#ThrowbackThursday -Everton v Liverpool: Part Three - 1962 to 1989
A key date for Merseyside football was 21st April 1962. A 2-0 win for Liverpool at home to Southampton finally secured promotion for Bill Shankly’s side after eight long seasons languishing in the second tier of English football. Two goals for Kevin Lewis standing in for a suspended Ian St John took Liverpool back up to the top flight. His suspension meant that he wasn’t even allowed to attend his home ground. Saint however apparently paid admission fee to Anfield to watch the match unnoticed according to a report in the Liverpool Daily Post.
Their promotion meant that regular Merseyside Derbies would commence for the first time in eleven years. Everton boss Harry Catterick expressed his joy in this piece in the Liverpool Echo that the Mersey Derbies were to resume. Everton had returned to prominence with the introduction of John Moores to the Goodison Park boardroom. The millions that Moores earned through Littlewoods Pools were invested in Everton, with them earning the moniker of the ‘Mersey Millionaires’. The Moores family however were also shareholders at Anfield and in 1961 nominated Eric Sawyer to the Liverpool board, becoming the club’s financial director. The Liverpool board prior to this were known for being parsimonious and the Moores family gave Sawyer a mandate to spend. The introduction of the Moores family into the world of football coincided with the abolition of the maximum wage, with the ‘retain and transfer’ system restrictions on poaching the talent of smaller clubs also in the process of being challenged in the courts by the PFA (who were ultimately successful in July 1963).
The Moores family felt that two successful and competitive Merseyside teams were good for gate receipts – particularly in an era when attendances were beginning to decline from an immediate post-war high. The very first Merseyside Derby of the post war era took place in late September 1962. As stated by this Liverpool Echo special, every single player involved would be playing in their first ever Merseyside Derby At the time, Liverpool were sitting in twelfth place having lost four of their first nine games. Everton in contrast were in second place, one point behind leaders Wolves. An incredible 73,000 turned out for the game. Everton took the lead with a penalty from Roy Vernon, before Kevin Lewis pulled Liverpool level ten minutes ahead of half time. Johnny Morrissey put Everton back in front just past the hour, before a last minute equaliser from Roger Hunt earned Liverpool a 2-2 draw
The return fixture back at Anfield came the following April on a Monday evening just ahead of the Easter Weekend. Everton had been three points behind League leaders Spurs with a game in hand, while Liverpool sat in sixth place. The match however ended in a 0-0 draw. One month on, Liverpool finished their first season back in the top flight in eighth position. Everton however secured their first League title since 1939. The following September, Everton returned to Anfield in the League. Liverpool sat in tenth place while Champions Everton were one place beneath them in eleventh but with two games in hand. Two goals for Ian Callaghan either side of half time put the Reds two goals up.
On seventy four minutes, Roy Vernon pulled one back for the Toffees though Liverpool ran out 2-1 winners - their first League victory over their neighbours for thirteen years. By the following February, when Liverpool headed to Goodison Park, they had been three points off of League leaders Spurs after a run of four wins out of six which included a 6-1 home win over Sheffield United the week before. Defending Champions Everton in contrast sat in eighth place with their confidence boosted by a 3-0 away win over Sheffield Wednesday. Everton raced into a two goal first half lead with goals from Roy Vernon and Jimmy Gabriel in the first twenty five minutes. With ten minutes to go, Ian St John pulled one back for Liverpool, however another for Roy Venon seven minutes from time secured a 3-1 win.
Luckily for Liverpool, that same afternoon Spurs suffered a 0-4 battering away to West Ham which meant that no further ground had been lost in the title race. By the close of the season, Liverpool finished four points clear of second place Man United to seal their first top tier title win for eighteen years. For the 1964/65 season, the BBC introduced their first regular highlights show in the form of Match of the Day. Champions Liverpool featured in the first edition, playing Arsenal at Anfield. During that season, the roster of games shown was influenced by the fact that the MOTD was shown on BBC2, which at that time could only be picked up in London. As a result, just eight of the thirty seven games featured failed to involve a London side.
The first Merseyside Derby of the 1964/65 season took place in Mid-September.
The Reds had had a poor start to the season, winning just two off their first seven games and languishing in eighteenth place. Everton in contrast sat in eighth place. Liverpool took part in their first European Cup tie the previous Monday and beating Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur away in Iceland 6-0. The BBC however chose to show Chelsea v Leeds United at Stamford Bridge that same afternoon as the Merseyside Derby. The Beeb missed out on Champions Liverpool suffering a 0-4 home defeat to their Merseyside neighbours.
Derek Temple put Everton ahead in the first minute, with Fred Pickering doubling the lead on thirty five minutes.
Another from Colin Harvey meant that Everton went in at half time three goals up. Johnny Morrissey added another just past the hour to round off the scoring. The return fixture took place at Goodison Park the following April. Everton stood in sixth place, with Liverpool one point behind with a game in hand. The Reds however had two Cup runs on the go, having reached the FA Cup Final just over two weeks prior, as well as an upcoming European Cup Semi Final with Inter Milan. Two first half goals for Derek Temple and Johnny Morrissey put Everton two goals up. Liverpool pulled one back with a Willie Stevenson penalty fifteen minutes from time, though couldn’t prevent a 2-1 win for Everton.
The Toffees finished the season in fourth place, while Liverpool finished seventh though won their first FA Cup after beating Leeds United at Wembley. At the end of September 1965, the Toffees visited Anfield in ninth place while Liverpool were one place above them by virtue of goal average. Tommy Smith gave Liverpool a first half lead, while in the second half two goals from Roger Hunt, as well as goals for Willie Stevenson and Ian St John meant a 0-5 away hammering for Everton. By the time of the next Merseyside Derby the following March, Everton stood seventh while Liverpool were nine points clear at the top of the table though Leeds United in second place had three games in hand.
