My favourite game: when Everton stayed up on the last day of the season

Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 25comments  |  Jump to last
Gary Naylor recounts the events of THAT day in 1994 when Everton needed to beat Wimbledon and hope other results went their way. They were 2-0 down after [20] minutes…

» Read the full article at The Guardian

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 20/05/2020 at 07:41:01
Even to this day, I believe the Wimbledon game should be mentioned more about relief than achievement.

It never features in my favourite games because it was a shambles of a season to put us in that position to start with.

I'd rank games like the FA Cup Semi-Final against Spurs or even that 1995 Quarter-Final against Newcastle as higher on the list due to it leading to tangible success.

The Wimbledon game was a close shave, we were lucky that day in more ways than one and dodged a bullet.

Peter Mills
2 Posted 20/05/2020 at 08:35:48
It was a strange day. Many people say how great the atmosphere was, indeed it was at the end, but does anyone else recall it being very quiet and tame during the 2nd half before Barry Horne scored?
Brian Williams
3 Posted 20/05/2020 at 08:49:05
Favourite game?

Yes, we won and survived against the odds but to have it as a favourite is like having life-saving surgery and remembering that as your favourite time!

It wasn't, and it wasn't!

Brian Williams
4 Posted 20/05/2020 at 10:54:48
Didn't edit in time: I meant to add. The circumstances that led to it being required (both) were tragic. I wish it had never been necessary, and it was heartbreaking that it was, and I hope it's never necessary again.
Kev Gibbs
5 Posted 20/05/2020 at 11:09:29
I remember coming away from that game, the overwhelming feeling I had, apart from relief, was that there was something very dodgy about the entire game. Take a bow, Mr Segers.
Michael O'Malley
6 Posted 20/05/2020 at 12:25:22
Far from being one of my favourites, I was absolutely shitting myself when we went 2 down. We were going nowhere until Barry Horne's howitzer and, until that went in, I was hoping more than expecting, Thank god Diamond got the winner cos I was dreading the stick I was going to get off the RS.
John McFarlane Snr
7 Posted 20/05/2020 at 12:39:48
Hi Lyndon, My favourite game from the many I have seen down the years, was the 4-0 win against Liverpool on 9 September 1964, the day that a Liverpool supporter planted a Purple Heart placard on the centre spot, in reference to the allegation that Everton players were given stimulant pills at some stage.

Everton, fielding a weakened side, were 3-0 up at half-time, the goals coming from Derek Temple, Colin Harvey, and Fred Pickering, Johnny Morrissey completing the scoring in the second half in front of the Kop. We had waited nearly 10 years for that result, revenge for the 4-0 home defeat at their hands in the 4th round of the FA Cup on 29 January 1955.

Our 4-0 victory was in the days when fans of both clubs could stand together. I was on the Kop with my mates 'Red and Blue', the fun was in the pub on Sunday lunch time, we 'Blues' revelled in our victory. Strangely enough, Andy Rankin in goal was probably 'Man of the Match.

Ste Traverse
8 Posted 20/05/2020 at 13:20:45
I was there and it was certainly a much remembered game, but it certainly doesn't ever feature on any of my 'favourite games'. Horrible experience.
Patrick McFarlane
9 Posted 20/05/2020 at 13:32:25
Ste #8 I agree, and the problem I have with the Wimbledon and Coventry 'escapes' of the 90s, is that it has helped to define Everton FC for many modern day rival supporters and the media.

It's become an Albatross for the club and its players, as the fear of relegation has somehow ingrained itself into the collective Evertonian psyche and that has very often replaced the ambition to emulate our former glories.

John McFarlane Snr
10 Posted 20/05/2020 at 15:12:57
Hi John [Patrick] [9],

I feel that I must disagree with you regarding the threat of relegation becoming an Albatross for the club and its players, ingraining itself into the collective Evertonian psyche, often replacing the ambition to emulate our former glories.

I believe that a lack of individual and collective quality is the cause of our failings, both on and off the pitch. Players over the years have little or no knowledge of the events that occurred before they joined the club, while to we the fans painfully do.

Alan McGuffog
11 Posted 20/05/2020 at 15:18:14
Tend to go along with Patrick... we seem to have embraced this "glorious losers" persona.

Like celebrating the "victories" at Dunkirk and the Alamo. (Assuming we've no Mexican Blues, that is!)

Danny ONeill
12 Posted 20/05/2020 at 19:11:43
Awful day. One of mixed emotion. Relief we survived but realisation of the depths we had sunk to.

Also, from a personal perspective, it took me weeks to get myself out of the self-inflicted hole I dug myself into. I was stationed in Cyprus and a relief driven bender with a friend resulted in me falling short of making it home. I fell asleep 100 m short of home and a kind neighbour came to my assistance to get me to the front door. The rest of the story involved several weeks of trying to get back in the good books!!

Jeff Spiers
13 Posted 23/05/2020 at 16:20:48
On the day (my birthday) I had to get out of town. Nerves were gone, really bricking it.

Ended up on Blackpool front with the missus. Found out we were 2-1 down. That's it, I'm jumping off the pier. Couldn't even find the bottle to do it.

Fuck it, let's get home. Half-way down the M6, put the radio on and the commentator was describing Stuart's bullet (?) of a shot. 3-2.

What my missus said about my celebration was along the lines of "Grow up, you stupid twat! She doesn't understand.

Chris Cooper
15 Posted 23/05/2020 at 18:44:35
In 1986, a carload travelled up from Telford, Blues and Reds, for the derby at Anfield — without tickets. Hundreds outside the ground after spares, same has us.

