An encore that nobody asked for. 

Just because the season’s over doesn’t mean these articles are finished, much as you might wish they were. Because, until the mid-1990s, the scheduled end of the season didn’t mean that the league campaign was over. The final scheduled round of games was merely referred to as “the last Saturday of the season”. Re-scheduled matches would often take place after this.


The rule that everyone absolutely has to kick off at the same time on the final day of the season, for the sake of the integrity of the competition, only seemed to come in once Sky had multiple sports channels. Funny that.


With Goodison being one of the first grounds to install under-soil heating (back when we led the way), we possibly wouldn’t have as many after-season matches compared to other clubs. Even so, I’m sure many readers will have their own memories of these summer games, stretching back way before the time period covered here, which will focus on the last few years of Everton’s experience.


I believe the last one was on Monday, 15th May 1989. Having beaten West Ham 2 days earlier to confirm the Hammer’s relegation, Everton warmed up for the FA Cup Final by beating Derby County 1-0 at Goodison Park, the winner being a screamer from Ian Wilson, possibly his finest moment for the club. Their 3rd straight league win was only just enough for them to finish the season in the top half of the table. Sadly they couldn’t make it 4 wins in a row 5 days later.


Despite the volume of cup matches played in 87-88, the season was completed on the final Saturday (possibly because we were out of all cup competitions in February, allowing plenty of midweek slots in which to catch up).


In 1987, after the title presentation after the home match against Luton on the last Saturday, Everton hosted FA Cup finalists Tottenham and won care of a goal from Derek Mountfield, giving a happy ending to an injury prone season for the centre half.


This goal is missing from the club’s official DVD of our last Championship season, but can be viewed at the 58:30 mark using this link: Everton Champions 1986 87 - YouTube

along with the rest of the action that winds up on said DVD. And, in my opinion, far more entertaining with Elton Welsby’s take on the proceedings. Worth a watch if you’re bored enough during the off-season.


1986 – the thrashing of Southampton on the last Saturday was to no avail as Liverpool won at Chelsea to take the title. Had the reds lost there, Everton’s match against West Ham on the Monday night would have been a title decider. In the end they won a dead rubber game 3-1 (with future Everton striker Tony Cottee grabbing the consolation for the visitors) – whether they’d have beaten the Hammers so comfortably had the title depended on it is something we’ll never know.


Technically speaking, it can be argued that the season stretched in to the autumn of 1986, as both legs of the first and only Screen Sport Super Cup final took place then! As with the title race and the other final of the 1985-86 season, Liverpool came out on top.


Save the best for last, though – 1985.


The FA Cup Final defeat is seen as the sad finale to the season as Everton were denied a treble. The story didn’t end there though, as they still had 3 more league matches to complete their programme. 


On Thursday 23rd May, they played host to Liverpool. England played a World Cup Qualifier in Finland the night before (which is extraordinary considering the UEFA Cup Final would have also taken place that night), so Everton fielded a couple of their younger prospects – one of these, Paul Wilkinson, grabbed the winner for Everton, after John Wark had missed a penalty for the visitors.


Derby bragging rights aside, this victory, against their nearest challengers, meant Everton would finish the season with a record lead at the top, a record that would stand for the next 15 years.


The penultimate match was at Coventry, which kicked off on the morning of Sunday 26th May (Sunday football was rare enough in 1985, such an early start to the match almost unheard of).


The Sky Blues needed a result to maintain their top flight status. England were once again in action that weekend, this time in the Home International against Scotland, but given the importance of this league encounter, players were released for this match, including Andy Gray, who wasn’t selected anyway, but did play for Scotland in a qualifier in Iceland a few days later. 


In his autobiography many years later, Covnetry’s Stuart Pearce would describe the game as “ridiculous”, stating that you could smell the ale on the Everton players' breath.

Whatever the condition of the players, Everton lost the match 1-4, meaning Coventry stayed up at Norwich’s expense.


Two days later, on Tuesday, 28th May, Everton played their 63rd and last competitive game to finally conclude their greatest season. The match was at Luton, and once again affected by a clash with the International schedule, Everton’s team-sheet included the names Hughes, Walsh, Wakenshaw, Morrisey, and Danskin. The Hatters emerged as 2-0 victors against this understrength side. A disappointing note on which to end such a glorious season.


However, the defeat, and football itself, paled into insignificance with the events the following night.

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Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
1 Posted 21/06/2023 at 17:45:46
Yes, the following night - 39 nails into the coffin of Everton's domination of Europe for years to come.

It was only by being the OSB that I am, that I discovered this a few years ago.

On 6th May we beat QPR (5 games still to play) and secured the title. Even accounting for the aged Peter Reid (29) and the almost geriatric Andy Gray (29½) - the average age of the team that day was 24¾.

Take those two out and the other 9 had an average age of under 24. We could have gone on for years getting better and better and more and more dominant.

