Sharp Shooter!

By Sean Graham

The Beatles once sang a song called , Can’t Buy Me Love  with the lyrics in it saying, cause I don’t care too much for money, for money can’t buy me love.

At Everton you will get plenty of money but money can’t buy them goals or a win and as they go into their Europa League match at Goodison on Thursday v Lyon, the times are tough for the Toffee’s.

There is pressure on manager Ronald Koeman to deliver success but they have struggled this season and goals have not been easy to come by.

Oh how Ronald Koeman must wish he had a striker to ease his problems!

The Toffees face Lyon on Thursday, Arsenal on Sunday and Chelsea on Wednesday in a tough a gruelling schedule, especially when the team are low on confidence.

They need to pull together and dig results out in these matches but it will be tough, oh how the long suffering fans must wish they had some of the players from teams gone by to help dig them out of this mini crisis.

For the Toffees there once was a time were they had success on the domestic and European level also as they won the FA Cup in 84,the League Championship in 1985 and 87 and their greatest triumph in Europe,winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1985.

Most Evertonians, always think back to their great Cup Winners Cup run in 1985 when the Toffee’s were top dogs and won their only European trophy when they beat Rapid Vienna 3-1 in the Final in Rotterdam on the 15th May 1985.

For Everton,times like these and their FA Cup win over Manchester United back in 1995 have been too few and far between  with only FA Cup final defeat Chelsea at Wembley in the 2008/09 season the closest they have come in recent years.

The long suffering Evertonians, deserve success!

If this present Everton team need any inspiration,they should look no further than the Everton squad of 1984 that lifted the FA Cup and went on to European glory the following year.

No doubt they know about the history of this great club and how the fans love the forwards at Goodison.

Dixie Dean, Joe Royle, Duncan Ferguson, Bob Latchford,  Alex Young, Andy Gray and a man who also knew a thing or two about hitting the back of the net, Graeme Sharp.

 

Everton legend and Club Ambassador, Graeme Sharp, was part of that Everton team that won the FA Cup, Football League Championship and the Cup Winners Cup in his time with the club.

 

Graeme was part of an Everton team under the late great ,Howard Kendall that would show not only their rivals from across Stanley Park that they were not going to sit and watch them going on to win trophy after trophy, they were about to have a challenge from the Blue half of the city now and they were here to stay.

In the start of their Cup Winners Cup run back in September, Everton were drawn against UC Dublin and after a 0-0 draw away they could only manage a 1-0 win at Goodison thanks to a Graeme Sharp goal. Back then no one could imagine that the club would progress to the final.

In the rounds that followed, Everton took care of Slovan Bratislava winning 1-0 away and 3-0 at home and Fortuna Sittard 3-0 at home and 2-0 away as they recaptured a bit of form then came a Semi-Final against German giants Bayern Munich.

Graeme Remembers that night fondly.

 

“The players thought that this was the Final itself and the winner of this tie would win the cup”. 


“In the first match, we had a depleted squad but we got a 0-0 draw in the Olympic Stadium in Munich”.

“The return match at Goodison was a fantastic night, indeed the supporters classed that as one of the best if not the best matches at Goodison.We thought we were going into the match as favourites but soon we ended up 1-0 down”.

At half -time Howard said to us,” keep playing the way you are at the moment and just get the ball forward and the Gwladys street will suck one in for you”

And this proved to be the case!

 

In a never to be forgotten second half, the Toffee’s battered their German opponents, in the nicest possible way of course and goals from Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp and Trevor Steven scored the goals that would send the Goodison faithful wild with delight and Rotterdam bound.

It was a battle, you could hardly get a breath as play raged from one end to another.”

“I was spoke to Peter Reid and he was surprised that there was still 22 players left on the park by the end of the match !”

“Bayern could handle themselves,Reidy had a gash on his shin to prove it but they were a fantastic team with great individual players in their side but we just outfought them on the night.”

Everton would face the conquers of Celtic, somewhat controversially it may be said, Rapid Vienna and this would be a match that the Everton players would look forward to with relish.

 

“When we knew it would be Rapid in the Final, we knew that we were going to be in for a tough match. A few of the lads had seen Rapid playing Celtic at Old Trafford and although we were quietly confident going into the match, we knew it would be tough.”

“In the match itself, we were quite comfortable winning 1-0 and 2-0 before Hans Krankel scored but then Sheeds scored a great goal to make it 3-1 and we knew that we would win it then”.

 

The wave of excitement and joy overcame the Everton players and fans who had waited a long time for something like this to happen to their club.

“It was different class ! You don’t fully realise what it means to the players, the club, the fans-those were great days for us as players and it must have been great for the fans going round Europe and even different grounds in England just knowing that we would not be beaten!”

We had a growing confidence and belief in our team mates and the manager”.

“We thought that this could be the start of something as we where going to places like Anfield with more confidence now, were as before we were a young side and maybe a bit in awe of Liverpool but in those days we went there not just to compete but to win”.

“We had been looking forward to this Everton side maybe going on a bit further in Europe and being able to get the chance to play in the European Cup but that chance was denied ourselves and other English clubs after the events of the Heysel disaster and the English teams were banned for five years”.

“Our first thoughts were for the people who had lost their lives in what was a terrible tragedy that was devastating”.

“When the ban came into effect, that was the break up of possibly one of Everton’s best sides and it hit us hard, just when we thought that we were on the crest of something big”.

Trevor and Gary went to Rangers, Howard left for Spain and some new faces came in including Gary Lineker but the moment had gone”.

“People often ask me, do you think that Everton could have won the European Cup? I say I think we would have had a chance of beating any team with that Everton side, which was a pleasure to play in”.

 

“We could have been handed a difficult tie in the first round, we will never know but it would have been nice to have been given the chance.”

 

Let’s hope that Everton are given a chance  in Europe this week and in their domestic football this season, it has been far too long seeing an Everton captain walking up the steps at Wembley to collect a trophy and winners medal, that has to change as these fans in the Blue half of the great city of Liverpool, deserve to taste success once again.

Maybe this Everton side should take a look at that great side of the eighties or the great side from the sixties, players played for the spirit and became legends.

Perhaps they should take time to watch how things were done Howard’s way, especially today, two years since the great man’s passing. Take a moment to took back on what he achieved as a player and a manager for the football club, he managed to turn things around with a group of players no one gave any hope, sound familiar?

The Everton squad of today, should given themselves a history lesson today, it just might be the making of them and they could become legends like the boys of 85 and 95.

It could be the start of a whole new era for Everton football club and it’s time the fans had a new hero or two to cheer on!