Everton v Bayern Munich, Wednesday 24 April 1985

This match was billed in the programme as the ‘biggest-ever European occasion at Goodison Park’ and it remains the greatest night in Everton’s history. In the previous four years of European competition, Bayern Munich had lost to Liverpool, Aston Villa, Aberdeen and Spurs when coming up against British clubs but after a 0-0 draw in the first leg, the match was finely balanced.

Looking back on that match in his notes, manager Howard Kendall said the Blues had chances in the away tie to sneak a goal but acknowledged the German side had their moments too, none closer than when Kevin Richardson cleared one off the line. That excellent result may have had something to do with the preparation beforehand as on the Saturday before this game, Kendall’s assistant Mick Heaton had been sent out to watch Bayern’s German Cup semi-final with Borussia Moenchendgladbach.

It was the first time in the European campaign that Mick had been on a ‘spying’ mission. Previously, Colin Harvey had been to Ireland to watch University College Dublin, while the club relied on videos and outside reports on Inter Bratislava and Howard Kendall watched Fortuna Sittard himself. Heaton said at the time, “The idea is to get a basic overall knowledge of our opponents’ pattern of play, what particular threats they have, the way the team plays. I thought the left winger (Ludwig Kogl) would be a threat and the big number nine Hoeness would be a danger, but Derek Mountfield gave him very little.”

Though the Bayern coach Udo Lattek was confident that his side would get the result they needed on Merseyside in the return game, the British press were fulsome in their praise of the Toffees in front of 67,000 fanatical Germans. Colin Wood of the Daily Mail said “Everton, already the team of our season back home, showed on the foreign field last night they are also the men for all occasions.” Patrick Barclay of The Guardian wrote “Everton moved into the European big time last night and, unabashed, kept their seventh consecutive clean sheet of the Cup-Winners’ Cup campaign.”

In his Captain’s Column, Kevin Ratcliffe also commented on the first game, saying ” We knew Bayern were a good team and that not many teams had held them in the Olympic Stadium in the past. As we expected, they put us under a lot of pressure in the first-half but we defended well and gradually came more into the game. I think it will be our turn to put them under pressure tonight, but we will have to keep a sharp eye on them when they break.”

They were prophetic words from the skipper as the two men Mick Heaton had identified as dangermen combined for the opening goal of the second leg. Kogl was put in the clear only for Neville Southall to block his shot but the ball rebounded to Hoeness who coolly picked his spot with defenders on the line to slot home.

Undaunted, the home side roared back in the second period with Graeme Sharp nodding home to level the tie then Bayern keeper Pfaff living up to his name, allowing Andy Gray to sweep the Blues in front. Trevor Steven sealed the momentous victory after a slide rule pass from Kevin Sheedy was deftly knocked into his path by Andy Gray and ‘Tricky Trev’ buried his shot into the Gwladys Street net.

Categories: April 2021 | Leave a comment

Chelsea v Shrewsbury Town, Saturday 26 November 1988

This was Chelsea’s 3,000 League game and in the programme, Colin Benson looked back at the 83 years and three months it had taken for the club to reach this milestone.

Stamford Bridge was already the home of the London Athletic Club but the owners – ‘Gus’ Mears and his brother J.T., sons of one of the capital’s wealthiest building contractors – were determined to introduce their favourite sport to the arena. According to Mr Benson, Gus Mears had expected near neighbours Fulham FC to jump at the chance of using the stadium for an annual rent of £1500 but the Cottagers’ chairman declined the offer. Eventually, Mears’ close friend Frederick Parker agreed to help fund the development of the site into a major sporting venue with a football team to match. The renowned Glasgow architect Archibald Leitch was commissioned to design the ground and on May 8th 1905, The Chelsea Football & Athletic Company was born.

