Baseball and Highbury Old Grounds for pessimism and Goodison proves the point.

Forty Years Ago — 1973-74

Another away day at a Midlands club, but this time it was in the East Midlands where Derby County and their manager Brian Clough welcomed the Blues to the Baseball Ground. Brian Clough had guided Derby County to the league title just over 18 months ago and they were a team to be feared on their own patch. They had also reached last season’s European Cup semi-final but missed the opportunity to play in the final by losing to Italian giants Juventus.

Unusually the Derby County programme was a newspaper rather than a magazine, which probably means that not many of their issue survive. Derby had maximum points to show from their opening home fixtures gaining narrow 1-0 wins over Manchester City and Chelsea, but had only gained a point from their away games a 0-0 draw at Birmingham, while they had lost 2-0 at Anfield in their most recent league fixture.

The front page of the programme addresses a couple of fan related problems that have recently beset Derby County. The recent VAT change has caused problems at the turnstiles where due to the increase in prices, the club ask all fans paying on the gate to bring the correct money to avoid delays. Another issue is the proposed erection of barriers on the ‘Pop’ side of the Baseball ground, the club has decided to give the younger element of their support the benefit of the doubt and will not erect fences in that area, but warn any transgressions onto the pitch will result in a re-think and the fences will be erected in that area. In an editorial the club are worried that football as an industry is being wrongly blamed for the current nature of hooliganism on the terraces and admits that while the clubs bear some responsibility, they cannot be blamed in isolation and the club thinks that it’s a wider social problem and calls on parents to take appropriate disciplinary action to prevent their children from becoming involved in the unacceptable behaviour of their charges.

Colin Todd in the ‘spotlight’ feature mentions that he and Howard Kendall grew up in the same area of the North East, where they both attended the same training sessions. Colin says that he has always admired Howard as a player and thinks that Howard is the best Midfielder in the game today.

If you fancied buying a new car a Toyota Corona 4-door, would cost only £1,637 or a Chrysler Hillman Avenger 2-door was available at £879, if your budget didn’t run to the price of a new car but you wanted to treat the family you could rent or buy a Colour TV with a £10 deposit and weekly payments of £1.07.

Although there is little in the way of match analysis in the forthcoming programmes, the game seems to have been shaped in the first-half when Howard Kendall had to withdraw due to injury and as substitute Jimmy Husband had already replaced Colin Harvey in the 26th minute, Everton found themselves down to ten men. I can only assume that Kendall was taken off following Jimmy Husband’s goal which came in the 36th minute and had given Everton a precious lead. Everton managed to keep the Rams at bay until the hour mark when Kevin Hector grabbed an equaliser and just six minutes later that most ungainly of strikers Roger Davies scored the match winning goal. So despite their endeavours, a truly disappointing afternoon for Everton as Derby County retained their 100% home record and the Blues remained in eleventh place in the table with four points from a possible fifteen.

1973-74 Division One: Saturday, 8 September 1973

Derby County, Baseball Ground, Score: 1-2 (Husband), Attendance: 27,638
Lawson; Darracott, Newton, Hurst, Kenyon; Kendall (Injured), Harvey (Husband), Bernard; Lyons, Harper, Connolly

Thirty Years Ago — 1983-84

West Bromwich Albion arrived at Goodison with four points from their first four fixtures. Albion’s manager Ron Wylie had expressed his concerns before the start of the season that he was unhappy that his side had been asked to play two away fixtures over the bank holiday weekend and felt it was unfair. He blamed the ‘insensitive computer’ for such a situation arising and asked ‘why the fixtures can’t be drawn up by men, as they were for 100 years, is beyond me.’ As it happened WBA lost both of their opening fixtures losing 4-3 at to Aston Villa at Villa Park and suffering a 3-1 reverse at Stoke City’s Victoria Ground. They had managed to beat Leicester City and shared the spoils with Spurs at the Hawthorns.

