Alan Biley became Howard Kendall’s initial signing when he joined Everton in the summer of 1981, the first of the so-called Magnifient Seven to join in that close season.
Only Neville Southall could be termed a lasting success at Goodison but Biley is not one for recriminations, remaining philosophical about why things didn’t pan out as he hoped.
The following season he was at Portsmouth and starting a spell that would se him become one of Pompey’s favourite sons with 56 goals in 102 games and two promotions.
With his distinctive blonde mullet, few Blues fans who remember the early 80s period will ever forget Biley.
“They thought I was the bees knees, I’ll tell ya!,” he laughs. “I’ve got extremely fond memories of everywhere I’ve been but my time at Everton was probably the most frustrating. You’ll never be able to put your finger on why it didn’t have longevity. Everybody will have their own thoughts on it. For me it was about not being played in the right position but at the time Howard Kendall was new to the post and he was trying everybody.
“That is football and in the time that I was at Everton the people up there made me feel very much at home and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. It was just slightly tarnished because Everton was the really big move for me. I’d moved up with Cambridge from fourth to third to second and then had a move up to Derby and all was going well. Then I got the opportunity to go to Everton. It started well and then just stumbled.
“What is nice though is that I can still travel all over the place and go on holidays abroad and people still talk about the first couple of games. To play in my first game at home to Birmingham was one of the highlights of my life. To win it 3-1 and to have a big hand in the game and then finish it with a goal was fantastic. On top of all that, Denis Law was working for Granada and I got to meet him and do the after-match interview. We’ve all got our heroes and he’s right up there for me. So the whole day was one of those things that fairy tales are made of.”
After a successful loan spell at Stoke at the back end of the season, Biley made a courtesy call to Portsmouth manager Bobby Campbell after being made aware of his interest.
He says: “Howard Kendall gave me a number and I said I’d call Bobby out of courtesy. I called him from Howard Kendall’s office. Bobby said: ‘Look, don’t do anything. Let me have a chat with you. Come down and see us for a day. That’s all I’m asking.’ So I went down there for a day and stayed three years and the rest is history. I played with some fabulous players and also in front of very special fans."