Deep into summer, still without the striker Moshiri told us we would be signing in January, and the only imminent capture seemingly on the cards a 38-year-old full-back whose agent approached the club cap in hand?

Really, I should be writing an article titled ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ or maybe ‘Kevin Thelwell but Everton Landed Like a Sack of Shit’.

Instead, I’m going to ask ‘What has been the most disappointing transfer window in your lifetime?’…..and then bang on about a summer of inactivity that left me baffled even in childhood and was (in my opinion) among the first contributory factors to the inexorable slide downward the club has endured for nearly four decades now.

I’m talking about the summer of 1987. A very confusing time for an 8-year-old. 

Growing up surrounded by graffiti declaring ‘Maggie Thatcher’ was ‘a job snatcher’, it made no sense whatsoever to my young mind when I then had to listen to my arl fella fume relentlessly about how the ‘evil old crone’ had somehow just been re-elected via a landslide general election victory. 

Throw in the fact I’d heard on the news that Barbie – bloody Barbie – had been sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, then it’s no wonder my head was completely frazzled (of course it was actually Gestapo boss, Klaus Barbie, the ‘Butcher of Lyon’….but not to an 8-year-old it wasn’t. It was Barbie). I half expected He-Man to be hauled in for mopery at any minute.

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Still, one thing was right with the world. Everton had just reclaimed the Football League title and were the Champions of England for the second time in three seasons. Now, that made perfect sense to me. 

It didn’t take long for confusion to kick back in, however. Howard Kendall, the most successful manager in Everton’s history, soon departed for sunnier climes and a shitter club and what happened next has bothered me ever since.

When it came to a succession plan, Everton seemed to take inspiration from the inner workings of their arch-rivals and plumped for a laissez-faire passing of the torch from one ex-playing legend to another.

The model was the mythological Anfield bootroom. Basically, a load of old blokes huddled together in a hovel smelling of Brut, Brylcreem and HobNob biscuits, hissing, spitting and scrawling hushed secrets in a notebook with one of those crap, nubby, no-bigger-than-Ronnie Corbett's-cock, cheap plastic pens people could never resist pocketing on their way out of the bookies. A horrible, living, breathing Hydra, smugly spouting two new shit-spewing heads whenever one happened to be lopped off. 

However disdainfully Evertonians may have spoken of this squalid den of deleterious Shankly devotees, there was simply no disputing the honours they had racked up over the course of a decade and a half. Longevity of achievement, on both the domestic and European front, suggested Liverpool had hit upon an enduring magic formula, ripe for emulating.

Promoting from within was thus seen by the Everton board as the safest means of ensuring a smooth transition and the maintenance of a backroom methodology that had brought the Blues the biggest trophy haul in their history.

Colin Harvey was the sous chef who had already helped hone the recipe for the perfect dish. All he had to do now was step up to the plate, perhaps put a perfunctory spin on the side garnish so he could genuinely call it his own, and continue gleefully serving up the same main course to the salivating masses whose palettes had swiftly become accustomed to the sweet, sweet taste of success.

Consequently, lack of actual managerial experience was not seen as a hindrance to the hopes of a novice being handed the reigns of the current League Champions.

Colin Harvey's first and only signing in his inaugural summer as Everton Svengali was Alec Chamberlain. A competent enough keeper, who could do a job if called upon, but one who never had even a cat-in-hell's chance of being anything other than cover. In fact, he never made a single appearance for the first-team.

The opportunity to strengthen from an actual, tangible, position of strength, with arse perched triumphantly on top of the pile – an opportunity Everton have never again had within their grasp in the generations since, as they have endured watching once historic peers power past and eventually pull further and further away from them – along with the chance for Harvey to make a bold statement that this was now indubitably his team, rather than simply the one a departed Kendall left behind, being looked after by a loyal disciple, was if not criminally wasted, then casually waived.

Following what had become, by then, a routine day out at Wembley to raise the Charity Shield for the fourth time in four years, the reigning Champions got off to a stuttering start to the league campaign, winning only two of their opening seven matches. Harvey then made the decision to enter the transfer market for a second time, but the player he selected to add a little sizzle to an Everton side struggling to come to the boil, proved as uninspiring a capture as his first. Ian Wilson was a tidy enough player, but about as likely to perform, or 'turn up the heat', as Harry Seacombe spending a day on a porn set, serenading stunt dicks with 'The Song Of The Dong'.

While neighbours Liverpool had reinvigorated their first team, adding a genuine new dimension with exciting, fresh, talent in the form of Barnes, Beardsley, Aldridge and Houghton, Everton opted to stand still, to settle for eking a little more out of the men who had served the club so well in recent seasons, with the only reinforcements for the forthcoming 'just try and take our title' ruck being a token reserve keeper, along with another bloke who need only comb the back of his head and looked more like a nerdy confused music teacher from the mid-'70s than a tricky, mercurial, modern-day wide midfielder.

Still, there’s always a positive if you look hard enough.

While the flair-free link-up play of the Ned Flanders/Montgomery Burns made flesh – the wide pair of Power and Wilson may not have had Evertonians salivating in anticipation, some small measure of comfort must surely have been derived from the knowledge they were now in possession of the most ‘Songs Of Praise’ looking left-flank in the entire fucking league.

The Blue By You

Reader Comments (55)

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 10/07/2023 at 17:54:00
That last paragraph made me smile, John, even if there haven't been many songs of praise since then! (Going out from the match on a Saturday and getting home on a Sunday, when Songs of Praise was on the telly, definitely used to give me the horrors!)