It was not until the club’s Golden Jubilee year in 1954-55 that the Chelsea fans had something to shout about as in that season Ted Drake’s team clinched the championship. In mid-November, the team were still in mid-table with the most memorable game a 5-6 home defeat by Manchester United. But in the next 24 games, Chelsea lost only three times and on March 23rd 1955 the club sat on top of the Division One table for only the third time in its history.

At the start of the Easter programme, Chelsea had a four-point lead over nearest rivals Wolves who had two games in hand and the two teams met at the Bridge on Easter Saturday. By all accounts it was a cracking game which ebbed and flowed but it was the home side who clinched the points courtesy of a penalty fifteen minutes from time. This meant that the final home match against already-relegated Sheffield Wednesday would clinch the title and Chelsea made no mistake, winning 3-0.

But on this day in 1988, Chelsea found themselves in Division Two having been relegated from the top flight a few months previously. The team had made a good start to the season, lying in fifth spot after 17 games just three behind table-toppers Portsmouth who had also dropped out of Division One in May that year. First half goals from Tony Dorigo and Kerry Dixon were enough to give Chelsea victory against a Shrewsbury team which had future Everton, Manchester United and now West Ham manager David Moyes in its line-up, moving them up to fourth in the table.

It was ironic that the club celebrated its 3,000 League game at a time when the future of Stamford Bridge was in doubt due to a long-running dispute with property developers who owned the freehold of the site. The programme featured a page on the fund-raising efforts to ‘Save The Bridge and Build A Future’ including a celebrity luncheon with comedian Roy Walker and ITV personality Ian St John which raised £2500 and a £10 note signed by Hollywood stars James Garner, Ernest Borgnine and Bob Hope which fetched £100!


Categories: April 2021 | Leave a comment

Aston Villa v Besiktas, Wednesday 15 September 1982

This was Aston Villa’s first game in the European Cup as defending champions, having won the competition four months previously with a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in Rotterdam.

As Peter White of the ‘Sports Argus’ reflected in the programme ‘it began in the cold, barren wastes of Iceland and ended on a balmy evening in Rotterdam. In between there were stops in grey and dismal Berlin, inhospitable Simferopol and the electric atmosphere of Anderlecht. A trail that was to end in triumph as skipper Dennis Mortimer held aloft the coveted trophy at a few minutes after 10 o’clock last 26 May, 1982″.

Villa’s first-ever European Cup campaign began in September 1981 against the Icelandic minnows FC Valur of Reykjavik, resulting in a 5-0 win at Villa Park and a 2-0 success in the away leg. In Round Two, Villa enjoyed a brilliant 2-1 win in the away leg against Dynamo Berlin, including a superb solo goal by Tony Morley, but lost the home leg 1-0 and only advanced on the away goals rule.

Fast forward to the quarter-final stage in March 1982 and an excellent goalless draw against Dynamo Kiev in the first leg laid the foundations for a 2-0 victory in the return, with Gary Shaw and Ken McNaught both on the scoresheet. Then, it was Anderlecht in the semi-final, with Tony Morley grabbing the only goal of the game in the home leg and the boys in claret and blue holding on to that advantage in Belgium following a 0 0 draw. Sadly, trouble caused by a few mindless Villa fans – a recurring problem with English fans in this era – led to this match against Beskitas being played behind closed doors.

After the crowd disturbances at the semi-final, the Rotterdam police were out in force for the Final but both sets of supporters were well-behaved and it was Villa who came out on top despite losing goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer to injury early on, with replacement Nigel Spinks performing heroically in his place. Peter Withe snatched the only goal of the game after good work by Tony Morley, but put every Villa fans’ heart in their mouth by playing a one-two off the post!

The 1982-83 season started badly for the new European champions as they lost their first three games, including 5-0 at Everton. But Tony Barton’s side then won their next two League games 4-1 so came into the match with Beskitas in form, winning the home leg 3-1 then drawing the away tie 0-0 to advance. In the second round, Villa thumped Dinamo Bucharest 6-2 on aggregate, with Gary Shaw grabbing a hat-trick in the home leg.