The two sides played out a 0-0 draw, with the Liverpool Echo bemoaning ‘Derby Game Ruined by Tactical Stronghold’. Liverpool finished the season as Champions with a six point cushion over second place Leeds United. Everton meanwhile won the FA Cup by coming back from two goals down against Sheffield Wednesday to win 3-2. Over the summer, the England 1966 World Cup Squad included Everton’s Ray Wilson and Gerry Byrne, Roger Hunt and Ian Callaghan from Liverpool. Just two weeks on from England winning the World Cup, Everton and Liverpool met for the first ever Charity Shield to be contested between the two sides.
At Goodison Park in front of a crowd of 63,329, a goal for Roger Hunt after nine minutes made the difference between the two sides as Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners.
A further two weeks on, the two sides met again at Goodison Park. Two goals from Alan Ball put Everton in front, with Tommy Smith pulling one back two minutes before half time. Everton however secured the points with a goal from Sandy Brown. The next meeting between the two sides came on at Anfield in front of 53,744 people on New Years’ Eve, with Everton languishing in eleventh place, while Liverpool were two points off of League leaders Man United with a game in hand. The two sides however played out a 0-0 draw, with Liverpool missing an opportunity to close the gap on Man United who drew 0-0 at home to Leeds United.
The two sides were to meet again in the FA Cup fifth round at Goodison Park the following March, in what turned out to be a piece of history in the making.
The match kicked off at 7PM in the evening and would also be relayed back to Anfield by CCTV where 40,149 were in attendance. The match day attendance of 64,851 meant an aggregate attendance in six figures – then a record viewing figure of a tie outside of the Cup Final. In the game itself, a goal from Alan Ball ahead of half time made the difference as Everton ran out 1-0 winners. Ironically, nearly four decades on, a BBCTV camera crew inadvertently vox popped former Liverpool goalkeeper Tommy Lawrence on a street in Liverpool for his memories of the event, believing he was an ordinary member of the public.
Both Merseyside teams however finished the 1966/67 season trophy-less for the first time since 1962. The following September, two sides met again in the League at Anfield in front of a crowd of 54,189. Liverpool topped the table after eight games, while Everton had won just three out of eight and languished in fourteenth. A goal from Roger Hunt twelve minutes from time meant a 1-0 victory for Liverpool. In early February 1968 came the return fixture at Goodison Park. Liverpool sat third and three points behind leaders Man United, while Everton were in seventh place. A goal for Howard Kendall on the half hour was enough to secure the points for the Toffees with a 1-0 win.
Liverpool finished the 1967/68 season third and three points behind Champions Man City, while Everton finished three points behind Liverpool in fifth. In 1968/69, the first Merseyside Derby of the season came six games into the season. Two points separated Liverpool and Everton in fifth and eighth place respectively. The 63,898 in attendance at Goodison Park saw a 0-0 draw. Six weeks later came the return fixture at Anfield for the 100th League Derby between the two sides, with Liverpool topping the old First Division on goal average over Arsenal after twelve games, with Everton two points behind in fourth. A goal from Tommy Smith cancelled out an Alan Ball opener ten minutes earlier, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool finished the 1968/69 season as runners up to Leeds United six points ahead of them, while Everton were four points behind Liverpool in third. Interestingly, despite the Merseyside Derby being a marquee fixture throughout the sixties, it wasn’t until December 1969 when Match of the Day finally covered the fixture. At the time, Everton were three points clear of second place Leeds United with a game in hand. Liverpool stood in third place and seven points behind and desperately needed a win to keep pace with their neighbours. Emlyn Hughes gave Liverpool the lead, before a calamitous own goal by Everton’s Sandy Brown doubled Liverpool’s lead. Bobby Graham added another to give Liverpool a 3-0 away win.
For Everton, it was their first defeat in the League since September. Toffees boss Harry Catterick reasoned that Liverpool had sussed out Everton’s play from their being featured on television. Catterick therefore banned the cameras from Goodison Park for the rest of the season. The return fixture back at Anfield in late March however would be covered by Granada’s ‘Kick off Match’. Everton still held a three point lead over Leeds United, though Don Revie’s side had a game in hand. Liverpool were further down in the table in fifth. Goals for Joe Royle and Alan Whittle kept Everton’s title race on track with a 2-0 victory.
One month on, Everton secured their seventh league title finishing nine points clear of second place Leeds United. For Harry Catterick’s side however, the 1970 League title was the zenith of their achievements. The Toffees put up a poor defence of the title in 1970/71 and by the time of their trip to Anfield in late November were languishing in eleventh place. Liverpool stood in eighth. The match would again be covered by Granada’s ‘Kick Off Match’. After a goalless first half, goals for Alan Whittle and Joe Royle put Everton two goals up. In the final twenty one minutes of the game, goals for Steve Heighway, John Toshack and Chris Lawler meant that Liverpool ran out 3-2 winners.
The return fixture back at Goodison Park came in late February. Liverpool now stood in fifth place, while Everton were still languishing in twelfth. The two sides played out a 0-0 draw. Neither of the Merseyside teams contested the 1970/71 title race, though would meet each other in the FA Cup Semi Final at Old Trafford, which would be covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. In front of a crowd of 62,144, Alan Ball gave Everton the lead on ten minutes. In the second half however, goals for Alun Evans and Brian Hall gave Liverpool a 2-1 win and as with the last time these two sides met in an FA Cup Semi Final, the prize would be to meet Arsenal at Wembley. Liverpool however would be defeated 1-2, as Arsenal became only the second side of the twentieth century to perform the League and FA Cup Double.