I suppose the year Harvey signed decent to good rather than very good players was the summer that slowly began to set us back years; looking back, Colin must have definitely had his coaching hat on rather than a manager's head when he tried to piece it all together.

I still think Brands fucked the job on Marco Silva and showed his inexperience with regards to English football. I thought Everton started showing some very good signs towards the end of Silva's first season and I also believe we have slowly regressed since Brands got it badly wrong that summer.

My favourite transfer window happened when I was on my way to Wembley to watch Everton beat Watford and finally witness us win some silverware. If my memory is correct, then I'm sure this is the day that I first read that Everton were going to sign Paul Bracewell; what a combination him and Peter Reid became as Everton became the greatest team in the land.

Dale Self
2 Posted 10/07/2023 at 19:52:58
I was going to wait to let some wiser types weigh in but thought a comment on your style is something I can offer now. When I read that at the right speed I got a ‘Hunter S Thompson reads about football history’ vibe that is brilliant. Thanks again to John Sr and you for kickstarting some retro interest.
Andy Crooks
3 Posted 10/07/2023 at 19:58:16
Brilliant, John.
Barry Rathbone
4 Posted 10/07/2023 at 22:07:58
We had the misfortune of being neighbours to a non-descript, parochial Second Division outfit that stumbled across the greatest man-manager ever – Bill Shankly.

Year-in & year-out, he would pick up relatively unheralded players and create teams that would not only challenge till fit to drop but inspire a fanbase. We were too grand for that old pony and spent big on absolute garbage, allowing a gap to grow wider with every passing decade till we became the irrelevance we are now.

Everything since 1959 at Liverpool has come from his ethos; unless we find someone as inspirational, we are finished (assuming a big oil buyer doesn't turn up).

Tony Everan
5 Posted 10/07/2023 at 22:49:19
John, the shit-spewing Hydra, I'll be having nightmares.

Barry, Even if we get new money, it's got to be spent well to mean anything. At the moment, it feels like Moshiri is wiping the P&S slate clean, like someone desperately cleaning their house for the first time in years, before putting it up for sale.

John, that was one weird window, sometimes the club is hard to understand. Zoom forward 35 years to last summer, then January and not signing a centre-forward to replace Calvert-Lewin, even on loan. With the added backdrop of months of preparation time with the World Cup break to sign one and still failing to. It defies belief.

It more than jeopardised 72 years in the top flight, with the owner talking about the existential threat of relegation. It was one of the biggest acts of self-harm I've ever witnessed, transfer-window-wise. It had a few talking about insiders at the club actively managing our decline and wanting us to go down. Can a transfer window get worse than that?

Paul Kernot
6 Posted 11/07/2023 at 03:59:36
It may be about to get worse than that, Tony.
Alan J Thompson
7 Posted 11/07/2023 at 05:49:07
Unfortunately Manager's inadequacies are nothing compared to the real problems.

From Dr Marsh, (Sir?) Phillip Carter to Kenwright, there has been a reluctance to properly fund and manage transfers. There was a time when I thought that the Head of Littlewoods stores was hardly the right credentials for running a football club but my view of this now covers a wider field.

We've had Directors of Football who have seemed merely misnomers with a reluctance to speak about their area of responsibility. Chairmen who like to dabble in the transfer market then top that with a majority shareholder (a title that just seems to reinforce that he is no more than a figurehead) who is so busy he wants to spend no more than 5% of his time on this billion-pound business. And these are the men who appoint the people responsible for the core of the business, playing football, which how it's done can have the greatest effect on the club's income.

Still, it's the long view and the direction that matters, well, if you want to see Everton winning trophies.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 11/07/2023 at 08:00:13
Reading what Barry says, then strong management has got to be one of the real ultimate reasons for having success, but strong management isn't something you would really associate with Everton Football Club over the years.

We have had money and wasted it, and we have been skint and come out the other side as arguably the best team in Europe, for a very brief spell during the mid-eighties, but when it comes to hard-nosed professionalism, it's not something you would ever really associate with the modern Everton FC.

John Daley
9 Posted 11/07/2023 at 09:18:03
Yes Tony (@#1), that was the following summer, when we signed Stuart McCall, Pat Nevin, Neil McDonald and West Ham striker Warwick Davies for a British record fee.

I think the decision to ‘go big' then was a reaction to the restraint shown in the transfer market the previous year and, obviously, the (pretty feeble) relinquishing of the title it had led to….a 4th place finish and 20 points behind the RS.

Though none of the new signings were particularly poor players, they were clearly nowhere near the calibre of the group who swept everyone aside in 85.

I think Harvey perhaps regretted his previous reticence in not wanting to ruffle the feathers of players he'd spent years coaching at that point. However, belatedly going the other way and bringing 4 players in at once for big money was not well received by a few of those already at the club. Which, as we know now, would lead to cliques soon forming and shit like Sheedy hiding in a car boot out of fear of getting filled in.

John Daley
10 Posted 11/07/2023 at 09:19:10

Funnily enough, I was considering co-opting the title of a Hunter S Thompson book for a biography of Bill Kenwright, but couldn't decide between ‘The Bum Diary', ‘Generation of Swine' or ‘Songs of the Doomed'.

John Daley
11 Posted 11/07/2023 at 09:23:48

I don't know whether characters like that still exist in the game today, or whether it's more the case that they're not permitted to.

