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Snapshot: Jackson & Parky

Duo discuss the years after the 1995 FA Cup win.

Snapshot: Jackson & Parky

Everton's FA Cup triumph of 1995 may well have been the dawn of a new era of Toffees success.

Instead, Joe Royle's blend of pitbull-like determination and effervescent flair was to be broken up, meaning relegation battles - not title ones - lay ahead for the Blues in the second half of the decade.

evertonfc.com sat down with two stars of that 1995 victory over Manchester United, Joe Parkinson and Matt Jackson, to discuss the pressure of being Cup winners, playing in Europe and why Royle's 'Dogs of War' never hit the heights many had predicted.  

The Everton squad photo taken prior to the 1996/97 campaign.The Everton squad photo taken prior to the 1996/97 campaign.

Click here to see an enlarged version of this image.

Who's in the picture?
[Back left to front right]
John Ebbrell, Tony Grant, Vinny Samways, Paul Gerrard, Neville Southall, Andy Hinchcliffe, Matt Jackson, Joe Parkinson, Jimmy Martin [Kit manager], Jimmy Gabriel [Reserve team manager], Craig Short, Earl Barrett, Graham Allen, Jon O'Connor, Willie Donachie [Assistant manager], Les Helm [Physio], Graham Stuart, Michael Branch, Gary Speed, Andrei Kanchelskis, Joe Royle [Manager], Dave Watson, Marc Hottiger, Duncan Ferguson, David Unsworth.

The Interview - Matt Jackson and Joe Parkinson.

You both won the hearts of Everton fans by lifting the FA Cup in 1995. Was there pressure on the team after that?

Matt Jackson: Not really. We were playing in the European Cup Winners' Cup, which was great, but we'd been poor in the league during that Cup-winning season and we knew we had to improve on that record. I don't remember there being a pressure for us to do that though.
Joe Parkinson: We'd done well to avoid relegation the season before and, of course, we had that great Cup run. Joe brought a couple of players in as well, so I think everyone at the Club - players and fans - expected us to kick on from there and carry on winning and challenging for things. But it was hope and expectation rather than pure pressure.

Joe ParkinsonJoe Parkinson

Where does playing in the 1995/96 European Cup Winners' Cup rank alongside your other achievements in the game?

MJ: As a player, you want to experience as many competitions as possible, so European football was great. We had two great legs against Feyenoord and were unlucky not to go through. It was a tremendous experience, though it was an ultimately frustrating season for me because I wasn't involved that much.
JP: It ranks right up there to be honest. I only had one season in Europe, and I only had one game abroad, in Reykjavík in Iceland. Thankfully, though, we managed to win. I was injured after that but it's an experience nobody can take away from me. It helped playing in Europe, it gave me a few different challenges and I think we all really enjoyed it - even if it didn't last that long.

At the end of that season we missed out on qualifying for Europe again - in agonising fashion...

MJ: It was a massive disappointment. Joe Royle had done a great job, because he'd kept the club up in the first place, won the cup and then for us to go and finish sixth in the 1995/96 season was tremendous. It looked like there was real progress going on at the Club but it wasn't to be [Arsenal pipped the Blues to the fifth and final European place on the final day]. It's a shame because it would have been good to see Joe regularly managing a team in Europe.
JP: It was a disappointment. We beat Villa 1-0 on the last day of the season but Arsenal could pip us to sixth. They beat Bolton in the last 15 minutes and managed to go ahead of us. It was a real blow, especially having tasted European football and what it was all about.

Matt JacksonMatt Jackson

Unfortunately, everything went a little bit downhill after that...

MJ: Something just wasn't quite right. I don't know if it was a financial thing or if the blend just wasn't right. There were a few of us that left from that Cup-winning side but it still looked like Joe would be there to build a mini empire for a long time to come. It didn't quite work out that way and it just shows how quickly things can change in the game.
JP: I think a few players let the manager down, a few were comfortable in what they were doing. I'm not going to mention names but there were a few players who should have come in and taken us on to new levels, and didn't. We could have gone on to achieve anything. If the right players had come in at the right time, we could have kicked on. At that time we could have beaten anyone on our day.

Matt Jackson and Joe Parkinson were talking to evertonfc.com in November 2008.

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