By the following November, Liverpool stood in sixth place and four points off of League leaders Man United. Everton meanwhile had sunk to eighteenth place with just two points more than bottom of the table Crystal Palace. The Toffees however gave their season a boost with a goal for future Red David Johnson. The return fixture at Anfield came the following March. Liverpool were still in fifth place, while Everton had now climbed up to thirteenth. After just thirty five seconds, Everton’s Tommy Wright had put the ball through his own net to give Liverpool the lead. Twenty minutes into the second half, his team mate John McLaughlin had committed the same error to double Liverpool’s lead.
Further goals for Chris Lawler and Emlyn Hughes meant that Liverpool ran out 4-0 winners. As the season progressed, Liverpool became involved in a four way battle for the title, which they stayed in until the final day. A 0-0 draw against Arsenal at Highbury meant that the 1971/72 title went to Brian Clough’s Derby County, while Liverpool finished one point behind in third. Everton meanwhile finished in a lowly fifteenth position. The following October, when Everton returned to Anfield, Liverpool had topped the table after eleven games while Everton were one point behind in third. The match would be covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. A header from Peter Cormack gave Liverpool a 1-0 win
By March 1973 when Liverpool headed to Goodison Park, the Reds still topped the table on level points with second place Arsenal but ahead on goal average and with a game in hand. Everton however had now sunk to fourteenth place. Two goals for Emlyn Hughes meant a 2-0 victory for Liverpool
That turned out to be the final Merseyside Derby during the Harry Catterick era. After suffering a heart attack the year prior, Catterick was persuaded to move upstairs onto the Everton board. Liverpool meanwhile went on to take the League title for the 1972/73 season with a three point gap over second place Arsenal. This would be their first trophy for seven years and would be followed soon after with their first European trophy in the form of the UEFA Cup.
By the following December when Liverpool visited Goodison Park, future Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham had been appointed as Everton boss. The Toffees stood in fifth place, while defending Champions Liverpool were two points ahead in second, though the Reds were trailing run away leaders Leeds United by six points. Liverpool took both points with a goal from Alan Waddle (cousin of England international Chris) on his Liverpool debut. The return fixture at Anfield came in late April 1974. Liverpool had faint hopes of retaining their title, sitting four points off of League leaders Leeds United with two games in hand. Liverpool were also through to the 1974 FA Cup final to meet Newcastle United in the final.
The game ended in a 0-0 draw and Liverpool’s league title hopes were dealt the death kneel with a 0-1 defeat to Arsenal at Anfield. That Merseyside Derby had turned out to be the final Derby during the Bill Shankly era after the Liverpool boss announced his retirement over the summer. His right hand man Bob Paisley took over and the very first Merseyside Derby of the Paisley era came in mid-November 1974. Liverpool were one point off of League leaders Man City with a game in hand, while Everton had been on level points but with a lesser goal average. It was a game in which Paisley’s first signing Phil Neal had made his debut. Aside from that, the game too ended in a 0-0 draw.
By the following February, Liverpool stood in fifth place and two points behind League leaders Stoke City, while Everton were a point ahead of their neighbours in second. The game however turned out to be the third 0-0 draw on the bounce. Liverpool would finish Bob Paisley’s first season as runners up to Champions Derby County, while Everton were a point behind Liverpool in fourth despite topping the table at the end of March. The following September Liverpool headed to Goodison Park on level points with Everton but ahead of their neighbours in fifth place on goal average. The two sides however played out their fourth goalless draw on the bounce.
The return fixture at Anfield in April 1976 saw Liverpool in fourth place, though two points behind League leaders QPR with a game in hand. Everton meanwhile had slumped to sixteenth on the back of four straight losses. A goal for ‘super sub’ David Fairclough coming on for John Toshack gave Liverpool a 1-0 win, which would move them up to second place. Bob Paisley would seal his first title win as boss by one point over QPR, with a 3-1 away win over Wolves. Everton meanwhile finished the season in eleventh place. For the 1976/77 season, Everton’s visit to Anfield came in October. At the time Everton stood in fourth place and ahead of Liverpool on goal difference in fifth place. After nine games, both sides trailed Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough at the top of the old First Division.
Liverpool raced into a three goal first half lead with goals from Steve Heighway, a Phil Neal penalty and John Toshack. In the second half, Martin Dobson pulled one back for Everton, though couldn’t prevent a 3-1 victory for Liverpool. A 1-3 defeat for Middlesbrough away at Birmingham City meant that Liverpool leap frogged them at the top of the table on goal difference. Everton meanwhile dropped to sixth place. That game would be the final Merseyside Derby under the reign of Billy Bingham, with Gordon Lee taking over at the start of February 1977. One month later, when Liverpool came to Goodison Park they were still on top of the table and one point above second place Ipswich Town.
Everton meanwhile had sunk to eleventh place, though in the weeks prior were contesting the League Cup Final with Aston Villa which had now gone to a second replay. The two sides however played out a 0-0 draw, which saw Liverpool drop to second place after a 4-1 win for Ipswich at home to West Ham. Everton went on to lose the League Cup final after extra time in the third game. Their hopes for a return Wembley however were still alive after reaching the FA Cup Semi Final, drawn against their fierce rivals across Stanley Park. Liverpool however, riding high in the League and progressing well in the European Cup had hopes for a treble, as elaborated here further in the match day programme by Reds boss Bob Paisley.
The game took place at Man City’s Maine Road home. Liverpool took the lead on ten minutes with a goal from Terry McDermott. Duncan McKenzie equalised ten minutes before half time to bring Everton level. Into the second half, Jimmy Case restored Liverpool’s lead before a Bruce Rioch equalised with his first goal for Everton with eight minutes to go meant a 2-2 draw. In the dying minutes of that game, substitute Bryan Hamilton had put the ball in the back of the Liverpool net. Referee Clive Thomas however disallowed the goal, though replays clearly show it to have been a legitimate goal.