From the outside, it would seem it is no longer anywhere near possible for one particular individual of iron will to get to grips with a club the same way, given how everything now is compartmentalised to the nth degree, with a legion of different voices with their own vested interests lobbying away in the corridors of power.

Tom Hughes
12 Posted 11/07/2023 at 09:56:52
About 16 years ago, I was sitting on my regular flight from Aberdeen to Manchester, when a young stewardess having heard our accents, asked if we were football fans. Me and my mate both answered yes, saying we were Blues.

The stewardess (an absolute stunner I might add), excitedly pronounced that she was Ian Wilson's daughter and asked if we remembered him. We diplomatically said he was part of a great side and were dully rewarded with additional Bacardis for the short flight.

With every subsequent flight with our favourite stewardess, our recollections grew rosier, as did our alcohol-infused cheeks. Then one day, she was no longer there (I think she married a pilot). I often wonder if she went baldy too... she would've still been beautiful.

I was born in the mid-60s and my oldest brother was an older vintage than me (by 20 years). I think he felt that Everton first really lost their way in the early '70s when they sold Alan Ball. It was for him the ultimate statement of lack of intent. Almost resigning themselves to playing second fiddle from then on.

Yes, there were still occasional major record signings for a few years, but these felt more like the last token throws of the dice for the former big dogs, as Liverpool took over.

We appeared to be run by an old pals act who were increasingly aloof and passive as John Moores's involvement wained. Goodison's stands dwarfed Anfield's then and I think our gate receipts were higher right into the mid-late '70s due to having far more seats.

So, this and a still strong fanbase meant we could still mostly hold our own financially through the 70s, but standards behind the scenes were amateurish compared to our more business-like neighbours, who began to stack up the trophies at an alarming rate.

The planets aligning in the '80s seemed to come out of nowhere. I tend to think now that it was slightly more by fluke than by design. Howard somehow performed miracles with just a few astute signings, turning everything around in a very short period after a pretty dire run.

Carter later claimed some of the glory for being patient and knowing all along that it would come good. I think it was more a case of the rabbit in the headlights being fortunate for once, or the natural inertia of a passive board of amateurs, reacting just about slowly enough to allow Howard to finally get the winning formula before facing the chop.

Following our brief encounter with glory, our leaders, while instrumental in helping to formulate the Premier League, fell back into their passive old pals act ways and watched as all around them geared up for the future. We did comfortably the least of all clubs to our infrastructure and commercial activities and the takeover by Kenwright and pals did nothing for our weakening financial position.

We were completely left behind by all our traditional peer group, who addressed the issues and built on their brands and stands. We sold everything that was or wasn't nailed down to keep the same pauper owner in charge.

Moyes papered over the cracks for over a decade, invariably outspent by everyone and having to build something out of nothing. However, behind the scenes, the club had been hollowed out into a shell of its former self. The eternal amateurs then found their rich fool and true to form, the lottery win was squandered in no time by endless poor decisions.

It's always been a case of having the right people in the right jobs, professionals, not the old pal amateur acts that have managed our decline for decades and systematically turned a once proud giant into absolute nobodies.

Juhinn Rousseau
13 Posted 11/07/2023 at 10:13:30
I'm new to supporting Everton. I used to be a Gunner as I supported Wenger's way of buying cheap and developing superstars.

Why aren't we looking at some Championship players to fill the gaps? Dyche needs to be smart and use some unwanted players as makeweights to get some expensive deals done.

Tom Cannon and Dele Alli would go a long way to get players like Ismaila Sarr and Max Aarons from Championship levels. Both players have 12 months left and I believe both would be interested to move to Everton.

Players like Gbamin, Gomes, Maupay could be used as straight swaps towards unwanted players from other clubs who could do well at Everton.

Maupay could be sent to Roma with left-back Vina coming to Everton as he's not part of Mourinho's plans and they have a striker shortage with Tammy out injured till year's end so Roma might play ball considering they're trying to offload Vina to Bournemouth.

Gomes and Gbamin could be a 2-for-1 swap for someone like Faivre from Lyon. Gomes did well in ligue 1 so Lyon could be interested and Gbamin could be used to sweeten the deal.

Holgate we can sell outright for £12-15million to raise some cash to get more strikers. All the Everton staff needs is just a little imagination and not sign has-beens like Ashley Young and Rodrigo.

Rob Dolby
14 Posted 11/07/2023 at 10:23:08

Waxing lyrical about our not so local rivals always gets under my skin.

I appreciate Shankly being a good manager. Only 2 teams in Liverpool and all that; funny he was banned from their training ground but embraced at ours after he finished with them. I don't recall too many sound bites around that.

You have omitted the 30 years of them not winning a league title in your praise for their club.

In my book the best managers in my lifetime are Clough, Wenger and the greatest of them all Sir Alex Ferguson.

Back to the original post. This transfer window could rival the one where we bought Brett Angell. I didn't think we could get any lower but each year under Moshiri we are managing it.

The Russia money has dried up and investigations are underway. Our purse strings have been pulled from our billionaire owner. Bournemouth, Brentford, Forest, Southampton are all regularly outspending us.

We are forming a dad's army of a football team. The only positive is we have a manager that is used to dealing in the bargain bin.

Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 11/07/2023 at 10:38:05
Very sad but very true Tom. About thirty minutes ago I drove past “Destination Kirkby” and like every other time I drive past this piece of land, I think how could anyone with Everton Football Club's best intentions at heart, have truly tried to take us to such a place?