With kick-off nearing and no chance of a spare, we headed back, listening to Radio 2 for company. Peter Jones commentating, all on edge. Ratcliffe: 1-0... Get in!!! Big Nev keeps us in front before Lineker puts away the 2nd!

Great memories of the kop end loaded with Blues. Football was better then – always seemed to have more riding on it, I think. Hope I am wrong but they were the days for me.

Jay Harris
16 Posted 23/05/2020 at 19:03:32
Like many, I remember the Wimbledon game atmosphere as being totally depressed having given away a stupid goal and a crazy pen by Anders Limpar.

I think everbody believed we were doomed and its the only time I have ever been through an atmosphere of resignation at Goodison Park.

Anders Limpar won us a pen too to redress the balance, Barry Horne scored the only worldie in his life and Hans Seger went for a ciggy when the 3rd trickled over the line. Cue unbelievable celebrations but also a feeling of vulnerability.

Jay Harris
17 Posted 23/05/2020 at 19:07:39
Sir John #7 I remember that game so well.

As a teenager I used to go to almost every home and away game but we had so many injuries that day I expected a trouncing so didn't go.

I was walking up Shaw street and asked someone the score he said "4-0".

I thought to myself I knew we would get battered.

It wasnt until I get home that I found out we had won 4-0. Cue wild celebrations in the house.

John McFarlane Snr
18 Posted 23/05/2020 at 20:04:53
Hi Jay [17] I think your memory is playing tricks on you, Everton fielded an almost full strength team, the notable absentee was Jock Lindsay, who had sustained a broken leg in the game against Stoke City four weeks, [and five games earlier]. I too was a teenager, approaching my 16th birthday, and was an office boy for a Lord Street solicitor.

I must have tormented the typists that morning because my boss sent for me, and said, "I believe there's a football match tonight would you like to go"? I replied, "It's an away game, sir" he repeated his question and then gave 30 shillings [ a weeks wage] £1-50 to younger T/Ws, and let me finish at lunch time.

I'll never forget that evening nor the joyous celebrations, I believe the Railway Station Clegg Street no longer exists, it does in my memory, alongside the sign outside the hospital in close proximity to Boundary Park, requesting "QUIET PLEASE" that was really asking for something.

Terry White
19 Posted 23/05/2020 at 20:33:06
Jay (#17) and John McF, Sr., (#18), I'm confused about which 4-0 games you are speaking about. Oldham (1954), the reds (1955) or the reds (1964)? You seem to be talking about different games.
Jay Harris
20 Posted 23/05/2020 at 20:35:01
Sir John,

Maybe I'm thinking of another game but I don't think there were many 4-0 wins at Anfield and you yourself said Everton were fielding a weakened side.

Nonetheless a 4-0 win on their patch is to be cherished.

Stay safe be well.

John McFarlane Snr
21 Posted 23/05/2020 at 20:52:27
Hi Terry [19],

Apologies for the confusion. I took it that Jay was referring to the Oldham Athletic game; I didn't scroll back far enough to establish the game in question. I thought that I had mentioned the promotion-winning game, obviously mistakenly on this thread.

I also owe Jay an apology, I was 26 years old for the Liverpool game, and it appears that I've put a few years on him, adding to the years that Everton have contributed. It lends weight to the claim of my 'Young Lady' who regards me as a 'Doddering Old Fool'.

Jay Harris
22 Posted 23/05/2020 at 20:52:30
I have got to be talking about 1964. I was only 3 in 1954!!

That's why I was confused that Sir John was talking about fielding a weakened side then said we had a full-strength team with only Jock Lindsay absent?

Brian Wilkinson
23 Posted 26/05/2020 at 13:51:57
From some of my older posts on another thread about having to be in Stanley Park for the Wimbledon game, and picking the 85 FA Cup Final over Rotterdam due to finances, which also included missing the Bayern game, I did have a huge spot of luck from another game.

I got a free front row ticket for the 4-4 FA Cup game against our neighbours, which for me was one of the best games. If that was not enough, I got the same seat for the second replay, which although we won, was not a patch on the replay.

Brian Wilkinson
24 Posted 26/05/2020 at 14:38:03
Missed off front row in the Bullens Road for the above game.
Jerome Shields
25 Posted 30/05/2020 at 22:13:12
Really wasn't my favourite game. Everton where poor on the day and it was lucky that Horne scored. WimboIden weren't that bothered and Vinny Jones looked sentimental, there where even rumours of a pay-off after the game. I was relieved that they had survived, but could not see any blocks to build on.

I was hopefully when Kenwright took over and Moyes was appointed. Everton improved, but repeatly hit a glass ceiling, both achievement-and performance-wise, over 20 years. Have often made me feel that Everton should have been completely restructured at that time, even though it meant spending a season relegated, to get them to be real about it.

I think what we got was a continuation of the status quo after Johnston left and with the aim of being content in the Premier League, with no other achievement.

Ancelotti has to be a new dawn, but things are not going to be easy for him.

Tony Everan
26 Posted 16/06/2020 at 12:05:18
A surreal day. It lives on like a hazy, crazy dream trapped in time.

I was in the Upper Gwladys Street, I remember getting told off for swearing by a respectable lady supporter. I tried my best at restraint.

I made a banner that day out of an old turquoise shower curtain I found in the garage. I found some black paint and wrote ''WE WILL BEAT YOU'' in big black letters. It was not a work of art (or maybe it was). Draped it over the upper stand, weighed down at the bottom corners with two footy socks filled with sand.

I like to think my banner gave the lads the another milligram of belief that helped save the day. The butterfly's wings effect.

I remember getting far too stressed out about it all, short of breath and needing an inhaler. Everton's fortunes are for better or worse directly linked to my nervous system. The club should come with a health warning.

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