The ‘Comment’ section is disappointed with the recent criticisms that Everton FC had received in the national newspapers, due to the low attendance for the recent Bank Holiday fixture with West Ham. The club argue that while it is true that there had been a 10% drop in the number of people attending the WHU game from the opening day fixture with Stoke, Everton were not alone in seeing a drop in attendances and cite the fact that Manchester United (12), Wolves (29) and Aston Villa (31) had seen a bigger percentage drop for their consecutive home fixtures.

The issue of parking around Goodison is also on the agenda and the club is questioning the need for so many residents parking permits be issued for each street, it says that in Eaton Street they had counted thirteen vehicles which in the clubs opinion leaves spaces for match day visitors to utilise yet they say that Traffic Wardens are placing £10 penalty stickers on cars filling those spaces. The club hope that they can come to a compromise as they see the current situation as overkill - they also highlight the fact that Everton FC is one of the largest rate-payers in this area of the city.

Howard Kendall is delighted to welcome Terry Curran back to Everton following his move, from Sheffield United last weekend. Howard also welcomes back Ken McNaught the former Everton player who now plies his trade with West Bromwich Albion.
Adrian Heath is the player who features in ‘fact file’ and he picks out Everton youngster Ian Macowat as a player for the future. Adrian says that his personal ambition is to play for England and to win something with Everton. If Adrian wasn’t a professional footballer he says that he would love to have been a professional tennis player.

In the ‘A to Z’ section the first ever top flight meeting between Everton and Liverpool is recalled, which resulted in a 3-0 win for Everton in front of 44,000 fans at Goodison Park in October 1894. Bell, Latta and McInnes were the scorers for the Blues. McInnes thus became the first scorer in a Merseyside Derby.

The ever popular Andy King is the player chosen for the ‘profile’ section and the ‘Southern Scouser’ who will shortly reach the grand old age of 27 is hoping to gain a new contract with Everton at the end of the current season. He also hopes to take part in all of Everton’s fixtures, including 12 FA Cup ties. He doesn’t care how many replays are needed as long as it results in the club playing at Wembley in May. He makes clear his love for Everton and says that if a player ‘can’t play at Goodison he can’t play anywhere.’ He also says that ‘other teams can get away with just being on the fringe. That’s an overachievement for them. We must do better. At Everton we have got higher standards to aim at.’ He continues ‘unless a team starts the season aiming at something it might as well not bother.’

The ‘Newdesk’ relates how a disappointed Neville Southall will knuckle down to hard work in order to usurp current first choice goalkeeper Jim Arnold, meanwhile Derek Mountfield informs us that he is so happy to have made his home debut as it has always been one of his ambitions to play at Goodison. If you fancied a mini autumn break you had the choice of a two night stay in London for £37pp sharing a twin room, this offer coincided with forthcoming fixtures at QPR and Arsenal. If you wanted to get away from the routine you could use the opportunity of a forthcoming blank football schedule to travel to York races by luxury coach, for just £12. Both offers come courtesy of Everton and Deeside Travel.

Unfortunately for Everton their goal-drought continued, as a disappointing game ended in a nil-nil draw. Howard Kendall who admitted that it wasn’t a good performance was miffed at the criticism his team had received from the press and he thought it was unfair and that it added unnecessary pressure onto his playing staff in what was, after all was only the fifth game of the season.

1983-84 — First Division: Saturday, 10 September 1983
West Brom, Goodison Park, Score: 0-0, Attendance: 15,548
Arnold, Harper, Bailey, Ratcliffe, Higgins, Steven, Curran (Richardson), Heath, Sharp, Johnson, Sheedy

Twenty Years Ago 1993-94

A trip to Arsenal is never an easy fixture and there was little reason to think that this time it would be any different. Arsenal the FA Cup and League Cup holders were well organised and dangerous opponents. Despite the shock defeat to Coventry City by three goals to nil which opened the season at Highbury, they had taken maximum points from the other games they had played so far. Last time out they had beaten Leeds United 2-1 at Highbury and prior to that had won away at Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield Wednesday with a 1-0 score line in both matches. Those away wins rekindled memories of last season’s FA Cup win as they had beaten Spurs in the Semi-Final and triumphed over Wednesday in the FA Cup Final replay to lift the trophy. But Everton had nine points from a possible twelve and had already won away at Southampton, so they too were having a good start to the season and a win at Highbury would keep them in touch with the leading teams in the division.

