Video of the Day: Everton vs Southampton, May 1986
On the last Saturday of the 1985/86 First Division, Everton took to the field for their match against Southampton knowing that they needed a win to have any chance of winning the title whatsoever. Liverpool were at Stamford Bridge playing Chelsea, and following a surprise defeat for Everton at Oxford United the week before, a win for the team now managed by Kenny Dalglish would ensure that his first season on management would end in the league title return to Anfield after a year away on the other side of Stanley Park. If Everton won their game, meanwhile, the following Monday night would see them effectively playing off against West Ham United for the league title, if West Ham United won away to an already relegated West Bromwich Albion.
Confused? It’s not surprising. The middle of the 1980s were a disorientating time for football supporters in England. Barely a year after the disasters of Bradford and Heysel, English clubs were banned from all European competition and crowds had sunk to their lowest post-war levels. Yet people would still turn out for the biggest matches, and whilst there were plenty of people who were quite happy to give the game in this country its last rites, it did just about pull through. Everton wouldn’t win the league title in 1986 – they’d both the league and the FA Cup, the final of which was played the following week, to Liverpool – but they would come roaring back a year later. Commentary comes from Barry Davies.
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