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Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

The best ever...

 42 Comments: First  |  Last

We often hear that we have assembled the best squad for some time and I think there is some truth in that. If you had to name the five best Everton players you have ever seen, would any of the current crop make the list? I know a lot depends on one's age but in 45 years of supporting Everton the following are, for me, as good as it gets:

? Southall, the best goalkeeper I have ever seen.

? Ball, vision, skill and the ability,and how we could do with it now, to find a killer pass.

? Lineker, the best finisher I have seen.

? Ratcliffe, at his peak, the quickest and best defender in the world.

? Duncan Mckenzie. the player, after Ball, that I most looked forward to seeing.

Look at those names. We ARE a big club with a big history and a big tradition.

Not a very relevant post but it I've been watching the Milk Cup on TV and Everton have a magnificent tradition in it. There's more to come.
Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 29/07/2011 at 20:17:24

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Adam Bennett
1   Posted 30/07/2011 at 14:42:51

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Graeme Sharp ? First idol.

Neville Southall ? Unbeatable.... literally.

Trevor Steven ? Tricky Trev was full of tricks!

Duncan Ferguson ? Gave us hope and pride at time when we had none.

Andrei Kanchelskis ? Unplayable at times. His one man show at Sheffield Wednesday was unreal.
Brian Waring
2   Posted 30/07/2011 at 14:43:55

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Southall, Kanchelskis, Sharp, Latchford, Sheedy
Mark Hill
3   Posted 30/07/2011 at 14:39:07

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I would agree we have a big history, with some big players who over the last 100 or so years played a big part in making Everton what it is today. However, i would argue football today is totally different than it traditionally used to be. From huge paymasters, scientific technology, down to the tea lady (you don't hear people talk about the tea lady anymore!!). Today's game isn't really (though there are a couple of exceptions) about who you play for necessarily, its more about how much am i getting played for the players, and it's not just in the top flight either, i read today a player has left a top 5 club in league 3 to join a club 12 places further down the same league, because of the money they have thrown his way. It's not the players fault either. I think this ultimately (and for me totally when football sold out, and is thus no longer what it used to be, a working mans game) when football was ruined when they agreed the Sky deal...

but thats just my two pennath.....I can only dream, Andy, about the players you mention, or players of that ilk playing for us again...

because to compete, takes a truck load of money to be able to pay the players what now appears to be the going rate over a hundred grand a week, pushing three hundred grand aa week...who's our biggest wage earner at Everton in terms of the team? - isn't it the Manager...?
Colin Ryan
4   Posted 30/07/2011 at 15:00:06

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Top 5 Everton heros for me in about 23 years of watching are
Cant decide which order tho but seeing Timmy Cahill bullet a header in is hard to beat.
Mike Green
5   Posted 30/07/2011 at 15:12:14

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Were. Not Are. Unfortunately.
Jay Harris
6   Posted 30/07/2011 at 15:33:22

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The only one of the current squad who I would place on a pedestal is Leighton Baines who is the closest LB we have had to the great Ray Wilson.

Other outstanding players that spring to mind:

Undoubtedly the best GK I ever saw big Nev.

Brian Labone one of the classiest CBs ever.

Howard Kendall could tackle pass short and long and score goals... the best all round midfielder for me.

His partners in crime Harvey and Ball were also exceptional.

Roy Vernon and Alex Young... 2 of the greatest forwards I ever saw.

Sheedy for his sweet left foot and some of the most important golas in our history.
Trevor Lynes
7   Posted 30/07/2011 at 15:44:19

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I totally agree with Jay at # 6... Baines is defo' the only one that cuts it with me. I also agree with the names you mention but would add Linekar/ Sharp combo and who knows how good Kay would have been? He would have walked into the '66 World cup team as he was miles better than Styles.... I would give honourable mentions to McKenzie, Morrisey, Trevor Steven and Harvey.
Tony Rice
8   Posted 30/07/2011 at 16:16:44

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We do have a great history.....I love this club.....BUT the game has left us behind.
All we have is our history and we have ceased to be relevant in the modern era. We are like a wooden tennis raquet....