Thank god for KEIOC, because these fans are the ones who carried the fight. Real genuine Evertonians, who obviously had the club's best interests at heart. I wish there was more like them because they showed more professionalism in court, fighting against the billionaire lawyers of Tesco, than Everton have shown for years, so hopefully they will get a stand named after them at Bramley-Moore Dock?

I'd sooner have 100% professionalism, than have a completely open check book, but like the Arabs have shown everyone, Manchester City, have got both. Money alone isn't enough, Tom's last paragraph explains everything, imo.

Jim Lloyd
16 Posted 11/07/2023 at 11:10:06
Barry (4), you're too right, unfortunately.

Shankly galvanised that club and Peter Robinson was the man behind the throne. They got a team together that won their first FA Cup ever and the following year won the league. They never looked back.

Unfortunately, we had Sir John Moores slowly losing his energy, and after him? Well Tom Hughes has described our demise to a tee! Our board after Sir John gave up, became like a Sunday school tea club.

What's happened in the last couple of decades, well John has, again, described our even more rapid decline during the last 30 or 40 years (with the all too brief interlude of Howard's Way!). As he says so well:

"Turned our once-proud giant into absolute nobodies."

Well said indeed, Tom.

Barry Rathbone
17 Posted 11/07/2023 at 12:43:05
Rob 14,

I understand any objective assessment of LFC personnel is anathema to Evertonians, I hated Shankly with a passion at the time. But my personal cross to bear is having a capacity for objective analysis in search of truth and I have to tell you no one in the history of the game has created a footballing empire out of nothing – except Shankly, he was unique.

As to your other point, virtually every club in England would swap their trophy-laden 30 years without a title for their own.

We may detest them but we must never attempt to rewrite history; we must learn lessons from the past to change the future.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 11/07/2023 at 13:23:34
Barry (17),

I think you are getting carried away with how good the egotistical Shankly was: “The greatest man-manager ever” Really? Then: “No-one in the history of the game has created a footballing empire out of nothing except Shankly –he was unique.” Really? (Again.)

First of all, Barry, you'd be one of the first to ask about those quotations: Are they facts or just opinions? Overrated opinions, I'd offer.

Where were Huddersfield before Herbert Chapman became the first manager to win three successive League Division One titles, then went on to win two more titles with Arsenal.

Man Utd had a ground ravaged by the war when Matt Busby was manager, he took over the running of the club and set up the system of progress through the youth programme he installed, The Busby Babes, famous throughout the football world.

Brian Clough took a poor Derby County club and team, won the title for them and set them up for future success before he had a row with the chairman. Later he moved to Nottm Forest, another poorly run club, and won them titles and cups including the European Cup in successive seasons.

Bill Nicholson changed the fortunes of Spurs in a quiet, non-"look at me", way, didn't seek out the media for his own ego, recognise “travesty of justice and fish and chips" (never out of the paper) Shankly, Barry?

However, that was in the past and none of those managers plus Ferguson could handle the power that today's players have. Manchester United had to pay every cent of Ferdinand's wages when he was suspended for seven months for refusing to take drug tests, otherwise he could have walked away from Man Utd and become a free agent.

Shankly was a good manager, no doubt. What about the 6 years, or was it 7, when he never won the title or FA Cup, the many times he threatened to resign from Liverpool before he finally resigned on 12 July 1974 and nobody, to this day, knows the reason he packed it in.

I wouldn't be surprised if he shit himself when the chairman accepted his resignation. He couldn't stay away from Melwood, Liverpool's training ground, and let Bob Paisley get on with running the club until he was quietly asked to “ Do one” for the good of Paisley and the club.

Why the fuck Everton took him under their wing and adopted him is another mystery, a man who took the piss out of our club for years.

Danny O’Neill
19 Posted 11/07/2023 at 13:43:44
I was going to pen something similar John, with it being mid-season and being bored, but you beat me to it. So in response to your great post, here's a potted history of a magical period in my Everton supporting life that keeps me believing.

Growing up in the 1970s and fairly barren years listening to stories of past glories and great players.

My first match; a pre-season in Germany when we got battered 6–0. I asked why I support Everton, I was told, quite firmly, "Because you do". End of that conversation.

Bob Latchford's 30 goals in a season, Andy King's screamer and Duncan McKenzie's. A near miss with the League Cup. We have to win that trophy at some point.

The Gordon Lee years.

The arrival of Kendall and the anticipation based on what I was being told by the wise family elders. The initial years of Howard's first coming were average. What we would now call decent league finishes, but back then, 8th or 7th was way off where we wanted to be. We had expectations. I still do.

An initial mix and match of signings. Irvine, Heath, Southall, Micky Thomas, Ainscow, Mick Ferguson, others I'd never heard of and honestly can't remember.

December 1983 and the Everton winter of discontent. Kendall must go and the leaflets.

Stood outside kicking a ball against a neighbour's wall to teach myself to kick with my left foot. Pissing them off and getting chased off on a constant basis. Lamppost floodlights that made for good target practice.

Genuinely looking to the great Evertonian in the sky and praying he would take care of us. He did.

I got my chance to impress at Bellefield. I clearly wasn't that standard, but it was a great experience and nice to be considered good enough to have a look at.

On the back of seeming gloom, into the New Year of 1984 with the Birmingham and Stoke matches. The tide had turned. Defining moments as much as Oxford. Next thing I know, I'm at Wembley twice and at 12 years old, I'm watching Everton lift a trophy for the first time in my life. From the depths of despair to ecstasy within the space of a few months.

The signings that followed were unassuming but put together possibly the best Everton teams we have witnessed. I'll leave it to those who saw the 60s teams to counter or debate.