The following Wednesday at the same ground, Phil Neal put Liverpool ahead on the half hour from the penalty spot. In the closing minutes of the game, goals for Jimmy Case and Ray Kennedy secured a 3-0 win and Liverpool’s passage to Wembley to face Man United.
Everton finished the season trophy-less in ninth place, while Liverpool secured the League title by one point over second place Man City. Man United stopped a double at Wembley in the FA Cup Final, but Liverpool picked up their first European Cup the following week.
Liverpool’s first Merseyside Derby as European Champions came in late October 1977. Liverpool stood second in the League, one point behind Brian Clough Nottingham Forest. Everton stood two points behind Liverpool in third. The two sides played out a 0-0 draw.
Liverpool’s trip to Goodison Park came the following April. Everton stood second in the League and two points behind Forest, though having played three games more. Liverpool were sixth and eight points behind the Toffees, though also had played three games less. Now lining up for Liverpool would be former Toffee David Johnson who came back to Merseyside after a period at Ipswich Town. A goal from Johnson after thirteen minutes made the difference with Liverpool running out 1-0 winners. David Johnson however would be struck by a missile by angered Everton fans. Johnson stated of the incident: ‘it was the action of just one idiot in all that crowd and I don’t want to make anything of it’.
Everton spent most of the season above Liverpool, until after the final Saturday of the season when Liverpool overhauled the Toffees with a 4-0 win over Man City on Mayday. The Reds also retained their European title with a 1-0 win over Bruges at Wembley. Everton by this point had not only endured having to finish beneath Liverpool every season since 1970, but had also had failed to beat Liverpool in all competitions for seven years. That record however changed in late October 1978 with Liverpool’s trip to Goodison Park. After eleven games, both sides were unbeaten and occupied the top two positions in the League table. Liverpool however had a four point cushion over Everton at the top. The game would be covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. A goal for Andy King gave Everton a 1-0 win, which closed the gap to two points.
The following March saw Everton come to Anfield for the return fixture. The two Merseyside teams still occupied the top two positions. However, though second place Everton trailed Liverpool by two points, the Reds had three games in hand over their neighbours. Kenny Dalglish gave Liverpool the lead after fifteen minutes, though an Andy King equaliser seventeen minutes from time earned Everton a 1-1 draw. The Liverpool Echo’s report on the game had hailed the performance of Everton keeper George Wood for keeping the Toffees in contention. By May, Liverpool had won back their league title with an eight point gap over second place Nottingham Forest, who sealed the European Cup. Everton meanwhile had to make do with a fourth place finish.
The final Merseyside Derby of the 1970s came in late October 1979 at Anfield. After ten games, Liverpool stood in sixth place and three points behind leaders Man United. Everton meanwhile languished in fifteenth place with just three wins from ten. A Mike Lyons own goal put Liverpool ahead on eight minutes, though eleven minutes later Brian Kidd equalised for Everton. Ray Kennedy put Liverpool back in the lead ten minutes into the second half. Twelve minutes later, Andy King brought Everton level again. Controversy however followed just three minutes later as a hard tackle from Everton’s Garry Stanley on David Johnson brought a mass brawl between the two sets of players.
The referee proceeded to red card both Garry Stanley and Terry McDermott. The other noteworthy feature of this game was a female streaker running the length off the pitch, though with no further scoring the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The first Merseyside Derby of the 1980s came on 1st March 1980 at Goodison Park, with Liverpool topping the old First Division on goal difference over Man United. Everton in contrast teetered on position above the relegation zone, though with a three point gap in nineteenth place with a game in hand over Bristol City just beneath them. David Johnson gave Liverpool the lead on nineteen minutes, before Phil Neal doubled the lead just past the half hour. Substitute Peter Eastoe pulled one back for Everton, but the Toffees crashed to a 1-2 defeat. A 0-6 defeat for Man United away at Ipswich that same day, handed Liverpool a two point cushion at the top.
Even worse was to follow for Evertonians after the final whistle, as former Blues legend Dixie Dean had collapsed from a fatal heart attack just minutes after the final whistle. Dean before the game had attended a special lunch with Bill Shankly and Billy Liddle on appearance. Shanks said of Dean: ‘He belongs to the company of the supremely great, like Beethoven, Shakespeare and Rembrandt’. Liverpool went on to retain the League title in 1979/80, Everton meanwhile remained within the top tier as a result of a four point cushion from the relegation zone in nineteenth. The following October saw Liverpool return to Goodison Park. Liverpool were second in the table after eleven games, one point behind League leaders Ipswich Town, while Everton were a point behind in fourth.
Goals for Asa Harford and Joe McBride gave Everton a two goal lead, before goals for Sammy Lee and Kenny Dalglish earned Liverpool a 2-2 draw. The next Merseyside Derby would come in the FA Cup fourth round at the end of January 1981. In the previous round, the Toffees had knocked out Terry Neill’s Arsenal side who had reached the FA Cup Final for the previous three seasons. Ahead of the tie came a preview piece for Granada TV which included a Roger McGough poem recited by Scouse actor Pete Postlethwaite on the dilemma of choosing which side to support in the Merseyside Derby.
Reliving the spirit of the 1967 tie, as well as the 53,804 in attendance at Goodison Park there too would be another eight thousand viewing proceedings on CCTV to two ABC cinemas in the centre of Liverpool, as well as the Liverpool Stadium Boxing arena and a Cinema in Southport. In the tie itself, Everton raced into a two goal lead by the hour mark with Peter Eastoe and Imre Varadi on target. Jimmy Case would pull one back for Liverpool with fourteen minutes to play, however Everton progressed to the next round with a 2-1 victory. The Toffees progressed to the Quarter Finals before being eliminated by the 1981 Cup Finalists Man City.
