The summer sale of Gary Lineker was a key component in Everton’s title-winning campaign of 1986/87, according to Howard Kendall.
Lineker scored 40 goals in his one season at Goodison, but the Blues saw Liverpool do the double in 1985/86.
And when a big-money offer from Spanish giants Barcelona came in for the England international, Kendall made the decision to allow the striker to depart Goodison.
It was all part of the plan though, with Kendall reflecting: “With Gary in the team, it was a different type of side to the one which won us the championship in 1984/85.
“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.”
Kendall used some of the money from the sale of Lineker to bring centre-half Dave Watson to Goodison from Norwich City, for a then-Club record fee of £900,000. It proved to be one of the best pieces of business he would ever do and Watson’s partnership alongside Kevin Ratcliffe was integral to Everton’s success.
The Blues conceded just 31 goals in the league that term and Kendall said: “It was £900,000 from Norwich and I remember their manager Ken Brown saying [losing Dave] was like cutting off his right arm.
“He was a great leader and I decided with the problems Derek Mountfield had at the time with injury, I couldn’t go into the season without an established centre-half.”
To read the full interview with Kendall, grab a copy of the new 1986/87 souvenir magazine, which is on sale now.
Written by the Club, the 84-page special looks back on the glorious campaign with key performers from a brilliant production.
The publication comes with the official DVD of the 1986/87 season and is priced £6.99. It is available to buy from Everton One, Everton Two and all good retail outlets as well as online from www.merseyshop.com.