If Bob Latchford walked on water, Kevin Sheedy glided over it without getting the soles of his boots wet. Sharp, Gray, Heath (cut short – excuse the pun), Peter Reid, Paul Gracewell (deliberate mis-spelling), Trevor Steven, Gary Stevens, Pyscho Pat, Derek Mountfield, the jet-powered Kevin Ratcliffe who was one of the only defenders who could outpace Ian Rush. Andy Gray and Graham Sharp. Underpinned by the dependable and versatile Alan Harper and Kevin Richardson. A team that picked itself.

That 84-85 team conquered everything before them despite a shaky start in the first two matches. But once the momentum started, you just knew something special was happening. Rampaged to the league title with ease and a then record points total for Champions. A European trophy and only missed out on a treble in extra time.

I still begrudge that the FA Cup final wasn't delayed to give us breathing space. We played it 3 days after Rotterdam. And don't start me on the obvious. One of the best sides of its generation denied it's place at the top European stage by those who call us bitter and wave Steaua Bucharest banners in our face. If we are bitter, they are shameful.

85-86 was different. With Lineker, we changed our style. Hit it long and direct to exploit his pace. In hindsight and I don't think there is necessarily a direct Leicester link, but similar to how they used Vardy more recently. And that shirt was awful. Forty goals in a season deserves respect. We went close but blew it at the end. Although Liverpool went on an unbelievable run. It was still ours for the taking although. 10th May 1986 is still a day I remember for bad reasons.

Second in the league and runners up in the FA Cup. Yet we were gutted. That's the standard we expected. Don't ever let them take that away from any of you.

The following season was also very different. An almost patchwork squad due to being decimated by injuries and key players that had been part of our success. As mentioned elsewhere, eyebrows raised when we brought in the veteran City stalwart Paul Power, who went on to become player of the season and win a league title. The clincher at Norwich away and Pat van den Hauwe's goal in about the first minute. I don't remember much of the match after that. I didn't see much of it as we were celebrating all the way through and even more so all the way home on the Amberline. From Howard's managerial view, arguably more of an achievement than 84-85?

I will leave it there, as what happened in the years following still upsets me. But it won't take away what I still believe in. We are still here. We will be when you are soon gone.

You will never ever give us those good times. True good times, not imaginary ones.

Paul Tran
20 Posted 11/07/2023 at 14:03:55
Cracking piece, as ever, John.

When I was first taken to Goodison, in October 1970, it was the start of 'five great years for Everton'. They were great because I could finally go to the match when my Dad had Saturday off, and I learned a good swearing vocabulary at an early age.

The mid-70s saw a half-decent team that, along with four others, had the title at its mercy but lacked the nous to win it.

The Lee era was the first Everton team I loved. Finals, semi-finals, two seasons of lovely attacking football. Held back by the board that wouldn't sign Rush to go with Sharp, wouldn't sign the quality keeper that I still think would have won that team some silverware.

The wonderful Kendall era saw painful inaction ftom the board after our ban. Harvey didn't want the job - you should never persuade someone that hard (Koeman?) - and his instincts were ultimately right.

The one constant is inertia/lack of planning from the board. At least we've been consistent in that regard.

And Tony's right about Brands. He might be good at development, he can spot a talented player, but he couldn't spot one that suits this league and he was very good at spending lots of money on that kind of player. Silva would entitled to feel short-changed by Brands.

Barry Rathbone
21 Posted 11/07/2023 at 14:19:03
Dave 18

I noted when this came up on another thread this was a bridge too far for you but the unassailable fact is all the clubs you mentioned have fallen away in some form. Man Utd and Spurs were relegated and Derby and Huddersfield, well, they're dead!!

Galling as it may be, Liverpool have never stopped challenging since charging out of the Second Division and it's all down to the foundations laid by one man - Shankly.

Sorry, dems da facts.

Eric Myles
22 Posted 11/07/2023 at 14:40:29
John #10, "Fear and Loathing in Gwladys Street"??

"Better than Sex"??

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 11/07/2023 at 15:57:48
Barry ( 21), “ Sorry, dems da facts” – good accent you put on there Barry, but you're not getting away that easy.

Did you forget Arsenal? Man Utd are the biggest club in Britain no matter how they perform on the field not forgetting Alex Ferguson's brilliant long successful time there. Clough left Derby before he had finished with them, Derby's loss, Forest's gain.

Now Barry remember posting, only yesterday, “ Liverpool were a non-descript parochial Second Division outfit.” Where did you dig that up from? Liverpool like Everton were a sleeping giant and they like us were left to flounder by inadequate boards of directors until John Moores woke both clubs up. Liverpool had to follow Everton's example of success, Shankly was the first manager of Liverpool with serious money to spend on players since the war.

And while Everton were left to rot, Liverpool had won the league title in the first year after the war and gotten to a cup final, a big thing in those days.

Did I forget to menton Liverpool have won one title in the last 32 years and Kenwright's tenure will never let me forget what Everton have been doing in that time. Those are the real facts Barry, spoken in my best BBC voice.

Barry Rathbone
24 Posted 11/07/2023 at 16:06:46
Dave 23

Sorry but both Arsenal and Man Utd have had severe fallow periods since your suggestions of Chapman and Busby. Ditto the Clough teams. You can't say that about you know who no matter how irksome you find it.

