Forty Years Ago — 1973-74: Match 25

Even though Everton made it through to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, league points remained the priority for Everton manager Billy Bingham and he would have hoped that his charges would provide a superior performance and a sterner defence at Loftus Road against QPR than they had shown at Portman Road on their last away day, when they had lost to Ipswich Town 3-0.

Gordon Jago’s team had settled in well to First Division life and were fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Despite having a poor league record against Everton, QPR were high in the table and had recently created a new club record of 23 league matches unbeaten at Loftus Road following their recent win over Manchester United (3-0). If Everton could return to Merseyside with maximum points, it would put them back into the thick of the battle for European qualification; anything less would be a severe body-blow for the team and its supporters. At the start of the game, QPR (26 pts) were in 9th and Everton (27 pts) a point ahead and lying in 5th place in the table.

Derek Buxton, QPR’s resident expert of the Matchday Magazine, related that QPR had never beaten Everton in a league fixture and that the first meeting between the two sides had taken place on 13 October 1951, when the two sides had met as Second Division teams, in which they had played out a high-scoring draw (4-4). 17,148 fans had witnessed QPR’s Ernie Shepherd scoring twice while Billy Waugh and Harry Gilberg had also registered for the Hoops. Everton’s scorers on the day had been Ted Buckle with two goals (one from the penalty spot), Tommy Eglington and John Willie Parker. Everton: Leyland, Saunders, Lindsay, Farrell, TE Jones, Lello, McNamara, Fielding, Parker, Buckle, Eglington.

The most recent meeting between Everton and QPR at Loftus Road had taken place on 1 February 1969 and attracted a crowd of 26,476. Everton had been 3rd in the table and QPR had been stuck on the bottom alongside Coventry City. Jimmy Husband scored the winning goal for the Toffees which was described in one newspaper as follows:

After 10 minutes, a long free kick by Wilson landed with a dull plop like a shot partridge amidst a group of QPR defenders. The whole company resembled a group statue in some market square. Husband therefore had sufficient time to light a cigarette before shooting past Kelly.

Everton: West, Wright, Wilson, Kendall (Kenyon), Labone, Brown, Husband, Ball, Royle, Hurst, Morrissey.

The Match: Billy Bingham had decided to give former Everton junior, John Smith [not a player that I remember!] his debut in the match with QPR, a player who only made two league appearances in the Everton first team before departing for Carlisle United in 1975.

The day hadn’t gone well for John Smith or his Everton team-mates as a Don Givens (70’) goal had been enough to secure the home sides first ever league victory over the Toffees. QPR, courtesy of that goal, leap-frogged Everton into 5th place while Everton had fallen to 8th place in the league. The next league game would see Everton face unbeaten Leeds United at Goodison Park and they would do well to bring to an end to Leeds’ impressive record.

1973-74 — First Division; Saturday, 12 January 1974
Queens Park Rangers @ Loftus Road, Score: 3-0, Attendance: 20,051
Everton: Lawson; Darracott, McLaughlin, Clements, Kenyon (Lyons); Hurst, Smith; Buckley, Royle, Jones, Harper.

Thirty Years Ago — 1983-84: Match 25

Following a clutch of cup-ties, Everton had league points to earn when they had faced Notts County at Goodison Park. Everton had been more than a touch fortunate when they beat Notts County (1-0) in early October, but they would have been optimistic that they could have completed a league double over the East Midlands club in this fixture.

The former Liverpool stalwart, Larry Lloyd, had taken over the reins at Notts County from former first-team manager Jimmy Sirrel during the summer of 1983, and Larry undoubtedly relished the opportunity to put one over the old enemy. [Notts County have had some notable managers during the last 30 years or so – Howard Kendall, Sam Allardyce, Howard Wilkinson, John Barnwell, Neil Warnock, Ritchie Barker, Craig Short and Paul Ince among many others...]

Everton manager Howard Kendall, whilst pleased with his team's results and performances in the domestic cup competitions, emphasised the importance of winning league games and improving Everton’s position in the league table. Howard said “I don’t want to rely on cup success to qualify for Europe, and there is still time enough to make a challenge through the League. To do that, we need to string together a few wins. And I believe that we are capable of doing that.”