Sad but true......
Ray Said
9   Posted 30/07/2011 at 16:40:14

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No mention of Dave Thomas-'flying down the wing, socks around his ankles, defenders trailing in his wake-he crosses, Latchford rises and its in!!!!!!'
Brian Waring
10   Posted 30/07/2011 at 17:05:12

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Ray I thought of Thomas, being an ex - winger myself. Foe some reason, Ronnie Goodlass came to mind as well.
Martin Handley
11   Posted 30/07/2011 at 17:17:20

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If it's the best 5 I've SEEN then for me it's:

Big Nev
Andy King
Big Bob
Dave Watson
and controversially even though he was 90 when he played for us... Richard Gough.

Most exiting youngsters who moved on or never made it:

Billy Kenny
Olivier Dacourt
Marco Matterazzi
Franny Jeffers.
And they could all have been in the same team ... sigh... if only!

Ray Said
12   Posted 30/07/2011 at 17:43:38

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What price Dave Thomas now Brian?
Alex Kociuba
13   Posted 30/07/2011 at 17:48:31

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Martin, good shout with Richard Gough, he really was superb for us. But I'm afraid your wrong about Materazzi not making it! Went on to play for Italy national team 42 times, 184 appearances for Inter?!
Alex Kociuba
14   Posted 30/07/2011 at 17:53:19

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Ah I only just noticed Rooney is there too, i jumped the gun in assuming you meant 'making it' in general, not for us: sorry!
David Hallwood
15   Posted 30/07/2011 at 17:56:15

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Baines would make any line up from the last 30 years, possibly Arteta then you start to struggle
Al Reddish
16   Posted 30/07/2011 at 17:58:21

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My top 5:
Southall - the best keeper ever
Andy King - my first idol and something special
Kevin Sheedy - the best left foot ever
Kevin Ratcliffe - Great defender and so much pace
Graeme Sharp - THAT GOAL!!!
Martin Handley
17   Posted 30/07/2011 at 18:33:05

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Sorry, Alex... I should've been clearer. I'm watching the women's athletics on the telly.
Simon Harris
18   Posted 30/07/2011 at 18:19:01

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Mine are:

1 Southall - Sheffield wed away made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up
2 Andy Gray - Fearless and inspirational
3 Sheedy - pure class. Still smile at the amount of stick he took from the Paddock.
4 Peter Reid - A winner and for the retribution dished out to Jimmy 'Shithouse' Case.
5 Tommy Gravesen - difficult one to leave out Steven, but on his day Tommy was special and lifted my spirits during difficult times.
Andy Crooks
19   Posted 30/07/2011 at 18:51:54

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I actually believe that the Moyes era has yet to produce a great player. Cahill comes close, but that's it. This is absolutely not a criticism of David Moyes. He has built an effective unit which has done the job that was needed. Rooney was a Smith/Moyes player. So much is about timing and chance. If Moyes had Lineker or some remotely like him?
Ste Traverse
20   Posted 30/07/2011 at 20:44:56

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Top 5 I've seen...

Neville Southall
Kevin Ratcliffe
Trevor Steven
Kevin Sheedy
Gary Lineker
Ryan Rosenberg
21   Posted 31/07/2011 at 02:21:36

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I've only seen us play since 07/08, so ill go:

Derek Thomas
22   Posted 31/07/2011 at 01:23:25

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Dislaimer:1) it's a slow Sunday with nothing to do, well I have but fuck it it's Sunday.

2) The terms of Reff. are too narrow. Like with Music, I have, depending on mood and fancy about 14 in my The best records ever made ( current No 1 is 'Sultans of Swing') and about 150 in my all time top here I go.

The top 5 I have ever seen; and we could do with now.

Southall: West was nearly and on his day as good as Nev, but a bit up and down confidence / temprement wise.Others who would inspire confidence would be Norwegian Tommy ( what was the story behind him going?) and Martyn.

