AFTER Liverpool’s three-year stranglehold on the league title, the trophy made the short journey across the city to Everton’s Goodison Park, with the Toffees’ first championship since 1970.
Everton were surprise winners, although the quality of their performances, resulting in a 13-point margin at the top of the table, fully justified their position as champions.
Nobody gave Everton much chance of winning the title at the start of 1984-85, although in 1983-84, they had reached the Football League Cup final, losing to Liverpool, and had won the FA Cup for the first time since 1966. Under manager Howard Kendall, a former player and key figure from the 1970 championship side, Everton developed a young team that played exciting football.
Kendall had been appointed in 1981 after a spell as manager of Blackburn Rovers. In his first three seasons in charge, Everton finished in the top eight each time. The FA Cup win in 1984, achieved against Watford, provided the springboard for further success.
Everton strengthened their squad in the summer of 1984 by paying £ 425,000 for Sunderland’s midfielder Paul Bracewell. But the season did not start too well, with a 1-4 home defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur. In fact, Everton lost their first two games and there was little indication that Kendall’s side could figure among the front-runners.
After that lack-lustre start, however, Everton went unbeaten in September, and in October, triumphed over Liverpool at Anfield for the first time since 1969-70, thanks to a spectacular goal from Graeme Sharp. A week later, Manchester United were beaten 5-0 at Goodison. After beating Leicester City on November 3, Everton went top of the table.
Despite losing in-form striker Adrian Heath to injury, Everton’s march was relentless, with an outstanding goalkeeper in Neville Southall, a well-organised defence and a very cohesive and talented midfield that included Bracewell, Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven. In centre forward Sharp they had a mobile and often under-rated front man. Sharp was supported by former Aston Villa and Wolves forward Andy Gray.
After losing at home to Chelsea just before Christmas 1984, Everton went on an 18-game unbeaten run, winning 16 and drawing twice. Their league form was carried into the FA Cup and European Cup-Winners’ Cup, with Everton reaching the final of both competitions. In Europe, they impressively beat Bayern Munich in the semi-final over two legs with one of their best displays of the season.
Everton clinched the league title on May 6 with a 2-0 win against Queens Park Rangers at home, with five games still to play. One of those was a 1-0 win against Liverpool, their closest rivals, but after that they took their foot off the pedal. With 88 goals scored and 90 points, they were worthy champions having won 28 of their 42 games.
On May 15, Everton won the European Cup-Winners’ Cup, beating Rapid Vienna in Rotterdam by 3-1. There was still chance of a cup and league double, but Everton were denied that honour by Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
Everton’s regular team: Neville Southall; Gary Stevens, Pat Van Den Hauwe, John Bailey; Kevin Ratcliffe, Derek Mountfield; Paul Bracewell, Trevor Steven, Peter Reid, Kevin Richardson, Kevin Sheedy; Andy Gray, Adrian Heath, Graeme Sharp.
Neville Southall (25): A marvellously consistent goalkeeper who was named Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year in 1984-85. Joined Everton from Bury in 1981 and won 92 caps for Wales in his long career. Made almost 600 appearances for Everton.
Gary Stevens (21): Developed by Everton’s youth scheme, Stevens broke into the first team in 1982 and went on to win 46 caps for England. Mostly a right back, he made over 200 league appearances before joining Glasgow Rangers in 1988 for £ 1.25million.
John Bailey (27): A popular character with the fans, Bailey was a Liverpool-born full back who joined Everton in 1979 from Blackburn Rovers. He appeared only briefly in the title winning season and left the club in 1986 for Newcastle United.
Pat Van Den Hauwe (23): A tough tackling full back who arrived at Everton in September 1984 from Birmingham City, costing £100,000. Capped 13 times by Wales, he stayed at the club until 1989 when he joined Tottenham.
Kevin Ratcliffe (23): A robust centre half who skippered Everton’s title winners in 1985 and two years later in 1987. Developed by Everton’s youth set-up, he was earmarked a genuine prospect beyond his own club and attracted interest from others early on in his career. Stayed with Everton until 1991 when he joined Dundee after making almost 400 league appearances.
Derek Mountfield (21): A composed central defender who had an outstanding season in 1984-85, often scoring vital goals. Signed from Tranmere for just £ 30,000, he was capped at England under-21 level. Lost his place in 1988 and moved to Aston Villa.
Trevor Steven (20): Right-sided midfielder who had an eye for goal throughout his Everton career. Signed from Burnley in 1983 for £300,000 and within two years, had been capped by England. Won 36 caps in total, playing in two World Cups. Left Everton in 1989 for Glasgow Rangers and later played for Marseille in France. Made over 200 league appearances for Everton.
Paul Bracewell (22): Midfielder who signed for Everton in the summer of 1984 from Sunderland, costing the club £ 425,000. Started his career with Stoke City and won three England caps. Returned to Sunderland in 1989 after making less than 100 league appearances for Everton.
Peter Reid (28): At just £ 60,000 a bargain signing from Bolton Wanderers for Everton in 1982, the modest fee due to Reid’s reputation for being injury-prone. This robust midfielder was key to Everton’s success in 1984-85 and was named PFA Player of the Year. Capped 13 times by England, he left the club in 1989 for Queens Park Rangers.
Kevin Sheedy (24): A skilful, left-footed midfielder who was adept at taking free-kicks. Moved across Liverpool from Anfield to Goodison Park in 1978 for a £ 100,000 price tag. Capped by the Republic of Ireland 46 times, playing in the 1990 World Cup. Moved to Newcastle United in 1992.
