15 May, 1985
EVERTON 3-1 Rapid Vienna
European Cup-Winners' Cup Final
Everton arrived in Rotterdam for the European Cup Winners' Cup final at the end of a long, hard season.
There were many who feared this might be the night the Blues were made to pay for their relentless pursuit of a much-vaunted 'treble’.
However, having overcome the mighty Bayern Munich in the semi-final, Howard Kendall's side were in confident mood.
Having already clinched their first league championship for 15 years, they had to face the tough-tackling Austrians, controversial conquerors of Celtic in an earlier round. Four days later, they would walk out at Wembley in a bid to retain the FA Cup against Manchester United.
Everton were the favourites in Rotterdam as the throngs of blue and green bedecked supporters gathered in the Dutch town on that memorable May evening.
Kendall had watched Rapid Vienna in action the previous week and knew that if his side could maintain the form they had shown consistently in the league, they would be more than capable of taking their first-ever European title.
Vienna's pre-match declaration that they would attack Everton from the start proved to be nonsense, as they sat back and tamely soaked up the mounting pressure.
Aware that Rapid had publicly expressed reservations about their ability to cope with the aerial prowess of Scotsmen Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp, Everton pumped in high crosses from all angles. The tactic unsettled their rivals, but they somehow managed to hold firm.
Everton thought their long-overdue breakthrough had arrived in the 39th minute when a superbly worked free-kick was finished by Gray. Kevin Sheedy swung the ball over, Derek Mountfield headed it down, and there was Gray to sweep it home. Unfortunately, Mountfield was adjudged to have been offside, although millions watching at home saw television replays appear to prove he was not.
Rapid held out until the end of the half, soaking up the Everton pressure and only attempting to break on the counter attack. Kendall's men were throwing everything they had at their opponents and the longer it went on the more you feared the Austrian Cup winners would see through their game plan to frustrate, tire and then land a late sucker punch.
That was until the 57th minute when, at last, Everton broke the deadlock. Sharp easily beat goalkeeper Michael Konsel to an underhit backpass and had time to turn and look up before chipping deftly across goal for Gray to race in and smash the ball home, unchallenged, from eight yards. The Evertonians around the ground, of which there seemed to be twice as many as Austrians, went absolutely wild.
Everton's deserved victory was sealed on 72 minutes when the impressive Trevor Steven found himself on the end of a Sheedy corner, which had somehow eluded the lunging boots of three defenders. The winger thumped the ball into Konsel’s net at the far post, before turning to begin the celebrations.
Astonishingly, Rapid managed to claw their way back into the game when veteran Hans Krankl beat Neville Southall from close range. It was a minor and very temporary setback. Straight from the restart, Sheedy hammered in brilliant third goal from 25 yards and now the Blues fans could breathe easily again.
Krankl summed up the game: "Everton were just too good for us. It's been a long time since we played against anyone of their class. They are possibly the best side in the whole of Europe."
Kevin Ratcliffe went up to collect his second cup in the space of a few weeks but the great side would not claim a third as Norman Whiteside was to break the Blues' hearts in the FA Cup final just a few days later.