On Boxing Day, Howard Kendall had mentioned that he had recommended a new medical machine to the Board and the club had purchased one in light of that recommendation. The mystery machine had been featured in the match-day magazine in an article entitled Magnetic Magic. The Magnetic Pulse equipment, which worked on a low frequency magnetic field, had – according to Everton’s medical man, John ‘Magnum’ Clinkard – helped Terry Curran and Alan Harper in their recuperation from injury. John said “Terry Curran, for instance, had a lot of blood in his thigh. The sooner the circulation is speeded up, the sooner the blood clot is absorbed. Alan Harper had a similar blood clot – the machine enabled us to disperse that very quickly." John added that he had been very pleased to have the machine and it should be a big asset for the club.

On the previous occasion that Notts County had visited Goodison Park almost exactly a year to the day, 5 February 1983, Everton had beaten the Magpies by 3-0 in front of a crowd of 14,541. Adrian Heath, Andy King and Kevin Sheedy were the Everton goalscorers on that occasion and Howard Wilkinson had been in charge of Notts County’s first-team.
Everton: Arnold; Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe, Higgins; Richardson, Heath (Johnson); Sharp, King, Reid, Sheedy.

Notts County’s only league victory at Goodison Park since the Second World War had occurred in a Second Division encounter in October 1951. Notts County had beaten Everton (1-5) in front of 49,604 people, John Willie Parker scored the Toffees' consolation goal, while James Jackson (4) found the net four times and Bobby Crookes had also scored for the Magpies. Former Everton legend, Tommy Lawton was also a member of that victorious Notts County side. Everton: Leyland; Saunders, Lindsay; Farrell, TE Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Parker, Buckle, Eglington.

Everton’s long-running pursuit of Brazilian footballer Nunez had reached a disappointing conclusion, as despite Secretary Jim Greenwood having gained a work permit for the player and having started negotiations in November, when Flamengo had been recently approached to confirm the details of the loan deal, they had unexpectedly said that Nunez had settled his personal dispute with the Brazilian club and had agreed a new deal, and he wouldn’t be leaving Brazil, unless it had been on a permanent basis. Howard Kendall said “We made it quite clear from the outset with our talks with Flamengo that the only basis we could sign the player was for a loan period with an option to purchase. In view of the fact that the Flamengo club are no longer prepared to do business on that basis, we have no option but to withdraw from the negotiations.

The Newsdesk featured three of Everton’s most prominent forwards: Graeme Sharp, Kevin Sheedy and Adrian Heath had all spoken about Everton’s recent experiences and their individual contributions to the team. Graeme said, following his recent injury problems, it had been good to get back to somewhere approaching full fitness and he had commented upon the atmosphere surrounding the club he said “There is a great feeling about the place just now. Every day there is a buzz and everyone is looking forward to match days.”

Kevin Sheedy thought that Everton’s progress to the Milk Cup Semi-Finals could be a launch-pad for better league form and he insisted that “There has never been any doubt about the quality of the team we have at Everton. Not among the folk at the club anyway. I know there have been plenty of people just dying to knock us this season and we have been inconsistent…We know that we must achieve a greater degree of consistency and I think we are now just about on the brink of being a really good settled team.”

Adrian Heath, who had at long last started to show the goal scoring talent which had made him Everton’s record signing, said, “Of course confidence has a great deal to do with the whole thing. Right now, with the goals going in, I suppose I don’t have any worries to make me tense up or freeze.” Adrian went on to say how pleased he had been that not just his goals had helped Everton in recent weeks but that the whole team had contributed and he added, “Perhaps now that we have shown we can score goals, people will leave us alone and we will go on in a more relaxed way and score even more.”

The Match: The confidence of the players featured in the Newsdesk article had not been misplaced as – despite an early setback when Ian McParland (08’) had converted a penalty which had given Notts County the lead – midway through the first-half, Adrian Heath (26’) levelled the scores and just three minutes later Kevin Sheedy (29’) also converted a penalty to give Everton the lead. Adrian Heath (38’) then increased Everton’s lead shortly before half-time, before Heath (69’) then completed his hat-trick that sealed the points for Everton 20 minutes from time.

