Snapshot: Jackson & Parky
Duo discuss the years after the '95 Cup win and Monday's trip to Wigan.
The Interview - Matt Jackson and Joe Parkinson
You both won the hearts of Everton fans by winning 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 (Royle) 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.
Where does playing in the 1995/96 European Cup Winners' Cup rank alongside your other achievements in the game?
MJ: Obviously 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. Unfortunately I only had one season in Europe and I only had one game abroad in Reykjavík in Iceland, which 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 becase 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 disappointing, especially having tasted European football.
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 let the manager down 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.
What do you make of the job David Moyes has done?
MJ: He's done a fantastic job. He's been absolutely brilliant, over-achieved and actually caused himself a few problems by doing so. But they're problems I'm sure David is delighted to have. Full credit to the board for putting stability in place and letting the Club build, and build, and build.
JP: He's been great. When he first came he lifted the Club, got us out of a relegation fight and, although we were up and down for a couple of seasons after that, we're now consistent. We've had a poor start to this season but we're still getting the results. What he has achieved is fantastic and you can see the fans appreciate him.
Do you think the Dogs of War spirit remains?
MJ: They've got better players technically now. You look at the likes Of Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill, and think individually they're better players than we had. But we had a great team spirit and that's always the mix a manager is looking for - a team that can play attractive football and score goals but also graft at the other end.
JP: I think it's there. Some of the times when we've had bad starts to seasons the lads are still saying the right things in the press, they're working hard to get things right on the pitch, they're not having a go at each other - all the signs are there that the team spirit is there.
Would you back the current Blues team to repeat your 1995 Cup win in the near future?
MJ: It would be a great achievement for anyone to win a Cup. Look at Arsenal. The team they've had under Arsene Wenger has been fantastic but I think it's five years since they've won a trophy. It's just unimaginable for a team like that, with their resources. So the likes of Everton want to be picking up trophies but also consolidating so they can challenge at the top of the Premier League for years to come.
JP: I think it would probably be a bigger achievement than ours because the top four teams have gone away more than they had in 1995. I just think the league has got stronger, the teams are a lot stronger and to get there would be a better achievement. Hopefully that's what will happen though - I'd be made up to see Everton back at Wembley.