Before the knockout stages of the competition began, Villa lost 2-0 in the World Club Championship to Penarol of Uruguay but defeated Barcelona in the European Super Cup, losing the first leg 1-0 in the Camp Nou before taking the second 3-0, Gary Shaw levelling the tie with ten minutes of normal time remaining and Gordon Cowans and Ken McNaught sealing the victory in extra-time.

But in the quarter-final of the European Cup, Villa were unable to overcome a strong Juventus side featuring Michel Platini as well as a host of Italian stars fresh from their 1982 World Cup success, including Dino Zoff, Paolo Rossi and Marco Tardelli, losing 2-1 at home and 3-1 in the Stadio Comunale. Juve made it to Final but lost 1-0 to Hamburg, ending the six-year domination of English clubs in Europe’s premier football competition, stretching from Liverpool in 1977 and 1978, Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, Liverpool again in 1981 and, of course, Villa in 1982.

Categories: April 2021 | Leave a comment

Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers, Sunday 5 May 1996

This match was the final one of the season for Arsenal with the Gunners chasing a place in Europe. It marked the end of manager Bruce Rioch’s first (and, as it turned out, last) season at the club and in the programme he looked back at what he described as an interesting and enjoyable but demanding period.

He singled out his new signing Dennis Bergkamp for particular praise saying: “He has had a wonderful season. He’s been good for us all. Every young player can learn from his ability and temperament – and his desire to train and practise. The way he carries himself, on and off the pitch, is an excellent model.”

Rioch also mentioned how unlucky David Platt had been with injuries and that he hoped he would have a great run at Euro 96, together with all the England players hoping to be selected by boss Terry Venables – Tony Adams, David Seaman and Martin Keown, except when they played his native Scotland! With Dennis Bergkamp lining up for the Netherlands, Rioch indicated he thought Keown would be ideal for a man-marking job on the Dutch master.

Opponents on the day, Bolton Wanderers, had already been condemned to relegation, finishing bottom of the division, and Rioch said of his former club: “I’ll always remember Bolton with affection. I had three fantastic years at Burnden Park, where I built up some great relationships, and I hope Wanderers will be back in the Premier League soon.

Under the headline ‘England Can Do It Says Platty’, having just re-established himself as England captain, David Platt said about the national team’s prospects at Euro 96: “We’re going into the competition with a determination to win it. It’s no use thinking in terms of having a good run because we’ve got a team capable of winning the championships and home advantage will obviously be a great help.

In his programme notes, Tony Adams also believed England had a good chance of winning Euro 96, citing Germany (accurately as it turned out) and Italy as the biggest dangers. Adams had been bothered by a troublesome cartilage injury and had missed the last three months of the season as a result, but he was aiming to prove his fitness ahead of the tournament with a run-out in Paul Merson’s testimonial a few days after this game. He congratulated Martin Keown on doing a great job as captain in his absence and said he deserved being named Player of the Year – pipping Dennis Bergkamp by one vote with Ian Wright in third place.

Merson’s Benefit Match was due to take place on Wednesday 8 May, the 25th anniversary of the day the Gunners finished off the ‘double’ at Wembley by beating Liverpool in the FA Cup Final, five days after clinching the title at Tottenham. The whole squad plus manager Bertie Mee and coach Don Howe would be introduced to the crowd at half-time. There would be some some famous guest players in the Arsenal line-up on the night, including David O’Leary, Paul Gascoigne, Glenn Hoddle and Ray Wilkins, while their opponents in an International Select team, managed by ex-Arsenal skipper Frank McLintock, featured amongst others Ruud Gullit, Slaven Bilic, Gordon Strachan, Chris Waddle, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier.