By March 1981, Everton would head to Anfield to face Liverpool in the return League fixture. Rather surprisingly, Liverpool were languishing in sixth place and ten points off of League leaders Ipswich Town. Everton, with just two wins from six, sat in fourteenth place. A John Bailey own goal thirteen minutes from time secured a 1-0 win for Liverpool. That derby game would be the final one for Gordon Lee in charge of Everton, who left Goodison Park as the Toffees ended the 1980/81 season trophy-less again and in fifteenth place. Liverpool too suffered a relatively League poor season in finishing in fifth place and nine points off of Champions Aston Villa.
The Reds however still had two trophies to their name that season with the League Cup and European Cup coming back to Anfield. Everton appointed former Toffee Howard Kendall as Player Manager over the summer. His first Merseyside Derby came in November 1981, with Everton one place above Liverpool in eighth position after twelve games. Two goals for Kenny Dalglish and a first Merseyside Derby goal for Ian Rush put Liverpool three goals up. Mick Ferguson pulled one back for Everton, but couldn’t prevent a 3-1 win for Liverpool.
By the close of 1981, Liverpool languished in twelfth place and four points behind Everton. By the time of the return fixture at the end of March 1982 however, Liverpool had climbed up to fourth place, five points behind leaders Swansea City (a win by now worth three points instead of two) with two games in hand. Everton in contrast stood in twelfth place. The match would be covered by Granada’s ‘Kick Off Match’. Young Irishman Ronnie Whelan gave Liverpool the lead, though Everton pulled level with a goal from Graeme Sharp. In the second half however, goals for Graeme Souness and Craig Johnston meant a 3-1 away win for Liverpool which pushed the Reds up to third place and four points off of the top with four games in hand over leaders Swansea City.
Liverpool completed an amazing comeback by May to regain the League title by a four point margin over second place Ipswich Town. Howard Kendall in contrast finished his first season at the Goodison helm in eighth position. By November 1982, the creation of fledgling TV station brought a new Merseyside soap called Brookside (the first episode of which came one day after the channel first aired. Among the cast had been an Everton born actor who went by the name of Bill Dean (appropriating the real name of Dixie in his honour), who played the character of Harry Cross.
Three days on from Brookside's first episode came the latest installment of Merseyside's longest running drama - the Merseyside Derby. Ahead of their visit to Goodison Park, Liverpool topped the table after twelve games, while Everton languished in eleventh place. The match would be covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. As well as a sending off for Glenn Keeley in his one and only appearance for Everton, goals for Mark Lawrenson and four for Ian Rush inflicted a 0-5 hammering on Everton which sunk them to fifteenth position and led many to question Howard Kendall’s position as Everton manager.
That game however would be a turning point for Kendall’s reign at the Goodison helm. By the time of the return fixture in Late March 1983, Everton stood in six place, while Liverpool held a seven point cushion over second place Watford at the top of the Old First Division. The two sides played out a 0-0 draw in front of a crowd of 44,737. That Derby would be the last of the Bob Paisley era, who retired at the end of the 1982/83 season to be replaced by Joe Fagan. Liverpool went on to retain their title, while Everton finished seventh.
By the following November, the first Derby of the Fagan era came exactly one year to the day from their 0-5 home drubbing, Everton headed to Anfield for the 1983/84 season.
Liverpool would be two points behind Man United in second with a game in hand. Everton meanwhile languished in sixteenth position having only won four of their eleven games played. Just ahead of kick off, actor Andrew Schofield ran out with the players in full strip, as part of the filming of the TV serial Scully – which had been Alan Bleasdale’s follow up to ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’ on Channel 4. The show had a premise similar to Ken Loache’s ‘Looking for Eric’, with the exception of Kenny Dalglish being the imaginary life coach of the central character. The series also featured Liverpool born New Wave musician and Liverpool F.C. fan Elvis Costello in a rare acting role, as well as providing the theme tune to the Series.
Another TV milestone was the fact that this would be the first live televised Merseyside Derby, as the game would feature on ITV’s ‘The Big Match Live’. Goals for Ian Rush, Michael Robinson and Steve Nicol meant a 3-0 win for the Reds.
Exactly four months on, Liverpool came to Goodison Park for the return fixture. Liverpool now had a four point cushion at the top over Man United, while Everton sat in fifteenth position. The good news for Goodison Park however were that the Toffees were heading on a dual carriage way to Wembley. As well as reaching the FA Cup Quarter Finals, a matter of days earlier Everton also secured their passage to the final of the 1984 League Cup against their neighbours who had won the previous three finals. Ian Rush put Liverpool ahead after seventeen minutes, however with six minutes to go Alan Harper – formerly on the books of Liverpool – equalised for a 1-1 draw.
Three weeks later, the two sides met at Wembley to contest the first League Cup Final televised live on a Sunday afternoon. Ahead of the first ever all Merseyside domestic final, Granada Television carried out documentary on the travelling supporters, as well as events on Merseyside in light of the game called ‘Home and Away’.
In the event, the game ended in a dour 0-0 draw with the most noteworthy event being Everton’s penalty shout with an Alan Hansen handball on the line. The replay took place at Man City’s Maine Road Stadium four days later. A superb strike from Graeme Souness made the difference, as Liverpool bagged a fourth straight League Cup with a 1-0 win.
For Liverpool, it would form part of an unprecedented treble with their third straight League title following as well as the European Cup against AS Roma on penalties. For Everton however, though they finished eighth in the League, had their first trophy in fifteen years followed by beating Watford in the FA Cup Final.
The 1984/85 season started with an all Merseyside FA Charity Shield at Wembley. A bizarre own goal by Bruce Grobbelaar made the difference as Everton ran out 1-0 winners.
Over the summer, Liverpool lost their captain Graeme Souness who moved onto Italy’s Serie A with Sampdoria. The side who boasted a hat-trick of titles over the previous four seasons suffered an horrendous start to the 1984/85 season, having won just two of their first ten games ahead of a visit from Everton, for the fifth Merseyside Derby in all competitions during the calendar year of 1984. The Toffees had sat in sixth place, having lost 0-1 to early season League leaders Arsenal two weeks prior.
