Memories of the New Millennium – January 2000.

John P McFarlane 29/12/2019 28comments  |  Jump to last
At the end of the last Millennium, Everton Football Club had amassed more top-flight points than any other club. Guy Hodgson of The Independent, reporting on a dour goalless draw in Everton’s final match of 1999 played at Bradford City, opined “On this evidence, the next thousand years will not compare favourably.”

In the previous game at Goodison Park, most Evertonians were dreaming of better things as Bill Kenwright had won his battle for control of the Goodison Park club. Everton FC remained £15M in debt, with the deal valuing the club at approximately £30M and Kenwright was expected to have to pay £20M to buy out Peter Johnson’s 68% majority shareholding by late January 2000.

A good start to the Kenwright era was witnessed as Peter Reid’s high-flying Sunderland were despatched by five goals to nil. Kenwright took his seat 12 minutes into the game, just in time to see two goals from Don Hutchison, and one apiece from Francis Jeffers, Mark Pembridge and Kevin Campbell. Smith was moved to describe it as "the best we have played in my time".

It completed an enjoyable Christmas for Kenwright. "I cried when I was told I had succeeded," Kenwright said. "It has been a very difficult year, because there was no guarantee that I would manage it. My mum still thinks I'm mad, but I am a very happy man. We have no magic wand, but there is hope for us now."

So much for the previous Millennium then; as an injury-ravaged out-of-form Leicester City managed by Martin O’Neill were Everton’s first opponents of the 21st Century as The Toffees looked to maintain their unbeaten home record. A special issue of the matchday programme, a parade of former players, all was set fair for another three points and a goal-fest – but we should have listened to our inner Evertonian – even as far back as January 2000, we could rely on the presence of Sky TV to put us off our stroke.

Lyndon Lloyd, in his match report for ToffeeWeb, wrote:

A new year, a new century, a new millennium (the media has said so) but more importantly a new decade offering Evertonians the chance to leave the 1990s behind. Sadly, the Everton of the '90s hasn't read the script and exited right because it is still there.

Every time the team looks like it's going somewhere, every time the media sits up and takes notice, Everton lapse into their bad old ways. Following the 5-0 hammering of Sunderland, Everton had once again risen to prominence in the media and much was expected from this first televised game of 2000 against Leicester.

City, who came into the game on the back of 4 straight defeats, were faced with a catalogue of injuries and a key suspension to Emil Heskey that forced Martin O'Neill to field a patched-up side and defender Matt Elliott as a makeshift striker. The script was written...

Steve Bickerton, also on behalf of ToffeeWeb, wrote:

When asked what I felt the outcome of today's game would be, I was a little reticent to predict a win for us. I know that's not in keeping with being a fan, when blue-tinted glasses means that you never criticise those in the Royal Blue, but you must know what I mean... a forward hasn't scored for 3 years and who does he score against? A team doesn't win away all season till they visit Goodison, first goal for a club... you see the sort of thing I mean.

So, when Leicester City arrived here in the middle of a slump, haven't won for four games, odds are the run'll end here. Nevertheless, having demolished Sunderland and come away from the Bradford and Bingley Stadium with a point, I had a sneaking feeling we might be in for a repeat of Boxing Day.

3rd January 2000: Everton 2-2 Leicester (BBC report)

Everton have saved their unbeaten home run with a late penalty as they drew 2-2 with Leicester. Stand-in striker Matt Elliott ended the Midlanders' losing streak with two goals that looked to have bagged all three points, until Everton defender David Unsworth scored from the spot on 56 minutes.

With Emile Heskey suspended, Elliot was pushed up front as a makeshift striker in a gamble that more than paid off for manager Martin O'Neill.

Leicester slipped a goal behind to a David Weir strike before the Scotland defender stuck the ball in the net twice in six minutes to give the visitors the advantage.

Everton were curiously disjointed throughout and, although they would have gone seventh if they had won, they will almost certainly be heaving a sigh of relief that they managed to garner a single point from this performance.

England internationals Tim Flowers and Nicky Barmby were stretchered off after a heavy collision, but it was subsequently established that both had suffered bruising rather than broken bones.

Leicester's replacement goalkeeper, Frenchman Pegguy Arphexad, had barely had time to settle before Weir fired the ball towards the goalmouth, receiving a lucky deflection off Don Hutchison that guided it into the net.