Back to the match with Bolton, and it was the visitors took the lead on 76 minutes but two goals in two minutes from Platt and Bergkamp gave the Gunners victory and secured their UEFA Cup spot. But Rioch himself would not lead the Gunners into the European campaign as he was sacked five days before the start of the season following a dispute with the club’s directors. His assistant Stewart Houston was installed as caretaker manager with Dutch legend Johan Cruyff mooted as a possible permanent boss, together with the manager of  Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan, Frenchman Arsene Wenger – whatever happened to him?!

Categories: March 2021 | Leave a comment

West Ham Utd v Everton, Saturday 26 November 1988

23-year-old Tony Cottee joined Everton from West Ham in August 1988 for a then record fee of £2.2 million and on the opening day of the season he scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Goodison Park over Newcastle United. This game marked his first return to the club where he had made his debut as a 17-year-old, going on to score 92 goals in 212 League games for the Hammers.

Under Colin Harvey, Everton had made a disappointing start to the season and were languishing in mid-table before the match, while West Ham were in the relegation zone after having won only two of their opening 14 games. The Blues’ form hadn’t been helped by a series of injuries, with another new signing Pat Nevin (a £925,000 purchase from Chelsea in the close-season) having suffered a knee ligament injury in only his third game and Kevin Sheedy being out with a calf strain. On the plus side, Paul Bracewell was finally back in first-team contention after more than two years struggling to overcome a career-threatening ankle injury following a nasty tackle by Newcastle striker Billy Whitehurst on January 1st, 1986.

In the West Ham ranks were two players with Everton connections – captain Alvin Martin was on the club’s books as a schoolboy before being offered an apprenticeship by the Hammers and this match marked his 327th League appearance for them. Playing his 130th game for the home side was right-winger Mark Ward, rejected by the Toffees as a youngster, he had moved to Northwich Victoria then Oldham before his move south.

In the match itself, Tony Cottee couldn’t grab his 100th League goal but he played his part in the goal which settled it. Hammers defender Julian Dicks completely missed a Kevin Ratcliffe cross driven low across the edge of the box in the 53rd minute and Cottee cleverly flicked it on to Trevor Steven whose shot slithered under the body of ‘keeper Allen McKnight. More bad news for the Hammers was that Mark Ward suffered knee ligament damage which  put him out of a much-anticipated League Cup tie with Liverpool just a few days later.

Though struggling in the League, West Ham had been flying in the Littlewoods Cup, including a 5-0 demolition of the team with the best defensive record in Division One at the time, Derby County. The tie against Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool side was a repeat of the 1981 League Cup Final and the Hammers gained revenge for that defeat with an emphatic 4-1 success, thanks to two goals from Paul Ince and one from Tony Gale, plus a Steve Staunton own goal.

In the next round, West Ham were drawn at home to Aston Villa, winning 2-1, but in the semi-final the Hammers came unstuck to the eventual winners Luton Town, losing the tie 5-0 on aggregate.


Categories: March 2021 | Leave a comment

Tottenham v Arsenal, Monday 26 December 1983

With both teams languishing in mid-table, this North London derby took place on Boxing Day 1983  and prompted one of the contributors to reminisce about the days when, during the festive period, teams would play on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Bobby Robson, who had then just taken over as England team boss, said: “I must say as a player I enjoyed the all-action Christmas though it used to be very hard playing four or more games in the space of eight days.I remember playing Manchester United at Fulham one Christmas Day in thick, clawing mud then jumping on the train and playing at Old Trafford the next day on a rock hard surface.”

Just how crazy the Christmas results could be was shown in 1963, when on Boxing Day Fulham battered Ipswich Town 10-1 at Craven Cottage then in the return game, two days later, the Tractor Boys came out on top 4-2. Similarly, West Ham lost 8-2 at Upton Park to Division One table-toppers Blackburn Rovers on the 26th but shrugged off that ignominy in the return game on the 28th, beating their rivals 3-1 at Ewood Park.