The match was covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. A wonder goal from Graham Sharp gave Everton their first win at Anfield since 1970, with a 1-0 win
The result moved Everton up to fourth, while Liverpool were just two points off of the relegation zone in seventeenth. The victory turned out to be a good omen, as Everton went on to secure their first League title since 1970. The title came in May with six league games still to play, while Everton also had a treble in their sights being as they were in the final of the FA Cup, as well as the European Cup Winners Cup. Everton won the latter final, though lost the former to Man United. By the time of Liverpool’s final League fixture, the Reds had clawed their way back up to the runners up spot. Liverpool’s John Wark missed a penalty ten minutes into the second half. Thirteen minutes later, a goal for Paul Wilkinson meant that Everton reached the ninety point mark with a 1-0 win, as well as the Toffees doing their first double over Liverpool in the League for twenty years.
The match turned out to be the final League fixture of the Joe Fagan era, who announced his retirement ahead of the 1985 European Cup Final. Everton lost three of their final four fixtures, though were still optimistically looking forward to their first European Cup campaign for fifteen years. Sadly for them, the Heysel Disaster which resulted from crowd trouble involving Liverpool and Juventus – put paid to any hopes of European Cup glory, as well as Joe Fagan ending his career on a high. Crowd violence between Liverpool and Juventus fans led to the deaths of thirty nine fans and the banning of English sides from European competitions in 1985/86 and for the foreseeable future.
Part of the fallout from Heysel was that football’s standing in British society had considerably fallen with the TV companies showing no great urgency to cover the game. There followed a dispute between the Football League and the BBC and ITV over the figure to be jointly paid by the TV companies. Consequently, football was banished from the nation’s TV screens for the whole of the first half of the 1985/86 season. Also, Liverpool replaced Fagan with Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool Player Manager. For Everton, title winning hero Andy Gray would be sensationally sold on to Aston Villa over the summer, to make way for new signing Gary Lineker in from Leicester City. Liverpool’s visit to Goodison Park in September 1985 however would be caught by foreign TV broadcast.
Liverpool had lost just one of their first eight games of the season, though trailed League leaders Man United - who had a 100% record – by nine points. Champions Everton meanwhile were in second place. Within the first minute, Kenny Dalglish opened the scoring with a superb strike. By half time, Liverpool were three goals up, from further goals for Ian Rush and former Toffee Steve McMahon who had joined Liverpool from Aston Villa just a few days prior, scoring his first goal from a long range strike. In the second half goals for Graham Sharp and newly signed striker Gary Lineker pulled it back for Everton, though couldn’t prevent a 3-2 win for Liverpool, which moved them up to second place.
Everton’s trip to Anfield that season came in Late February, by which point Everton had overhauled a stuttering Man United at the top of the table by three points though with a game in hand. Liverpool were sitting in third place. It was a day for defensive errors for the Liverpool defence, Mark Lawrenson and Bruce Grobbelaar narrowly avoiding a mix up leading to an Everton goal. In the second half, a long range shot from Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe was dropped by Bruce Grobbelaar over the line, for Ratcliffe to score the second of his only two goals scored in top level football. A second for Gary Lineker gave Everton a 2-0 victory.
The result put an eight point gap between Everton at the top and Liverpool in third, with twelve games left to play. The twist and turns in the title race led to Liverpool taking the league title on the final Saturday of the season, finishing two points ahead of Everton in second place. Everton had a chance for revenge one week later though in the 1986 FA Cup Final. As usual, the 1986 FA Cup Final had the long build up to kick off on both channels (despite the fact that it lost its prize status as the only domestic game shown live on British TV for its full ninety minutes).
The full BBC Cup Final Grandstand build up to the game can be viewed below, with Emlyn Hughes, Andy Gray and Terry Venables on the panel of summarizers, as well as light entertainment features from Alf Garnett, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones, a poem recital of the same Roger McGough poem Pete Postlethwaite performed on Granada five years prior and a Snooker match between Everton’s Gary Lineker and Liverpool’s Mark Lawrenson.
Over on ITV meanwhile, this would be the very first FA Cup Final not to feature on the network’s weekly equivalent to Grandstand - World of Sport – which was axed the previous year (though ITV’s Cup Final programme stayed with the very last theme tune of the show).
In the first half of the final, Everton went in at Half time one up courtesy of a goal from top scorer Gary Lineker and at that point had the better of the game. In the second half however, two goals for Ian Rush and one from Australian raised Craig Johnston meant a 3-1 win for Liverpool, which secured the double for Kenny Dalglish’s side (Kenny also becoming the very first Player Manager to win the FA Cup). The post-match BBC summary can be also seen below.
Over the long summer which followed for Goodison, striker Gary Lineker went on to become a World star after finishing the Mexico ’86 World Cup as top scorer. An example of how the post-Heysel ban from Europe for English sides hit Everton exceptionally hard is that lured by the pull of European competition, Gary Lineker signed for a Barcelona managed by Terry Venables during the close season, leaving Goodison Park after just one season. Ian Rush meanwhile would sign for Juventus over the summer of 1986, though as Juve had their full quota of foreign players that Serie A would permit at the time, Rush was kept at Anfield for one year on loan.
At the beginning of the 1986/87 season, Liverpool as the winner of the League and FA Cup would contest the FA Charity Shield. As Everton were the runners up in both competitions, it was deemed right that they should compete with Liverpool for the Shield. It would be the very first time that the game would be shown on terrestrial television, live on the ITV network. All of the action came within the last ten minutes, as Adrian Heath gave Everton the lead, though Ian Rush equalised with three minutes to go with the game ending in a 1-1 draw and the Charity Shield shared between the two sides.
