Memory Lane – Match 1

If you like nostalgia then this new feature might trigger some good and bad memories and hopefully be of interest to all Blues. Patrick will attempt to publish a potted history from the last 40 years, using his collection of Everton Matchday Programmes as a reference point. His intention, ahead of each game this season, is to look at corresponding fixtures from 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago.

Patrick Murphy 13/08/2013 16comments  |  Jump to last

Forty Years ago: 1973-74 — Match 1

Everton kicked off the 1973-74 season at Elland Road, the home of the mighty Leeds United. The same Leeds United, who had succumbed to overwhelming underdogs, Sunderland at Wembley in a memorable Cup Final earlier in the year.

This season saw the advent of three up and three down from the top flight, the theory of the change was to introduce more competition at the tail-end of the season, when many games where deemed meaningless and thus many fans lost interest and their absence had been duly noted. Don Revie in his programme notes was in favour of this change and he thought it might help to restore falling attendances to the Football League. The Leeds Manager was also upset at recent criticisms, by the media, of his side for their ‘professional’ way of playing the game.

This was Billy Bingham’s first Top Flight game as manager of Everton and in the Leeds programme he described how he couldn’t give the Toffees a straight answer when he was first approached to take over the club. This led to press speculation that Don Revie was ready to quit Elland Road during the close season and consider taking over at Everton. Bobby Robson the likeable and much respected manager of Ipswich Town had also reportedly turned down an offer to become manager of Everton. In the end, Mr Bingham sorted out his affairs in Greece and signed on the dotted line to become the permanent successor to Harry Catterick as Everton’s new Manager.

In a wide ranging interview, Bingham talked of his time in Greece and the trend in football for teams to be more interested in keeping clean sheets rather than trying to outscore the opposition. He went on to say that positivity had got to be the order of the day and that points for goals would be a way to improve the game. As for his first game in charge, he said that "The first match is always important for any new manager because it is only then that he sees if his hard work and ideas are going to bear fruition." Billy then told the interviewer that he and Don Revie were old friends having played in the same Sunderland team for three years.

Unfortunately for Everton and the new manager, the game ended in a 1-3 reverse with Joe Harper scoring a consolation goal for the Blues – not the ideal beginning to Billy Bingham’s career as Everton Manager.

1973-74, First Division: Saturday, 25 August 1973
Leeds United (A); Score: 1-3 (Harper). Attendance: 39,325

Everton: Lawson; Mclaughlin, Darracott, Lyons, Kenyon; Kendall Harvey; Harper, Royle, Buckley, Connolly.

Thirty Years ago: 1983-84 — Match 1

Stoke City were the visitors to Goodison Park in the Blues' first league fixture of 1983-84, in what would turn out to be a memorable season for Everton FC. Howard Kendall in the ‘Team Talk’ feature went over the reasons for the departure of Steve McMahon and the arrival of Trevor Steven. He cites that Everton had to release several youngsters in order to reduce the wage bill with the likes of Mark Leonard, Mark Kearney, John McMahon and Keith Tierney leaving the club and this allowed him to have the funds to purchase Alan Harper and Andy Higgingbottom. There were action pictures of the pre-season game at Walsall where Alan Irvine and Andy King were on target in a 3-0 win.

Stoke City had finished in the top 10 the previous season and their manager Richie Barker was particularly pleased that Stoke City had seen an average increase in attendance of 2,000 in their league games, bucking the recent trend in the top flight of falling attendances. Stoke had bought in Paul Dyson, Robbie James, Robbie Savage (no! Not that one) and Dennis Tueart. They had seen Paul Bracewell sign for Sunderland, Alan Dodd, Loek Ursem and Dave Watson (not the Everton Legend) leave for pastures new. ,P>A feature on Everton’s new kit manufacturer Le Coq Sportif was prominent with Mark Higgins posing on the front cover in the new shirt. A new shirt ranged in price from £9.99 to £12.99 depending on size. If you wanted to travel by coach to future Everton away fixtures you had to be a member of the Everton FC Executive Club Travel at the cost of £1. Hot and Cold drinks and video were on offer along with onboard toilet facilities. To travel to Arsenal it would cost £14 while a fiver would get you to Old Trafford.