December had been a hectic period for Tottenham and included a UEFA Cup second leg tie against Bayern Munich. Keith Burkinshaw’s team trailed 0-1 from the first leg but a goal from Steve Archibald just after half-time levelled things up and Mark Falco struck the winner with two minutes left. Spurs would go on to lift the trophy later in the season in a dramatic Final against Belgian side, Anderlecht.

In this game, Don Howe was in charge of Arsenal having been appointed caretaker manager after the departure of Terry Neill. One of Howe’s first moves was to put Raphael Meade up front with Tony Woodcock and dropping Charlie Nicholas into midfield. Meade had scored a hat-trick against Watford in Howe’s first match  and here he grabbed another two.

Howe’s third game in charge was a 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham the next day and before it he said “If I’m given the chance, I would love to manage Arsenal”. It took until April 1984 before he was appointed permanent boss and his reign lasted until March 1986 when he resigned and George Graham took over.

Categories: March 2021 | Leave a comment

Manchester City v Leeds Utd, Sunday 11 November 1990

This was Manchester City’s first game since the shock announcement that manager Howard Kendall had left the club to re-join Everton following the dismissal of Colin Harvey. In his first programme notes as caretaker manager, Toffees legend Peter Reid said Kendall’s decision came as a complete surprise to him but he paid tribute to what he had achieved in the twelve months he had been at the club, with City fifth in the table after 11 games of the 1990/91 season.

The dramatic turn of events had started on the previous Monday evening when Everton chairman Philip Carter telephoned his City counterpart Peter Swales to ask for permission to approach Kendall but this was refused. However, it became apparent that this was academic as a clause in his contract meant that City couldn’t stand in his way as long as substantial compensation was forthcoming. Nevertheless, Swales said “He’s done a good job here. He has kept us in the First Division and taken us to fifth in the table. We’re in a far better state than when he came and I’ve got to be grateful for that.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, City at that time had a fair sprinkling of players that Kendall managed during Everton’s glory years of the mid-1980s. As well as Reid, there were full backs Alan Harper and Neil Pointon, as well as striker Adrian ‘Inchy’ Heath – who in fact scored the winning goal for City against the Toffees earlier in the season.

This particular match had been chosen by ITV to feature live on ‘The Match’. City didn’t have a good record when their games were shown live from Maine Road. The season before Aston Villa had won 2-0 in the League and Liverpool thrashed City 4-0 in an FA Cup sixth round match in 1988, though City did win the return game against Villa in front of the cameras, with goals from Mark Ward and Peter Reid.

But City’s live TV hoodoo struck again as Leeds came out on top 3-2 thanks to goals from Lee Chapman, Carl Shutt and Gordon Strachan with a Mark Ward penalty and a strike from David White in response for the home side.

But despite the loss, Reid was appointed full-time player-manager a few days later and led City to 5th in the table that season and the following season.  But in the first season of the Premier League (1992–93), City slipped into ninth place  and Reid was sacked after a poor start though he would go on to enjoy more managerial success, particularly at Sunderland.

Categories: March 2021 | Leave a comment

Manchester Utd v Manchester City, Tuesday 4th May 1976

This match took place just three days after favourites Manchester United had lost the FA Cup Final to second division Southampton. But it had been a very successful return to the top flight for Tommy Docherty’s young and exciting team after the club’s ignominious relegation two years previously, when former player Denis Law’s back heel at Old Trafford for Manchester City condemned his old club to the drop.

The attacking brand of football throughout the season drew praise from fans and neutrals alike, with the club’s average League attendance being well over 54,000, the best since the European Cup-winning year of 1968. United finished third in the League, gaining more points than Derby County did when they won the Division One title twelve months earlier.

In his programme notes, boss Docherty congratulated his city rivals on their own successful season, which saw them lift the League Cup after knocking United out in an earlier round.