George Graham the Arsenal Manager was delighted with their recent form and although he thought that Leeds United’s passing in the recent meeting at Highbury, was pleasing on the eye it hadn’t really tested the Arsenal defence for much of the game and he adds that “There’s no point playing clever football, unless you score goals and win matches.”

Jason Nisse of the Independent on Sunday gives his opinion on the newly opened North Bank Stand, in general he thought that it blended in perfectly with the 1930s East and West Stands, whilst he has a few quibbles with the narrowness of the stairwells and the lack of character at the entrance, but overall he believes that it is the best stand that he has ever sat in.

Arsenal’s Managing Director Ken Friar responds to a question and answer session in which the interviewer asks him for what reasons is Arsenal spending as much as £22 Million on redeveloping Highbury to comply with the Taylor Report, when no other Premier League Club are spending so much? Mr Friar says that Arsenal is not only complying with the report but they are also building for the 21st Century. The Interviewer then asked if Arsenal had a hidden agenda as many of the Arsenal faithful felt that they might be priced out of Highbury as the club sought new supporters with greater disposable incomes.

Mr Friar said that wasn’t the case at all and that the club was conscious of holding prices within the reach of the broad mass of its supporters. But Mr Friar also said that the real problem for a top club is that it has to keep increasing income in order to attract the best staff and he stressed the importance of commercial activities and that half of their current income comes from sources other than gate receipts. He says without that additional income Arsenal couldn’t survive, presumably he meant at the higher end of the Premier League.

‘Looking Back’ remembers various Arsenal games and mentions how Everton had lost to Manchester United 5-1 in August 1963 where Denis Law and Phil Chisnall scored two goals apiece and David Sadler scored the other, Roy Vernon scored the consolation goal for Everton.

In a feature on the League up the connections between Arsenal and their next opponents Huddersfield are highlighted with the most obvious connection being the great pre-war Manager of both clubs Herbert Chapman. Meanwhile, it notes that Everton will play Lincoln City in a two-legged tie with the first game scheduled to be played at Sincil Bank.

Howard Kendall was not at all happy with his team’s performance at Highbury and he said that out of all the games so far this season Everton had competed reasonably well and may have deserved more points than his team had acquired, but of the Arsenal game he said “if you play like that against a side as strong as they are, then you don’t deserve anything.” So Everton failed to capitalise on their good start to the season and went down by two goals scored by their latest nemesis Ian Wright and thus lost ground on the teams competing for European places.

1993-94 Premier League, Saturday, 28th August, 1993
Arsenal, Highbury, Score: 0-2, Attendance: 29,063
Southall, Holmes, Hinchcliffe, Ebbrell, Jackson, Ablett, Ward, Stuart (Preki), Cottee (Barlow), Rideout, Horne Unused Substitute Jason Kearton

Ten Years Ago — 2003-04

Another home game followed the Merseyside Derby albeit a fortnight later, due to the international break. This time the visitors were Newcastle United, who arrived at Goodison Park with only one point to show for their endeavours so far this season. They had lost both their home games against Manchester United (1-2) and to Birmingham City (0-1). However they had gained a creditable point from Leeds United’s Elland Road after drawing 2-2. But the biggest disappointment for the club came when losing the Champions League Qualifier against Partizan. Having won the first leg 1-0 in Belgrade, the Magpies were favourites to progress in front of their own fanatical supporters, but Partizan had other ideas and duly won the game 1-0 taking the tie to penalties. Newcastle couldn’t find their shooting boots and duly went out to a stunned St. James Park audience. A place in this season’s UEFA Cup was scant consolation for Sir Bobby Robson whose team had enjoyed their sojourns to Madrid, Turin and Barcelona in last season’s Champions League campaign.

