Sports Book Festival on a brisk November Saturday morning and at a cost of only 4 it seemed good value to see Alan Stubbs (sporting Movember moustache), Kevin Kilbane and ghost writer of Neville Southall: The Binman Chronicles and Howard Kendall: Love Affairs & Marriage James Corbett chat all things Everton for over an hour under the pleasant hosting of Dave Prentice, Deputy Head of Sport at the Liverpool Echo.

So insightful was the event it seemed over just as quickly as it had begun. Dave Prentice went straight into the book titles of all three guests, beginning with Alan Stubbs: How Football Saved My Life. This encompasses the amazing story of how Alan Stubbs first learnt of his fate of contracting testicular cancer during a phone call from his doctor whilst playing golf pre-season. Failing the drug test didnt make sense though the hormone the test distinguished usually related to women’s pregnancy signaled what the problem may be and Alan described his shock of learning his fate and how he then continued his round of golf before the hardest thing having to tell his family of the news. He also explained how much it meant to him to receive a supportive phone call from Peter Reid after he was diagnosed. It was probably just a small thing for him but it meant the world to me said Stubbs.

Killa: Kevin Kilbane is much more straightforward for a book title, and Dave Prentice teased Kilbane on if he thought of using his Goodison nickname of Zinedine Kilbane as the title. Love Affairs & Marriage: Howard Kendall of course relates to Howards famous quote when he dumped Manchester City for Everton in 1990. James Corbett explained how, when watching matches on TV now, Howard Kendall can still spot what is going wrong for teams and is able to explain things in 20 seconds what it will take Jamie Redknapp a lot longer to point out. Dave Prentice also fondly recalled when Howard Kendall, upon noticing the napkins were red at a Sportsman’s Dinner he insisted that they all be changed to blue ones.

On the theme of comebacks, Alan Stubbs was asked about his return to Everton following his short spell at The Stadium of Light. He explained how the disagreement stemmed from Stubbs wanting a two-year contract and Moyes only offering one year following the excellent 2004-05 season. (Moyes only wanted to give over-30s one-year contracts at the time.) Neither could agree so Stubbs left in the summer; however, as soon as November of that same year, it wasnt working out for Stubbs at Sunderland and, in January, both he and Moyes were quickly able to bury their disagreement and Stubbs returned.

As Howard Kendall has mentioned previously, Stubbs believes Rooney will return to play for Everton one day. When asked about Ross Barkley, he said how he is definitely the best thing to come through at Everton since Wayne Rooney. Kilbane explained how he thinks he is a better, more developed player than Jack Rodwell and that Moyes would have taken him out of the current team by now and that it is better for his long term development that Martinez is letting him play; poor game or not, it is better for him to keep on playing.

On Thomas Gravesens brief Everton return and how it didnt work out, Stubbs shrugged: Gravesen had amazing technical ability but he was crackers. It can happen. Things dont always work out.

One thing Kevin Kilbane said about David Moyes which I simply could not believe was that Moyes was actually one of the practical jokers whilst he was at Preston. He would be the one who would cut up your socks and stuff like that. David Moyes... whod have thought it, eh? You little joker! Kilbane did also explain about how he would always offer good advice, one bit of which was to Only drink half-pints when you go out so people wont think youre a big drinker.

When asked about their best-ever games as players for Everton, Stubbs said I know it sounds cheesy but for me its every game because I was so proud to play for Everton. It was all I wanted to do growing up, though he did say beating Liverpool was always great and the feeling of finishing fourth was brilliant. Beating Manchester United 1-0 when Big Dunc scored was Kevin Kilbanes favourite, citing the unbelievable atmosphere on the day. This lead to comparisons between the 2004-05 team and our current squad. Stubbs explained that, whilst the quality of our current team (Howard great keeper; Distin most consistent player in the league; Jagielka England centre back; Coleman improving right back; Barry one of the best professionals hes ever worked with; Mirallas exciting Belgian international; Lukaku excellent player hed hate to play against on loan) is better, the 2004-05 squad just could not be beaten for camaraderie and togetherness.

Kevin fielded a question about who they would most like to have played with. Maradona was the answer though he did state that having players around you who would stand up and be counted when things werent going well (like Stubbs and Carsley) meant an awful lot as a player.

The talk couldnt conclude without discussing the upcoming Merseyside Derby, of course. James Corbett encapsulated what we all think of the derby that we hate watching them. Alan Stubbs told his story of an awful tackle by Milan Baros in a derby which he got sent off for and resulted in Stubbs looking for Baros after the match.He tried calling me to apologies but I didnt take his call said Stubbs. Ive always gone in tough on players but fair. Ive never tried to hurt anyone deliberately. Dave Prentice grazed upon a red-card double for David Unsworth (whos ambition is to manage Everton one day) and Robbie Fowler in a 1997-98 Merseyside Derby and Kilbane explained how the two-week break prior to this derby really isnt any good for the players at all as it is such a long time for players to wait for such a big game.

