Everton face Carlisle United in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, and one man who knows both clubs inside out is Derek Mountfield. After winning both the FA Cup and league title at Goodison Park, the former defender found his way to the Cumbrians via Aston Villa and Wolves. So evertonfc.com gave him a call and asked his thoughts on Sunday’s tie…
Derek, two of your former clubs go head-to-head this weekend, don’t they?
They do! 20-odd years ago I had a great season up there. I lived in Birmingham at the time, so my commute from there to Carlisle twice a week was quite long! But we had a very good team spirit, similar to the Everton team from the mid-1980s and Carlisle won Division Three at a canter. We also got to Wembley for the first time in the club’s history and I must say I had a really enjoyable time up there.
What made it so enjoyable?
We had so many players that were travelling from different parts of Britain - we had two lads from Liverpool, three from Huddersfield, another from Darlington, the list went on - and we all converged on the training ground to be greeted by the lads who lived in Carlisle. When we stayed over, we would go out together as a group, and it was just a really good team spirit aided by what the manager and coaching staff did. That team spirit goes a long way to making you a strong competitive team.
What are your thoughts on this weekend's FA Cup tie?
There is nothing straightforward in the FA Cup and after the Manchester City result, I think the importance of the game for Everton has increased quite a lot. After going out of Capital One Cup, we need to make sure we stay in the FA Cup as long as we can. If we play a strong team then we have a very good opportunity to progress. Over the last three or four seasons, quite a few managers haven’t paid the FA Cup the significance they should; they rest a lot of players and play their squad players. If we play our squad players it could be a different type of game for us because I am sure Carlisle have done their research and watched our games over the last couple of weeks. They will have identified the areas of Everton’s play that they think they could possibly exploit.
It’s not just a cliché that it can be tough going away to lower league clubs, is it?
Not at all and I just hope that the players, the manager and the staff are up for it and ready for a battle. It will be a different kind of game at Carlisle. They're a lower league side who scrap and fight but also play some good football. They are going to be in a different atmosphere with a ground that has recently been flooded, where the repairs haven’t quite finished yet. Everton’s players will be in portacabins and the showers may not be what they expect, so it’s a bit of culture shock and it’s about how you react on the day now.
A glamour FA Cup tie is a big boost for Carlisle, especially after the flooding...
It’s great for the city that they have got this game on and it’s going to be a full house on the television. We’ve all seen the devastation of the last couple of months in Carlisle. It’s been horrible for the people up there and this is a chance for the city to show people how they have battled back.
Evertonians have been doing their bit to help raise money for Carlisle's Community programme. Just how vital will those funds be?
Huge. And it just shows you what the football world can actually do for people. You only have to look at the Everton fans and clubs like Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool and Preston, who gave Carlisle their ground to use. It just shows you what the football community is all about, and if we can help in one little way by donating money, it’s a massive lift for the people of the city, because it has been awful for them. Some of my friends have had their houses flooded and are still not back in their homes. But it doesn't surprise me - that’s what Everton fans are like. We are a considerate group of people when it comes to looking after each other and other people.
For more information on the Fans' Forum campaign to help raise funds for Carlisle's Community project, click here.