The First Premier League Merseyside Derby

Dick Brady 02/05/2020 21comments  |  Jump to last

On 7th December 1992, Everton played Liverpool in the first Merseyside Derby of the Premier League era. The game was attended by 35,826 fans. Everton went behind but quickly pulled a goal back from Mo Johnston, Peter Beardsley would score the winner for Everton and teenager Billy Kenny would take the Man of the Match award.

I don’t want to spend too much time talking about the actual game but I thought it might be interesting to look at the careers of the players who had lined up for Everton. How they first came to Everton, what their time at Everton amounted to and eventually what happened to them after.

Neville Southall

Our legendary goalkeeper had already been at Everton twelve years by the time this match arrived, in that time he had won two league titles, one European Cup Winners Cup, two Charity Shields and an FA Cup. Southall had been included in the PFA Team of the Year in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and in 1985 he had won the Footballer of the Year award. Gary Lineker and Southall remain the only two Everton players to ever win Footballer of the year and Southall to this day is still the only goalkeeper to have won that honour.


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You could argue that by 1992, Everton had already seen the best of Southall. He was 34 years old at the time of this Derby but he was still irrefutably Everton’s No1 and he was still a very fine goalkeeper.

There were of course low points in Southall’s career, before the start of the 1990/91 season he handed in a transfer request feeling Everton were going nowhere under then manager Colin Harvey. During the opening game of that season, Southall staged a half time protest by refusing to go into the dressing room. Instead he sat sulking against his goal post.

Around this time Southall received a phone call from Alex Ferguson but the story goes Southall’s abrupt and sulky telephone manner put the Man Utd boss off the idea of signing and Ferguson instead turned his attentions to Peter Schmeichel.

Southall’s mood improved when Howard Kendall returned to Everton but Everton were a declining force under Kendall’s second spell as manager. Mike Walker became manager in 1994, a manager Southall described as ‘a man who love his suntan more than football’.

At the end of the 1993/94 season Everton would face Wimbledon in the final game of the season, they needed to win this game to avoid relegation and things looked even bleaker when Everton found themselves behind by two goals within the first twenty minutes. A penalty would offer Everton a lifeline and with his teammates all looking reluctant to accept the responsibility, Neville collected the ball and headed towards the opposing penalty area himself, luckily Graham Stuart would take the ball from Neville and subsequently score from the spot. Everton eventually won that game 3-2 and avoided the drop.

In 1994 Joe Royle took over as Everton manager and Southall played in Big Joe’s opening game against Liverpool, a famous win in which Duncan Ferguson headed his first Everton goal. Things would continue to improve under Joe with Everton eventually winning the FA Cup in 1995.

Southall helped Everton to that FA Cup trophy by making a double save from Paul Scholes in the final. He collected his second FA Cup Winners medal and became the most decorated player in Everton’s history.

The following season Royle started to feel that Southall was a spent force, he tried to sign Nigel Martyn as a replacement before eventually bringing Paul Gerrard to the club as the potential long term successor to Southall.

Royle would eventually drop Southall during the 1996/1997 season, at this time Chelsea tried to tempt the goalkeeper to Stamford Bridge but Southall would not leave. Joe Royle’s reign as Everton manager ended later that season and Caretaker manager Dave Watson would reinstate Southall as Everton’s No1, a move that saw the now aged keeper help steer Everton away from a relegation scrap.

The 1997/98 season saw Howard Kendall return for a third spell as Everton manager. That season would be one of the worst Everton fans have had to endure, ending in another final day game that they had to win to avoid relegation. Southall wasn’t involved in that game though, by that time he’d been replaced by Thomas Myhre. Southall had actually played his last Everton game back in November, a 0-2 home defeat to Spurs.

Former teammate Ian Snodin eventually tempted to Southall to join Doncaster Rovers in 1998 and after that short spell Southall would play over fifty games for Torquay United.

In 2012 Southall released his autobiography The Binman Chronicles. He now spends his days on social media and supporting various charities and LGBT groups.

Martin Keown

During his time as manager, Colin Harvey made some interesting transfers. In his first season in charge he paid over £1 million for Stuart McCall and the following season he broke the British transfer record paying £3.11 million for Tony Cottee. Everton though had started to slip and in a bid to restore Everton’s fortunes in what turned out to be his last season in charge, Harvey attempted to renovate the squad with several new additions. Mike Newell was brought in to partner Cottee, Norman Whiteside joined from Man Utd, exciting winger Peter Beagrie joined from Stoke and foreign players Stefan Rehn and Raymond Atteveld joined the Goodison ranks. Arguably though, Harvey’s best signing that Summer was to pay Aston Villa £900,000 for Martin Keown.

Keown was just 23 when he signed for Everton. His arrival, along with the other players, seemed to inspire Everton and during the early part of the 1989/90 season, Colin Harvey’s Everton found themselves topping the Premier League. Sadly they could not sustain that momentum and their form dipped after Christmas. Everton would eventually finish 6th and Keown played in 20 of those games.