Leicester went close through Theo Zagorakis and Robbie Savage was perhaps unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty for a shove in the area. But they did not have to wait long before Elliot grabbed the equaliser, running onto a Zagorakis through ball and slamming it home.

The home side failed to regroup before the Scot was back again, capitalising on poor defending to power the shot home off a deflected Paul Gerrard strike.

Everton have yet to lose at home this season and it was with this in mind that they finally put together a coherent attack of sorts to set up an equalising opportunity.

Campbell chipped into the box, where Frank Sinclair clearly handled the ball. He was lucky not to earn himself a second yellow card following an early rash tackle. Unsworth thumped in the equaliser and his fifth goal of the season.

Everton: Gerrard, Unsworth, Gough, Watson, Weir, Pembridge, Hutchison, Collins, Barmby, Jeffers, Campbell. Subs: Gemmill, Ward, Clarke, Moore, Simonsen.

Leicester City: Flowers, Taggart, Walsh, Sinclair, Savage, Lennon, Zagorakis, Oakes, Eadie, Elliott, Cottee. Subs: Gunnlaugsson, Campbell, Gilchrist, Arphexad, Thomas.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

Attendance: 30,490

The remaining fixtures for January 2000, saw Everton despatch Birmingham City and Preston North End at Goodison Park and earn themselves a place in the sixth round of the FA Cup. Preston Manager David Moyes said after the tie, “At times it was hard to tell who was the Premier League team, and it was only in the last 10 minutes, when we threw caution to the wind to try to grab an equaliser, that Everton created anything.”

The win over Preston ended a good week for the Toffees, which saw Bill Kenwright complete his takeover and manager Walter Smith sign a new contract which was to keep him at Goodison until the Summer of 2003.

In the Premier League, Everton maintained their proud unbeaten home record as they drew two apiece with Tottenham Hotspur. Joe-Max Moore who had been recommended to Everton by Richard Gough, scored a last-minute equaliser.

However, the Blues lost away to lowly Southampto,n managed by former Everton player David Jones. Second-half strikes from Jo Tessem and Matthew Oakley put paid to Everton’s hopes of a first Premier League win of the new millennium.

For more details of any of the games mentioned above or indeed any Everton match during the last 25 years, ToffeeWeb has a huge array of information and match reports plus line-ups etc just click on ‘Seasons’ then select ‘Past Seasons’.

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Reader Comments (28)

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Ken Kneale
1 Posted 29/12/2019 at 12:38:03
John - Was the Leicester game Dave Watson's final league appearance in blue?
John P McFarlane
2 Posted 29/12/2019 at 13:37:50
Ken - Apparently Dave Watson's final appearance in an Everton shirt was against Spurs in that 2-2 draw in which he was yellow carded. Strange how the great players tend to just fade away and Dave was a true Everton great.
Ken Kneale
3 Posted 29/12/2019 at 13:46:14
Thanks John. Indeed he was, often shoring up substandard colleagues. A great servant to us and fondly remembered as a stalwart
Andrew James
4 Posted 29/12/2019 at 13:57:06
If that is Dave Watson then no wonder we were struggling. The line up suggests we were playing 3 centre halves in a back four with two of them well into their thirties.

This was the team that did the RS at Anfield and promised so much all season before chucking away a top half finish.

Then Hutchinson got greedy, Barmby ran off to the RS and we had to sell Jeffers to balance the books and the side split up to be replaced by the likes of Nyarko, Alexandersson, Mad Dog and Gazza.

John P McFarlane
5 Posted 29/12/2019 at 14:17:11
Andrew #4 It was most certainly Dave Watson. Steve Watson was purchased in the Summer of 2000.
Dennis Stevens
6 Posted 29/12/2019 at 14:32:45
After the "Team of the Decade" thread, I'm saying nothing!
Andrew James
7 Posted 29/12/2019 at 18:14:04
Yes John so by the looks of it, one of those ageing CB's was being deployed as a full back!!

Not an era I like to dwell on, it must be said.

Ken Kneale
8 Posted 29/12/2019 at 18:43:34
Andrew. That does not detract from Dave Watson’s great service to the club. Without his ilk in those times we could have followed Sheffield Wednesday into oblivion
Seb Niemand
10 Posted 29/12/2019 at 20:33:29
My only quibble is that, with hindsight, it is hard to describe any week that Bill Kenwright took over as "a good week for Everton".
Andrew James
11 Posted 29/12/2019 at 21:48:35
What I liked about him Ken was that he was a leader, had a goal in him and put his body on the line.

