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Bez Lifts the Lid...
Life with United...and beyond   Part XVIII

Here we go again, with more reminiscences of days past at Goodison Park. This week: rumours of Big Al arriving and Tino taking his leave.....

Brainstorming Bez on The Toffees: 

14.4.95  EFC 2 NUFC 0 (Alan Oliver gave all the team 4/10)

I didn't play in that game but I remember Peter Beardsley went to see Alan Oliver to complain about what he had written. Alan made a big mistake and said that he was under pressure from his mates for always writing good things about the team. That's something you just don't do. You can't write stuff and then blame it on someone else, you have to stick by what you've put or apologise. He did neither.

17.8.96 EFC 2 NUFC 0

There was a rumour that Keegan was about to sign someone big when we got on the plane for the Thailand tour. KK disappeared and we knew something was about to happen. It was Terry Mac that broke the news to the lads and we were all delighted. The only problem was Les losing his number 9 shirt. It's funny because I don't think there would have been a problem if someone had asked Les but he was just told that Al would get the number 9 shirt. I think the commercial side of things dictated that Alan would have the shirt but the repercussions went further. Les was given number 10 and Clarkie lost that shirt which he was not happy about. The whole thing could have been dealt with much better.

I don't remember much about the game - the pre-match hype was massive though. The build-up was pretty traumatic for me as well. At the Darren Huckerby game at Lincoln I came off in the second half with a bit of a sore foot. It felt a bit wet in my boot and I looked down to see blood squelching through my lace holes. My heart sank - it was Wembley and the Charity Shield just two days later. I didn't want to ruin my chances so I tried to keep it quiet. When I took my boot off blood started spurting out everywhere - I'd burst a blood vessell in my foot. I just got Derek Wright to stitch it up, quick.

The next day Keegan asked how my foot was and I said it was fine but it was agony to start with and hurt like hell. By the time of the Charity Shield it was OK but I really thought I'd miss it. I had to be careful in training but I made the Everton game. Duncan Ferguson caused us problems that day and I remember he won a very dodgy penalty, pulling down Watto and then falling over him.

EFC 0 NUFC 1 FAC3 4.1.98

Tino knew he was on his way out and I think you could tell from his performance that day. He didn't like the cold and it was freezing that day. When Dalglish arrived, he and Alan Irvine made us bust a gut in training and Tino never did that. He had a lot of run-ins with Irvine and he lost a lot of heart towards the end. I think the language problem did contribute, though. Irvine's Scottish accent was hard enough for us to understand at time, so Tino had no chance.

Ian Rush came on and got our winner which I was pleased about. I had mixed feelings when he arrived - I was delighted that someone with the prestige of Ian Rush had joined us but I just wished he'd come earlier in his career. I don't know if Dalglish knew he needed an operation when he arrived - it's the manager's decision - but it didn't get him off to a very good start. Ian was smashing around the club and worked hard in training but he wasn't the player he used to be. Things started to go off the rails about then, although we'd got off to a great start in the Champions League. With three across the back and Stuart Pearce marshalling us we looked good but losing Alan, Les and TIno all in space of a couple of months knocked us back.

Niall MacKenzie

Page last updated 24 June, 2009