Goodison Park – The Grand Old Lady (part 3)
“Get it into their box and the Gwladys Street will suck the ball into the net.” – Howard Kendall
Everton 3 – 1 Bayern Munich
The financial backing Moores afforded the club enabled Everton to compete for the best players, as transfer records were broken at an unprecedented rate.
A bankrolling of Everton by the founder of Littlewoods, would see them break the club transfer record three times in 1960 alone. A trend continued throughout the decade, and one which would earn Everton their ‘Mersey millionaires’ tag.
Moores vision for Everton was not exclusively directed towards building a winning team on the field, and, as the decade came to a close, the chairman would announce ambitious plans to redevelop the ageing Goodison Road Stand.
Plans that would see Goodison Park arguably undergo the most drastic transformation in the stadiums long history.
Built in 1909 to an Archibald Leitch design, the double tiered Main Stand on Goodison Road would be demolished in stages throughout the season, with work on the new triple tiered structure carried out simultaneously.
A stark contrast of new replacing old, as Everton Football Club entered a new decade as First Division champions.
Leitch’s Main Stand, built in 1909 at a cost of £28,000, and due to its sheer size, described at the time as “the Mauretania Stand,” would be dwarfed by the £1 million development.
The new triple decker stand, capable of holding upwards of 15,000 supporters would become the largest of its kind in Britain.
The 1969/70 First Division championship was the last trophy to be secured by Everton for another 14 years. The final great side of
the previous decade had been broken up by Harry Catterick, with legends such as Alan Ball and Howard Kendall sold.
Catterick, then the most successful manager in the clubs long history, had been in charge at Goodison for 12 years.
Eventually he was persuaded to ‘move upstairs’ after suffering a heart attack, to be replaced in 1973 by the former Everton player and Northern Ireland international, Billy Bingham.
In his first full season, Bingham’s Everton finished a respectable seventh, just missing out on UEFA Cup qualification. His rebuilding of the squad saw him bring in signings such as Martin Dobson and Bob Latchford, and Everton looked nailed on to reclaim the First Division title in season 1974/75.
However, a disastrous run in, Everton picking up just one win in their last five games, would subsequently see them finish fourth, just three points behind eventual champions Derby County.
An 11th placed finish in 1975/76 was the beginning of the end for Bingham and he would ultimately pay the price the following January, as a sequence of eight league games without a win resulted in the sacking of the Northern Irishman.
Bingham’s replacement, Gordon Lee, who resigned from Newcastle United to take up the Goodison Park hotseat, had arrived at the club with a no nonsense reputation.
The former Aston Villa player was recognised for his hard working, functional approach to the game, something the Goodison faithful, brought up on the famous ‘School of Science’ philosophy, would always fail to come to terms with. Nevertheless, Lee’s five year tenure as Everton boss produced third and fourth place top flight finishes, as well as a League Cup final and two FA Cup semi-final appearances.
Perhaps somewhat spoilt by winning three major titles within seven years in the 1960’s, the following decade is a period remembered by Evertonians of a certain age as being a particularly bleak one. Yet, despite the decade being barren in regards to winning trophies, the 1970’s under Bingham and Lee, when compared to Everton’s current trophyless run, the longest in the clubs history, makes for interesting reading.
Between them, the much maligned pair, managed 4th, 3rd and 4th place top flight finishes in seven years. Maybe the telling factor for the dark memories Evertonians have of the Seventies, was the emergence of bitter rivals Liverpool as a major domestic and European footballing force.
On 6 May, 1981, on the back of 19th and 15th placed finishes, Gordon Lee’s reign at Everton was terminated. Whilst the tenure of his successor, a 1960’s Everton legend, was not short of early difficulties, the 1980’s would see a phoenix like rise for Everton Football Club both at home and abroad.
Howard Kendall would launch the club towards the most successful period of its long and illustrious history, and into a tumultuous game under the floodlights at Goodison Park. Widely regarded as one that has never been matched, before or since.
Everton vs Bayern Munich – Wednesday April 24 1985, at Goodison Park
Everton 3 (Sharp 48’, Gray 75’, Steven 86’)
Bayern Munich 1 (Hoeness 37′)
Everton: Southall, Stevens, Van Den Hauwe, Ratcliffe, Mountfield,
Reid, Steven, Sharp, Gray, Bracewell, Sheedy.