In the aftermath of the defeat to Liverpool, David Moyes, who had hinted that new blood was required set about adding new players to the squad. Four players signed for Everton, all of whom were purchased close to the transfer window closing. Francis Jeffers made a surprise return to the club on a 12 month loan from his parent club Arsenal. Nigel Martyn signed from Leeds United, Kevin Kilbane arrived from Sunderland and fifteen minutes before the window closed James McFadden was prised away from Motherwell. Kevin Kilbane was ostensibly signed as a replacement for Mark Pembridge who completed a move to Fulham.
Michael Dunford describes the last day of the transfer window as ‘hectic’ and he says that the closer it got to Five O’clock the more manic it became as they desperately awaited results of medicals and tried to send faxes to the FA and Premier League. Whilst James McFadden’s move was probably the most difficult in so much that everything had happened on the day and because he was joining from Scotland, international clearance was also required, Nigel Martyn’s Move was relatively straight forward as the player had more or less finalised the deal on the day of the Merseyside Derby.

The decision to award Goodison Park the honour of holding an U21 International was hailed a success as 23,744 fans turned out to watch England lose 2-1 to Portugal, boyhood Evertonian Joey Barton scored England’s consolation from the penalty spot, meanwhile, Everton’s new arrival Francis Jeffers made his first appearance at Goodison since his loan deal from Arsenal was completed and he duly received a warm welcome from the Blues fans in the stadium. Wayne Rooney became the youngest player to score a senior goal for England in the game with Macedonia in the Euro 2004 qualifier and he followed that goal with another against Lichtenstein at Old Trafford which leaves England on the brink of qualifying for next summer’s tournament in Portugal.

‘Bits ‘n’ Bobs’ reminds us that Alan Ball’s only sending off in an Everton shirt came against Newcastle in 1968 in a 1-0 win for the Toffees at Goodison Park. It also reminds us that the last away fixture at Charlton was David Moyes’ 50th Premier League match in charge of the Blues, he had won 22 drawn 10 and lost 18 of those fifty games. The Charlton game is also mentioned due to the fact that Jason Euell had scored 2 penalties against Everton, this was only the fifth time in the history of the club that such an event had happened. The other four players to achieve this feat were Julian Dicks for West Ham United in 1995, George Eastham for Arsenal in 1963, and Ken Barnes who actually scored a hat-trick of Penalties for Manchester City and George Mutch for Preston North End in 1937.

Another in the series of commentators to be interviewed is former Blackpool and England legend Jimmy Armfield who commentates for Radio Five Live. Jimmy talks about how he helped in setting Howard Kendall on the road to greatness. He was friends with the Chairman of Blackburn Rovers and the Chairman had asked Jimmy to find him a manager. Howard was a coach at Stoke at the time and Jimmy rang him up to arrange a meeting, Howard was interviewed by Blackburn and duly got the manager’s job at Ewood Park. Jimmy also had a part to play in the development of Peter Reid when they were both at Bolton Wanderers. Jimmy took particular pleasure in his involvement with both Everton men when he was in Rotterdam witnessing them lifting the European Cup Winners Cup. In a final tribute to Everton Jimmy Armfield says that ‘Everton are one of the clubs that have always been, in my lifetime, one of England’s best. There are only a few teams that have always seemed to be a big club and Everton are one of them...”

The football gods must have read the article about opposition players scoring two or more penalties against Everton, as right on cue. Alan Shearer twice netted from the spot to give Newcastle United a share of the spoils at Goodison. In a match littered with yellow cards and both teams ending the game with ten men, it was certainly a hard fought and feisty affair with Referee Rob Styles seemingly intent on annoying both teams in equal measure. Gary Naysmith had received a straight red card when conceding the first penalty in the 58th minute and just five minutes before half-time Laurent Robert was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Although Everton twice came from behind to win a point with goals from Tomasz Radzinski and a Duncan Ferguson penalty in the 88th minute which was the Scotsman’s fiftieth Premier League goal for the Blues, it was once again a disappointing day for another full-house at the ‘Grand Old Lady’ who were still waiting to see their team add to the solitary victory gained in the first game of the season. It was beginning to feel like Everton may be in for a long hard winter, as the injuries received by Wayne Rooney and Richard Wright both sustained in the first half hour of the Newcastle game was beginning to sap the confidence and erode the feel good factor that just a few short weeks ago had surrounded the club.