Oddly enough, the next meeting between the two sides would be a fixture that would be a hangover from the season prior. In the aftermath of the Post-Heysel ban on English sides, those sides who would have otherwise had qualified for European Competition in 1985/86 (Liverpool, Everton, Spurs, Norwich, Southampton and Man United), instead competed for the Football League Super Cup – later renamed as the Screensport Super Cup after the Satellite Sports channel owned by WH Smith who sponsored the tournament. The trophy however turned out to be a damp squib that failed to capture the public’s imagination, typified by Howard Kendall’s team talk ahead of Everton’s Super Cup tie with Norwich in front of just 10,329 spectators: ‘What a waste of time this is – out you go’.
Even a marquee Semi Final first leg tie of Spurs v Everton at White Hart Lane attracted just 7,548. The two legged all Merseyside final was delayed from the end of the 1985/86 due to the end of season run in for both Everton and Liverpool, as well as preparations for the Mexico ’86 World Cup. Instead the tie took place the following September. To an Everton side hit by injuries, the game was an inconvenience to say the least. In the first leg at Anfield, goals for Steve McMahon and two for Ian Rush meant a 3-1 win for Liverpool, with Kevin Sheedy (who previously made two appearances for Liverpool) on target for Everton.
Exactly a fortnight later at Goodison Park came the second leg. Goals for Steve Nicol and a hat-trick for Ian Rush meant a 4-1 win on the night for Liverpool, with a late consolation goal from Graham Sharp and an emphatic 7-2 aggregate win for Liverpool. Not so much a treasured trophy for Liverpool however. On leaving the pitch at Goodison, Ian Rush handed the trophy to an Everton ballboy as he left the field as a memento of the occasion. The Super Cup wasn't to be continued for future seasons.
Around two months later, Liverpool returned to Goodison Park in the League. The Reds stood in third place, four points behind a resurgent Arsenal under new boss George Graham at the top of the table but with a game in hand. Everton meanwhile stood in ninth place having only won seven of their fifteen games played. The match was shown live on the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ and took place in gale force winds. Despite this a then huge attendance of 48,247 turned out for the game (then at that point a record attendance for a televised League game). The match however ended in a 0-0 draw.
A further two months on, the two sides would be drawn together in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup. The tie would be played at Goodison Park in front of a crowd of 53,323. The game would be covered by the BBC’s ‘Sportsnight’. An interesting thing about footage of this game is the error committed by the BBC in that the Liverpool line up showed the entire Arsenal side of the day instead (Sportsnight also covering the Gunners League Cup tie with Nottingham Forest). After twenty five minutes a career tragedy befell Liverpool left back Jim Beglin after a tackle by Gary Stevens left the Irishman with a broken leg. Beglin never played for Liverpool again and after a transfer to second tier Leeds United his then promising career never recovered. A goal for Ian Rush seven minutes from time saw Liverpool progress to the Semi Finals.
Liverpool progressed to the final, but lost 1-2 to Arsenal at Wembley in early April. Prior to the game, since he joined Liverpool from Chester eight years earlier, every time Ian Rush scored for Liverpool the Reds had never lost. However, on this occasion a goal scoring Rushie would be on the losing side. Later that month, the return League fixture took place at Anfield. Everton topped the table with five games left to play, by six clear points with Liverpool in second place having played one game more. With Everton also having a better goal difference by +15 over Liverpool, an Everton victory at Anfield would have all but secured the title.
Steve McMahon gave Liverpool the lead, before a Kevin Sheedy equaliser. Ahead of half time, Ian Rush restored Liverpool’s lead. Playing in what would have been his last Merseyside Derby before moving to Juventus, Rushie was now just one goal away from equalling Dixie Dean’s long standing record of nineteen goals in Merseyside Derbies. With five minutes to play, Rush bagged the goal that brought him level with Dixie, securing a 3-1 win.
So, after seven straight wins, Everton tasted defeat. Liverpool had defeated their local rivals for the fourth occasion that season. However, a 1-0 away win over Norwich on Easter Monday secured Everton the title for the ninth, and so far last ever occasion. Liverpool meanwhile finished the 1986/87 season trophy-less for only the second time in twelve years. The Liverpool board therefore allowed Kenny Dalglish to spend big and bringing in John Aldridge and Ray Houghton from Oxford, John Barnes from Watford and a then British transfer record of £1.9 million for Peter Beardsley from Newcastle United.
Despite winning the League, Everton were again to pay a heavy price for Heysel as Howard Kendall wished to try his luck on the continent with the hope of proving himself in European Competition. Howard Kendall therefore left Goodison Park after six years to manage Athletic Bilboa in the Spanish League. Taking over from Kendall would be his right hand man and mainstay of the 1970 Championship winning side, Colin Harvey.
The next Merseyside Derby during the Colin Harvey era came in late October, when the two sides were drawn together in the third round of the League Cup at Anfield. Liverpool were riding high at the top of the old First Division and unbeaten in their first games – nine of which were victories. Everton meanwhile were in sixth place. The game would be covered by ITV’s ‘Midweek Sports Special’, in which the Toffees overturned the form book and scored their first win over Liverpool in seven games. A shot from Gary Stevens from outside of the penalty box gave Everton a 1-0 win. That season, Everton progressed to the Semi Finals of the League Cup, before losing 1-4 to George Graham’s side on aggregate.
Three days later back at Anfield the two sides met again in the League. George Graham’s Arsenal had overhauled Liverpool in the League the day before with a 1-0 away win over Newcastle United. Liverpool though now had three games in hand over the Gunners. The game was captured live on the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. Goals for Steve McMahon and Peter Beardsley gave Liverpool a 2-0 victory to go back to the top of the table.
