca3ca7e33379a6a3dd32ef9569835&utm_campaign=TheFiver&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=fiver_email

Barry Hesketh
65 Posted 13/10/2021 at 17:08:23
Mike @

It's a pity that Mr Moshiri didn't consult Nicole before appointing Koeman. I suspect that Giroud was taking notice of the Nicole linked below?

Nicole

Steve Brown
66 Posted 13/10/2021 at 17:32:43
Well I heard that his wife wouldn't have it, as he'd had an affair with a female from Liverpool who then sold the story to the tabloids.
David Pearl
67 Posted 13/10/2021 at 17:49:36
Steve, that Lily Savage has a lot to answer for...
Mike Doyle
68 Posted 13/10/2021 at 18:01:22
John McF #55,

Your mention of Hillsborough reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a Sheffield Wednesday fan. Both of our fathers thought that Tony Kay was the best player they ever saw playing for our 2 clubs. Sadly I'm not old enough to have seen Tony play, but I wondered how high up the rankings you would place him?

Jerome Shields
69 Posted 13/10/2021 at 18:50:06
I remember being in a lounge bar, talking to the barman. He told me that Norman Whiteside had given a talk the night before and it was well attended and received.

On cue, Norman arrived through the door. He had handed round his FA Cup medal for those present to look at. He hadn't got it back, only discovering so when he had got back to his hotel.

I did try hard to look concerned, but could only visualize him coming up the wing knackered and putting in a flukey curved shot, knocking over the camera on the inside goal netting in the dying secs against Everton.

The same game that Kevin Moran was innocence personified, like Son the rat, when sent off for a really dirty over-the-ball professional foul.

I had the same feeling when he joined Everton, losing the ball continuously. A Man Utd reject bought by Everton. Everton have hopefully learned years later.


John McFarlane Snr
70 Posted 13/10/2021 at 22:27:22
Hi Mike [68],

We all have favourite players. In my case, from the latter part of the 40s to the present day, and I find it impossible to pick the best player overall. If pushed, I would choose Alex Young.

With regard to Tony Kay, I would say that he was indeed an excellent wing-half and a possible captain of England. He was a leader, and a no-nonsense tackler, but I'm afraid that he and his peers wouldn't last long in today's game. It's true that he had a nasty side to his character, but it saddens me to say that football is on the verge of becoming a non-combat game.

As I have hinted, I believe that fans of every generation will have players that they favour, and I think that they will struggle to select an out-and-out favourite, so many players with different attributes.

Derek Thomas
71 Posted 14/10/2021 at 01:15:19
My worst 'downer' – and there have been a few – is still the 1968 FA Cup Final.

The skies had cleared, the sun had come out, and all I can hear, even now, is the boom, boom, boom, intro and that prancing jackanapes Cliff Richard, belting out 'Congratulations'. Fuck off.

There are still only two songs I turn off the radio for; one is obvious... the other is that.

Eddie Ng
72 Posted 14/10/2021 at 04:48:59
My choice of the 11 that played for us too early or late (in some cases, also not long enough that we would have wanted) but still made a significant impact, in terms of titles and/or memories:

Martyn
Todd
Gough
Stones
Power
Limpar
Kanchelskis
James
Rideout
Lukaku
Rooney

Alan J Thompson
73 Posted 14/10/2021 at 06:03:54
Not to mention the man who scored a goal for every 20 minutes he played: Traore.
Danny O’Neill
74 Posted 14/10/2021 at 06:36:10
Brian W @63.

A match I forget but I did bring it up!! I remember the defining moment as well. Sharpe's looping header that was going to make it 2-0?? But no, Brucie the Clown pulls off a save that an acrobatic gymnast would be proud of.

Christine Foster
75 Posted 14/10/2021 at 07:02:54
Surprised no-one has mentioned Dave Watson, what a servant he was to the club, as was Mick Lyons, I think Watson played in the first team until he was in his late 30s.

Alex Young, Jimmy Husband (I have never forgiven Dave Mackay for that tackle..) Dave Thomas, Roy Vernon for his penalties, Stracqualursi for his effort!

Peter Reid for his aggression, Albert Dunlop for saving a penalty (diving the wrong way, he caught the ball between his legs) at my first Everton game.

But who was the best one-on-one striker against a keeper we had?

Danny O’Neill
76 Posted 14/10/2021 at 07:47:28
Tricky one that, Christine, and obviously there will be generational differences as well as interpretations of what you mean by one-on-one.

Bearing down on a keeper in a true one-on-one sense, and it is in line with the thread "If only…" (as in "If only they had stayed longer / been with us sooner"), I'm going for Gary, Gary Lineker. Despite his footballing averageness, once he was in and behind the defence, you almost knew the net was going to bulge.

On Watson, not one of my favourites to be honest, but a great servant. And, to your late 30s point, it's why I never get over-excited about having players who are 30 or above, especially centre-backs.

Some seem to obsess about having a team of 20-year-olds who are "young and hungry". I played my last competitive fixture at my own level aged 40. I was as hungry then as I was when I was 20. A complete team will blend youth, potential and experience.

Chris Williams
77 Posted 14/10/2021 at 08:07:02
The biggest ‘if only' of all for me: Tony Kay.