If memory serves Liverpool were wallowing in the Second Division for 6 or 7 years and running a hosepipe from a house across the road to water the pitch - some sleeping giant

Dale Self
25 Posted 11/07/2023 at 16:07:30
John, how about ‘Laszlo buys a football club’. On the windows, my limited knowledge forces me to choose the last window of Carlo. We are still digging our way out of that hole. The King of windows.
Dave Abrahams
26 Posted 11/07/2023 at 16:24:19
Barry (24) Of course Arsenal and United have had fallow periods, not sure about severe ones, name me one club that hasn’t had such periods.

Brian Clough dragged two real non- descript parochial clubs out of their misery and gave them the best years of their being and until the drink took over his life he might have done a lot more.

Barry you really didn’t/ don’t hate Liverpool enough, never mind your self made genius or you would have kept it in your head that Liverpool were in the second division for eight long glorious years while Shankly was doing fuck all with three other second division or third division north teams and he was assistant manager at one of them, given that hand out by an old football mate Andy Beattie.

Barry need some proof of that hose pipe story!

Barry Hesketh
27 Posted 11/07/2023 at 17:12:52
Dave @26
Whilst I loved your riposte to Barry's claims, I have to admit that since the other lot gained promotion back to the top division, it irks me to say that they have finished no lower than eighth in that division, and that's sixty-one seasons on the trot they've achieved that. It's a record that few teams could match and that doesn't even include the ridiculous number of trophies they've amassed in the same period.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 11/07/2023 at 17:48:57
Barry (27), fair enough Barry H, not you Barry R, it can’t be denied that Liverpool have done well since they came up but I’m debating the fact that everything stemmed from Shankly, I think when Liverpool won the FA cup in 1974 t was the first English trophy they won for a few years and he then packed in and Paisley took over and did a better job than Shankly a much better job, Joe Fagan then did the treble, Peter Robinson the secretary was the driving force for a long time at Liverpool, Shankly did well but didn’t everyone get to know about, he just loved the limelight, nothing humble and natural about that man, I remember the night he was on “ This is your life”. he just couldn’t get enough of himself.

Harry Catterick was every bit as good as Rob Roy, as Catterick called him, but did it by himself and that became his downfall healthwise and Harry was successful with other clubs, making Crewe Alex, a much more solid club financially while the superb Spurs team stopped him from winning the championship with Sheffield Wed, strangely Harry is disliked by some Everton fans who at the same time praise Shankly, very strange indeed.

Barry Hesketh
29 Posted 11/07/2023 at 18:31:58
Dave @28
I'm of the same opinion as you regarding Shankly, the myth is far greater than his abilities and he would fit right in with some of the 'fake news' politicians' who prowl the stage nowadays. Bob Paisley was the driving force behind the 'reds' and he proved it when he took the reins from the Scotsman. Just a slight correction to your post the other lot won the league in 1973 as well as the Uefa cup.

It tickles me that they were so unused to European success at the time that they printed a match-day magazine with "EUFA cup" as the competition name.

Anyways, it's not about them, it's about us, and we shouldn't give them any more air-time than is absolutely necessary.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 11/07/2023 at 18:43:14
Barry (29),Yes it’s all about opinions, thanks for the correction to my post, it’s not a slight one though, two big trophies not to be sniffed at.

Yes we shouldn’t give them any more air time than is necessary, I at least was having a go at one of them, “ I come to bury Shankly not to praise him” as Billy Shakespeare once said.

Barry Rathbone
31 Posted 11/07/2023 at 18:44:34
Dave 26

"𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗯 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗻’𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗱𝘀."


Look, I can see this is getting you annoyed but would it help to point out it wasn't until 1998 that Shankly's direct effect come to an end as his boot room legacy gave way to Houllier?

That's getting on for 40 years!!

Somehow I suspect not.

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 11/07/2023 at 18:54:54
Barry (31), getting me annoyed? I’ve enjoyed myself fencing with you.

Oh Jesus “ Boot room legacy “ Ah stop digging Barry you’ve reached a load of shite with that lot!

Barry Rathbone
33 Posted 11/07/2023 at 19:11:30
Dave 32

Didn't you know after Shankly his successors up to Houllier were from his old boot room?

If not I'm surprised you call such facts "a load of shite".

Well, not really, you do seem unduly irked over the idea which given the respect his achievements earned from other Evertonians is a bit odd. What did he say?

""𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒆𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒎𝒍𝒚 𝒃𝒚 𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒃𝒚 𝑳𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒑𝒐𝒐𝒍,"

Barry Hesketh
34 Posted 11/07/2023 at 19:23:57
I thought it was Souness who ripped up the boot-room culture at the other place circa 1991? Souness although a former player was recruited from Glasgow Rangers.

The Boot Room was eventually demolished to make way for a press room during Graeme Souness' reign as manager in 1993. Contrary to popular belief the renovation of the boot room was a requirement rather than a request by Graeme Souness that it be demolished.

Despite that, Roy Evans took over after Souness, before Houlier took full control in 1998.

Barry Rathbone
35 Posted 11/07/2023 at 19:40:27
Barry 34

Souness and before him Dalglish were both signed by ex boot room boy, Paisley, so by extension both were disciples of the original Shankly ethos. Plus it must be remembered after Dalglish had a breakdown and Souness turned to mush they returned to the boot room with Roy Evans.

Only THEN was the lineage broke with the appointment of Houllier.

Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 11/07/2023 at 20:35:13
Why did Shankly think he was more warmly received at Everton rather than Liverpool?

My guess would be hard-nosed professionalism, and this is something that Liverpool have possessed in spades for most of my life.