Fullbacks: Wilson and Parker, ' were' the Best in the Country in the early 60's and Wilson WAS the acknowledged best in the World... but Fullbacking was changing, did change and has changed.

Wilson Vs Baines is not a true Apples for Apples comparison.

So ( in the absence of Baines ) it's Stevens and Hinchcliffe for me, with a honourable mention for PvdH and Powers.

CB's: since the mid-60's they come as a pair; Hurst and Labone, Labone and Ratcliffe, Ratcliffe and Mountfield will do. And if a 23yr old Dave Watson was to bring his boots a long I would take the 18mill for Jags. The Lucas Neil Johnny H combo wasn't too shabby either.

Mid Field: No fannying around here No 1 ALAN BALL

In the ' If they brought their boots along on the first day of this coming season they might get a game over the present emcumbants ' catagory. Collins, Kay, Harris, Gabriel, Harvey, Kendall, Dobson, Bracewell, Reid, Fenandes.

Wide MF/ Wingers Temple, Scott, Morrissey, Husband, Thomas, Steven, Sheedy, Kanchelskis, Pienaar, Donavon.

Forwards: Young, Vernon, Pickering, Royle Latchford, Sharp, Gray, Big Dunc the younger.

And finally, in the ' Any one but Victor ' Cat. Bernie Wright, piss poor attitude ( no change upto now or so it seems ) but check his goals per game stats Vs the present bad attitude occupant.

Thats it, got to go, the wife has found me something to always.
Derek Thomas
23   Posted 31/07/2011 at 03:25:10

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Oh yeah, Lineker, Beardsley, Rooney, you 3 bring your boots as well.
Keith Edmunds
24   Posted 31/07/2011 at 06:46:40

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Doubt if many of my vintage could go past,


To which I would add Lineker and sadly Rooney, but if I thought for a while these two might change.
Gareth Humphreys
25   Posted 31/07/2011 at 08:45:27

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(1) Southall
(2) Kanchelskis
(3) Beardlsey
(4) Rooney
(5) Watson
John Audsley
26   Posted 31/07/2011 at 09:10:13

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Hmm. God this is tricky...

1. Southall ? best ever keeper
2. Steven ? class player
3. Beardsley ? vision and ability
4. Watson ? Brilliant in good times and bad; bad in the '89 Cup Final but brilliant in '95
5. Martyn ? saved us almost single handedly in the 2003-04 season

I could add a lot of others to that list as well.
Brian Waring
27   Posted 31/07/2011 at 09:43:47

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If only, Ray.
Billy Bradshaw
28   Posted 31/07/2011 at 10:05:22

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Surely there has to be a place for Peter Reid? He was the player who could drag a game by the scruff of the neck and change the course of it. He was Mr Motivator and the engine room of our great team of the 80s. He was sorely missed when he left and you didn't appreciate how good he was until he left.
Al Reddish
29   Posted 31/07/2011 at 10:12:50

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Reid and Gray should get very honourable mentions as they dragged us from the shit and turned us into the great team we all remember from the 80s. Two born winners and leaders.
Ray Roche
30   Posted 31/07/2011 at 10:53:45

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But it's more fun picking five turkeys...
There's more choice.
Derek Thomas
31   Posted 31/07/2011 at 11:55:32

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Ray Roche #30 ? "There's more choice" and that's the trouble.

I was talking to No 1 son about this topic in general and LBs in particular and we came upon a mental blackhole prior to Pistone (one of your candidates no doubt) and Hinchcliffe.

We then went to the Toffeeweb list of squads per season, with a few notable exceptions....

WHAT A LOAD OF SHITE, how did we not go down and stay down... How quickly our selective memory kicks in.

No wonder we have no money, the amount we wasted.