He was a complete midfielder, sure he could tackle, but he could also pass the ball beautifully, scored goals, some for representative teams. He read the game beautifully and, as said earlier, he was a competitor and leader.

He had just broken into the England team, and then the sky fell in.

He is in my all-time best Top 5 Everton players, and his efforts, alongside Gabriel and Stevens in that long run-in after the winter freeze, were one of the main drivers towards our 1963 Championship.

If only…

Tony Abrahams
78 Posted 14/10/2021 at 08:27:56
That goal would have put Everton back in front, Danny, in a game that had been all one way until Stevens played a stupid short pass on the side of the Wembley pitch that was destroyed, helping to destroy our chances of finally beating Liverpool in a really, really massive game.

The worst for me though was when Distin did something very similar in that semi-final at Wembley, when Liverpool were there for the taking.

I knew loads of red cowards who never even went to Wembley that day because they didn't fancy their team, but none of them were bigger cowards than David Moyes, whose team had Liverpool where they really wanted them at half-time, and instead of expecting Liverpool to throw the kitchen sink at us during that second half (our captain Phillip Neville's words🤮), his team should have carried on playing on the front-foot, knowing they were better than the other crowd, and relishing how much joy they were about to bring us Evertonians by being brave.

This defeat left me feeling numb for about a week, and I'm sure I wasn't alone in feeling like this, with “Everton, you bastards” being my only thought.

Danny O’Neill
79 Posted 14/10/2021 at 08:43:14
Shows how the memory fades, Tony – hence the question mark. I remember jumping up and cheering, convinced that was going over Grobbelaar. I deviate but, despite the rivalry, I always felt he (Brucie) had a good rapport with the Evertonians and the Gwladys Street. I always remember him playing to the crowd and doing his wobbly leg / knee thing as we sung "You're a clown". Followed by mutual clapping!!

Oh that semi-final. I was fuming. Talk about throwing the towel in when, like you say, we had them and just had to keep doing what we'd been doing and stay on the front foot.

I went to Wembley that day. I didn't have a ticket but went as I've done a few times to soak up the atmosphere, and watched it in the same bar I watched the Man Utd semi-final when I gave my ticket to my son.

I could say I was distraught, but I was just angry. To the point of arguing with bitter gloating reds on the way to the station. Something I don't usually do and am not proud of. And there was no escape. When I got back to Uxbridge to one of my locals to further console myself, there were more of them! At the end of the M40 and next to the Metropolitan Line direct to Wembley Park, we tend to be a cheap staging post for the North West and Midland teams. There was no escaping it.

I'm going to have to be careful. I'm in danger of hitting the 40 post limit on this one!!

Peter Mills
80 Posted 14/10/2021 at 09:56:51
Christine, Gary Lineker was very good at one-on-ones with the ‘keeper.

However, the two greatest examples I've seen were Derek Temple in the 1966 FA Cup Final, and Trevor Steven against Bayern Munich, both taken with extraordinary composure and technique, particularly given the pressure of the moment.

Alan McGuffog
81 Posted 14/10/2021 at 10:01:27
Ditto, Peter, and I'd add Tricky Trev's at White Hart Lane in 1985.

One of our worst one-on-ones, in my humble opinion, was Cottee.

Paul Ward
82 Posted 14/10/2021 at 10:28:32
I would say the best individual goal I can remember, was Jermaine Beckford scoring against Chelsea 2011. Running 70 yards, beating 4 Chelsea players then beating the keeper one-on-one.
Derek Thomas
83 Posted 14/10/2021 at 10:44:38
Peter @80; I remember Derek Temple stating in a paper, when asked what was going through his mind as he approached Springett.

He said, "After seeing what happened to Alex Young and no penalty, I was always going to shoot; there was no way I was going anywhere near the 'keeper."

Danny O’Neill
84 Posted 14/10/2021 at 10:47:22
Peter @80, stop it or you will make me use up my allowance on this thread!!

It wasn't the finish. It wasn't even the very instinctive awareness of Steven's position and first-time pass by Andy Gray.

It was the way Kevin Sheedy seemingly put the game into slow motion to wait for the right moment to feed Gray and the runners in front of him.

A cauldron of an atmosphere, no doubt incredible tension and pressure on the pitch. But I still see Sheedy humming to himself thinking about mowing the grass the next day as he took his time!! You'll have to forgive my love for all things Kevin Sheedy!!

Brian Wilkinson
85 Posted 14/10/2021 at 15:12:02
Alan @81,

I will raise you Stuart Barlow for Cottee, the two sub goals he scored in the 4-all cup game alone should certainly give Cottee some grace.

For me, it had to be Gary Lineker, for one-on-ones, although Jelavic (before his injury) was up there.

Alan J Thompson
86 Posted 14/10/2021 at 15:12:52
Derek (#83);

As I remember his TV interview, after Temple said that, he didn't know if he should take the ball up to Springett and go around him or draw him out and chip him, so he just hit it.

Tom Bowers
87 Posted 14/10/2021 at 15:44:35
We have had many, many, ''greats'' on the books and of course many got big wages for a short tenure that only showed glimpses of what they used to be.

I agree that players like Tim Cahill contributed a hell of a lot more for what they cost and many of us will have fond memories of him and quite a few others who put their heart and souls into Everton Football Club.


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