By November of the 1990/91 season, Harvey had stepped down as manager and Howard Kendall returned. Keown soon proved his value to Kendall playing in 24 games that season and the following season he had become an important part of Howard’s team, missing just three games.

Keown’s form for Everton was so good that Graham Taylor called him into the England squad in 1992 making his debut against France. An injury to Mark Wright handed Keown a place in the England squad which travelled to Sweden for the 1992 Euro’s. Keown would partner Des Walker at Centre Back in all three games, two goalless draws and a 2-1 defeat to hosts Sweden. The squad would return losers but Keown had done enough to make himself one of the best defenders in the country.

Keown would play 13 games for Everton in the newly formed Premier League, including the Derby win, but money was tight and Kendall had only been able to add Barry Horne, Paul Rideout and Preki to the squad that season. A decision was made to raise money by selling their most valuable asset and Kendall accepted a £2.7 million bid for Keown and the defender went back to his former club.

There’s no point going over Keown’s Arsenal career. He was a part of the legendary Arsenal defence. He was a stalwart of Wenger’s team and won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and one Cup Winners Cup.

Keown played 43 times for England and eventually retired from football in 2005. Keown now appears as a pundit for the BBC.

David Unsworth

The Rhino had come through the ranks at Everton, promoted from the youth team by Howard Kendall. Unsworth made his Everton debut against Spurs at the end of the 1991/1992 season. In truth he was too young to become a regular under Howard Kendall and his games were few and far between. Amazingly this game against Liverpool was one of only three he played in during the 1992/93 season.

Unsworth was just a 19-year-old when he lined up against Liverpool in 1992. It was a big ask of the youngster and one of the few times Kendall played him. Kendall for some reason never seemed to be a big fan of The Rhino.

Unsworth started to play more games under the management of Mike Walker but it was when Joe Royle took over that Unsworth became an ever-present in the Everton team. As Royle’s team slowly climbed away from relegation, Unsworth’s own form improved with every game.

In 1995 Unsworth was a part of the team that won the FA Cup under Royle. His form was so good that season that Terry Venables handed him his one and only England cap. He played in a 2-1 victory against Japan.

Unsworth played another couple of seasons under Joe Royle, playing in almost every game for him but in 1997 Royle was out and Howard Kendall had returned. One of the first things Kendall did was to use Unsworth as a bargaining chip to create a deal to bring Danny Williamson to Everton. That’s right, Howard Kendall swapped David Unsworth for Danny Williamson?!!??

And of course Unsworth would have to make his West Ham debut against Howard Kendall’s Everton at Goodison Park. The Hammers would lose the game 2-1 but Unsworth would receive a standing ovation from the Everton fans.

West Ham manager Harry Redknapp rated Unsworth highly and wanted him to continue at West Ham but after just one season, and with Unsworth’s family feeling homesick, the defender asked for a move away from London.

Everton by this time Everton were under the management of Walter Smith and the Scot had spent a fortune on new transfers Ibrahima Bakayoko, Olivier Dacourt, John Collins and Marco Materazzi. Smith therefore decided not to bid for Unsworth and The Rhino found himself signing for Aston Villa.

Just one month into his Aston Villa career, and without playing a single game, Unsworth asked for a move citing that his family could not settle. This time Smith decided Everton could use Unsworth and the club reimbursed Aston Villa the £3 million they had paid for him. Unsworth had officially rejoined Everton for the 1998/99 season.

In his second spell for Everton, Unsworth proved to be a consistent player at both Left Back and Centre Back. Smith was eventually fired and Unsworth would score the first goal of the David Moyes era.

Sadly Unsworth’s Everton career ended in 2004 when he had a dispute with Moyes over the length of his contract extension. He left Everton on a free transfer aged 31. He continued his career with Portsmouth, then dropped down into the Championship with Ipswich & Sheffield Utd. He returned to the Premier League with Wigan in 2006, went back to the Championship with Burnley in 2007 before finally ending his career with Huddersfield in League One.

Unsworth now manages the Everton U23 squad and has led them to two titles in three years. He’s also managed the first team as caretaker after the sackings of Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman.

Dave Watson

Howard Kendall brought Dave Watson to Everton in 1986 for a then club record £900,000. Derek Mountfield was injured at the time and Kendall planned to use Watson as a replacement both in the short term and eventually in the long term.

Watson however did not have the best start to his Everton career, he looked slow next to the pacey Kevin Ratcliffe and soon found himself receiving scorn from the Everton fans. Once the injured Mountfield was fit, he was quickly returned to the starting team.

Over the course of the 1986/87 season Watson wasn’t as big a part of the team as he would of liked, he did however play his part and was happy to receive his medal when Everton took the title that year.