Bayern Munich: Pfaff, Dremmler, Willmer, Eder, Augenthaler
Lerby, Pflugler, Matthaus, Hoeness, Nachtweih, Kogl.
Referee: Erik Fredriksson, Sweden.
Everton’s campaign in the 1984/85 UEFA Cup Winners Cup had seen a largely untroubled passage to the semi-final stage. Howard Kendall’s charges had been flying domestically whilst playing some of the most outstanding football ever seen at Goodison Park.
Now, just two games away from the clubs first ever European final, Kendall’s Everton would have to face their sternest test yet, the might of German footballing superpower, Bayern Munich.
Drawn to play the first leg away from home, Everton ground out an excellent 0-0 draw in front of 67,000 at Munich’s Olympic Stadium. With the teams topping their respective leagues (both eventually going on to be crowned champions), as well as reaching their cup finals, the return leg at Goodison Park, the first ever European semi-final to be played at the historic stadium, was set up perfectly to be a classic encounter.
The match, arguably the greatest game to be played at The Grand Old Lady, did not fail to live up to expectations, it blew them out of the stratosphere.
With the Grand Old Lady packed to the rafters, captains Kevin Ratcliffe and Klaus Augenthaler led the teams out of the tunnel and into a cacophony of noise. Howard Kendall’s talk of his side having to show patience was swiftly revealed as pre-match mindgames, as his players, roared on by the 50,000 inside Goodison Park, besieged Bayern Munich with an authority and aggression that visibly rattled their German opponents.
Kendall would later acknowledge his game plan was to get the ball forward to Sharp and Gray, to bombard Bayern and crucially, be first to the second ball. Munich coach Udo Lattek, who would in his career lead Bayern to a total of six Bundesliga championships and a European Cup, had bemoaned Everton’s overly aggressive approach, yet would, in the aftermath of the match, declare Everton as “the best team in Europe.”
Within three minutes of the kick off, Everton had carved Bayern open, only for mercurial right midfielder, Trevor Steven, to screw his angled shot agonisingly wide of Jean-Marie Pfaff’s right hand post.
The surge of Royal Blue attacks continued as Bayern were confined to sporadic forays forward. A wayward Dieter Hoeness header being the most a shell shocked Munich could muster in the opening quarter of the match. From yet another ball into the box, Graeme Sharp rose to flick on to Kevin Sheedy, the Irishman was about to pull the trigger when the seemingly stray hand of Wolfgang Dremmler made contact with the ball.
Sharp, Sheedy and the Park End screamed for a penalty but Swedish referee, Erik Fredriksson, waved away the vociferous appeals. Mr. Fredriksson would soon be centre of attention once more, as Everton number 9, Andy Gray, on the end of a forceful challenge from behind by man marker Hans Pflugler, lashed out wildly at the German defender.
Gray was fortunate he had made no contact, although this did not stop Pflugler rolling around in apparent agony. The Goodison crowd let their feelings be known as the referee ordered the defender to his feet before booking both players.
Gray would give Pflugler a torrid evening and the two clashed again as the abrasive Scot was brought down outside the Bayern penalty area. Free kick specialist Sheedy stepped up and scraped Pfaff’s left hand post from 25 yards.
It was all Everton now, as Bayern Munich struggled to cope with the constant bombardment from the Everton flanks. Once more, the Germans failed to deal with a Gary Stevens long throw from the right. Initially allowing the ball to bounce in the box and then leaving Graeme Sharp to connect with a firm header. The grateful Pfaff watched on as Sharp’s effort cleared the crossbar.
Eventually, Bayern began to get a foothold in the game, with the pace of teenage left winger Ludwig Kogl becoming a prominent outlet. Kogl was again involved as Lothar Matthaus tested Neville Southall with a stinging shot from outside the box. It was a warning sign left unheeded by Everton when on 37 minutes, Goodison Park, aside from the 300 travelling Bayern fans, was stunned into a deathly silence.
A long kick by Southall was gathered by Kogl who, after playing a one-two with Matthaus, found himself clean through on Southall’s goal. The keeper thwarted the young wingers attempt to round him, however, Southall’s touch fell into the path of Dieter Hoeness who despite facing two defenders on the line, maintained the composure to roll the ball into the Gwladys Street net.