The next meeting between the two sides would come in late February in the fifth round of the FA Cup and once again be captured live on the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ at 3.05PM following on from the Eastenders Omnibus edition. A goal for Ray Houghton fourteen minutes from time secured Liverpool’s path to the Quarter Finals and kept the Reds on course for a second Double in two years with a 1-0 win.
In the League, Liverpool’s unbeaten run had stretched to twenty nine games, equalling the record set by Leeds United fourteen years prior with a 1-1 draw with Derby County. Game thirty however would be a trip to Goodison Park in the League in Late March. Liverpool were by now a mammoth fourteen points clear of second place Man United with three games in hand. The TV cameras were there again to capture the action live, this time ITV’s ‘The Big Match’. A goal from Everton’s Wayne Clarke inflicted Liverpool’s first League defeat of the season. Ironically, Wayne was the younger brother of former Leeds United striker Alan Clarke and thus maintaining his elder brother’s side’s unbeaten record.
Liverpool went on to win the 1987/88 League title losing only two games all season and a nine point margin over second place Man United (the first time in three season where Merseyside would not occupy First and Second place in the top flight). Liverpool’s double attempt however failed to a shock 0-1 defeat to Wimbledon. Liverpool remained favourites for the title at the start of the 1988/89 season. The first meeting between the two sides took place in early December and was covered live on ITV with their exclusive coverage courtesy of a £44 Million deal with the Football League and rebranded as ‘The Match’ – now kicking off at 3PM to avoid a being scheduled up against the Eastenders omnibus over on BBC1.
Liverpool stood in fourth position on equal points with newly promoted Millwall and trailing the League leaders Norwich City by six points, but with a game in hand. It was their second week in a row on National TV having been held to a 1-1 draw to Arsenal at Highbury the week before. Everton in contrast stood in eighth and eight points off of the leaders, despite spending their new found riches from TV money on British record signing Tony Cottee from West Ham for £2.2 Million. Liverpool meanwhile brought Ian Rush back from Juventus for £2.8 Million. Liverpool took a first half lead with a goal from Ray Houghton, however a Wayne Clarke equaliser from the penalty spot meant a 1-1 draw.
The following week, Liverpool suffered a shock 0-1 defeat to league leaders Norwich City which left them eight points adrift of the top of the table at Christmas. There too followed another defeat to Man United on live TV on New Years’ Day. Although the Reds had four games in hand, they fell as far as nineteen points off of league leaders Arsenal at the end of February. By mid-April after a 2-1 away win over Millwall however, Liverpool had overhauled Arsenal on goal difference. That victory had been Liverpool’s ninth on the bounce before the Reds were to face Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in the Semi Final of the FA Cup. Disaster followed with the fatalities over ninety five people (as well as the death of Tony Bland four years on after his life support machine was turned off in 1993).
There followed an eighteen day period of mourning as fixtures were placed on hold for the funerals of those who perished at Hillsborough. When fixtures resumed on May 3rd, Liverpool headed to Goodison Park to play Everton in an atmosphere of support and solidarity with the Red half of Merseyside in their hour of need. The game would feature live on ITV’s ‘The Match’. The two sides played out an exciting game, though the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
The point dropped at Goodison would be the only time Liverpool failed to pick up full points up until their final fixture. Liverpool also defeated Nottingham Forest in the replayed Semi Final just two weeks ahead of the schedule FA Cup Final with Everton who progressed to Wembley by defeating Norwich City in their Semi Final at Villa Park on the very same day at Hillsborough. By the time of the FA Cup Final, Liverpool were on equal points and goal difference with Arsenal, but kept off of the top spot by virtue of having scored eleven goals less than the Gunners.
There had been the absence of the usual FA Cup Final singles, where a year earlier Liverpool had performed the Anfield Rap. This year, number one on Cup Final day had been a rendition of ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ (a hit for Merseybeat group Gerry & the Pacemakers) by a collective who called themselves The Crowd – produced by the major hitmakers of the day, Stock Aitken Waterman and performed by Merseyside musicians such as the song’s author Gerry Marsden as well as The Christians, Holly Johnson and Paul McCartney. Ahead of the FA Cup Final, the Community Singing would be also be carried out by Gerry Marsden
One other historical fact of note with this FA Cup Final is that was the very first since the introduction of ITV in the Mid 1950s to be covered by just one channel – BBC1. Back in the late 1960s, the FA Cup Final appeared on all three TV channels available in the UK (as BBC2 had been the only channel shown in colour). By 1989 however, with the introduction of Sky TV earlier in the year, the game was shown on just one of a dozen available channels.
In the game itself, Liverpool took the lead after four minutes with a goal from John Aldridge. The Reds held the lead throughout the first ninety minutes, before substitute Stuart McCall equalised in the dying minutes of the game. In the aftermath of Hillsborough, the perimeter fences were removed from Wembley. However the equaliser led to a pitch invasion and a brief hold up. Five minutes into the second half, Ian Rush – also on as a substitute – had put Liverpool back ahead and had also meant that he had overhauled Dixie Dean’s record in goals scored in Merseyside Derbies. The lead lasted seven minutes before Stuart McCall pulled level again after taking the ball down on his chest and hitting the ball on the volley past Bruce Grobbelaar in the Liverpool net.
Ian Rush however restored Liverpool’s lead within two minutes. With no further scoring, Liverpool secured the FA Cup. The post Cup Final lap of honour also somewhat ruined by Liverpool fans occupying the pitch after the final whistle.
Liverpool were on course for an unprecedented second Double, however denied the League Championship by a last minute goal by Arsenal’s Michael Thomas to steal the title six days later. It would be the first time in eight years that neither Liverpool nor Everton would win the League title.
For Merseyside, there would be one further title, though the Mersey Duopoly over the English game would from here on in evaporate. Into the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s however, as will be seen tomorrow, the Merseyside Derby would still remain a marquee event in the English game with several highlights along the way.