The following season Kendall departed for Athletic Bilbao and Colin Harvey took charge. Mountfield by this time was suffering more recurring injuries and Watson quickly replaced him in the team. In fact Mountfield would play just nine of the forty games that season due to a combination of injuries and the form of Dave Watson. By the end of the 1987/88 season, Watson had been voted Fans Player of the Year.

Watson played 12 games for England. His first cap came in 1984 and he was named a part of Bobby Robson’s Euro 88 squad. Watson’s last game in an England shirt would come during that tournament as England crashed out in the group stages.

In 1992 Kendall was back in charge of Everton and he handed Watson the captaincy when Ratcliffe departed for Dundee. Watson would Captain Everton through most of the 1990’s, he would be the only player to play for Howard Kendall during all three of his reigns.

Dave Watson’s best moment in an Everton shirt came in 1995 when he lifted the FA Cup as Captain of Joe Royle’s Dogs of War team. Watson had previously scored the only goal of the game in the quarter final against Newcastle and he was Man of the Match in the final against Man Utd.

In March 1997 Watson scored the only goal of the game against Derby, this turned out to be Joe Royle’s last match as Everton Manager and Watson himself would replace Royle at the helm for the remaining seven games of that season.

Watson would play himself in every game and Captained the side while also acting as Manager. He managed to record a home win against Spurs and decent draws against West Ham & Liverpool. Watson’s leadership and multiple goals from Ferguson and Branch were just enough to push Everton to finish just two points above the relegation zone.

During the Summer of 1997, owner Peter Johnson promised a world class manager would be appointed, he spoke to Bobby Robson, he spoke to Martin O’Neill, he even reportedly spoke to Jurgen Klinsmann, none of them wanted the job so Johnson decided to give it to Howard Kendall, who took control of the Everton for a third time. Kendall took the decision to remove Watson as Captain and handed the armband to Gary Speed.

Watson continued to play for Everton through Kendall’s last reign as manager and into Walter Smith’s. In fact, Watson played his last game for Everton in January 2000. In 2001 Watson was appointed manager of Tranmere but his reign lasted just over a year. In 2002 Watson was voted in Norwich City’s Hall of Fame. He remains the last man to lift a trophy as Everton Captain.

Gary Ablett

A product of the Reds’ youth system, Gary Ablett had already won two League Titles playing for Liverpool by the time Howard Kendall brought him to Everton in 1992. Ablett had also won the FA Cup as part of the Liverpool team that beat Everton in the final of the 1989 competition.

Liverpool manager Graeme Souness decided to sell Ablett and Howard Kendall paid £750,00 for the 26-year-old who could play at either Centre Back or Left Back. Ablett made his debut against Nottingham Forest and soon made himself an integral part of Kendall’s team.

Ablett continued to play for Everton throughout Mike Walker’s reign and into Joe Royle’s. Ablett played in the 1995 FA Cup final, Royle named Ablett as the left back and played another left back, Andy Hinchcliffe in front on him. Ablett became the only player to win the FA Cup while playing for both Merseyside teams.

Royle though preferred to play Hinchcliffe at Left Back, Hinchcliffe had a fast low corner which had a habit of finding Big Dunc’s head, so the following season Ablett found himself increasingly on the bench. Royle loaned Ablett to Sheffield Utd in 1996 before selling him to Birmingham City for £390,000.

Ablett played a lot of football Birmingham before eventually being released in 1999. In 2000 he had a brief spell with Blackpool, playing under former teammate Steve McMahon. Ablett retired from football 2001.

In 2002 Ablett returned to Everton as U17 coach, he worked as part of the youth set-up until 2006 when he returned to Liverpool as their Reserve Team Coach. Under Ablett’s guidance, Liverpool Reserves were crowned Champions in 2008. Later that year Ablett completed his final UEFA coaching qualification.

He took charge of Stockport County in 2009 but the club was in administration and Ablett’s only managerial appointment was over after just one season.

In 2010 Ablett joined the Ipswich Town coaching team but later that year he was diagnosed as having Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 17 months later Gary Ablett tragically died aged just 46.

Ablett’s funeral was attended by former Everton & Liverpool teammates as well as managers Kenny Dalglish and David Moyes. RIP Gary.

Ian Snodin

January 1987, Everton are in a battle with bitter rivals Liverpool, both clubs are chasing the Division title, both clubs decide that a new player is required, both clubs decide that Ian Snodin is the player they want, both clubs bid £840,000 for Snodin and both clubs have that offer accepted by a cash-strapped Leeds Utd. Snodin meets with Kenny Dalglish and agrees a deal to join the Reds.

Howard Kendall though decides not to give up on Snodin. He is a big fan of the midfielder who had a mix of craft & graft which was would be similar to Don Hutchsion, who Kendall himself would sign for Everton over a decade later. Billy Bremner had made the 23-year-old Snodin club Captain of Leeds and Kendall decides to double down on his efforts to sign the player.