Barry Rathbone
2 Posted 21/06/2023 at 18:23:30
The more I read about the Kendall era and the demise thereafter, the more I conclude it was simply a happy blip - "You could smell the ale on the Everton players' breath." 'kinell.
Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 21/06/2023 at 18:47:38
Don't drop the "H" bomb, Phil.

Barry, being born in 1971 and having been fortunate enough to have my teenage kicks in the '80s, when we look back, it was a blip.

If you were to represent it on one of those Covid-like line graphs, we dipped and fluctuated in the 70s, almost flatlining until the final Gordon Lee seasons.

A few wobbles under Kendall and the "Kendall Must Go" winter only to go and win the FA Cup and appear in the League Cup final (cursed in that competition). The next 3 seasons are history.

Joe Royle's Dogs of War and the FA Cup, an even briefer spike before heading south.

Then the Moyes years eventually bringing us another flatline after a few bumps.

Martinez giving us an even briefer spike followed by a fall from grace.

A slight reprise and then it just headed downhill.

We are the ultimate rollercoaster ride. An aircraft in permanent turbulence.

Somehow, we keep going, because we love that club and back the team whoever they are.

One day soon, we will get our reward — once Billy Smart's Circus is finally stood down.

Barry Hesketh
4 Posted 21/06/2023 at 19:05:29
At least the 1985 crop had the good grace to win the title and a European trophy before they appeared worse for wear out on the pitch, the last few years have seemed like many of the players were on the lash during the game.

Forty years ago is a long long time ago, and most of the leading players at the leading clubs were heavy drinkers, Robson and McDermott for example, but they could play a bit too.

I'd love another blip in our history, because I was lucky enough to be there the last time we had a very good side, and it was magical.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
5 Posted 21/06/2023 at 20:09:05
Barry, it was not a blip: we won it again in 1987 with Dave Watson replacing Mountfield, Paul Power replacing Psycho Pat, and Reid and Bracewell missing most of the season and replaced with Ian Snodin and Alan Harper.

It was Reidy's autobiography when he said Howie asked him around to discuss a move from Bolton and brought out 2 bottles of red wine and they both got pissed.

My biggest disappointment was basking in the glory of Rotterdam and Atkinson eulogising on the TV how good we were that night (and we were good) and hoping that the team all went out and got blind drunk to celebrate as they were playing Man Utd on Saturday.

Roll on 25 years and I was at the dinner and Reidy was speaking and saying how in the first couple of minutes he threaded a great through ball for Sharpy who just watched it. When Reidy said "What the Fuck???" Sharpy's retort was that he is knackered and still hung over. Bo Jangles got his wish.

Whilst we may think it was a blip, I think without the European ban then Howard Kendall would have stayed, we would have won the European Cup in 1986 (no question), Lineker would have stayed, and we would be the team to join over the next few years as we built a dynasty.

As I said earlier, the core of the team was 24 so many more years together – and all before Sky where we would have been at the top. Until my dying day, they robbed us. But I am not bitter. 🤞

Barry Rathbone
6 Posted 21/06/2023 at 20:16:50
Phil @5,

I think the word "era" covers your point plus the shite turning us over in a cup final we were strolling hinted at a rising dawn that would not last.

Unlike them of course - they simply never go away.

Christy Ring
7 Posted 21/06/2023 at 20:53:32
Did the Heysel really happen, it's erased from our neighbours history.
I wouldn't say it was Ian Wilson's finest moment, it was his only moment.
Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 21/06/2023 at 21:16:28
It’s not totally erased Christy, there are still loads of bitter Evertonians, who still bring it up from time to time, whenever Liverpudlians laugh at our European record, and it doesn’t go down very well.
Brian Williams
9 Posted 21/06/2023 at 21:24:52
You're right Tony. Guilty as charged here.
Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 21/06/2023 at 21:46:25
I absolutely resent how they use the word “bitter”, Brian. Bitter for not forgetting about something that they never really took full responsibility for.

If they weren't blaming someone else, they were trying to brush it under the carpet, although a lot of Liverpudlians, actually thought flying the Steau Bukarest flag on the kop to wind up Evertonians 12 months later was hilarious.

It's different now of course, they have come a long way, and you only have to watch Sky or read the papers that are dominated by so many people with connections to Liverpool football club to realize this.

We have been a football club in decline since the Heysel stadium disaster, but although some Liverpudlians were responsible for Heysel, our club has been a shadow of its former self for a very long time now, and this is something that we can't keep blaming others for. The time for real change is upon us.

Brian Williams
11 Posted 21/06/2023 at 22:14:09
Tony, that horrible twat Phil Thompson referred to me as a "bitter" in Ellis Brigham's in Bold Street a few years ago. He was with his wife and son as well and thought he was the big "I am" in front of them.

I didn't even open the conversation. I couldn't rise to it in front of his family but I managed to whisper in his ear, without his family realising, as I left the shop. A complete wanker!

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 21/06/2023 at 22:25:26
Okay, now I can't hold back. I've been triggered.