2003-04 — Premier League, Saturday, 13 September 2003
Newcastle United, Goodison Park, Score: 2-2 (Radzinski & Ferguson Pen), Attendance: 40,228
Wright (Martyn); Hibbert, Naysmith, Stubbs, Yobo; Linderoth, Gravesen; Radzinski, Rooney (Jeffers), Watson (Ferguson), Kilbane. Unused Subs: Unsworth, Weir.

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Reader Comments (9)

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Seb Niemand
1 Posted 20/09/2013 at 09:33:01
Wouldn't that be four from *ten* possible points after the Derby Country game?
Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 20/09/2013 at 10:51:33
Well spotted Seb, automatic calculation on my behalf, it gets confusing when you jump between seasons. I will try to concentrate harder in the future.
Graham Reed
3 Posted 20/09/2013 at 14:22:57
This was the last of Jimmy Husband's 55 goals for Everton. His best seasons were when he first became a regular in 66-67 (10 goals) and then 68-69 (20 goals).
Brian Garside
4 Posted 20/09/2013 at 21:42:34
Jimmy H is often forgotten durring discussions. Sad as he was a teriffic player. His poise,balance and sense of awareness enabled him to retain possesion where most would lose it. A damn good finisher too.
John Ford
5 Posted 21/09/2013 at 06:48:13
A crowd of just 15000 at Goodison in 1983? Football had problems around these times, but I don't remember crowds being so small.
Michael Brien
6 Posted 21/09/2013 at 10:38:04
John # 707 - Yes John, Patrick has got it spot on re the attendace of 15,000. There were some even smaller attendances later in the season - I travelled over from Lincoln for 2 successive home matches in October, I think it was v Luton a 0-1 defeat and the following week a 1-0 win v Watford the attendances were 13,000 & 14,000.

It was the era of rampant Thatcherism - sorry to go off at a political tangent - and with very high unemployment attendances were really suffering. It's a lesson that I think today's Premier League clubs would do well to take on board,sooner or later fininancial reality will have to hit home and common sense prevail. True fans are being priced out of the game - you only have to look at Germany to see how they treat their fans and you can understand why the Bundesliga is the best supported Football League. It's 18 quid to watch the local team here - Lincoln City - who are in the Conference - Bayern Munich's cheapest tickets are the same price!!!!

Pains me to say it but I think Arsenal deserve some praise for retaining their 1st Kit for another season, instead of changing it after just one season like the great majority of clubs do.

Pleased to see the references to Jimmy Husband. In my opinion he is one of the most underated players in our Modern history. I don't think he got the protection from the Refs that a player of his type would get in todays game.I remember Mackay's disgraceful tackle on him, which I don't think even got a booking ( I was 11 at the time so the memory might be playing tricks) - such a challenge today would I think be a straight red card no messing. I also recall Panathinaikos's tactics to do with him - at that particular time he was back to his best from I think. Personally I think the injuries ruined his career, a really talented player who was a key member of the Everton team that did so well from 1966 - 70.

Brian Denton
7 Posted 21/09/2013 at 11:25:44
Michael, I well remember those piddling crowds in the early eighties. The point you make about the recession is well-made, but I think nowadays (certainly for Premier League clubs) two things have changed: firstly, crowd attendance is not such a key income provider; and secondly the profile of the supporter has changed - much more middle-class, or at least in relatively secure occupations.
Derek Thomas
8 Posted 21/09/2013 at 11:16:50
Jimmy Husband was the player Miralles could be and Ronaldo used to be at United
Michael Brien
9 Posted 23/09/2013 at 14:07:21
Brian#744 I take your points re the importance of income from attendances and the profile of the modern fan compared to earlier eras.

I have to confess that I do think the Premier League would well to look at the Bundesliga and how the clubs seem to have a closer link with their fans. I would agree with your point that income from attendances have been surpassed by other "business streams" as they like to call them these days, however I can't help feeling that if attendances do fall dramatically then half empty stadiums will not look too good a "product" for the TV companies.

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