A few days later Snodin officially signs for Everton and a few months later Kendall’s Toffee’s win their second League Title in three years. Snodin collected his winners medal most likely pretty pleased with the choice of team he had made. The Everton fans took to Ian Snodin immediately, the class & bite style coupled with his competitive attitude was exactly what the Goodison faithful loved.

Snodin would play under Colin Harvey the following season and by February 1989, Snodin received a call from Bobby Robson inviting him to join the England team for a friendly against Greece. Snodin would suffer an injury before he could play and that was sadly was as close as the player would get to the International Cap his talents deserved.

Howard Kendall returned to Everton in 1990 and planned to make Snodin integral to his side but sadly more injuries would blight the player and he spent the 1991/92 season on the treatment table. Snodin was back in the side in December 1992, he lined up as the defensive midfielder against Liverpool. However injuries would continue to be a problem for him for the rest of his Everton career.

By 1994, Mike Walker was in charge of Everton and Snodin did not seem to fit into the managers plans, Walker had payed big money for Vinny Samways who he believed could pull the strings in the Everton midfield. Walker decided to send Snodin out on loan to Sunderland.

By the time Snodin returned from Sunderland, Joe Royle had taken control of Everton and in January 1995 the new manager decided to sell Snodin to his former club Oldham Athletic. You could argue Royle didn’t need Snodin with the emergence of Joe Parkinson & John Ebbrell but you could also argue Royle did his former club a favour by handing them a very good player.

Snodin would play for Oldham for a couple of seasons before heading to Scarborough and eventually back to his first club Doncaster Rovers where he worked as player/manager. Amazingly he was in his late 30’s by the time he hung up his boots. Snodin’s playing career had been surprisingly long lasting considering all the injuries he had picked up throughout it.

Snodin’s management career didn’t last long but he works now in the media. Snodin remains a popular figure with Everton fans.

Barry Horne

Howard Kendall signed Barry Horne in 1992, the midfielder was already 30-years-old by the time he signed for Everton but Kendall felt the ball-winner could add steel to his side. Horne was the Welsh International Captain and a natural leader who would eventually play 59 times for his country.

Horne’s early Everton career didn’t have much success, Howard Kendall would leave his post within a year of signing Horne, his replacement Mike Walker wanted to build a skilful team with free flowing football which seemed at odds with Horne’s tough tackling style.

On the final day of the 1993/94 Barry Horne smashed in a 30-year screamer against Wimbledon that levelled the score 2-2. Graham Stuart scored the winner and Mike Walker’s team escaped relegation by the narrowest of margins.

The following season Joe Royle had taken charge of Everton who at the time looked doomed to relegation. The plan from Royle was to make Everton tough to beat, to achieve this the manager deployed midfielders Barry Horne, John Ebbrell and Joe Parkinson to marshal the opposing teams.

Royle would identify opposing players that he thought could play and give a simple instruction to Horne…..“that lad can play a bit, dissuade him for me please”. Horne and his teammates would then go out onto the pitch and follow Royle’s instructions to the letter.

Soon Everton’s reputation for tough tackling had earned them a nickname…The Rhino & Waggy at the back, Horne, Parkinson & Ebbrell in midfield and Big Duncan Ferguson up top would become known as Joe Royle’s Dogs of War.

Famously Joe Royle once quipped to the press “in the second half a crisp packet blew onto the pitch and Barry & Joe tackled it”.

The end of the 1995 season saw Everton play in the FA Cup final. Horne and Parkinson were selected to play against a Man Utd team whose midfield included Paul Ince, Nicky Butt and Roy Keane. Everton would lift the FA Cup at the end of the match, The Dogs of War were victorious in the midfield battle. Barry Horne would be named as Everton’s 1995 Player of the Season.

In 1996 Joe Royle decided to sell Barry Horne to Birmingham City, his age (34) was catching up on him and Everton badly lacked transfer funds. Horne had a good time at Birmingham and followed that with a longer spell at Huddersfield.

Horne eventually retired from football in 2001. He works in the media now and as a tribute to him, the Welsh supporters brass band are named…….The Barry Horns.

Billy Kenny

Howard Kendall had actually selected two teenagers to play against Liverpool in this game. Billy Kenny was a product of the youth set-up and was just a month older than Unsworth. Before the game, the press were praising Liverpool’s future Spice Boys Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp but frankly, Kenny pissed all over them during this game.

Blessed with sublime skill, ball control, a range of passing and an ability to get up and down the field Kenny was highly tipped for a big future in the game. He’d already made his Everton debut against Coventry and the England U21 team had handed him a cap.

After the game against Liverpool, Kenny would go on to impress for the rest of the season, notably scoring against Chelsea. In one game against Wimbledon, notorious tough guy Vinny Jones attempted to subdue Kenny by crashing into, the youngster simply picked himself up and continued to run the game. Kenny’s reputation was growing so fast that teammate Peter Beardsley dubbed him ‘The Goodison Gazza’. Sadly that comparison was truer than Beardsley knew.