Peter Reid was the player featured in Fact File where he said that a player for the future was a young player at Everton named Jimmy Coyle – what happened to him I wonder? Peter sais that his favourite food and drink was seafood and a bacon sandwich whilst he enjoyed a pint of bitter. That wouldn’t go down well today, Peter... well, maybe it would, but it wouldn’t help with the fitness.

As for the game, Howard Kendall bemoaned Stoke City’s style and he said that they were similar to Watford in that they belted the ball forward and missed out the midfield. Derek Mountfield made his home debut, Trevor Steven his first top-flight appearance, and Alan Harper made his first ever league appearance as they debuted for the Blues. Graeme Sharp was the toast of Goodison as he scored the winner in a narrow 1-0 victory.

1983-84, First Division: Saturday, 27 August 1983.
Stoke City (H) Score - 1-0 (Sharp) Attendance: 22,658

Everton: Arnold; Harper, Bailey, Mountfield, Higgins; Richardson, Steven, Heath; Sharp, King, Sheedy.

Twenty Years ago: Match 1 — 1993-94

The Dell welcomed Everton to open the 1993-94 campaign, the 40th successive occasion Everton had been part of the opening fixtures in the top-flight and Southampton were the opponents. Howard Kendall was at the helm but he had lost his prize asset Peter Beardsley to Newcastle United for a fee in the region of £1.5M. So the Goodison Park faithful had seen the talented Beardsley score his final Premier League Goal for Everton at Maine Road, if they had been there to witness the 5-2 demolition of Man City on the last day of the previous season.

Rumours had abounded all summer that Everton were for sale for the princely sum of £5M and that the Manager Howard Kendall was going to turn his back on the club to return to Bilbao. Neither of these rumours appeared to have much basis in reality. With no replacements incoming for the talented and popular Beardsley, Everton’s morale on and off the pitch was beginning to suffer. According to the Saint's match-day programme, Everton’s Chairman Dr David Marsh had told Mr Kendall that money was available to buy new players and that was partly due to Everton announcing profits of £991,444 — although it didn’t say whether this was before or after Beardsley’s sale.

It also said that the three players Kendall was after all failed to join Everton and either remained where they were or joined other clubs. Players who made up the list were identified as Mark Bright who remained with Sheffield Wednesday, Brian Deane who joined Leeds United and a certain Duncan Ferguson who moved to Glasgow Rangers. Whether these were rumours or the truth it is hard to tell but the article added that Kendall also put in a failed bid for Niall Quinn who played for Kendall’s previous club, Manchester City.

Ian Branfoot, the manager of Southampton, in his programme notes, sensed an air of optimism and exuberance running throughout the south coast club following the refurbishment of The Dell. The need for a good start was highlighted as the Saint’s had only escaped relegation by a single point in the previous season and Everton had made an inauspicious start to the inaugural Premier League season, finishing in a lowly 13th place. To be fair, the 1992-93 season had been a competitive one with only 10 points separating Liverpool in 6th place and relegated Crystal Palace in 20th place, out of 22 in the new league.

Despite the gloom and doom of the summer, Everton got off to a flyer at the Dell and ran out 2-0 winners with the goals coming from John Ebbrell and Peter Beagrie to earn the Toffees three points. So the long journey for Evertonians had been rewarded with what would prove to be an invaluable three points for the Toffees.

1993-94, Premier League: Saturday, 14 August 1993
Southampton (A); Score: 2-0 (Ebbrell & Beagrie). Attendance: 14,051

Everton: Southall; Holmes, Jackson, Snodin, Watson; Ablett, Ward, Ebbrell; Cottee, Rideout, Beagrie.