Though there was disappointment at being on the wrong end of an FA Cup shock in the Final, there was some success for the club as the Man Utd Supporters Club won the BBC’s It’s A Knockout Trophy which was televised on the morning of the match and recorded before a crowd of over 30,000 – final score was Man Utd Supporters Club 14 Southampton Supporters Club 12!

In the match itself, United ran out 2-0 winners thanks to spectacular goals from Gordon Hill and Sammy McIllroy, leaving fans to reflect on how the team could have done with one of those just a few days before at Wembley.

But the real drama of the evening was at Molineux as, with QPR sitting proudly on top of the Division One table,  Liverpool needed one point from their final game of the season at Wolves to become Champions for the first time under Bob Paisley. The Anfield outfit won with goals by Kevin Keegan, John Toshack and Ray Kennedy after Wolves had taken a halftime lead through Steve Kindon, condemning them to relegation in the process.

QPR players Gerry Francis and Stan Bowles watched a private screening of the match at the BBC Television Centre. Bowles apparently went for a walk in the fresh air after twenty minutes and did not reappear while Francis left near to tears when Liverpool equalised. Renowned gambler Bowles later revealed he had stood to win £6,000 (a huge sum in 1976) if Rangers had won the title, having backed them at 16/1 at the start of the season to do so.

Categories: March 2021 | Leave a comment

Liverpool v Middlesbrough, Tuesday 1st September 1981

The first programme we feature in this series is that from the opening home game of Liverpool’s 1981-82 season against Middlesbrough. The previous season was another successful one for the club with the Reds winning the League Cup for the first time and securing the European Cup for the third time, having beaten Real Madrid thanks to a late winner by full-back Alan Kennedy.

In his own programme notes, manager Bob Paisley indicated that, like every season, the primary objective for the club was to qualify for Europe, whether by claiming the League title, finishing in the top four or winning one of the Cups.

He said that the new signings the club had made would make the playing squad even stronger and history would prove him to be spot-on. Goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar joined from Vancouver Whitecaps (with club legend Ray Clemence leaving for Tottenham), as did future Match Of The Day pundit, Mark Lawrenson, despite admitting to being an Everton fan as a kid!

This was the first season of three points for a win and Liverpool had announced that their new away kit would be all-yellow with red stripes but in the opening match at Wolves, the Reds lost 1-0 and in this evening game against Boro, the home side could only draw with Phil Neal levelling up from the spot after the visitors had taken a first-half lead.

The Liverpool Echo report on the match the following day praised the performance of the two new players on their home debuts and lamented the inability of the team to take any of the numerous chances created. Graeme Souness was mentioned for another dominant game in midfield but Man Of The Match was awarded to Phil Neal, not only for his equalising penalty but for his sense of anticipation and accurate use of the ball.

But after this stuttering start which prompted the headline on the backpage of the Echo to read ‘No panic at Anfield’, Paisley’s men would ultimately reclaim the Division One crown they had lost to Aston Villa, when this victory over Tottenham in May 1982, coupled with a 3-1 home defeat for Ipswich Town, earned the Reds the title for the thirteenth time.

Liverpool would also claim the League Cup for the second successive season and would, in fact, go on to lift this trophy for four seasons on the bounce, including in 1984 against Everton, in the first-ever major Final between both Merseyside clubs.

Elsewhere in the First Division, Howard Kendall was given the manager’s job across Stanley Park at Everton, while former Liverpool legend John Toshack had gained promotion as Swansea boss and would take his exciting young side to Anfield the following month, when they drew 2-2, and Emlyn Hughes tried his hand at management for the first time when taking over at Rotherham.

On the transfer front, Joe Jordan joined Liam Brady  in Italy and there was speculation that Arsenal would lose David O’Leary and Frank Stapleton to Manchester United – in the end, O’Leary stayed and Stapleton signed for the Red Devils.

Categories: March 2021 | Leave a comment

Proudly powered by WordPress Theme: Adventure Journal by Contexture International.