It is telling that once he was retiring we brought in another local lad with similar attributes in the form of Alan Stubbs. And around this time we also brought back Duncan Ferguson so it seems to me that they knew there was a big void to fill in the dressing room in terms of character and Blue Blood.

You mention Wednesday which is interesting as I seem to recall Walter Smith opted for us over them. Within two seasons they'd gone down.

Jerome Shields
12 Posted 29/12/2019 at 00:08:16
The early 2000s, John, where a very busy time for me. There where not enough hours in the day for what I was at.

I remember being glad that Kenwright was successful in the takeover, after Johnson cashing in at a huge profit. I see that Kenwright was the same as he always was giving Smith a three year contract after some good results. I was hopeful that Kenwright would have built up the Club and Everton would have challenged at the top of the Premiership.

In twenty years he achieved neither, being content to live of the Premier League money and developed debt rather than develop the Club. He made even a bigger profit than Johnson, when he cashed in.

Enjoyed reading the playing details of that time. Thank you.

Ken Kneale
13 Posted 30/12/2019 at 02:27:29
Andrew. Yes. Wednesday dropped like a stone. Walter Smith was not what I hoped for, but looking back, we were a mess and he did keep us marginally above survival.

Jerome. Kenwright let us down big style. Many wished for him to succeed but his legacy is failure on a massive scale and total betrayal to many

John Raftery
14 Posted 30/12/2019 at 10:41:36
I think failure on a massive scale is what Sunderland have achieved in plummeting halfway down League One, or Leeds have achieved with sixteen seasons out of the Premier League.
Jerome Shields
15 Posted 31/12/2019 at 04:08:37

Sunderland fans should have got better, but they really have been badly managed by different parties, including Naill Quinn and friends who where a disappointment. . They never achieved the level of Everton. One FA cup, with great fan props

Leeds did achieve the heights, but again different parties mismanaged them over years. I know Leeds Fans who have spent years going to a lot of different grounds. Leeds even managed to finish George Grahams career.

Everton have had the same parties. mismanaged them for years, which to a lot of us appears to be a continuation of what went before. It appears easily remembered. . Kenwright did get us the billionaire he said he was looked for. We all thought he was getting him for us. We did not expect him to be still haunting us, with his snout still in the trought, appearing to still do damage.

This is why it appears so massive to us. It has been so prolonged. We might end up posting comments on ToffeeWeb on a Memorial service in his honour at Bramley Dock, if we live to see it being built.

Derek Knox
16 Posted 31/12/2019 at 06:43:58
A very interesting article John, it's almost unbelievable where the time has gone, it seems like yesterday, 20 years almost, wow!
Jerome Shields
17 Posted 31/12/2019 at 09:10:49
Kenwright was a Everton Director ten years prior to his takeover of Everton.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
18 Posted 31/12/2019 at 15:10:19
Ah, the Leicester game. 3 months later I was on a flight back from Hamburg, having started a new job. With me was a UK colleague of the supplier I had just met.

I knew he was an Evertonian, but it was only as time passed did I realise what a massive Evertonian he was and still is.

He told me that he had sponsored the match ball for the Leicester match. Why this one? He now owns the first match ball used by Everton in this millenium.

My claim is a little less. I own the only match ball from a FA Cup Final where Wayne Rooney scored.

Eugene Ruane
19 Posted 31/12/2019 at 18:07:27
Wow, 20 years goes (to quote Ralph Kramden) 'BANG-ZOOM!'.

Incredible to think in 2000 I was just 40 and almost at the peak of my sexual powers.

I say almost as it's usually accepted that 60 is the ACTUAL peak.

(slaps down hair, shines shoes on back of kecks, straightens imaginary tie, gives it the Carlo eyebrow)

"Right ladies?"

Takes viagra...waits...up...up...UP...the Toffees!

Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 31/12/2019 at 18:22:08
Brilliant Eugene, those little blue pills are brilliant, BANG-ZOOM!
Eugene Ruane
21 Posted 31/12/2019 at 19:11:44
They're VERY strong Tony, I looked into a bottle of them in the chemist and got a stiff neck.


