Everton Album: European Glory
Kevin Ratcliffe relives the night Everton won their first European trophy.
It's a night few Evertonians will ever forget. Everton 3 Rapid Vienna 1.
With the Club's eighth English title already sitting proudly in the Goodison Park trophy cabinet, Howard Kendall took his side to Holland's De Kuip stadium to face the Austrian outfit in the European Cup Winners' Cup final.
German giants Bayern Munich had been slain in the semi-final, and the 'treble' remained a possibility with an FA Cup final against Manchester United just three days away (United would deny the Toffees, winning 1-0 at Wembley).
Everton's start stunned Rapid but, despite a host of chances, the game remained goalless at the break. The second half, however, became one of the most memorable in the Club's illustrious history.
Goals from Andy Gray, Trevor Steven and Kevin Sheedy secured a 3-1 win, giving captain Kevin Ratcliffe the chance to lift Everton's first European silverware.
evertonfc.com caught up with Ratcliffe to discuss his memories of a remarkable night.
The Interview - Kevin Ratcliffe
"I remember getting to the stadium, walking out on the pitch and seeing the vast amount of Evertonians in the ground.
"I thought it was quite exceptional really, the amount of fans that had travelled over. I knew there were going to be a lot there but when there were 30-odd thousand fans inside an hour and a half before kick off, and the way they were dancing and jumping up and down, it was just something you don't experience very often.
"As for the game itself, I remember in the first half we were in total control. How we came in at half-time without a goal you just can't put your finger on.
"Derek Mountfield had missed a couple of headers and somebody else had missed a good chance. In fact, we had four of five chances and had not put the ball in the net - and it's one of them where you start thinking, 'It's been that easy, surely it can't be like that again in the second half?'.
"But we took the game by the scruff of the neck, took it bit by bit and scored the goals.
"Of course, they scored what now looks like a consolation but we were thinking, 'they're back in it here'. Straight away though we seemed to have that little bit extra and within a couple of minutes Kev Sheedy had made it 3-1.
"I don't think the fans had the best view of me lifting the trophy. It wasn't the best of platforms to walk up to and collect the trophy. But it was just a night where everything rolled into one. We'd achieved it, we'd won the league, we had an FA Cup final to look forward to on the Saturday - it was just getting better and better.
"Every person who played for Everton in those good times will tell you that's the best team they've played in. Everybody's got their favourite Everton team but that was a complete team. There were no stars, no big money signings - I think the biggest was Trever Steven for around £250,000.
"The lads that had been brought in, like Andy Gray, and those that had been there a while, like Peter Reid, all seemed to click at the same time. And that was the season before. It all seemed to go from strength to strength after that.
"The final was a fine reward but, actually, the semi-final against Bayern Munich was the most memorable tie of that campaign. Tactically, Howard [Kendall] got it right over in Germany, playing an extra man in midfield and one up front. Howard was a modern-day tactician in some ways and that gave us a little bit extra.
"That second leg at Goodison was then an incredible spectacle and those three games together give me very, very fond memories."
Kevin Ratcliffe was talking to evertonfc.com in October 2008.