Agents Johnson, Kenwright, Smith, Moyes and others ? what were you thinking??!?!?
Ray Roche
32   Posted 31/07/2011 at 12:13:50

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I have to be honest, I originally made the Turkey comment with tongue in cheek, but you are dead right. Since the 80s we have had a dearth of real talent with only the odd beacon of light, Rooney etc, who, along with our current squad, stand apart from the Farrellys and Claus Thomsens. I really feel sorry for our younger supporters who can't look back on Ball, Young etc. You need to be in your mid-30s to have a real appreciation of a great Everton team like when Kendall Mk 1 sides ruled the roost.

There's two to start you off... Farrelly and Claus Thomsen.
James Stewart
33   Posted 31/07/2011 at 12:26:28

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Weir at his peak was probably the best CB I've seen for us. Played on too long though!
CiarĂ¡n McGlone
34   Posted 31/07/2011 at 12:40:57

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I can't believe someone said Gravesen. He played for six months. Big shout for Sheedy and my man Nevin.
Andy Crooks
35   Posted 31/07/2011 at 13:35:30

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The greatest turkey ever to wear an Everton shirt was Alex Nyarko. At least Farrelly scored one of the most important goals in our history.
Al Reddish
36   Posted 31/07/2011 at 15:12:03

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Mark Hottiger takes some beating, though Carl Tiler, Mitch Ward, Brett Angell and Scott Gemmill are not far behind him.
Phil Bellis
37   Posted 31/07/2011 at 15:52:00

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Kay - arrogant, stylish, a natural leader and hard as nails: today he'd have got a fine and 3 match ban
Simon Harris
38   Posted 31/07/2011 at 22:19:56

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And I can't believe someone said Nevin :-)
Andrew Earlam
39   Posted 01/08/2011 at 01:24:20

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There's more to come. I'm not so sure as I think you'll find we actually paid a fee for most of those mentioned.
Anto Byrne
40   Posted 01/08/2011 at 09:16:04

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I would like so see a compliation of the best players in each era 60s 70s 80s 90s and 00s. If you look at centre-forwards: Royle Latchford Sharp Ferguson Shrek and Saha. Keepers: West Southall Howard ? We have Labone Ratcliffe.
Nick Flack
41   Posted 01/08/2011 at 10:00:26

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Neville Southall. When I played, I was a goalie. 5'8" so got a fair bit of stick, so Southall was without doubt an idol. Just be brave, a bit arrogant, and hold a good position. His goalkeeping book was fantastic. "If a goal keeper is wearing long bottoms, his mind is already on things other than the game" What a crack-up!

Pat van den Hauwe. Turned a good team into a team that simply didn't concede. No-one was beating Gary Stevens, and I'll never forget the shout from the chap stood behind me in the Gwladys. "Put him in the Upper Bullens, Psycho!"

Peter Reid. For running 60 yards to cripple the lad who'd just ended Bracey's England career.

Agree with Duncan. Hope... when there was none. How the fuck we won a Cup Final with Stuart and Rideout in the team I'll never know. He was a true Blue Hero.

Daniel Amokachi. For pretty much shutting the whole fanbase up and making us all eat a bit of humble pie. Seeing the Gwladys Street bow on masse to a black player was something special at the time. We all need to grow up sometime.

Mad Dog. Similar reasons to Duncan.

Leighton Baines. Possibly the most important signing in decades. I genuinely think he'll be the guy to build a team round.

Tim Cahill. For reasons already mentioned. Legend in the making.

Unpopular one: Leon Osman. When he plays well, we play well. Has everything Arteta's got, and is as consistent, fitter, and can cross a ball.
Dave Brooks
42   Posted 02/08/2011 at 13:17:25

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Imre Varadi - for being unbelievably unlucky to see a strike come back off a post, the bar or a defender and for missing the rebound as it bobbled across his boots in an even-my-grandmother-could-put-that-one-away-and-she's-dead manner because he was holding his head in a did-you-all-see-how-unbelievably-unlucky-I-was? kind of way.

OK, I'm joking.

Neville Southall who stopped shots that I didn't think even the best keepers could stop. For me, at the time, the best in the game.

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