Paul Bracewell talks to us about 1985, Sunderland and FA Cup heartache.
Paul Bracewell knows a thing or two about FA Cup final heartache.
Three times he experienced the elation of reaching Wembley with Everton; three times he returned to Merseyside without a medal for his efforts.
Then, in 1992, during his third spell with Sunderland, he suffered a fourth final day defeat.
evertonfc.com caught up with Bracewell to discuss Everton's famous 4-1 win against the Black Cats in 1985 and his memories of finals - good and bad.
Who's in the picture? Derek Mountfield, Andy Gray, Trevor Steven, Graeme Sharp, Kevin Sheedy, Pat van den Hauwe, Gary Stevens, Neville Southall, Kevin Ratcliffe, Paul Bracewell, Peter Reid.The Interview - Paul Bracewell
Who were the characters in that 1985 side pictured above?
They were all characters to be fair. Nev in goals, Pat van den Hauwe, Gary Stevens, Rats, Sheeds, Trevor Steven, Sharpy, Reidy - they were all characters in their own right.
It was a famous win against one of your other teams, Sunderland, that set that side on its way in '85, wasn't it?
It was a hectic schedule at the time. We went 1-0 down and ended up winning 4-1. That was the first time I'd played against Sunderland since leaving them the summer before. It was a great result for us and the whole place was jumping with what was going on with Europe, the FA Cup and the league.
Can you remember what the feeling was like at the time?
To be honest, at that time of the season there was very little training. The games were coming thick and fast and everyone was on their toes because of the rewards at the end of it. Nobody was going into the games thinking about the next one - you had to make sure you got that one over and done with. When we went 1-0 down, it was the kick up the backside we needed, and we eventually kicked into gear and went on to get a great result.
Did you start to think then that it would be Everton's season?
We had a very poor start to the season where we lost a couple of games (against Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion) but we gradually progressed up the league and did well in the cups. But when you get to that stage of the season, every game is a cup final. It was really good to get those three points against Sunderland before heading to Munich and getting the result there (Everton drew 0-0 in the first leg of their European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final. They won the second leg 3-1 to set up a final with Rapid Vienna). It was a great time to be at the Club.
There's a famous picture of you and Kevin Ratcliffe parading the European Cup Winners' Cup after the 3-1 win over Rapid Vienna [above]. What are your memories of that night?
I just remember looking around the stadium and being overwhelmed. We were led to believe there were something like 25-30,000 Evertonians who had gone across to Rotterdam and it was a fantastic night. Going to the airport, too, and seeing all the planes full of Evertonians waiting to take off - it was a fantastic experience. But we also knew the FA Cup final was coming up and we were hoping at that point we would do the treble.
But it wasn't to be...
No (Everton lost 1-0 against Manchester United). I was lucky enough to play in four FA Cup finals. I was great in semi-finals, I could win them! But I never got the winner's medal. It's one of those things though; speak to some great players and they never played in one. It's a fantastic occasion every time you play in one - but it goes very, very quickly and no-one ever remembers the losers, always the winners.
Paul Bracewell was speaking to evertonfc.com in April 2009.