Shin Splints would leave Kenny on the side lines and unable to train for six months. Frustrated and bored, Kenny turned to drink and then one night encouraged by his friends, he turned to cocaine.

By the time the youngster returned to football he was bloated and unfit. By his own admission he couldn’t see the ball or kick it straight during training a training session. Kendall, frustrated by the condition of Kenny fined the player two weeks wages. A blood and urine test also revealed the extent of Kenny’s fast living much to the anger of his manager who sent him to rehab.

Kenny though continued to party every night until 5am, he’d sleep for a couple of hours and then order a taxi to take him to the training ground. In 1994 new Everton manager Mike Walker issued Kenny with an ultimatum, shape up or ship out.

By this time Kenny’s drug habit was out of control though and shortly after issuing that ultimatum, Mike Walker decided to sack Billy Kenny for ‘gross-misconduct’. Kenny’s Everton career was over.

Former Everton striker Graeme Sharp would offer Kenny a football lifeline, Sharp had been appointed Oldham Athletic manager and knew first hand of Kenny’s talent but after four appearances and scoring an own goal, Oldham too took the decision to sack Kenny for ‘gross-misconduct’.

At the age of just 21 Billy Kenny officially retired from football.

Years later Kenny would give an interview and claim "I was completely hooked on coke. I needed it just to get by. I was an addict and a complete mess. It got so bad that I wasn't even interested in whether Everton were winning or losing“.

Kenny’s Everton career would amount to just 21 appearances and one goal. But his man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool and other terrific games would forever label Kenny as a cult figure for Everton fans.

The press too often label Kenny as a ‘lost talent’ of English football. Rob Smyth of the Guardian placed Billy Kenny at No1 in a list of Football’s Wasted Talent.

Peter Beardsley

In July 1991, manager Howard Kendall decided Everton needed a new striker. He agreed with Derby County to sign their striker Dean Saunders in a deal which would smash the then British record. So sure of the deal was Kendall that Saunders name appeared in a programme for Everton’s upcoming friendly fixture. Saunders however backtracked on his agreement to join Everton and decided instead to sign for Liverpool.

Kendall was furious at losing out on Saunders but also spotted that the striker signing for Liverpool meant that they now had a striker they no longer needed. Peter Beardsley was already a legend on Merseyside when Howard Kendall signed him for Everton in August 1991. Kendall would happily pay rivals Liverpool £1 million for the 30-year-old striker.

Beardsley at that time was in a career slump, new England boss Graham Taylor had dropped him from the International scene and he’d fallen out of favour at Liverpool as new manager Graeme Souness preferred the combination of Saunders and Rush.

The popular player later commented that he received over a thousand letters from both Liverpool and Everton when he made the move and only one of those was negative. Liverpool fans wrote to him thanking him and wishing him well, while Everton fans wrote to him welcoming him to the club.

The move across Stanley Park was an opportunity Beardsley could not turn down and he was instant hit with the Everton fans. In his debut season with Everton, Beardsley would score 21 goals, it would take over 16 years for another Everton player (Yakubu) to score 20 goals in a season.

Beardsley would also become only the second player in history to score for both Everton & Liverpool in a Merseyside derby. He scored Everton’s winner in the 1992 derby which inspired this very article and as a testament to his popularity, Beardsley received cheers and applause from the Kop whenever Everton played there. Not many (if any) Everton players get cheers from the Kop.

So impressive was Beardsley form for Everton that the national press began to urge Graham Taylor to bring him back to the England fold. Taylor resisted those calls and Beardsley would have to wait until 1994 for new manager Terry Venables to hand him his International recall.

Beardsley’s second season with Everton was not quite as good, the team struggled to it’s lowest league finish for a decade and Kendall edged closer to losing his job, Beardsley did manage to score 12 goals that season (including the derby winner).

Everton too were struggling financially in the Summer of 1993 and when Newcastle offered £1.5 million for the services of Beardsley, it was happily accepted. Kendall at that time believed the 32-year-old Beardsley was nearing the end of his football life.

Sadly for Everton, Kendall was wrong and Beardsley would go on to score 24 goals in his debut season for Newcastle and earn his International recall. Beardsley would continue to score plenty of goals for a further three years after that at Newcastle.

And when he was finished with Newcastle, Beardsley played for Manchester City, Bolton and Fulham before eventually hanging up his boots aged 38.

In total Beardsley would score 223 career goals and play for England 59 times. He would move into coaching at Newcastle but in September of last year he was suspended for 32 weeks for racially abusing players.

Stuart Barlow

Stuart Barlow is best known for his nicknames Jigsaw or Barndoor, Jigsaw because he went to pieces in the box and Barndoor because, well…. he couldn’t hit one.

Barlow came into the football game late, he was still playing Sunday League football as a 21-year-old, but his lightening pace and his willingness to chase lost causes eventually got him noticed by scouts and he signed for Everton.

