Reid reflects on '85

Peter Reid looks back over a glittering 1984-85 season with Everton, which saw him pick up the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

Peter Reid looks back on a glittering 1985 with Everton, which saw him named PFA Player of the Year.

For Everton fans, Peter Reid is a name synonymous with the legendary 1985 campaign - a season yet to be bettered by a Toffees side. That year saw the Merseysiders pick up an unprecedented three pieces of silverware as they stormed to league championship, European Cup Winners' Cup and Charity Shield success, while missing out on FA Cup victory by a whisker. Reid was central to much of that glory, with his exploits at the heart of the Toffees' side earning him massive plaudits - as well as the PFA Players' Player of the Year award. While self-effacing over his personal accolades, preferring to credit Everton's success that year to an outstanding manager and squad, Reid admits it meant something to be voted for by players he faced as rivals on a weekly basis. He told Sky Sports: "I think when your peers, the people you play against and kick every week, vote you the player of the year, it's a fantastic honour. "It was obviously a successful year for Everton. Neville Southall won the Football Writers' award, I won the PFA one, we were champions, we won the European Cup Winners' Cup. It was an incredible season for Everton and a really good one for me personally." The former England international also finished fourth in the World Soccer Player of Year award but finds that achievement more difficult to come to terms with, even now. He laughs: "I think I came in behind Michel Platini, Preben Elkjaer and Diego Maradona. There must have been some bad players about if I've come fourth in that." Despite his modesty, there's no denying the impact had on Everton's most decorated team. Signed for a measly £60,000 from Bolton in 1982, Reid gave everything for a side he believes struck a perfect balance. "It was one of those sides you get every now and then where everything clicked," he said. "It was a good, balanced side. It had real good balance to it. It was a physical side and it was a side that could play football. "The balance with the two wide men, Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven, it was a side that had an awful lot of pace. "What you've got to say, even though the squads weren't as big in those days as they are now, I think players came in and did jobs. I remember Kevin Richardson and Alan Harper doing fantastic jobs coming into the side. "Our goalkeeper (Southall) was also certainly a massive influence on us. He's one of the main reasons we won all the trophies we did."


At head of proceedings, and largely responsible for Everton's success, according to Reid, was Howard Kendall. Having assembled a squad capable of challenging for honours, Reid fondly recalls how the boss kept his charges smiling after a rare defeat with a morale-boosting trip to the local Chinese and - more often than not - a few beers. "He was very astute tactically, but very good at getting the team spirit going as well," explains Reid. "People go on about different formations nowadays but we played different formations at Everton in the mid-80s and nothing was said about it. "Howard was also a really good man-manager beside being shrewd tactically. He had a tremendous team spirit going. "I think if we did get beaten in a game, which was very rare, he used to take us out for a Chinese. And that meant a drink as well. We invariably bounced back after that." Kendall guided his Everton side to a host of high-profile triumps during the campaign but particularly resonant in Reid's mind is a resplendent nine-day run that encompassed a Merseyside derby victory over Liverpool and back-to-back defeats of Manchester United. "I remember those three games in particular," he added. "Playing at Anfield and beating Liverpool 1-0, the players believed after that, and the supporters. "Then, believe it or not, the following week we played Manchester United at Goodison. They were top of the league and had a really good side, the likes of Robbo (Bryan Robson) played, and we beat them 5-0. That was on the Saturday and then we beat them 2-1 in the League Cup on the Tuesday." But the game that encapsulates the season for Reid was the historic semi-final win over European giants Bayern Munich on an unforgettable evening at Goodison Park. He added: "Possibly the biggest game was the semi-final against Bayern Munich, who were possibly one of the best sides in Europe, and we beat them 3-1 at Goodison. "They were the highlights in terms of the big games - fantastic football matches." An encounter Reid is less keen to dwell on is the FA Cup final against Manchester United, which Everton lost 1-0 and the former midfielder admits took the gloss off what was otherwise a magnificent campaign. He laments: "It always does when you get beat in a final. "I think Kevin Moran was the first player to get sent off in an FA Cup final that year when he brought me down. Then I hit the post and Norman Whiteside got a great goal in extra-time. "We were the better side than them that year. Unfortunately we played in the European Cup Winners' cup final on the Wednesday and then had to travel back from Rotterdam and go down to London to play the final on the Saturday. That was really difficult. "Not taking anything away from Manchester United, but it was very difficult to get up for that game. It took a special goal to win it for Manchester United." Everton followed up the success of 1985 with another league title two years later, but Reid admits the ban on English clubs in Europe in the aftermath of the Heysel disaster meant the Toffees struggled to achieve sustained success, while Kendall's departure in 1987 struck another blow.
Big blow
"I don't want to be controversial, but Howard Kendall left to go to Bilbao and obviously English clubs were banned from Europe and that was a big blow to Everton as a football club," he said. "When Howard left it was an exodus of the players, which was disappointing for all of us." Asked if Everton could have been a dominant force in Europe had the ban not been in place, Reid added: "You can never tell, but it was a good side. "I did mention the Bayern Munich game - they were one of the top sides in Europe and we managed to knock them out. "Liverpool had won a couple of European Cups in the 1980s and they were a fantastic side at the time, and I think Everton would have been a top side in Europe as well." While admitting it is tough to compare sides from across different eras, Reid has been encouraged by the job currently being done by David Moyes at Goodison. "It's always difficult to compare different sides from different eras," he said. "There are some really top-class players at Everton. If you look through the side it's full of internationals, which is very similar to when I played. "They've had a particularly good season up to know. Whether they can keep it going? Hopefully they can. It is a good side and our side was an excellent side as well." But were the class of '85 the best ever Toffees side? Reid laughs: "I wouldn't be so bold as to say that. "Even though I played in a good side, I think that's a question for other people. "But I think, if you asked a majority of Evertonians what the best side is that they've seen, I think the side that I played in would be up there on people's lists." For more information or if you would like to get involved with the 90 Day Challenge at St Helens Junior Football Club through donating time, funds or materials please email Play The Football Pools at

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