Evans had begun to lose it because he wasn't a strong enough manager, but I can still remember the sheer professionalism of people who never managed Liverpool, like Ronnie Moran, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was the arrogance of some of the Liverpool backroom staff, which made Alex Ferguson want to go and throw them off their perch?

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 11/07/2023 at 20:49:14
Barry (33), are you having a laugh Barry, I know all about the boot room, I’m not calling the facts a load of shite I’m calling the boot room a load of shite, you’re the one praising it.

As for being warmly received by Everton FC, after being quite rightly disregarded by his own club, that was by club officials feeling sorry for a man belly aching over something he created himself.

You can’t annoy me or or make me unduly irked Barry, I like you too much!

Danny O’Neill
38 Posted 11/07/2023 at 21:28:21
I can't really remember Shankly. I didn't want to growing up and was told not to like him.

My red supporting step Grandmother had her red velvet chair in the corner of the living room in their flat on Arkles Lane, that she called her Shankly chair, which I refused to sit on. My Grandfather was a previous Upper Bullens season ticket holder who wouldn't either, in his own home.

A lot of my cousins, nephews and nieces are on the unholy side. Some in mixed families. As are some of my friends.

I talk to them, I try to debate with them.

But as a collective, their entitlement and condescending attitude grates me.

They built a dynasty. They were and have been successful on a global scale over a sustained period. I thought Bob Paisley should have got more credit than Shankly. Great shot of him on the Everton coach with Howard Kendall with the FA Cup in 1984. He seemed a respectful footballing man. Different times.


But I detest everything about them. Always have and always will. Fortunately, I can stand up to them as more than half of them, especially where I live, don't know as much about their so called club as I do, which I find disturbing about myself as much as them.

And I will never forgive them. That changed my relationship with them.

My middle brother is worse. Every year he takes to social media to remember the 39 and get's a complete battering from friends and family.

Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 11/07/2023 at 21:28:21
Double tap - deleted one of the repeat.
Barry Rathbone
40 Posted 11/07/2023 at 22:15:01
Dave 37

" I’m not calling the facts a load of shite I’m calling the boot room a load of shite"

Given you accept the facts of their achievements that comment does sound a tad emotional but you're not irked so it can't be😀

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 12/07/2023 at 08:49:28
Barry (40), pack it in Barry you are sounding like a young wind-up merchant. You'll have to throw your bait somewhere else – I'm not biting.
Barry Rathbone
42 Posted 12/07/2023 at 10:28:32
Dave @41,

Good to hear from you again.

Especially as you're so chipper, calm and completely free of angst – what a man.

John Raftery
43 Posted 12/07/2023 at 14:00:31
The signing of Ian Wilson was when the alarm bells first started ringing for me. Worse signings would follow but it was the first step on the road to mediocrity.

In many ways it mirrored the signing of Henry Newton seventeen years earlier. As League Champions the club adopted an air of complacency just when we needed to redouble the effort to stay at the top.

Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 12/07/2023 at 15:01:43
Ian Wilson John.

Did you have to?!!!

Sent you a message.

Brian Wilkinson
46 Posted 12/07/2023 at 19:58:54
Frightening to think that the 1987 squad had Neil Adams, Warren Aspinall, Kevin Langley, Paul Wilkinson, Wayne Clarke and Ian Marshall in it.

If Letting Alan Ball go is one of the most ludicrous decisions ever made by Everton, then close behind for me was the sale of Gary Lineker. We can argue til the cows come home that we won nothing in that season, fate and Southall landing in a pothole, on a bog pitch dealt us some stinking bad luck that season, but Lineker being sold was one of the last times I can remember feeling absolutely gutted about a player leaving, apart from Rooney.

Scored in all three games he played against Liverpool, 41 league appearances, 30 goals, 11 cup appearances, 8 goals, no doubt sold to Barcelona, by Kendall, with Kendall expecting to follow, until Venables did a u-turn and stayed at Barcelona.

Love him or loathe him, Lineker was one hell of a goalscorer at Everton.

Back then there was no internet, or Sky Sports. I can remember to this day picking the Daily Mirror up and, on the back page in big headlines, "Linkeker sold to Barca". I felt physically sick reading it.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 12/07/2023 at 21:10:29
Especially because it was done before the World Cup, Brian, and Linekar won the golden boot. He said Everton was the best team he ever played for and I will go to my grave thinking we were better than the team that won the double that season.
Jack Convery
48 Posted 12/07/2023 at 21:51:13
My long lasting memory of Ian Wilson: It was New Years day in Yorkshire. The weather was crap, drizzle and bloody freezing. My mate Graham and I had driven from the "Pool" over the hazardous Snake Pass to Sheffield. We were playing Wednesday at Hilsborough and we were seated on the left hand side of the stand above Leppings Lane. Wilson was up against man mountain Mel Sterland, a footballing equivalent of Jonah Lomu. As you can imagine he didn't fare well, that is Ian didn't fare well. 8 stone wringing wet versus 15 stone of muscle, agro and immense determination ! Stirland was a rampaging right back and he rampaged over and through Wilson so many times, I was calling for our bench to throw a towel in, to prevent further punishment to dear old Ian. We lost too. Great way to spend a New Year, NOT !
Brian Wilkinson
49 Posted 13/07/2023 at 13:13:47
I agree Tony, We were head and shoulders above that team that won the double, when you throw into the mix of the two year period, where we suffered long term injury’s to Southall, Heath and Bracewell, all three at the very top of their game.