Howard Kendall would hand 24-year-old Barlow his debut during the 1992/92 season, he would score his first goal, quickly followed by this second goal, in a 4-2 away defeat to QPR. He would grab another goal two months later against Oldham, one against Ipswich and then another against QPR in the home fixture at Goodison. Barlow would end his first season with five goals.

It was a good start for Barlow and the Everton fans loved his dynamic pace but hoped he would eventually learn to finish more chances. The following season however was not so good for Barlow. He would play lots of games either starting or as a substitute. He would only score three goals that season.

And by the 1994/95 season, under new manager Mike Walker, Barlow would find the net just twice and his involvement with the team being reduced to minimal. When Walker was fired by Everton and Joe Royle took over, Barlow found himself being used during the early rounds of the FA Cup. He actually started the quarter final against Newcastle but was injured for the Semi and Final.

The Everton fans though had seen enough of Barlow and manager Royle decided to sell him to his former club Oldham for £350,000. The lower leagues suited Barlow and he would score more regular goals. For Oldham he scored 32 goals in 93 games.

For Wigan he would score 40 goals in 84 games and help them win the Football League Trophy. At Tranmere his goal rate would slow but he is remembered by their fans for scoring the winner in a FA Cup fixture and knocking out Premier League team Southampton.

He would end his career playing non-league football in 2009. A year later he played for Everton again in a charity match against former Liverpool players. The last information on him seems to be that he’s assistant manager at Colwyn Bay.

Maurice Johnston

After a disappointing start to the 1991/92 season, Kendall was looking to make another change to his strike force. Mike Newell was experiencing a slow start to the season netting just a single goal and his partnership with Tony Cottee had never really worked. Kendall decided to sell Newell to Blackburn who had just begun to spend Jack Walker’s millions.

Kendall hoped to find a new striker who would have an impact on his side similar to that of Andy Gray several years earlier. Kendall turned his attentions to Scotland, he considered a young Dundee United striker Duncan Ferguson but ultimately decided on a more experienced player.

Maurice, better known as Mo, Johnston was a Scottish striker who had already made a name for himself playing for first Celtic and then Rangers. Johnston had been the first player to cross the old firm divide since WWII and the first openly Catholic player to play for Rangers since the first World War.

Kendall’s plan was to play Johnston and Cottee up front with Beardsley just behind them, Kendall plan seemed to work as Everton beat West Ham 4-0 in December, with Cottee, Beardsley and Johnston all scoring.

Johnston would enjoy a decent if unspectacular first season with Everton. Cottee (8), Beardsley (14) & Johnston (7) would score 28 league goals between them and fire Everton to a mid-table finish. During the summer, Kendall would add further firepower by signing Paul Rideout, who Rangers had previously signed as a replacement for Johnston.

Mo would start the 1992/93 season quite well, he would score two goals in the opening four games and in December he would score the first goal for Everton in the Derby this article is about. He didn’t know it at the time but that would be the last goal Johnston would score for Everton.

The second half the 1992/93 season Kendall turned to a more traditional team formation 4-4-2 and his strike partnership usually consisted of Cottee/Beardsley. Johnston was forced to battle Rideout for the substitute position.

Kendall had paid Rangers £1.5 million for the services of Mo Johnston but just two years later the manager was attempting to sell his striker to any team that wanted him. By October 1993 Kendall had given up hope of reclaiming any money for Johnston and decided to give him to Hearts for free.

Johnston’s return to Scottish football would prove unspectacular, he would move from Hearts to Falkirk and eventually move to America to play for Kansas City Wizards where he would stay until his retirement in 2001.

After hanging up his boots Johnston would stay in America as manager of New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC. Eventually Johnston would become Director of Football at Toronto FC and earn himself the nickname ‘Trader Mo’ because of his tendency to trade players. In 2010, Johnston and Head Coach Preki were fired from Toronto FC.


The 1992/93 should be looked at as a disappointment. In their first Premier League season, Everton had finished 13th, it would be their lowest league finish for over a decade and it put pressure on Kendall who would resign not quite half way through the following season.

What is strange about this season is that Everton had a decent squad. There was some quality and a little bit of depth in most departments. Keown, Unsworth, Watson, Hinchcliffe, Jackson & Ablett were all good defenders and four strikers (Cottee, Beardsley, Rideout, Johnston) should have provided the firepower required.

Sure the midfield was a little light but Snodin was a good player and so was Horne. Preki, Beagrie & Warzycha were talented if a bit inconsistent but things would undoubtedly have worked out better had Billy Kenny fulfilled his early promise.

I think the point is, the management team of Kendall & Harvey were still capable and should have guided Everton to a higher finish.

As it turned out, I’ll remember the 1992/93 season most for this derby win. The goals by Johnston & Beardsley, the performance of Billy Kenny, the glimmer of hope that Howard could return Everton to former glories.