Kevin Richardson (21): A native of the North-East, Richardson was a product of Everton’s youth system. A versatile midfielder, he was rarely first choice at the club and moved in 1986 to Watford and later played for Arsenal.
Andy Gray (28): Battling forward who made his name with Aston Villa and Wolves before joining Everton in 1983 for £ 250,000. Possessing good aerial ability, he was capped 20 times by Scotland. His time at Everton was brief and in 1985, he moved back to Aston Villa.
Graeme Sharp (23): Tall striker who was signed from Dumbarton in 1980 for £ 120,000. Good in the air and also able to hold the ball up well, Sharp formed a series of good partnerships during his time at Everton, including one season with Gary Lineker in 1985-86. Capped 12 times by Scotland. Left the club in 1991 to join Oldham.
Adrian Heath (23): Diminutive midfielder/striker who arrived at Everton in 1982 from Stoke City, costing £ 750,000. Was in good form during 1984-85 until an injury against Sheffield Wednesday ended his season in December. He departed Everton in 1988 for Spain’s Espanyol.
Football League Appearances
|Atkins, I||6||Hughes, D||2||Sharp, G||36|
|Bailey, J||15||Morrissey, J||1||Sheedy, K||29|
|Bracewell, P||37||Mountfield, D||37||Steven, T||40|
|Curran, T||4+5||Oldroyd, D||0+1||Stevens, G||37|
|Danskin, J||1||Ratcliffe, K||40||Southall, N||42|
|Gray, A||21+5||Reid, P||36||Van Den Hauwe, P||31|
|Harper, A||10+3||Richardson, K||14+1||Wakenshaw, R||1+1|
|Heath, A||17||Rimmer, N||0+1||Wilkinson, P||4+1|
Goalscorers: Sharp 21, Steven 12, Sheedy 11, Heath 11, Mountfield 10, Gray 9, Richardson 4, Stevens 3, Reid 2, Wilkinson 2, Bracewell 2, Atkins 1. Total: 88
Football League Results
|Aug 25||Tottenham Hotspur||Home||L||1-4||Heath – pen||35,630|
|Aug 27||West Bromwich A||Away||L||1-2||Heath – pen||13,464|
|Sept 4||Ipswich Town||Home||D||1-1||Heath||22,314|
|Sept 8||Coventry City||Home||W||2-1||Steven, Sharp||20,013|
|Sept 15||Newcastle United||Away||W||3-2||Sheedy, Steven, Gray||26,944|
|Sept 22||Southampton||Home||D||2-2||Mountfield, Sharp||22,354|
|Sept 29||Watford||Away||W||5-4||Steven, Heath 2, Mountfield, Sharp||18,335|
|Oct 13||Aston Villa||Home||W||2-1||Sharp, Heath||25,089|
|Oct 27||Manchester United||Home||W||5-0||Sheedy 2, Heath, Stevens, Sharp||40,742|
|Nov 3||Leicester City||Home||W||3-0||Steven, Sheedy, Heath||27,784|
|Nov 10||West Ham United||Away||W||1-0||Heath||24,089|
|Nov 17||Stoke City||Home||W||4-0||Heath 2, Reid, Steven||26,705|
|Nov 24||Norwich City||Away||L||2-4||Sharp, Sheedy||16,925|
|Dec 1||Sheffield Weds||Home||D||1-1||Sharp – pen||35,440|
|Dec 8||Queens Park R||Away||D||0-0||–||14,338|
|Dec 15||Nottingham Forest||Home||W||5-0||Sharp 2, Sheedy, Steven, Reid||22,487|
|Dec 22||Chelsea||Home||L||3-4||Bracewell, Sharp 2 – pens||29,887|
|Dec 26||Sunderland||Away||W||2-1||Mountfield 2||19,714|
|Dec 29||Ipswich Town||Away||W||2-0||Sharp 2||16,045|
|Jan 1||Luton Town||Home||W||2-1||Steven 2||31,682|
|Jan 12||Newcastle United||Home||W||4-0||Sharp, Mountfield, Sheedy 2||32,156|
|Feb 2||Watford||Home||W||4-0||Stevens 2, Sheedy, Steven||34,026|
|Feb 23||Leicester City||Away||W||2-1||Gray 2||17,345|
|Mar 2||Manchester United||Away||D||1-1||Mountfield||51,150|
|Mar 16||Aston Villa||Away||D||1-1||Richardson||22,625|
|Mar 23||Arsenal||Home||W||2-0||Gray, Sharp||36,387|
|Mar 30||Southampton||Away||W||2-1||Richardson 2||18,754|
|Apr 3||Tottenham Hotspur||Away||W||2-1||Gray, Steven||48,108|
|Apr 6||Sunderland||Home||W||4-1||Grays 2, Steven, Sharp||35,978|
|Apr 16||West Bromwich A||Home||W||4-1||Atkins, Sharp 2 – 1 pen, Sheedy||29,750|
|Apr 20||Stoke City||Away||W||2-0||Sharp, Sheedy||18,258|
|Apr 27||Norwich City||Home||W||3-0||Mountfield, Steven, Bracewell||32,085|
|May 4||Sheffield Weds||Away||W||1-0||Gray||37,381|
|May 6||Queens Park R||Home||W||2-0||Mountfield, Sharp||50,514|
|May 8||West Ham United||Home||W||3-0||Gray, Mountfield 2||32,657|
|May 11||Nottingham Forest||Away||L||0-1||–||18,784|
|May 26||Coventry City||Away||L||1-4||Wilkinson||21,224|
|May 28||Luton Town||Away||L||0-2||–||11,509|
FA Cup: Finalists
Football League Cup: Round Four
European Cup-Winners Cup: Winners
Average home attendance: 31,984