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Everton Sean Graham

The FA Cup final of 1995 and a 1-0 success for Joe Royle’s Everton, seems like light-years away to a generation of Evertonians who have never saw their side win anything but have watched on as last season Swansea and Wigan have lifted the League Cup and FA Cup when they could only dream of what might have been.

Many fans will be telling their kids of the night the Toffees had their famous Cup Winners Cup win over Rapid Vienna in Rotterdam and they will hope that it is not long before Roberto Martinez can work his magic and continue the great work that David Moyes had done over the last 11 years.
The Everton side under Howard Kendall won trophies both at home and abroad and I was lucky enough to catch up with and Everton legend who played his part in bringing domestic and European success to the Goodison Park club, Scottish centre-forward Graeme Sharp.

In the start of their Cup Winners Cup run back in September, Everton were drawn against UC Dublin and after a 0-0 draw away they could only manage a 1-0 win at Goodison thanks to a Graeme Sharp goal. Back then no one could imagine that the club would progress to the final.
In the rounds that followed, Everton took care of Slovan Bratislava winning 1-0 away and 3-0 at home and Fortuna Sittard 3-0 at home and 2-0 away as they recaptured a bit of form then came a Semi-Final against German giants Bayern Munich.
Graeme Remembers that night fondly.
"The players thought that this was the Final itself and the winner of this tie would win the Cup".
"In the first match, we had a depleted squad but we got a 0-0 draw in the Olympic Stadium in Munich".
"The return match was a fantastic night; indeed the supporter’s class that as one of the best if not the best matches at Goodison. We thought we were going into the match as favourites but soon we ended up 1-0 down".

"At half -time Howard said to us," keep playing the way you are at the moment and just get the ball forward and the Gwladys Street will suck one in for you"

And this proved to be the case!
In a never to be forgotten second half, the Toffee's battered their German opponents, in the nicest possible way of course and goals from Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp and Trevor Steven scored the goals that would send the Goodison faithful wild with delight and Rotterdam bound.

"It was a battle, you could hardly get a breath as play raged from one end to another."

"I was speaking to Peter Reid recently and he was surprised that there was still 22 players left on the park by the end of the match !"
"Bayern could handle themselves! Reidy (Peter Reid) had a gash on his shin to prove it but they were a fantastic team with great individual players in their side but we just out fought them on the night".

Everton would face the conquerors of Celtic, somewhat controversially it may be said, Rapid Vienna and this would be a match that the Everton players would look forward to with relish.
"When we knew it would be Rapid in the Final, we knew that we were going to be in for a tough match. A few of the lads had seen Rapid playing Celtic at Old Trafford and although we were quietly confident going into the match, we knew it would be tough."

"In the match itself, we were quite comfortable winning 1-0 and 2-0 before Hans Krankl scored but then Sheeds (Kevin Sheedy) scored a great goal to make it 3-1 and we knew that we would win it then".

The wave of excitement and joy overcame the Everton players and fans that had waited a long time for something like this to happen to their club.

"It was different class! You don't fully realise what it means to the players, the club, the fans-those were great days for us as players and it must have been great for the fans going round Europe and even different grounds in England just knowing that we would not be beaten!"

"We had a growing confidence and belief in our team mates and the manager".

"We thought that this could be the start of something as we were going to places like Anfield with more confidence now, were as before we were a young side and maybe a bit in awe of Liverpool but in those days we went there not just to compete but to win".

"We had been looking forward to this Everton side maybe going on a bit further in Europe and being able to get the chance to play in the European Cup but that chance was denied ourselves and other English clubs after the events of the Heysel disaster and the English teams were banned for five years".
"Our first thoughts were for the people who had lost their lives in what was a terrible tragedy that was devastating".

"When the ban came into effect, that was the break-up of possibly one of Everton's best sides and it hit us hard, just when we thought that we were on the crest of something big".

"Trevor and Gary went to Rangers, Howard left for Spain and some new faces came in including Gary Lineker but the moment had gone".

"People often ask me, do you think that Everton could have won the European Cup? I say I think we would have had a chance of beating any team with that Everton side, which was a pleasure to play in".

"We could have been handed a difficult tie in the first round, we will never know but it would have been nice to have been given the chance."
May 15 v Rapid Vienna (at Rotterdam) 3-1 1985
Gray, Sheedy, Steven
Southall; Stevens, Van den Hauwe, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Reid, Steven, Sharp, Gray, Bracewell, Sheedy


Sean Graham

Follow on Twitter @FeaturesSean


"I am just a guy who has over 40 years of memories of watching various clubs and matches since my Dad took me round the grounds in Glasgow each week before we went to meet my Mum after work and we always went to the Berni Inn where I had scampi and chips !

From watching Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers, Partick Thistle, Maryhill juniors and Scotland as well as watching Everton and Manchester United, I have plenty of memories to share for fans to hopefully enjoy and remember."


 

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