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Reader Comments (21)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:07:59
This was the game when the Liverpool fans persisted throughout the game in singing “ Going down, going down, going down” until Beardsley got what turned out to be the winner. Later in the evening, much much later, in a bar in town, most probably in early hours of the next day, Howard Kendal was leading some of his players in singing “ Staying up, Staying up, Staying up”.

By the way Dick, Mo might have been the first openly Catholic to play for Rangers since The First World War, but Don Kitchenbrand a South African signed from Sunderland in the late 1950’s was a Catholic, later saying,” Nobody asked me what my religion was, so I never told them”.

Derek Thomas
2 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:45:43
A well done piece Dick, the Billy Kenny part should be compulsory reading for every young player.
Lee Courtliff
3 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:51:52
I've recently started reading Tony Cottee's autobiography (had it since it came out back in '96 and I miss football during this 'difficult time').

One of the things that hit me was how many good players we still had during the early 90s, when things were obviously falling apart.

Southall, Watson, Keown, Hinchcliffe, Beardsley and Cottee himself should have been the nucleus of a pretty good team alongside decent players (who could be very good at times) like Ablett, Horne, Ebbrell, Rideout, Unsworth, Jackson, etc.

Cottee said the drinking culture under Kendall was getting a bit out of hand. Howard actually encouraged players to go out drinking together to improve team spirit and even bollocked Nevin and Hinchcliffe for refusing to go out one night (they wanted an early night so went to bed to read a book. Think this was on a pre-season tour).

Apparently, the night before a game the players could be drinking a full bottle of wine each!!!

Another problem, under Harvey, was the older players and Colin's new signings seemed to split into two groups. Those who had enjoyed so much success under Kendall seemed wary of the new players and money was probably an issue.

Very strange times.

Tony Shelby
4 Posted 05/05/2020 at 10:16:40
Another funny one!

TV Pundits Vote Liverpool FC “Greatest Football Club Of All Time”

Ste Traverse
5 Posted 05/05/2020 at 10:24:25
I was at that December 92 win but there's so many errors in this piece I wouldn't know where to start.
Craig Walker
6 Posted 05/05/2020 at 13:50:18
Great article, Dick. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. It took me right back to watching this in the union bar at Cardiff Uni, surrounded by RS fans. Seems hard to believe now that back then, we could be pretty awful but always seemed to be able to do well against the RS, especially at Goodison. I think I'm right in saying that during the Peter Johnson era, we never lost a derby match. I might need to check that.

One thing's for certain, it really is about time we put our hoodoo to bed and turned them over - watch us do it behind closed doors. That would be typical of Everton.

Patrick McFarlane
7 Posted 05/05/2020 at 14:11:27
Ste #5, As an occasional writer of fan articles, I wouldn't be best pleased if one of my submissions was to be summarily dismissed as error-ridden by a fellow poster unless that claim was backed up with examples of where those errors occured.

It takes a bit of time and effort and a little bit of courage to submit any article on any subject on this platform. Whilst mistakes should be pointed out and feedback, either positive or negative should be welcomed by the author, I hope that Dick or any other potential author isn't discouraged from submitting an article due to your remarks.

Michael Kenrick
8 Posted 05/05/2020 at 14:48:45
Very well said, Patrick. That's a poor throw-away comment that is worthy of only one thing: deletion!

I should apologize to Dick by the way; I had gone through and formatted the article, correcting a couple of minor things, but then spilt a nice glass of red wine all over my keyboard, after which most keys behaved very erratically, to say the least, one combination severing my internet connection and I lost all my edits.

I went to bed with a heavy heart, knowing that I would have to replace the keyboard, and wondering how I would get by without my trusty laptop for a week. Perhaps I said a quiet, sorry but no I didn't – I don't subscribe to such superstitious tosh!

But I have to admit it had all the portents of a minor miracle when, cometh the morrow, the wine residue had presumably dried up and all the keys were back to normal!!!
Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:16:50
I’d be very surprised if Billy, was encouraged to have a line of Charlie, especially from his mates. The lad was there, he ran the show that night, and sitting here in my garden thinking about him now, I’m gutted for him.

Definitely a waste of talent, but looking at the squad of players mentioned in this article, then that waste was spread right across the club, considering how close we came to relegation a few times around this era.

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:25:17
My abiding memory is of the oversized sumo wrestlers as entertainment (when half time entertainment was actually worth watching as a laugh).

Won by a great goal by Beardsley with a daisy cutter into the old Park End.

I remember Liverpool coming close to equalising in injury time when a corner was flicked on and skimmed the far post, real heart in mouth stuff.

Was a poor season but we still managed to win a derby and thump United at Old Trafford.

The 90’s will be remembered for relegation scraps but also the fact that against all odds we won a Cup Final against the best side we have ever won a Final against and also our envious Merseyside Derby record when we persistently got under the Reds skin.

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:31:42
Another little snippet worth mentioning also.

This derby of December 1992 was the last time that Everton came from behind to beat Liverpool AND also the last time at Goodison Park that we have won a derby where both teams have scored.