Ten Years ago: 2003-04 — Match 1

The 2003-04 season opened with a trip to Highbury to face Arsenal, the FA Cup holders. A week prior to the game, Arsenal missed out on adding the Charity Shield to the FA Cup as they lost on penalties to reigning Champions Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

No marquee signings had been made during the summer by either club, but the arrival of a certain Mr Abramovich at Chelsea would certainly shake the world of Premier League football, and beyond, for the decade to come. Ironically it was Chelsea’s defeat of Liverpool in the final game of the previous season which helped Chelsea to gain a place in the Champions League. An achievement which it is thought; had convinced Mr Abramovich to purchase Chelsea.

As for Everton, they had narrowly missed out on Europe following a 2-1 defeat at Goodison to the Champions, Manchester United, although in truth just one win in the last five games of the season had undermined their challenge. At the end of the season, Blackburn Rovers had pipped Everton by a single point for a place in Europe as Everton finished in a ‘Magnificent Seventh’ place.

Of those players to arrive at Goodison, Joseph Yobo and Le Tie both signed longer term contracts following successful loan periods. Kevin McCleod had been released to join QPR. Arsenal had signed Jens Lehman, Gael Clichy and a certain Philippe Senderos.

Everton celebrated its 125th anniversary during 2003-04 and rightfully made a big effort to promote the theme during the campaign. Optimism was the order of the day and Season Ticket sales had been limited to a maximum of 28,000 for the team that had that rather exciting and mercurial youngster in their ranks: Wayne Rooney. Rooney had scored a goal in each of the fixtures against Arsenal in the previous meetings of the clubs, firstly at Goodison with the famous ‘remember the name’ goal that had brought to an end Arsenal’s magnificent unbeaten run, and then a consolation goal in the return match at Highbury.

But on the opening day there would be no repeat as Rooney only entered the fray when replacing Tobias Linderoth on 57 minutes which was enough time for the youngster to earn a yellow card and little more – Everton lost out narrowly to Arsenal by two goals to one. Both teams were reduced to ten men as Sol Campbell (25') and Le Tie (87') were sent off. Thierry Henri had opened the scoring with a penalty awarded by referee Mark Halsey and then Robert Pires made it 2-0 shortly after Rooney had come on as substitute. Tomazs Radzinski scored the consolation goal for the Blues in the 84th minute.

2003-04 Premier League Saturday, 16 August 2003
Arsenal (A); Score: 1-2 (Radzinski). Attendance: 38,014

Everton: Wright; Watson, Pistone, Yobo, Stubbs; Unsworth, Gravesen, Linderoth, Pembridge; Chadwick, Radzinski.

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Reader Comments (16)

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1 Posted 13/08/2013 at 07:42:35
This is great stuff, Patrick; we really appreciate the innitiative. Lyndon should flag it up better than I have in the next day or so.

You'll notice I adjusted the formatting a little bit — we have aversion to ALL CAPS, and to be honest, I prefer the full team line-up to include the subs. Also, I use a semi-colon in the line-up to give an idea of the formation played, and record the scorers separately (although I think you're always going to mention them in the text...). And I took the liberty of adding a link to our Match Report for the game 10 years ago.

You can send them in a little later, like 2 or 3 days before the game. That would be ideal, and would ensure the 'right' place on the homepage.

Matt Traynor
2 Posted 13/08/2013 at 08:42:18
This is good stuff, although it looks like you're committing yourself to a lot of work over the season (also, remember there were more games per season up until 20 years or so ago?)

Re the Bobby Robson thing - he said in his autobiography that he had agreed to join Everton, but asked for it to be kept quiet whilst he explained his position to his Chairman at Ipswich. The press got wind of it, and Bobby believed it had come from Everton, so he pulled out of the deal and remained where he was. Imagine trying to keep that quiet in this day and age?

Re the Steve McMahon issue - he'd asked for a small wage increase (£5 or £10) but it seems that HK didn't rate our then-captain, and wanted rid. Liverpool were already after him, but he wouldn't go straight across out of respect for Everton, and spent 3 years at Villa before eventually going.

Patrick Murphy
3 Posted 13/08/2013 at 09:39:01
Thanks Matt and Michael.
Michael duly noted your recommendations.

Matt, If people enjoy it I will happily put in the work, and if people also add information - like you have - it will help to enhance it. It's amazing how much stuff we forget. On the number of games It will probably mean the last few games of a 42 game season will run into the summer months.

