Sunday, 16 January 2011

Everton's best XI

Respect the moustache
Ooh, it's the Anfield derby on Sunday which means blah blah blah 'bragging rights, blah blah blah 'formbook out of the window', blah blah blah 'no one likes to see that'. 

Here's my Ev faves (you may disagree but you'd be making an absolute show of yourself):

GK Neville Southall
First up these are only players I’ve seen but even so the magnificent, contrary, scruffbag, maestro would be in any all time ace Everton list. Has there ever been a player so good yet so completely at odds with his status?
Considered by many to be the best in the world in the mid to late 1980s – I can’t say as I never saw all the others – he was at times unbeatable. Ask John Barnes. Football writers’ player of the year in 1984/5. 9/10

RB Ian Snodin
A controversial choice but I’m still mad at Gary Stevens for the pass that let Ronnie Whelan in at the 1986 cup final.
Snodin came from Leeds United as a midfielder and he was alright there, but when he filled in at right back for a spell he was superb. Fast, aggressive, smart, and with a haircut much like mine at the time, he made the position his own and was called up for England but had to withdraw when injury knackered him up. 7/10

CB Dave Watson
Wretched at first – a Guardian match report on one of his early games (probably by Ian Ross) reckoned he and Kevin Ratcliffe weren’t on first-name terms yet – he became one of Everton’s most important players.
Rock solid, rock hard and fond of unorthodox refuelling methods, Watson was superb. Lifted the FA Cup as captain in 1995 and once ruffled Michael Owen’s hair when the little shit was bleating. 8/10

CB Joleon Lescott
Most people my age would go for Kevin Ratcliffe here, and he was a good player and our most successful skipper, but Lescott, for me, was simply brilliant for us. His defection basically finished football for me.
Good on the floor, good in the air, fast and with an incredible knack for scoring (big) goals, him leaving left a massive hole in my betting strategy. 8/10

LB Pat Van den Hauwe
An absolute beast but a brilliant player. Once put Vince Hilaire over the advertising hoardings at Goodison with a spirited tackle. As Hilaire’s twitching torso was stretchered off people were whispering ‘I think he’s dead’. Also smashed through Jimmy ‘shithouse’ Case after he’d fouled Adrian Heath or Trevor Steven (can’t remember which) when playing for Southampton. Scored the goal which clinched the 1987 championship at Norwich City. 8/10

RM Andrei Kanchelskis
My god what a player. Twenty goals in 52 league appearances in just under two seasons, including a cracking brace at Anfield in a 2-1 win in November 1995. He was fast as fuck with a great shot and a fine head. At times Kancheskis was unstoppable – then he got the arse over a move to Fiorentina and that was that. 9/10

CM Peter Reid
Described by Howard Kendall as Everton’s most important post-war signing. Paul Bracewell was arguably a better player but not as important. Reid wasn’t the quickest but he had everything else – he’d be priceless in today’s game, although he’d get sent off a lot. 
Along with Kim Gordon and Jonny Marr, the only famous person I’d like to meet. Although we’d make an odd crowd. Marr would probably sneak off early having left his share of the bill but ‘forgetting’ the tip. 
I'd probably slope off a bit later (my eye starts going funny when I'm bladdered) but Reidy and Kim would be up until all hours, quaffing brandy and swapping stories of CBGBs and that time Reid smashed through Alan Hansen in front of the Anfield dugouts (but he won the ball!). 9/10

CM Mikel Arteta
I was slow to warm to Arteta as I feel midfielders should be able to tackle, and it pissed me off that he needed Lee Carsley in there to hold his hand at times. But the best little Spaniard has been brilliant the last few seasons (although largely shite this term). An elegant player but also one of the hardest working. Fit wife too. 8/10

LM Kevin Sheedy
Sheer brilliance. I don’t know who Liverpool had on the left in 1982 when Sheedy joined us but he must have been bloody superb. Sheedy wasn’t quick but he didn’t need to be because his touch, passing, crossing and shooting were so good. But it’s the free-kicks people remember, with many pointing to an FA Cup tie with Ipswich where he smashed it top corner, was told to retake, and smashed it in the other corner. Magic. 9/10

CF Peter Beardsley
Along with Sheedy the most skilful Everton player I’ve ever seen. John Motson on Match of the Day when we played (I think) Coventry said: “You could take this first 30 minutes from Beardsley and put out a video called ‘how to play football’”. There’s no better sight than Beardsley shaking his hips, sending the defender the wrong way and then stroking the ball past a baffled keeper. 9/10

CF Graeme Sharp
Everton’s post-war record goalscorer, Sharp scored some of the most important goals in the club’s most successful period, including the winner at Anfield in 1984/5, the first in the 1984 FA Cup final, and the equaliser in the home leg of the 1985 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi final against Bayern Munich. The Toffees went on to win 3-1 in a game regarded by many as Everton’s greatest ever. If you weren’t there you missed out because it was fucking ace. 8/10

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