Losing the league was bad enough, but to then go a goal up in the cup final, might be wrong here but sure before our goal, we had a good penalty shout waved away, could be wrong on that bit, play them off the park for 60 mins, and Brucie somehow getting back to tip Sharps header over the bar, they were shot, but typical Everton fashion we played a stray pass and they knob an eaqulizer in, but instead of regrouping, we were still reeling from the goal, when they knocked a second one in.

That team froze at the worst possible time in the final, even at 1 all we had the beating of them, but we lost our heads and never recovered from them drawing level.

As for the Oxford utd Lineker boot fiasco, years later it was clarified that Linker had not forgotten his boots, the boots were indeed on the coach luggage side, with the rest of the kits, but Linekers boots were left behind by the staff unloading the kit from the coach and he had to wear a pair of a different size to his own, by half a size I think.

But I agree Tony, that team was better than the team that somehow snatched the double away from us.

Kevin Molloy
50 Posted 13/07/2023 at 13:28:04
i'm still getting over that disappointment, Brian. Mad, and actually the footy with him wasn't actually that great, but Jesus how exciting was it just having a pure goalscorer in the team, who at that point was pretty much unplayable?

I remember him destroying Man City on a night game with a wonderful hat-trick, making a complete monkey of Mick McCarthy. And then going to Oxford on another night game, only to lose it with the last kick of the game.

Kendall said we lost it at Luton, on the dratted plastic pitch.

Brian Wilkinson
51 Posted 13/07/2023 at 14:08:34
Just found this little piece that convinces me Kendall thought he was going to Barcelona and in doing so, did buisness quickly offloading Lineker to Barcelona.

Why would Kendall sell a player who he later called depended too much on and stopped the goals being spread throughout the team, to a team he had a provisional contract to Barcelona signed, why would he later then say, I regret not putting a buy back clause in Lineker contract, the very player he tried to justify his reason for selling,he got out very lucky, with the team winning the league, the following season.

Kendall's own Spanish adventure could have been very different. The Barcelona board were unabashed admirers of the man who had guided Everton to the top of the English game and to European silverware. When Venables looked set to leave Barcelona at the end of the 1985-86 season, it was Kendall who they turned to as his replacement. A provisional contract was signed but Venables chose to continue.

As for the Oxford game, we lost it a week or so before, when Sharp missed an absolute sitter of an open goal, somehow putting his shot onto the post, we ended up drawing and dropped 2 points.

Brian Wilkinson
52 Posted 13/07/2023 at 14:20:46
The sitter by Sharp being at the City Ground, Nottingham.
John Daley
54 Posted 15/07/2023 at 15:47:02
Brian @46,

I agree.

The defence in Harvey's first season was rock solid. Southall, Watson and Ratcliffe were still among the best in the business, but they fell seriously short upfront… particularly with Sharp being not as prolific.

The sale of Gary Lineker was brushed aside on the basis that the team had won the league without him in 86-87, after finishing runners up with him in 85-86. The narrative goes that Everton replaced being reliant on one main goal scorer with spreading them around the team and so the big-eared one was barely missed.

However, that solution only lasted the one season. The loss of a lethal frontman is never cause for self-congratulation and if his absence was not felt in the short-term high of the first season following his sale, it surely was in the subsequent campaign.

Hence, Harvey's answer of turning to the overpriced Tony Cottee… and we all know how well that turned out.

John Daley
55 Posted 15/07/2023 at 15:56:44
Loved the story (Tom @12) about flying with Ian Wilson's daughter and refraining from shattering any illusions she may have had about her dad being fondly remembered.

Many years ago, my sister was renting a flat in Leeds and would often moan about her landlord, an ex-Everton player apparently, who was constantly cracking on to her.

One day when I happened to call by, there was a knock at the door and in walks none other than Neil Ruddock's nightmare himself, Danny Cadamarteri, dressed like a long-lost member of the Dingle family. Before I can open my mouth he's ushered my sister to one side, whispered a few words into her ear and fucked off into the bathroom.

“Was he not very good when he played?”, she asked, after mistaking the look of confusion on my face for one of complete disappointment. “Not really”, I said before asking what the hell he was up to. “He said he really needed the toilet and had nowhere else to go”, she explained before finishing with, “I told you he was weird”.

Fifteen minutes pass and he's still not shown his face but the front door is banging away in the wind after being left ajar and there's a smell wafting down the hall like you wouldn't believe.

Upon investigation it became clear that the ex-striking ‘sensation' had scarpered without so much as a ‘bye' and in such haste, that the dirty bastard had left what looked like his old dreadlocks behind, festering away in the bog.

Bill Watson
56 Posted 15/07/2023 at 17:10:36
I think some on this thread have been re-writing history!

Maybe the main difference between Catterick and Shankly was the latter courted the media and the former was the exact opposite. ..older fans will recall the BBC MotD team being, literally, thrown out into Goodison Road.

As many have pointed out, Paisley appeared to be the real brains behind Shankly, perhaps as Colin Harvey was to Howard Kendall but, unfortunately, not all coaches succeed in the number one job.

John Daley; Thatcher was known as 'Thatcher the Milk Snatcher' due to her infamously withdrawing free school milk to primary school children.

Eugene Ruane
57 Posted 18/07/2023 at 00:39:36
John #55,

"Upon investigation it became clear that the ex-striking ‘sensation' had scarpered without so much as a ‘bye' and in such haste, that the dirty bastard had left what looked like his old dreadlocks behind, festering away in the bog."

I had to read that twice, then had to go for a lie down when I realised he'd actually hit the target.

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