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How The Title Was Won

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May 10, 1986: A second-half comeback helps Liverpool to victory in an all-Merseyside FA Cup final against Everton and with it they secure the double. Ian Rush (2) and Craig Johnston overturn Gary Lineker’s first-half opener to leave the Blues disappointed for the second time in a week. Everton had missed out on the league by just two points to their rivals and, but for small margins, could have been celebrating a double of their own.

July 2, 1986: Lineker, Everton’s 40-goal top scorer, signs for Barcelona for a record-breaking fee of £2.8m. The striker, also top scorer at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, puts pen to paper on a lucrative six-year contract.

Howard Kendall: “Gary came in and scored a tremendous number of goals but the other players suffered because they’d worked on a different system the year before. When the big bid came in from Barca, I suggested that we take the money and revert back to the system which we’d used when we won the championship.”

dave watsonDave Watson proved an inspirational signing by Howard Kendall
Aug 21, 1986: With Derek Mountfield recently joining the Blues’ fulsome injury list, manager Howard Kendall makes a late foray into the transfer market to spend a chunk of the Lineker money on Dave Watson, the Norwich City centre-half. Watson, a native of Liverpool, signs for a fee of £900,000.

 

Dave Watson: “There were a lot of rumours in the newspapers that Everton were interested in me and then I got a phone call from Howard Kendall. I had an agreement with Ken Brown, the Norwich manager, that if a bigger club ever came in for me then I would get the chance to speak to them. The clubs got together and did some negotiating before reaching a fee of £900,000, which was a lot of money in those days.”

Aug 23, 1986: Kevin Sheedy scores twice as Everton begin their league campaign with a 2-0 win over Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park. Watson gets a debut while fellow summer signings Paul Power and Kevin Langley also make their bows. More noticeable, however, are the players missing, with Mountfield, Neil Pointon, Peter Reid, Neville Southall, Gary Stevens and Pat Van Den Hauwe all crocked.

Trevor Steven: “Howard and the management team were pivotal in how they managed to put a side together in spite of all the injuries we had. They signed the right players and kept everyone focused.”

Aug 30, 1986: Another summer signing, Neil Adams, makes his debut as the Blues draw 1-1 at Highfield Road against Coventry City.

Sept 21, 1986: Adrian Heath, Graeme Sharp and Sheedy all grab a goal each as Manchester United are battered 3-1 at Goodison Park. With an unbeaten start of four wins and three draws, the Blues are right in the mix at the top of the division.

October 11, 1986: Two goals from Sheedy can’t stop the Blues suffering their third straight defeat as they go down 3-2 at the Valley to Charlton Athletic. Immediately after beating United they had lost 2-0 at Spurs before a solitary goal from defender Steve Williams had given high-flying Arsenal a 1-0 win at Goodison.

October 25, 1986:  Neville Southall returns from injury in a 3-2 win over Watford at Goodison. The Welshman would remain between the sticks for the remainder of the season.

Boxing Day, 1986: An utterly dominant Everton team wins 4-0 at Newcastle United with Steven (2), Heath and Power on target. The Blues had enjoyed a great December with January set to be just as good. All in all a run of eight wins from nine games took them right back into the title picture.

Trevor Steven: “For me, winning at Newcastle like that was one of the real highlights. It is always a difficult place to go with a really fervent atmosphere. I am from the North East and scored twice on the day so it was special. I think after that we went on a really good run in the league.”

Jan 5, 1987: Everton lose 1-0 to Liverpool in the League Cup.

Ian SnodinIan Snodin turned down Liverpool to sign for Everton
Jan 6, 1987: Ian Snodin turns down better wages from Liverpool to join Everton. The highly-rated midfielder’s former club Leeds United had agreed a fee of £840,000 with both Merseyside teams.

 

Ian Snodin: “I made a very serious – and difficult – decision to join the Blues when Liverpool were also trying to sign me. It was a very tough call. I got a championship winners' medal at Everton, so I made the right choice. I can honestly say it was. I’ve never once regretted my decision and Everton is my club. Not Leeds United. Nobody else.”

Jan 17, 1987: Snodin makes his debut in a 2-0 win over a Sheffield Wednesday side containing his brother Glynn. Centre-half Watson scores his first goal for the Club in the same game.

Feb 5, 1987: Everton are knocked out of the FA Cup following a 3-1 defeat at Wimbledon.

Feb 7, 1987: The Blues get a huge boost as Peter Reid and Pat Van Den Hauwe return from injury in the same game – a 3-1 win over Coventry City at Goodison. Heath, Steven and Stevens get the goals.

March 8, 1987: Wayne Clarke makes his Everton debut in a rare defeat – 2-1 away to Watford. Clarke had been brought in to cover for the injured Graeme Sharp and his five goals in 10 games would prove crucial.

March 28, 1987: Clarke’s first goal for the Club – a 40-yard lob – gives the Blues a 1-0 win away at Arsenal. It was a significant day in the title race – not least because Wimbledon were simultaneously beating Liverpool.

Clarke GoalArsenal keeper John Lukic looks on helplessly as Wayne Clarke's lob sails over his head
Wayne Clarke: “The turning point was at Highbury. That gave us a cushion and we never really looked back after that. It was certainly one of my most important goals when you think of what was at stake. I’d also only recently moved to the Club so it was a good impact to make. It was a great feeling to know that the win put us in the driving seat for the last few games of the season.”

 

April 25, 1987: Kevin Sheedy famously sticks two fingers up to the Kop as he scores a sensational goal in the Blues’ 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. The scoreline is irrelevant, however, with Howard Kendall’s men on the cusp of glory. Seven straight wins up until that reverse had blown the Reds out of race.

Kevin Sheedy: “The story keeps me going on the after-dinner circuit now and again! I hadn’t planned anything but I hit the best free-kick I’ve ever hit. It was just a reaction. I flicked the 'V's and then Inchy made a gesture. We had to go and see the FA but I claimed it was a Ted Rogers 3-2-1 thing and we managed to get off!”

Pat Goal NorwichThe Blues celebrate Pat Van Den Hauwe's title-clinching goal at Norwich
May 4, 1987: Pat Van Den Hauwe scores the only goal of the game as Everton secure the title with a 1-0 win at Carrow Road. The celebrations begin on the coach on the way home.

Adrian Heath: “On the journey back from Norwich we had plenty of booze on the coach and Terry Darracott got everyone up to do a song! Howard told the coach driver Jimmy Martin that he’d be fined if he went above 40! It was a long journey back but one we’ll always remember."

Ian Snodin: I used to get a lot of stick off the lads for not wearing the greatest gear, but for the Norwich game I got myself a new suit, new shirt and some new shoes so that I really looked the part. We won the game, the champagne started flowing and as I’d never won anything major I’d never really drunk champagne like this. I was knocking it back as though it was lemonade and I was out of it before we got to the M6! My missus was picking me up from a service station to take me back to Yorkshire and I got a shout to wake me up just before we pulled in. I stood up and the suit fell to pieces! The lads had cut the trousers, the jacket, my belt, my tie - I looked like Robinson Crusoe!

May 9, 1987:  Everton parade the Championship trophy at Goodison before beating Luton Town 3-1 thanks to Steven’s brace and one from Sharp. Kendall would be named manager of the year for the second time.

 

 

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