After another intense Merseyside derby on Tuesday morning - and a sadly familiar result for Everton fans - it seems an appropriate time to reflect on their fall from grace.

Everton have only won one major trophy in the last three decades - the 1995 FA Cup final - but there was a time in the 1980s where they were one of the best clubs in England, and Europe.

They were league champions twice in the space of three seasons in the mid-1980s, and reached four FA Cup finals across the decade (winning one). They also won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1985, in an incredible period for the Toffeemen.

Simon Hart's Here We Go, Everton in the 1980s tells the players stories of that incredible decade.


Hart is a lifelong Evertonian, and his passion for the club comes through in every chapter, as he tells the stories of 13 players he used to watch from the terraces.

But this is no fan's view through rose-tinted glasses; it's a warts and all expose of the good, the very good, the bad and the ugly from Everton's most eventful decade.

It's a book will be appreciated by Everton fans, but its appeal may go further than that.

I wasn't part of the target market - as a Liverpool fan since the age of six - but found it a riveting read.

There was something magic about the football in the 1980's, and Hart has managed to elicit some wonderful tales out of some of the best players (and biggest characters) that have graced Goodison Park.

Captain Kevin Ratcliffe gave a great explanation of former manager's Howard Kendall's drinking restrictions ('only half pints and never drink wine out of the bottle') and Adrian Heath told of an indescribably awful prank played on teammate John Bailey.

And who would have thought that the 1984-85 squad, that won the League in such style, didn't have enough correct fitting shorts to go around, and there was mad scramble to get the large ones each Saturday?

Pat Van Den Hauwe's dramatic life story is barely believable and Neville Southall and Gary Lineker make great contributions.


But Hart has, perhaps unusually, avoided including all of the obvious big names and instead has chapters on Mike Lyons, Mark Higgins, Pat Nevin and Paul Wilkinson.

It adds to the tapestry. Lyons spent 14 years at Everton, including many as captain, but left at the end of the 1981-82, missing out on the gold rush.

Higgins had his career cut short by injury - and spent almost 20 years unable to even set foot at Goodison Park and Nevin provides an accurate view of the unravelling of the Everton machine, as the new recruits failed to integrate with the old guard under Colin Harvey's stewardship.

It's a rich read that beautifully sums up all that was good - and bad - about football, and life on Merseyside in the 1980s.

It sent me delving into You Tube, wanting to relive the 1986 Cup final, or Kevin Sheedy twice taken free kick, Adrian Heath's crucial goal at Oxford, Graeme Sharp's winner at Anfield and so many other moments, beautifully described.

And Hart has left the door open for a sequel, with the likes of Sharp, Sheedy, Peter Reid, Andy Gray and Trevor Steven yet to tell their story.

Here We Go, Everton in the 1980s - The players stories.
By Simon Hart.
(De Coubertin)