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v Man Utd

Sunday 20 April K.O. 16:10

The Unlikely Hero

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Watch Video The Unlikely Hero

He may have only joined Everton in March 1987, but Wayne Clarke was to play a major part in helping the Blues over the finish line in the First Division title race.

Signed by Howard Kendall from Second Division Birmingham City, Clarke hit five goals in 10 games as Everton took back their crown from city rivals Liverpool.

“Graeme Sharp was out injured so Howard needed cover,” said Clarke. “I’d scored 19 goals that season for Birmingham so I was in a rich vein of form. I took that into the final games with Everton.”

Arguably, the most memorable goal of Clarke’s haul was his first for the Club in a 1-0 victory at title rivals Arsenal when he lobbed John Lukic from fully 40 yards.

“It was certainly one of the most important when you think of what was at stake,” said Clarke. “I’d also only recently moved to the Club so it was a good impact to make.

“It made a difference as Wimbledon went to Liverpool on the same day and beat them. That gave us a cushion and we never really looked back after that. It was a great feeling to know that the win at Arsenal put us in the driving seat for the last few games of the season.”

Clarke also scored against West Ham United, before bagging a hat-trick at home to Newcastle United, but missed the title-clinching 1-0 win at Norwich City through injury.

He recalled: “I’d popped my shoulder out in the home draw against Manchester City in the previous game so I couldn’t play any part in the fixture at Carrow Road. But I was still made to feel a part of it all and that’s what I became a professional for – to be successful and be in a successful team.

"I’ll always be indebted to Howard for that. Even when I see him now, I still call him ‘boss’! It was a privilege to be a part of that squad.”

To read the full interview with Clarke, 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.

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