This Week – 23 years ago

If you’d said to me back in 1999 that this would be Everton’s last win at Anfield for 21 years and their last one in front of a crowd, I’d have said you were crazy.

David Hardman 26/09/2022 3comments  |  Jump to last

Everton made the short trip across Stanley Park to face the old enemy in front of the Monday night TV cameras on 27 September 1999.

Their 5-year unbeaten run in derby matches had come to an end in their last encounter there, a narrow 2-3 defeat on that disastrous Easter weekend the previous April.

And although Everton's Premier League form under Walter Smith had been pretty solid so far that season (they’d won 4 of their last 5 going into this game), they were knocked out of the League Cup by third-tier Oxford Utd in their previous outing, hardly the ideal preparation.

Liverpool’s season so far had been equally inconsistent, good wins against Arsenal and Leeds offset by poor defeats against Middlesbrough and Watford.

Derby matches are difficult to call at the best of times, never mind when you don’t know which Everton and which Liverpool were going to turn up.

 

It would be Everton’s night

Quite early on in the game, Francis Jeffers flicked through a brilliant first-time ball to Kevin Campbell, putting him one-on-one with the Liverpool keeper. Westerveld got something on the shot, but for once the ball ran Everton’s way and  crept into the back of the net.

And for once, the referee wasn’t swayed by Michael Owen going to ground in the box a few minutes later – in the commentary, Martin Tyler shouts “Penalty!” at this moment as if he’s appealing for it himself!

And for once, Steven Gerrard was suitably punished for a reckless tackle on Campbell late in the game and given a straight red card. It’s little remembered because of the other sending(s) off in the game – Jeffers and Westerveld came to blows and were both given their marching orders in the 2nd half.

Jeffers had actually missed a handful of one-on-ones with their keeper prior to this fracas, so Everton’s lead could have been far more comfortable at that point. I can’t remember if Liverpool had already used all their subs, or just didn’t have a keeper on the bench, but either way, their veteran full-back, Steve Staunton, donned the goalkeeper’s shirt and gloves for the remainder of the game, and actually made a decent save from Xavier (I think) that any regular goalkeeper would have been pleased with.

5 minutes of added time were played – pretty standard now but an unusually large amount back then – but Liverpool simply didn’t look like scoring. 1-0 it finished.

I know there were quite a few articles on this site when Walter Smith passed away earlier this year, so apologies if some of this is going over old ground, but, for all the negativity, he did give us moments like this.

England’s pacey boy wonder, Michael Owen, and their flamboyant and so-far impressive new signing, Titi Camara, were barely given a kick all game thanks to the efficient defending of near 40-year-old Richard Gough, who also did a great job of marshalling his young defensive teammates, Michael Ball and Richard Dunne, during the game.

Richard Gough had arrived on a free transfer that summer. His partner at the back that night, David Weir, was signed for I believe it was £250,000 – it was certainly less than £1 million. That night’s goalscoring hero, Kevin Campbell, arrived initially on loan before £3M was spent on him. If such astute buys had been made by his successor, people would still be salivating over it now.

A few days after this victory, Everton drew at home to Coventry, a disappointing result at the time but one which put the blues 3rd in the Premier League table going into the October international break. So the team weren’t “perennial strugglers” under Smith, even though that seems to be the narrative now. 

I don’t believe Everton have had a striking partnership as good as Campbell and Jeffers since. Although, from 2004 onwards, there’s been a tendency to play with only one up front, so there haven’t been many strike partnerships to compare with. 

Nick Barmby and Abel Xavier, both in the Everton side that night, would make the rare move directly across Stanley Park in the next couple of years, while Westerveld would join Everton on emergency loan several years later (when Wright and Martyn were both injured and Turner suspended – I believe he made just two appearances). 

I’m aware that this is the second derby win I’ve looked back on and we’re not out of September yet. For any readers who think that must mean that I’m “obsessed” with them, all I’ll say is that last week I could easily have covered the 1993 Goodison derby; I didn’t. 

If you’d said to me back in 1999 that this would be Everton’s last win at Anfield for 21 years and their last one in front of a crowd, I’d have said you were crazy. And I’m not sure what part I’d have found crazier – going over 2 decades without a win there, or the fact that games had to be played behind closed doors for over a year.

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Reader Comments (3)

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Lee Courtliff
1 Posted 26/09/2022 at 18:16:32
Not to be pedantic, but it was Alan Parry who cried "Penalty!" not Martn Tyler.

Because I started supporting us in the 90s, and because of our 5-year unbeaten run against them, I've never really feared Liverpool as much as some.

No matter how much better they were than us during that period, we always gave them a game and rarely lost. In fact, they didn't win at Goodison from 1990 until 2001!

Even today, as much as I hate them and know they're far superior to us, I still go into derby day thinking about those games in the 90s and convincing myself we can get something.

Despite our bad run, we've drawn 10 of the last 12 at Goodison and won 1 and drawn at least 3 or 4 at Anfield in that time. Not good, obviously, but not as bad as some would seem to think. Definitely not good enough, before I'm accused of "knives to gunfights", but hopefully Frank can improve on that.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 26/09/2022 at 20:06:49
No-one is going to accuse you/ Lee. For generations, derbies have never been kind on us so we remember the moments for what they are and where.

The Andy King goal liberated a tortured generation.

The Graeme Sharp goal told us we were rising and about to do something.

The Kanchelskis brace gave us hope that we might be back. Short-lived.

Campbell, Carsley, Johnson and Cahill gave us moments of joy.

Carlo's team gave us a victory at Mordor. Sadly not in front of the faithful masses.

Our day is coming. And I don't mean in one match. I watched us get beat 3-1 at Anfield the season we last won the league.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
3 Posted 26/09/2022 at 22:23:29
And now we have Super Hanna Bennison who, last night, put the ball in the RS's net.

I will take a repeat of last night's result when the men play there later this season. Don't care we won, they lost.


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