Howard Kendall had been pleased for Adrian Heath and said that “He’s now playing to his strengths and is looking the type of player we saw when we bought him from Stoke.” Howard said that he had been astounded by the Notts County penalty award but he added that in some ways that had acted as a spur which had lifted the lads into a positive attitude. “They knew they had to get a goal back, and, in the end, we could have scored a few more.”

Everton’s victory over Notts County had put a 14-pt gap between the Blues and third-from-bottom County, which would have eased any notions of relegation for the Toffees but they still remained a little off the pace in their chase for European qualification; however, a few more victories similar to this one would help to close that gap.

[Bob Latchford had been the previous Everton player to score a league hat-trick at Goodison Park when he struck three goals in just over 10 minutes (50’, 58’ 60’) against Crystal Palace (5-0), in September 1980, a Peter Eastoe goal and a John Gidman penalty completed the rout.]

1983-84 — First Division; Saturday, 4 February 1984
Notts County @ Goodison Park, Score: 4-1 (Heath 3, Sheedy), Attendance: 13,016
Everton: Southall; Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe, Mountfield; Reid, Irvine; Heath, Gray, Richardson, Sheedy.
Unused Sub: Sharp.

Twenty Years Ago — 1993-94: Match 25

Stamford Bridge had not been a particularly happy hunting ground for Everton and recent history against Chelsea had also been pretty awful. During the inaugural Premier League campaign, Everton had met the Pensioners on four occasions and had failed to win any of their encounters. Not the ideal venue for Jimmy Gabriel to try and win his first match as caretaker manager... but Evertonians being the ever-optimistic type of supporters would have hoped to celebrate a victory on their return journey to Merseyside.

On the last occasion that the two sides had met in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had beaten Everton (2-1) on Wednesday 10 March 1993, in front of a measly 12,739 supporters. Graham Stuart (39’) opened the scoring for Chelsea and Billy Kenny (45’) put Everton on level terms on the stroke of half-time, but John Spencer (79’) grabbed the winning goal 11 minutes from time and Everton had once again left Stamford Bridge empty-handed. Everton: Southall; Jackson, Ablett, Ward, Hinchcliffe; Kenny (Preki), Watson, Beardsley; Cottee, Horne. Barlow. Unused Subs: Kearton, Sansom.

That result meant that Chelsea had completed the league double over Everton as they had won at Goodison (0-1), thanks to a Robert Fleck goal. Earlier in the campaign, the two sides faced each other in the Coca-Cola Cup and following a draw (2-2) at Goodison, Chelsea triumphed in the replay thanks to a goal scored by Andy Townsend.

Ken Bates, as was usual for him, had a great deal to say about the media in his regular matchday column. Ken had been away for Chelsea’s defeat at Southampton and upon his return he perused the various match reports and was surprised that Steve Curry of the Express and Nigel Clarke of the Mirror had used a similar turn of phrase in their assessment of Chelsea’s current plight. Steve Curry had written “You could almost hear Chelsea’s death rattle crackling through the crisp Christmas air.” While Nigel Clarke had written “You could almost hear the death rattle of their life in the big time”. Ken had questioned the reporter’s independence and he then acknowledged: “How lucky we are to have two such exceptional writers gracing the contemporary literary scene at the same time.”

[I hadn’t realised that the former Gillingham manager – who had been in charge during the epic cup-ties with Everton in 1984 – was the father of Chelsea striker Gavin Peacock, until I read the article in the Chelsea programme entitled That’s my Boy.]

The Match: Clive White’s match report from The Independent on Tuesday, 4 January 1994, which I found on a Chelsea fan website:

Chelsea's revival continued apace at Stamford Bridge yesterday with their third consecutive victory only for a new storm to brew over their abrasive little captain, Dennis Wise, who was accused by Everton of elbowing Matthew Jackson at a critical stage of the game in an off-the-ball incident after which the central defender left the field suffering from double vision.

The incident tempered applause for Glenn Hoddle's team, though there was still plenty of that forthcoming from a home crowd only too happy to give what they saw as due recognition to their team's spirited recovery over the festive period. Perhaps, like Hoddle, they were oblivious to all else in their moment of triumph. "I didn't see it," Hoddle said referring to the incident, "so I can't comment on it. I will be looking at it tomorrow on the video as I will a lot of other things."