Andy Crooks
22 Posted 31/12/2019 at 19:54:56
I was surprised to see Viagra on sale over the counter in Boots. I passed this info to a mate. He said. "I don't need Viagra."

"Actually, I don"t require Viagra".

Jim Bennings
23 Posted 01/01/2020 at 19:55:48
That 1999/00 team had the makings of a really good team but yet again in typical Everton fashion we got unlucky with injuries (when has it ever been different?).

Campbell and Jeffers were on fire as a strike partnership and Hutchison, Barmby and Collins were supplying 44 Magnum bullets for them.

It went tits up when Super Kev got injured in February 2000 and then Jeffers missed most of the second half of the season in what became the start of a injury ravaged career.

The loss of Hutch, Collins and Barmby though that summer of 2000 tore us apart and the replacements (Mad Dog Tommy G aside) were useless.

We had some good solid players, Dunne and X at the the back (Xavier) and remember Pembo’s Hinchcliffe-esq corners?

I’ll never forget the absolute domination at Anfield in what was the most composed Everton performance I’ve ever seen away at Liverpool.

Shame it didn’t last.

Oh to party like 99 again!

David Donnellan
24 Posted 02/01/2020 at 10:50:34
Time has flown! 20 years, wow!
I was at the Preston & Spurs games.
I remember a staffie running onto the pitch in the Spurs game & evading attempts to be caught, until the dog whisperer Unsworth managed to get hold of it. Amazing the little things that stick in the memory.
As for the games. I thought we made hard work of the cup tie with Preston but did the job in the end. Apart from the staffie running onto the pitch, my memory of the Spurs game was the relief around the stadium when Joe-Max Moore (he scored in the Preston game also) struck the equaliser at the death. If I remember correctly, I think Superkev stooped to head in our other goal in that Spurs game.
Going back to the theme of the Staffie running onto the pitch.
I tend to get to several games a season & I seem to have the knack of turning up when animals invade the pitch. A few seasons ago, I was there when a cat ran on the pitch, my memory has deserted me, as I can’t remember who we were playing that day.
Good memories!
Jim Bennings
25 Posted 02/01/2020 at 12:59:04

I remember that Spurs game too (have we ever had a good record against Spurs lol).

Staffie versus Rhino, only one winner I’m afraid.

It’s mental how fast time has gone, players that have since started and ended their careers in that 20 year period (and still we search for that elusive Anfield win).

I reckon Walter Smith did an ok job in those first two seasons and given the massive financial restrictions around the midway point of his time here, it became an almost impossible job for him until Moyes youthfulness arrived to spurt some life into it.

One thing we can always remember Smithy for was as mentioned that win at Anfield, he’s in a very exclusive club of Everton managers to win at that place.

John P McFarlane
26 Posted 02/01/2020 at 15:42:50
David # 24 Perhaps it was one of the games below?



David Donnellan
27 Posted 02/01/2020 at 21:03:42
Jim #25,

Yes indeed, our record against Spurs is a mixed bag. Not too much in our favour in recent times, unfortunately. Yes, Rhino was gonna be the only winner of that encounter, haha!

I remember he called the dog over to him & the dog obliged & Rhino duly grabbed its collar & led him away to safety.

Indeed the derby win at Anfield was a highlight of Smith's tenure. I also remember him bringing Dacourtp & Materazzi to Everton.

Their Everton careers were brief & they went onto have good careers after their time with us.

John #26,

Thanks for the links, it was the Dagenham game. Just before the poor moggy ended up by Robles, the little fella/fellette tried to jump over the hoardings near to where I was sat.

I forgot about the cat at the Wolves game, I remember seeing that on TV at the time. There is a little bit of history of animals invading our games – I seem to also remember a squirrel invading Tim Howard's goal area during a match!

Peter Roberts
28 Posted 04/01/2020 at 09:11:46
Andrew James #4

Unfair to chuck Gravesen into that lot of mediocrity, he was a fine player for us and we got 5 years of decent service out of him (which cant be said of the other names you mentioned)

Dick Fearon
29 Posted 07/01/2020 at 06:58:13
Here in Oz our game was stopped when a huge Western Red Roo hopped down the middle of the pitch. You don't argue with them because they have huge claws (toe nails) that could rip out your family jewels.

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