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v Wolfsburg

Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05

1981 - 2002

1981 - 2002
Stories of the Era
 

1984-85 was a season like none before, and certainly none since.

The names still roll off the tongue - Southall, Stevens, Van den Hauwe, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Reid, Steven, Gray, Sharp, Bracewell, Sheedy.

After winning the FA Cup in 1984, confidence was high at Goodison Park as the new campaign kicked-off.

A moral-boosting win at Wembley against Liverpool in the Charity Shield curtain-raiser did nothing to dampen the expectations amongst the fans.

But two defeats in the opening two league games did!

Everton's 1985 European Cup Winners' Cup final line-upEverton's 1985 European Cup Winners' Cup final line-up

Tottenham spoiled the opening day party with a thumping 4-1 win and then West Brom inflicted a 2-1 loss on the Blues at the Hawthorns 48 hours later.

Thankfully, that was as bad as it got and a Friday night win at Chelsea was the start of a run of results that brought just one defeat in the next 20 matches.

That was the Toffees' first live televised fixture and the only goal that night was scored by Kevin Richardson.

The Geordie utility-player remembers the night well, but wasn't as aware of his landmark strike.

“I remember that game at Chelsea but I didn’t realise I was the first Everton player to score a league goal live on the telly," he admits.
 
“The BBC had started to show live games on Friday nights and the pressure was on us as we went in to that game. It was our third game of the season and we needed to get a win because if you lose your third and your fourth games, things start to set in and players become nervous. So it was a big game for us and we needed to get something out of it.
 
“Paul Bracewell played the ball in and I managed to get in ahead of Colin Lee to score. It didn’t turn out to be too bad a season after that! I think we must have been lulling the other teams into a false sense of security.”

From that point on, a tremendous run of form saw Kendall's side build up a head of steam to charge up the table - losing just one game before late-November.

In particular, October was a great month for the Blues as they won seven of the eight fixtures they played as rivals Liverpool were beaten 1-0 at Anfield and Manchester United were thrashed 5-0 at Goodison, within a week of each other. 

Ron Atkinson's Red Devils were then beaten on their home turf as progress was also made in the League Cup and, perhaps most significantly, the European Cup Winners' Cup. Czech outfit Inter Bratislava were beaten 4-0 on aggregate, as the Blues put the opening round struggle over Irish part-timers University College Dublin behind them.

Adrian Heath was the embodiment of all that was good about Everton and a return of 13 goals by this time was enough to attract the attention of England manager, Bobby Robson.

Andy Gray Bayern MunichAndy Gray nets against Bayern Munich

Sadly, a devastating injury against Sheffield Wednesday at the beginning of December brought his season to a painful and abrupt end.

An unlikely home loss to Grimsby Town in the League Cup on November 20 was viewed as the merest of blips, but it kicked off a run of four games without a victory. Although that was put right when mid-table Nottingham Forest were smashed 5-0 at home.

Everton were still top of the table and stayed there until an almost implausible defeat to Chelsea at Goodison, just before Christmas.

Prior to their visit, the West London side had not won an away game during their 84-85 campaign, but they were never behind against the league leaders and courtesy of Gordon Davies' hat-trick (three of only six goals he scored for the club) Chelsea eventually won 4-3.

Three separate consecutive-winning runs of 10, 9 and 7 games kept an amazing trophy treble well within the team's grasp though.

And when the Blues went back to the summit, they stayed there until the trophy was finally captured with five league games to spare - a 2-0 win on Bank Holiday Monday against QPR sealing the club's first crown since 1970.

Goodison's greatest night - a 3-1 win over Bayern Munich in the ECWC semi-final - set up a first ever European final and a dramatic extra-time FA Cup semi-final win over Luton Town sent the team back to Wembley for a second consecutive FA Cup final.

The 1985 Championship winning sideThe 1985 Championship winning side

Rapid Vienna were brushed aside in Rotterdam to clinch Everton's first-ever piece if European silverware but the FA Cup final proved one game too many.

Manchester United won 1-0 courtesy of an extra-time goal from future Everton man Norman Whiteside to deny Howard Kendall's men their historic treble. But it had been a fantastic season and, incredibly, after both cup finals there were still three league fixtures to fulfill!

In all competitions during the 1984-85 campaign, Everton played 63 matches. They won 43, drew 10 and lost 10. Of the 10 defeats, one was the FA Cup final and three were after the title had already been won!

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