CLOTH CAP nostalgia is a popular pastime among football folk as inner cities continue to be purged of their old football stadiums, replaced by smart, antiseptic structures of white steel and plastic. Horse manure no longer squelches underfoot as fans tramp through the streets and past red brick houses, the mildly eccentric fan with a transistor radio clamped to his ear has long gone. Like … Continue reading Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played
TODAY, players’ nicknames lack imagination. There are no “Black pearls”, “Nijinskys”, “Maradonas of the Carpathians” or “Ghosts” (for the uninitiated, these players were: Eusebio, Colin Bell, Georgi Hagi and John White). In the 1960s, Alex Young of Everton was dubbed “The Golden Vision” – a near-celestial nickname. It was Tottenham Hotspur’s double-winning captain, Danny Blanchflower, that coined the phrase in tribute to Young. Ironically, it … Continue reading Everton and the “golden vision”
ONE OF the most iconic photographic images of the 1980s is of Liverpool’s John Barnes back-heeling a banana at Goodison Park after a fan threw it his way during a Merseyside derby. The photo says a lot about an outstanding, gifted footballer trying to ignore a bout of racism by nonchalantly and intelligently using his skill to dispose of an offending item. Barnes received plenty … Continue reading John Barnes – realistic, or out of touch?
WHATEVER next, trademarking the air? Liverpool’s bid to trademark the name of their city has, appropriately, been rejected, and supporter groups such as “Spirit of Shankly” have expressed their relief. It must be something of an embarrassing situation, for this is a club that has long aligned itself to the city’s culture, the very meaning of being “scouse” and regional identity. To trademark the name … Continue reading Liverpool slipped up, but trademarks are important
THIRTY years ago, if you named the top six clubs in England, Everton would have been among them, despite the era belonging to their neighbours Liverpool. Traditionally, Everton were one of the blue riband institutions, but in the Premier League era, they have been unable to compete for major honours. In fact, the last piece of silverware won by the Goodison Park-based club was in … Continue reading Everton’s chance to regain status
AFTER finishing runners-up to Liverpool in both the Football League championship and the FA Cup in 1985-86, thus relinquishing the title they won in 1985, Everton bounced back to become champions for the second time in three seasons. This was a significant achievement given they lost their leading forward Gary Lineker to Barcelona after a summer in which the England forward had finished top scorer … Continue reading We are the Champions: 1986-87 – Everton
EVERTON don’t generally act rashly when it comes to managers, but despite their poor form this season, the most relevant factor in the disposal of Ronald Koeman may just have been the shifting sands at the club. Everton are under new management in the boardroom, with Farhad Moshiri owning almost 50% of the club. Bill Kenwright may be chairman and 12.2% stakeholder, but Moshiri gave … Continue reading Toffees couldn’t fudge the issue
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 … Continue reading We are the Champions: 1984-85 – Everton
ROONEY for Romelu? Seven years difference. A player in the ascendancy, a player on his way down. Good business for Everton? Certainly, with a £ 10m golden handshake, this is good business for Rooney. What makes people think that Wayne Rooney will enjoy an Indian Summer at his former club? For the past two years, Croxteth’s favourite son has been winding down, unable to command … Continue reading Everton and Rooney: What happens if the hero is a busted flush after all?
EVERTON’S GOODISON PARK is one of football’s ancient homes. It has played host to some fine games, including memorable scenes in the 1966 World Cup. Furthermore, it has hosted more top flight football than any other ground in England. But over the past few days, there are signs that the club may, at last, be on the move. It won’t be for a few years, … Continue reading Toffees still trying to move the earth
A FEW years ago, a group of young managers was highlighted as the new breed of progressive coaches more interested in technical advancement than in becoming black-suited egos prowling the touchlines. They were not necessarily in charge of the top clubs, but they were taking their employers into the realms of possibility. This group of “tomorrow’s men” included Michael Laudrup – and then his successor … Continue reading Martinez exit signals end of the “Likely lads”
IN 1985, the Heysel Stadium disaster brought to an end a period of English dominance in European club football. English clubs, following the unacceptable behaviour of Liverpool fans in Brussels, were banned until the 1990-91 season. European football breathed a sigh of relief. There were two reasons why our neighbours across the Channel might have been pleased. Firstly, English fans had been consistently causing problems … Continue reading The lost weekend that lasted five years
BACK IN THE DAY, magazines like Goal and Football Monthly, a huge stash of which I have sitting in my conservatory courtesy of my brother-in-law, carried stories about the best uncapped player plying his trade in the Football League. This was the age of Charlton, Bell, Ball, Mullery and Peters. Quality midfielders were not difficult to find if you were selecting England players. There was … Continue reading Kendall – the best player England never had