Crazy eh?

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 05/05/2020 at 17:03:48
I don’t think we have won a game after coming from behind against Liverpool since that night, and I reckon it was a long time since we had done it before. One For the statto’s, but I would did say Everton have only come from behind once in the last 50 years to beat Liverpool, something I’ve seen them do to us twice at the National stadium, helped both times by monumental fucking mistake.
Patrick McFarlane
13 Posted 05/05/2020 at 17:52:29
Tony #12, Most of our 'rare' victories in modern times have been 1-0 or we have kept a clean sheet in victory. The last time we came from behind prior to the match mentioned in this article was way back in 1933 Dixie (2) and Critchley scored after the other lot led at half-time.

The previous Goodison league derby also saw Everton recover a deficit to win. The last time it happened at the other place was in October 1923 when Chedzoy and Cock scored for the blues after Walsh had opened the scoring.

Ste Traverse
14 Posted 05/05/2020 at 18:06:54
Patrick #7. There's plenty of errors in this. Any Blue worth their salt should be able to spot them.

1) The article claimed Southall didn't go into the dressing room at half-time during his infamous Leeds sit-in. Well he did, but came out pretty quickly. It's in his autobiography.

2) It's also stated Southall 'wouldn't leave' when Chelsea came in for him in March '97. Well he actually did want to go but Royle blocked the move much to Nev's anger. It's in another Southall book called 'Everton Blues diary of the 96/97 season'.

3) Southall's first port of call after he left us was Southend on loan then Stoke. Not Doncaster.

4) It also claimed we need to win the final game of the 97/98 season to avoid relegation when a draw would do that's what we got.

5) Stuart McCall cost £850,000 not 'over a million'.

6) Martin Keown was bought for £750,000 and sold for £2m, not £900,000 and £2.7m.

7) Tony Cottee cost £2.2m not £3.11m. It wasn't until Alan Shearer went to Blackburn four years later was there a £3m transfer between English clubs.

8) Colin Harvey didn't 'step down' as manager, he was sacked.

9) Joe Royle's last match as manager wasn't a win against Derby, it was 2-0 home defeat to Man Utd.

10) Mo Johnston didn't get his first derby goal in the Dec '92 win as he also scored against Liverpool a year previously in Dec '91 in a 1-1 draw at Goodison.

This article has plenty of inaccuracies and didn't tell me much I didn't already know anyway.

Patrick McFarlane
15 Posted 05/05/2020 at 18:09:21
Ste#14 I wasn't questioning your premise that there are errors, just that it would have been better to give examples of them like you have now.
Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 05/05/2020 at 18:28:16
Michael #8, congratulations on your keyboard's miraculous recovery from the CABERNET-19 virus!
John Keating
17 Posted 05/05/2020 at 18:41:13
My brother was Kenny's PE teacher – and McManamans.

I remember him telling me about Kenny and said he would play and Captain Everton and England. What a waste.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 05/05/2020 at 19:15:20
The mention of the signing of Paul Rideout by Kendall recalled the joke doing the rounds a few months after Paul signed.

Rideout wasn't an immediate success when he first came, in fact, he was less than average and the joke was Everton's chairman called Howard in and told him he wasn't happy with the signing. Kendall said to the chairman:

“Well, you were the one who told me to sign him, you distinctly said to me, go and get Rideout.”

The chairman said “Howard, you'd better get your ears checked out, I told you to go and get dried out!”

Dick Brady
19 Posted 05/05/2020 at 22:44:37
Ste Traverse,

3) I never claimed Doncaster was Southall's first port of call. I simply stated Ian Snodin tempted him to join Doncaster in 1998. Which he did.

5, 6, 7) I got McCall, Keown & Cottee's transfers from the same website, maybe the website is wrong on Cottee's? maybe the website is wrong on all of them? maybe you are wrong?

8) I used a bad term of phrase here, I know Harvey was sacked, I didn't mean to imply he resigned, simply that he stepped down (Demoted) from his position to become Kendall's Assistant. Bad writing from me.

10) I never said Johnston scored his first Derby goal in 1992. I said scored the first goal for Everton in the 1992 derby. You read that one wrong I think.

But ultimately, I'm not a professional writer, I did my best. Sure its easy to be cynical and pick apart the efforts of other people. Instead of devoting your time to picking faults in other people's creative efforts, why not try and write something yourself?

But if my few errors offended you that much Ste, I'm sorry, I did my best.

Anyway the 1992 derby is a great game and seriously you should check out Billy Kenny's performance, he was so good, spraying the ball around the pitch.

You can watch the whole game on youtube.

Stay safe everyone.

Kiern Moran
20 Posted 07/05/2020 at 00:46:23
Interesting article, enjoyed reading it.
David Currie
21 Posted 11/05/2020 at 01:25:18
I was at the game that night and obviously made up that we won, I was equally made up because of Billy Kenny. What a performance and was the best player on the pitch, so sad what happened to him.

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