Two legitimate angles to this debate.

For me, I will never forgive them. It changed my relationship with them and I have family who are on the unholy side, who I can't have the same conversation I had with them 30-odd years ago. Condescending. Belittling.

How fucking dare they call us bitter (sorry, John Senior). They are more bitter than us with anyone who doesn't agree with them. They were bitter about Man Utd under Ferguson. Jealous school children when Chelsea had their moment. Reacted like the hooligans they are with Manchester City.

Wait until the stadium is opened and we compete and win something again. We'll see who is bitter then.

They can drink their bitter in the apparently "world famous" Arkles. It's not world famous, it was my Grandad's local, an Everton season ticket holder. I'll stand in there proud amongst them as I do after most visits to Goodison when they were taking the piss after yet another bad result.

Heysel, Athens and Paris. Is it just a coincidence or just them? Someone tell me otherwise.

They denied us our moment on the big stage. It should have been them alone banned, not everyone and not Everton. No forgiveness.

See, I wish you hadn't started me.

But on the other hand, we can't point to that alone. Other clubs suffered, but came out of it looking forward and embraced the modern era to achieve success.

We stood still. Walked backwards.

We can rightly point to that event as something that impacted us more than most, but it doesn't hide the fact that the club has been mismanaged for decades.

My middle brother always posts on Social Media on the anniversary "Remember the 39".

And that Steaua Bucharest flag / banner is just antagonism. Gobshites. Every single one of them.

I told you I wish I hadn't been triggered. Everton is what matters to me, but I honestly can't stomach them and their attitude even though I understand rivalry.

Brian Williams
13 Posted 21/06/2023 at 22:26:40
On a lighter note the BBC footy website has updated the premier league table from the end of last season to the start of next.

We're ninth!! 🥳🥳🥳

Agree 100% with everything you posted Danny, and apologies for stoking the fire mate.

Dermot O'Brien
14 Posted 21/06/2023 at 22:39:14
Nice one Brian I noticed that too haha. 100% Danny, spoilt c**ts the lot (most) of them.
Don Alexander
15 Posted 22/06/2023 at 01:49:00
39 people died and many more were injured, some seriously.

I have always openly supported the dead, injured and family/friends from the Hillsborough carnage a very few years later. They were clearly as innocent as those who died and were injured at Heysel.

That said, the Heysel dead/injured have long since been air-brushed out of this country's history in a way that've made Goebells proud.

Heysel crucified us like no other club in the country, by miles.

For anyone to thereafter describe us as "bitter", and especially so-called Liverpool fans, on account of the damage we suffered as a result of the lethal rampage of their fellow fans is, was, and always will be sickening to folk with a mere scintilla of compassion.

Brian Williams
16 Posted 22/06/2023 at 07:39:44
Don, that's why my feelings towards "them" and anything to do with their club changed forever.

Instead of keeping their heads down and their mouths shut and accepting the shame they'd brought on their club, and English football in general, they chose to wave Steaue Bucharest flags and wallow in the feeling that they'd "done" us.

As recently as 2007 in Athens they were actually "caught" stealing the tickets from their fellow rs supporters when some of those portable metal barrier/fences were pushed over in a crush.

I remember reading about it (and being told about it), before that too was airbrushed from history, and feeling physically sick that so called supporters with their own tragedy forever imprinted in their minds would stoop to such fucking depths.

Shit, I've done a Danny O'Neill here.

Liverpool fans branded worst in Europe

"I'm an Evertonian, get me out of here!"

Brian Williams
17 Posted 22/06/2023 at 08:15:23
Thankyou for doing the link that I'm too thick to do, Michael, Lyndon!
Danny O’Neill
18 Posted 22/06/2023 at 12:35:03
Brian, Chris,

This topic always raises the blood pressure.

It might not be the sole reason for our fall from grace, but it was most certainly the most significant factor that prevented us from achieving what we could have.

I still have family and friends who support them. Genuine supporters, who live in Liverpool and some who regularly attend matches. But there are not many I can have a decent conversation with anymore. And as for the ones that surround me in west London. Well, don't start me again. I sadly know more about their club than they do.

They ignore it. They laugh at us. They claim victims insults being related to Hillsborough even though that was around years before.

As Don indicates, a cult of denial.

Shame on football. Shame of the city of Liverpool, whose name they don't deserve.

The bird is blue. 1878, the originals.

David Currie
19 Posted 22/06/2023 at 16:08:46
Which team was involved in both Heysel and Hillsborough??

Ticketless fans caused mayhem in Athens although Liverpool placed the blame on UEFA? Always the victims it's never their fault!

UEFA said no trouble in Athens from Milan fans and at Hillsborough no trouble from Forest fans regarding ticketless fans.

Nick Page
20 Posted 22/06/2023 at 17:16:19
Christ I wish I'd never started reading this… I'm off before I get in trouble. Murdering bastards.

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