Guess Who's Not Coming To Cardiff?
By Steve Horton
From Issue 50, Winter 2001
When Everton get knocked out of the Worthington/Coca-Cola/Littlewoods/
Cup the excuses are ready. One of my favourite
ones is that there are bigger and better cups
for Everton to win and they leave this one to
the likes of Leicester and Bolton to get worried
over. Its time to expose this myth. Everton have
done their best to win this trophy but are just
too shite to have won it. As a consequence, they
are the only club of what they refer to as the
'big five' not to have.
For a club that aren't supposed to be bothered
about the League Cup, they took the now defunct
Full Members Cup very seriously. Twice they got
to the final, and in typical blue style, twice
they lost. They also went all the way in the Screen
Sport Super Cup, which was played in 1985-6 between
all the teams who missed out on European qualification
due to the ban. We beat them 3-1 and 4-1 in the
final, with only 20,000 turned up at Anfield.
However, the attendance of 26,000 for the Goodison
leg was higher than they got for a league game
against the Mancs a few weeks earlier. Funny that
if they weren't bothered.
In the League Cups first season, despite a lack
of interest from many first division clubs, Everton
took part and made it all the way to the quarter
final where they lost to Shrewsbury. Both Liverpool
and Everton did not compete again until 1967-8
and the Blues actually declined to participate
in 1971-2,but that doesn't mean they haven't done
their best to win it since, unsuccessfully.
In 1976-7 Everton were the first Merseyside team
to get to the final of the competition and they
were at pains to point this out at the time. Despite
Liverpool marching on to within a whisker of the
treble, one Blue Nose had the following to say
in their match programme for the game against
us that season, when thet still harboured hopes
of us blowing the lot. "Everton are keeping
this city alive. By going back to Wembley, we
have given everybody something to talk about.
When were they last at a Wembley for a cup final
- 1974 wasn't it?" They then went on to lose
after 2 replays to Aston Villa.
For the all Merseyside final in 1984, did we
see Evertonians say they wouldn't bother going
as they had an impending FA Cup final. No we didn't,
they went down in their droves and still moan
about Alan Hansen's alleged handball to this day.
Some of them even went to the trouble of making
a banner with the slogan 'Alan Hand-sen for the
There last serious attemopts at winning it were
in the late 1980s. 53,000 turned up at the Pit
in 1986-7 for a quarter final which we beat them
1-0 with a Rush goal. The year after they knocked
us out and got to the semis, only to lose to Arsenal.
Since then their record has been, well, shite.
Millwall and York amongst others have knocked
them out. But, despite the excuses about them
not taking it too seriously they were talking
about being Wembley bound as recently as 1998-9.
A favourable draw saw them in line to play Luton
at home in the quarter finals. As Liverpool suffered
under the Evans-Houllier fiasco by crashing out
to Spurs blue noses started to mock, but they
messed it up by going out to Sunderland at Goodison
in the 4th round.
This season was another classic. After last years
pathetic 8,000 for the second leg of a tie against
Oxford that was still evenly balanced, they decided
to let kids in for £2 to boost the gate.
They thought a big win would be witnessed and
they'd all be hooked. This is a funny policy to
adopt from a club that isn't supposed to be interested
in the competition, I mean they didn't do what
Arsenal do and make it clear to anyone buying
tickets that a weakened team will be fielded.
Last year Wally Smith tried a bit of squad rotation
but didn't have anything resembling a squad to
rotate. This year, they were at virtually full
strength and still couldn't get through. Their
£2 idea was one of footballs biggest ever
marketing gaffes. A whole generation of support
has been lost. Can you imagine how many fathers
took their kids to the game only for them to be
pleading afterwards to go to the pictures or bowling
next time. They're still a big club though.