Tony Rice
4 Posted 13/08/2013 at 17:02:20
Great job , Patrick !
Keep it up !
Robin Cannon
5 Posted 13/08/2013 at 17:54:48
The Stoke match was my first ever game. I'd just turned 7.

...which means I just realized that the start of this season will mark my 30th anniversary. Wow.

Mike Hughes
6 Posted 13/08/2013 at 19:14:27
Enjoyed reading that but made me feel old. On each of those opening days I lived in bootle, Walton, Sheffield and now Wirral.

Reading it did trigger a random memory. Radio merseyside had a phone in even way back in the early 80s. Does anyone remember Peter reid's brother or cousin phoning in to the station to complain why he couldn't get a place in the team? Circa 1982.

More of these articles please. Let's hope we can get those days back. (Holy crap I sound ancient!)

Amit Vithlani
10 Posted 14/08/2013 at 11:56:52
Some superb memories. Did Southall really not start the first game of the 83-84 season? Jeez I am getting old.

I remember the 93-94 campaign particularly well. We supposedly had a well balanced team with Mark Ward and Beagrie on the flanks and a little and large front two. I remember we started the campaign with 3 straight wins but the wheels started to come off around about October. HK tried to sign Dion Dubling, did not get the funds, and following a 1-0 home win against Southampton (?) resigned. That marked a nose dive which led to the famous heroics against Wimbledon on the very last day.

Karl Masters
11 Posted 14/08/2013 at 16:45:25
Great stuff, Patrick! A lot of work for you, but a great trip down memory lane for a lot of us.

A couple of things to add. That Stoke game 30 years ago marked the lowest opening day attendance at Goodison ever I believe. A mere 22658 and bizarrely we were at home just 2 days later against West Ham, which we lost 1-0, and only 20375 turned up for that one! That's less than the Betis attendance, but still no excuse to refuse Steve McMahon a tender a week extra! Season average of 19300 despite two Wembley Cup Finals!

Also,, those of us at the Stoke game will maybe remember the Stoke fans throwing a green flare into the Everton fans in the Enclosure and green smoke billowing everywhere during the second half.

Colin Glassar
12 Posted 14/08/2013 at 17:43:50
Great stuff Patrick. Can I just say on the first part of your article. That was probably the WORST Everton team I have ever seen. Despite having Lyons, Kendal, Harvey, Royle (all well past their best by then) we were bloody awful. The football was terrible, the ground half empty, it really was a very dark time in our history.
Bingham was bloody terrible IMO but he did bring in Duncan Mckenzie (my favourite player of all time) and Bruce Rioch which helped us to slowly recover. Unfortunately, for Bingham, he was sacked before he could enjoy the fruits of these new players to be replaced by Gordon "Lurch" Lee. Now Lee will always be blamed for breaking up the great Everton side of the mid to late 70's but what a side that was while it lasted. Anyone remember? Wood, Gidman, Todd, McNaught, Pejic, Dobson, Rioch, King, Mckenzie, Thomas, Latchford etc.... This team was a cert to win the league but lurch decided they were too fancy for his liking so decided to break up the team. I have never forgiven him for this but watching us play teams off the pitch with an all out attacking style was something I'll never forget.

P.S. I'll go as far and say this team was better than the team of the 80's.

Steve Carter
13 Posted 15/08/2013 at 09:15:58
That was my initial thought too, Colin, although Lyons (my boyhood fave) has often had his abilities dissed, but not commitment, over the years. Not sure that he would have quite been over the hill in 73, though either. I was chatting to Mike at a function in Australia about 15 or so years ago, and he did say that Joe Harper was no good!
Karl Masters
14 Posted 20/08/2013 at 22:15:28
A few inaccuracies there Colin and very unfair on Gordon Lee.

McNaught left two years before Gidman even arrived and we were never a cert to win the League. Forest and Liverpool sadly were better. The best season was 77/78 when we came third and won two home games 6-0 and two away games 5-1. Trouble was our defence. We let in 6 at home to Man U, 4 against relegated Newcastle, both at Goodison and got hammered away from home a couple of times as well.