Poor Hoddle had been forced to run the gamut of emotions in this one. Two goals up at half- time through Craig Burley and Mark Stein, Chelsea appeared to be coasting against a team who seemed to have lost the will to survive in the Premiership. Within 10 minutes of the restart of the second half they were back at all square as Everton, having gone 10 hours 40 minutes without a goal to their name, hit a brace before you could say 'Dixie Dean'.

It was then, in the 62nd minute, with the game delicately balanced that Wise, within yards of the linesman, Steven Tomlin, appeared to catch Jackson with his arm. The defender was left on the ground as the Chelsea midfielder raced on to collect Gavin Peacock's through pass and put in a cross for the excellent young Neil Shipperley to turn in a decisive goal at the near post.

Jimmy Gabriel, Everton's caretaker manager, was understandably miffed. "I was very disappointed. It was a crucial moment. There was an elbow in the face which has left our player with a damaged optical nerve. He (Wise) did it in front of a linesman yet he's not flagged, the ref's let it go and they scored. Anybody in the world would be mad about it."

Wise denied the allegations. "I never elbowed anybody. The linesman was right there and he didn't give a foul. He (Jackson) pushed me and I pushed him. I might have caught him in the eye with my finger. I didn't mean to do anything."

It remains to be seen whether the accident shows up on Hoddle's video. He has already had cause to warn his combative midfielder for a recent two-footed tackle on West Ham's David Burrows, which earned a three-match suspension.

It was difficult to evaluate Chelsea's performance, so inept were Everton in the first half. Neville Southall's dive failed to prevent Burley's first senior goal, struck from 25 yards. The second was also gifted to Chelsea, Ian Snodin feebly losing possession and then upending Stein in a clumsy attempt to atone. Stein made it four goals in five games from the spot.

Twenty-five seconds into the second half it was the turn of Chelsea defence to be caught napping as Tony Cottee lashed home a loose ball, then Dimitri Kharin raced out of his area only to lose possession and Stuart Barlow lobbed home. But Everton ended as submissively as they had begun, Stein scoring after Mark Ward lost the ball.

Yet another disappointing day for all connected with Everton Football Club, as what had seemed unthinkable in the middle of December 1993 had now become a reality: Everton found themselves scrapping to retain their place in the top-flight and the confidence of both the players and supporters had been at the lowest that many could remember. A new manager, whoever he would be, would have his work cut out in trying to arrest the dreadful slump that Everton had found themselves in. At least in the next fixture, Premier League points would not be at stake as the Blues prepared to face Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup.

1993-94 — Premier League; Monday, 3 January 1994
Chelsea @ Stamford Bridge, Score: 4-2 (Cottee, Barlow), Attendance: 18,338
Everton: Southall; Holmes, Snodin, Jackson (Unsworth), Ablett; Ward, Horne; Stuart, Beagrie, Rideout (Barlow), Cottee.
Unused Sub: Kearton.

Ten Years Ago — 2003-04: Match 25

When Everton had beaten Birmingham City in December thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal, they occupied 11th position in the table and had been 5 points clear of the relegation zone at the half-way point in the season. Despite having only taken 2 points from their subsequent five Premier League fixtures, Everton (25 pts) entered this fixture with Birmingham at St Andrews in 15th position and remained 5 points clear of third-from-bottom team Leicester City (20 pts).

Everton may not have taken anything tangible from their last Premier League fixture against Manchester United but they had showed that, when they put their collective minds to it, they could battle and scrap against the top teams. So, although they may have lacked the individual talent – Wayne Rooney apart – they had more than enough spirit and togetherness to mix it against most Premier League teams. Birmingham City, for their part, were on an unbeaten run of five games and they had progressed to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup where they had been drawn to play Sunderland at the Stadium of Light the following Saturday.