The first goal Everton had conceded in the competition. If the supporters inside Goodison were concerned about how their team would react to going a goal down, within minutes of the restart, Kendall’s men would quickly put those concerns to bed.
Paul Bracewell, receiving the ball in the Bayern penalty area, after a typical mazy run by Trevor Steven, saw his cross blocked for a throw in on the Everton right. With the Germans having struggled all night with the long throws of Gary Stevens, the jam-packed Gwladys Street turned the volume up yet another notch.
Stevens launched his throw and as Andy Gray got up early at the near post, his flick on was met by strike partner Sharp, whose deft header found the back of the Gwladys Street net. Goodison Park erupted with a snarling wall of sound enveloping the famous old stadium as never before.
At 1-1, and with Bayern still ahead in the tie on away goals, Udo Lattek’s answer was to bring on another defender, however, the fleeting initiative gained by Bayern through the Hoeness goal, had been well and truly consumed by a ravenous Everton. There was from now on, only going to be one winner.
Paul Bracewell snapped into another tackle on Soren Lerby, continuing his run as Peter Reid drove forward. Managing to release the ball a split second before being cynically mowed down, Reid found an unmarked Bracewell once more but the midfielder’s effort was sliced horribly wide.
The Toffeemen were now in total command, Bayern’s Kogl threatened intermittently but it was never enough to stem the unstoppable tide of Royal Blue dominance.
Graeme Sharp, collecting a deft lay off from Gray after a precise Pat van den Hauwe cross, hit a goalbound low volley, only to see Pfaff make an excellent stop to his right.
A save that would for Bayern, be no more than a delay of the inevitable. On 72 minutes, inescapably, the floodgates were opened as Bayern’s resistance was conclusively broken. A straight ball into the Munich box was controlled by Sharp but before the striker could get his shot off, Pflugler was able to clear for another Everton throw.
Up stepped full back Gary Stevens to launch yet another missile into the Bayern area. In his halftime team talk, Howard Kendall had famously told his players if they got the ball into the box, the Gwladys Street End would suck into the net.
The manager’s promise came to fruition as Bayern keeper Pfaff, hindered by two of his own defenders, misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing Andy Gray to gently stroke the ball home and make it 2-1 from two yards out. Goodison celebrated in a scene of complete pandemonium.
If it was the raw force of sheer will that led Kendall’s side to overturn a 1-0 deficit, the third goal, a seal on the game, displayed Everton’s class of ‘85’s ability to mix it up with the very best Europe had to offer.
As the clock ticked through 86 minutes, Kevin Sheedy intercepted the ball in the left back position. Despite being put under pressure, Sheedy, moving effortlessly forward into space, picked out a pinpoint pass that allowed Andy Gray to feed the run of Trevor Steven. Now clean through on goal and facing the onrushing Pfaff, Steven took one touch before sweeping the ball past the helpless Bayern goalkeeper.
The Gwladys Street End became a wild blue seascape of bodies as the pressure cooker atmosphere was finally released in a dynamic cacophony of jubilant noise and movement.
Those 50,000 inside Goodison Park had been fortunate enough to have witnessed the greatest night in The Grand Old Lady’s enduring and distinguished history, yet make no mistake, they had also played their part in Everton’s triumph. As for their heroes, the great Everton team of 1985, they would of course go on to take the trophy in Rotterdam, with a 3-1 win over Rapid Vienna.
[box style=”gray shadow rounded” ]
Goodison Park – The Grand Old Lady
Goodison Park is more than a stadium, more than a gathering place for football supporters. She is a part of the very fabric of a community, a great historical monument in a great, historical city. Witness to high’s and low’s crossing three centuries, Goodison Park is more than bricks and mortar, more than a building. She is a cornerstone, a place of worship, a home.
The Grand Old Lady of English football, an invaluable insight into our social history, to be respected, cared for and treasured. Our past, our present and our future. [/box]
Official Everton DVD, Everton 3 – 1 Bayern Munich
Oh, and me. As I was one of the fortunate souls lucky enough to have been there!
Goodison Park – The Grand Old Lady Part One
Goodison Park – The Grand Old lady Part Two
Follow Neil on Twitter @deneils