The following season, Lee changed to a more cautious formation and we didn't lose a league match till Dec 23 as well as beating Twice European Champions , Liverpool for the first time since 1971. It all went wrong after Christmas though with some defeats on dodgy snow covered pitches, Liverpool had an incredible season only losing 4 and conceding 16 goals and we faded to 4th. But we were a good team and had plenty to build on.

Unfortunately, that summer was when freedom of contract came in and then,as now, clowns were in the Boardroom at Everton who complacently thought players would play for us for a pittance just because we were Everton.key players like Dobson, Thomas and Pejic left for more money, England no 9 Bob Latchford wanted to leave too but eventually stayed, but the disrupted start meant we never got going and all we had was an FA Cup run to the semis which we lost in a replay to West Ham.

The season after was Lee's final season , but still he managed something no other Everton manager has done with a 5-0 home win against Pallsce followed a week after by another 5-0 win away at Coventry. We faded to 15th in the league, but still dumped Liverpool out of the FA cup.

Compared to the Everton of today there was rarely a dull moment in his 4 years in charge. But for the dominance of Liverpool over English football at the the time I'm sure his time in charge would have produced some liver ware and be viewed in a totally different way. And it was under Lee that Everton discovered a crop of young players like Gary Stevens, Kevin Ratcliffe, Kevin Richardson, Graeme Sharp who were key members of the 80's glory teams. Steve McMahon and Mark Ward were also part of the youth set up.

Anthony Flack
15 Posted 20/08/2013 at 22:45:34
I vividly remember my first game in September 1977 versus Norwich - around my 8th birthday. I was expert in all things football having practised attacking football via Subuteo and St Werburghs Middle School first eleven (only eleven - but with a fantastically exotic defence of Izzo, Mansutti and Flack....

I recall asking my old man why Everton kept passing the ball sideways across the defence Lyons to Darracott back to Lyons, then to Wright.....

Anyway eventually when we got the ball up front, we scored 3 and ran out 3-0 winners.

I know we did ok in 77-78, and I enjoyed my father and son season ticket in the lower Bullens, but my memory of Gordon Lee was dull sideways passing and of course Dave Thomas, Andy King, Martin Dobson, Duncan Mckenzie.....

Colin Glassar
16 Posted 20/08/2013 at 23:16:50
Thanks for clearing up some of my mistakes Karl I think I might be getting Alzheimer's or something although it was a long time ago now. Thanks for bringing back some great memories though. I was at that game when we got hammered by man u, I think we started to applaud their goals towards the end if memory serves me well. That was the team of the greenhoff's, Buchanan, Macari, mcillroy etc....wasn't it? Tommy Doc's lads.
Back to Everton though we were great in the mid to late 70's but as you say we had the rs and Forrest to contend with. God I could go on all night about this, the cup final against villa, the heart break in the replay at OT, the great songs and banter on Gwladys street (no mobiles then), the dirty sods peeing on the terraces, the shitty food etc, etc... Great days indeed but it's late now so for another day.
Colin Glassar
17 Posted 20/08/2013 at 23:37:19
P.S. before I forget, Darracott, Harper, Pearson, McGloughlin, Lawton were some of the worst players I've ever seen in a blue shirt.
James Lauwervine
18 Posted 21/08/2013 at 09:49:08
What a great feature. Of the four I was only at the Highbury game 10 years ago. I remember Henri basically chipped the ball onto Stubbsy's arm for the pen. Then scored it and celebrated directly in front of the Everton fans. Someone threw a plastic bottle at the tit. I had my six-year nephew from the US there and he'd never been to a game before. He was basically terrified by the whole experience. First-game of the season, away end, cheating opponents, lots of agression, so not surprising really.
Karl Masters
19 Posted 22/08/2013 at 00:41:54
Yes, there were some great memories around then Colin. We were always termed by the media as 'sleeping giants', and we still are in many ways.

The only time we woke was the mid eighties. What wouldn't I give to see us hammer Chelsea 6-0 now or score five away from home more than once in a season?!

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