Harvey - The Final Chapter

Almost forty years since making his debut, Colin Harvey will step on to the Goodison turf on Sunday to bid a fond farewell to the club he has served in a number of positions.

As a player, a youth coach, assistant manager and manager of Everton he has typified the club motto of 'Nil Satis, Nisi Optimum.'

Normally content to stay out of the limelight, Colin will be thrust into centre stage for his testimonial against Bologna and he's looking forward to the experience with great anticipation.

"It will be a very proud day and I haven't really been on the pitch since I left as a player," he said.

"I have obviously stood on the edge so many times I can't remember, but I have never been the centre of attention like that since I was a player."

When Howard Kendall left for sunnier climes in 1987, Harvey assumed the Goodison hot-seat.

Sadly things did not go according to plan. Everton finished fourth in Harvey's first season as manager, the following year they made it to Wembley - but then struggled in the 1990-91 season.

After a Rumbelows Cup exit at Sheffield United, Harvey was sacked by the Board.

"It was very frustrating more than anything because at every other level before and since I was successful," said Colin.

"I had always been a winner as a player. I was involved with the first team, youth team and won things. But the fact that I never won anything as a manager was disappointing.

"We got close a couple of times. The League positions weren't too bad - fourth, sixth, eighth - cup final against Liverpool, semi-final of the League Cup against Arsenal.

"It was just an inch away. That was the frustrating thing.

"At the end of the day I didn't win anything and as a manager you are judged on what you win or don't win and I have got no complaints."

Harvey returned just days after his exit as boss in 1991, again in tandem as assistant to Kendall.

"It was probably the old thing about never going back. We had worked well together and we thought we could again," he continued.

"But looking back maybe we shouldn't. But I love the club and apart from four or five years I have been there for the last 40-odd years, so it has always been hard to leave."

Harvey enjoyed a spell at Mansfield Town, then was appointed as Graeme Sharp's number 2 at Oldham Athletic before moving back to Everton as an Assistant Academy Director, helping to nurture talent such as Michael ball, Francis Jeffers, Tony Hibbert, and, of course, Wayne Rooney.

In May, he decided to give up his role as coach to the Blues' under-19s side after more problems from his long-standing hip injury. As he could no longer perform his duties the way he always had, he decided to call it a day.

With his testimonial coming up and a portion of the proceeds going to Blueblood, the Everton Former Players Foundation, it seemed the perfect end to a memorable career.

"I was thinking about giving the coaching up anyway because of my hip, and then this comes up so it seemed the right way to go out," he continued.

"I love the coaching but the way I like to work is very intense.

"I've had both hips done. One was done nearly 20 years ago and I've never had any problems.

"But I had the other one done a couple of years ago and it was never right. So I had what they call a revision and when you get that it is just to get you around, you can never really do the same as before.

"So over the last two years it has been frustrating because I haven't been able to do what I want to do properly. So with the testimonial it is probably the best time to have a break from it."

However, the genial Harvey admits that it will be hard to stay away!

He said: "Once the season starts I will be going to watch games. It will be nice to watch Everton games again because I haven't had the opportunity for a while.

"And I can also watch other games and whether people will want me to watch players for them I don't know. But I still want to be involved in some way even if it is only watching."

Colin Harvey. Footballer. Mentor. Gentleman. Legend. Evertonian.
Everton says: 'Thank you.'

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