I wanted to ask Kevin how he felt after the 2005 defeat to Villarreal and if the team felt cheated afterwards but I stuck my hand up too late into the question-and-answer session I hope its covered in the book.

The event concluded with the three gents chatting amicably with fans and signing copies of their books. It was nice to hear from such down-to-earth players and Evertonians and its great to know even in this modern game that footballers can be nice, amicable lads after all.

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Reader Comments (14)

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Danny Broderick
1 Posted 17/11/2013 at 11:45:18
A very interesting read, cheers Paul.
Eugene Ruane
2 Posted 17/11/2013 at 15:10:23
Great read Paul.

Actually when you see 'The Binman Chronicles' as a title for a book about an international keeper who was considered the world's best for a time and Everton's most successful ever, it's just....mad!

Mad but brilliant and makes me think of what other players might have titled their books had they shown a little imagination.

For instance, I have no idea what Ian Rush called his book but I'll guess 'Rush to succeed' or 'Kick and Rush', but wouldn't it be better if it was just 'CONK' or 'The Spam Robbers Brother'.

Eugene Ruane
3 Posted 17/11/2013 at 15:10:23
Great read Paul.

Actually when you see 'The Binman Chronicles' as a title for a book about an international keeper who was considered the world's best for a time and Everton's most successful ever, it's just....mad!

Mad but brilliant and makes me think of what other players might have titled their books had they shown a little imagination.

For instance, I have no idea what Ian Rush called his book but I'll guess 'Rush to succeed' or 'Kick and Rush', but wouldn't it be better if it was just 'CONK' or 'The Spam Robbers Brother'.

Steven Telford
4 Posted 17/11/2013 at 17:58:51
If Stubbs honestly gave a fuck about Everton - he'd stop touting us as a feeder team!
George McKane
5 Posted 17/11/2013 at 18:08:59
And if you know your history - just watching Dunkirk in TV - - some British Soldiers on the way back to Dunkirk - motor cyclist stopped them and asked "how do I know your real Tommy's and not 5th columnists" - - so he asked who is top of the league - -someone answered " There's no league this year cos' of the war - - but Everton are The League Champions" - - "OK your true Tommy's".

History - - real and long - not just the 20 years of the Sky/PL but history.

Everton - - History. Great stuff.

Mike Hughes
6 Posted 17/11/2013 at 18:17:44
George - great story. Wish I'd have seen that.

I'm sure we were champions at the outbreak of both World Wars.

It took that much to stop the Mighty Blues.

And the Heysel Disaster.

I've always hated The Hun, The Nazis and kopites.


George McKane
7 Posted 17/11/2013 at 18:31:58
Thanks Mike, with you there... It used to be an old "quiz" question: Who held the League Championship the longest? Everton: 1939-46.

It was just great to hear our name Everton in an old British Movie.

Up The Blues.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 17/11/2013 at 18:51:07
You're right Mike, we were champs in 1914 and 1939. Between the kaiser, adolf and the rs we've had no luck whatsoever.
George McKane
9 Posted 17/11/2013 at 19:00:31
On this theme, a big gang of us went to the Notts County Cup Tie. It was teaming and we were soaked through but we got into a sort of Miners Club in the evening soaking wet and a bit of a mess. I stood up and did a Winston Churchill type "We'll beat them on the beaches, and in the rain and in the mud and we have Andy Gray to stand between us and anything" or something like that. It was amazing and some nice ladies in the club gave us some butties.

A True Blue (Hi)Story.

Brian Denton
10 Posted 17/11/2013 at 19:21:37
I crashed my car on the trip to that Notts County FA Cup Tie. Then found my mate had gone in with my ticket. I did get in though, into the open end where we all got soaked. Andy Gray scored with a header which most normal people would have kicked.
Peter Thistle
11 Posted 18/11/2013 at 06:05:21
Interesting mate, thanks for sharing. Sounds like it was a good event, wish I was there.
Harold Matthews
12 Posted 18/11/2013 at 05:57:18
Steven. Interesting point. Perhaps, with all the money at stake and the huge foreign influx, we're all feeder clubs. Bobby Gould was saying on the radio only last night how Chelsea have such an amazing academy, yet no-one makes the first team a la John Terry.

Southampton and others have managed to bring one or two through but 99'9% of academy lads don't make the Premier League. It's the same with us. There are not many Rooneys, Rodwells or Barkleys about. Stubbs knows the situation, and rather than putting people on the dole, he tries to find them employment elsewhere. Our reputation for achieving this is widely known in the football world and is one of the reasons talented kids knock on our door. Right now another Ross Barkley is nowhere in sight but we have to keep on looking.

Ken Farrington
13 Posted 18/11/2013 at 14:12:43
Very interesting and informative read. I've read Stubbsy's book and its a good read. I will look forward to reading the other two as this article has certainly wetted my appetite for all things blue!
Richard Knights
14 Posted 18/11/2013 at 22:38:56
Is this the same PT who collated the dodgy dossier on the Spirit of Shankly and then spent most of his time at Everton trying to suppress any dissent?

Gone but not forgotten.


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