Everton first visited Birmingham City on 3 November 1894 when the Midlanders had been known as Small Heath and they played their home matches at Muntz Street. The game ended in a high-scoring draw as the teams shared eight goals. Everton raced into a three goal lead as Alex Latta (08’) opened the scoring and John Bell had given the Blues’ a two goal advantage before Alex Latta (23’) scored his second and Everton’s third, but a couple of goals just before half-time from Small Heath’s Wheldon (40’) and Izon (42’) put the home side back into the game and Small Heath then completed their comeback with an equaliser from Hallam to make the score three-all. Everton’s Alex Latta completed his hat-trick to put the Toffees back in the lead but an equaliser form Small Heath’s Jenkyns(80’) ten minutes from the end ensured that both sides had taken a point from an exciting match and the 10,000 strong crowd had certainly had their money’s worth. Everton: Cain; Adams, Parry; Boyle, Holt, Stewart; Latta, McInnes, Hartley, Chadwick. Bell.

Another eight-goal encounter had taken place on Boxing Day 1955, but this time Everton had been on the end of a heavy defeat as Birmingham City had beaten the Toffees 6-2 at St Andrews. Brian and Jimmy Harris scored for Everton, but a hat-trick from Kinsey, two from Brown and one from Govan had upset Everton’s festive spirit. Everton: O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, TE Jones, Lello; B Harris, Wainwright, J Harris, Fielding, Parker.

But the festive mood had been quickly restored as Everton had beaten Birmingham City (5-1) the following day at Goodison as Jimmy Harris (2) and Eddie Wainwright (2) each scored twice and Tommy Eglington added the other. The Everton team showed two changes from the Boxing Day fixture as Tansey & Parker had been replaced by Rankin and Eglington.

Everton had won an eight-goal encounter at St Andrews when they visited the ground in September 1964, where they defeated Birmingham (3-5). Alex Scott (2) and Fred Pickering (2) each struck twice and Johnny Morrissey grabbed another. Goals from Birmingham’s Leek, Hellawell and Hennessy hadn’t been enough to prevent Everton from leaving the ground with all the points. Everton: Rankin; Harris, Brown; Gabriel, Labone, Stevens; Scott, Harvey, Pickering, Temple, Morrissey.

The last occasion that Everton had left St Andrews with all the points prior to this match had been in January 1986 when a brace from Gary Lineker had been sufficient to secure the victory for the Toffees and – if my memory serves me – that game had been featured on TV as Match of the Day returned to the screens following an industrial dispute.

The Match: There were three goals in this encounter between Everton and Birmingham City; unfortunately, they had all been scored by the home side as Birmingham City had beaten Everton 3-0. Damien Johnson (08’) opened the scoring and Stan Lazaridis (39’) made it 2-0 shortly before the break. Any hopes that Everton may have had of a comeback were swiftly ended when Mikael Forssell (49’) added a third shortly after the restart.

A disappointing scoreline and a disappointing performance from Everton as the previous exertions at Fulham in the FA Cup replay and at Goodison Park against Manchester United seemed to have taken their toll. The Everton players would have to wait for another 10 days to get this performance out of their systems when they would visit St Mary’s for a Premier League encounter with Southampton.

2003-04 — Premier League; Wednesday, 11 February 2004
Birmingham City @ St Andrews, Score: 3-0, Attendance: 29,004
Everton: Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Unsworth (Pistone), Naysmith; Carsley, Gravesen, Kilbane; Rooney Ferguson (Campbell), Radzinski (McFadden).
Unused Subs: Simonsen, Linderoth.

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Patrick Murphy
463 Posted 07/02/2014 at 16:51:28
Cheers Michael, I did take on board what was said around Christmas time and have attempted to omit some of the more detailed prose - but as I had been and still am ahead of the fixtures some of the games may still have the detail especially the earlier seasons - mostly because of the lack of content due to the power shortages that were in place at the time. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this particular post and I hope that others do too.
Karl Masters
746 Posted 08/02/2014 at 20:22:27
Great read, Patrick. As usual I am amazed how bad our crowds were in the eighties. 13016 against Notts Co when we had just gone unbeaten for 8 games was dire wasn’t it? Second lowest League crowd since WW2.

I went to both those Chelsea games at Stamford Bridge around twenty years ago that you described. I have to say we always seemed to reserve some dreadful performances for that ground because Chelsea were rubbish as well around the early nineties. I remember young Billy Kenny scoring that goal in front of us on that crappy open terrace they have the away fans. Whatever happened to him to make him get involved with drugs?

If you had told their fans what the next twenty years would bring they would never have believed you, with their Headhunter hooligans in their decaying stadium and a poor team. Guess that’s what gives us all hope!

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