25 years ago today, Everton defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 in a match that the club’s fans have voted the greatest ever at Goodison Park. The victory sent Everton into the finals of the European Cup Winners Cup, which we proceeded to win handily against Rapid Wien (Vienna).
The Cup Winners Cup tournament (now defunct) was for the winners of the previous year’s European domestic cups. It always included great teams because, in the days before the Champions League, only the domestic champions were permitted to play for the European Championship. In those days, moreover, the domestic cup competitions themselves were a bigger deal than today.
Everton and Bayern were both on their way to winning their respective leagues in 1985, and were probably the best two sides in Europe. In the first leg of their semi-final tie, the two clubs tied 0-0 in Munich. This meant that Everton needed to win at home (or draw 0-0 and win a penalty shoot out). A tie in which both teams scored would see Bayern to the finals on the away-goal rule, which is designed to induce teams to be offense-minded away from home.
Bayern took charge of the tie by scoring a first half goal, but Everton rallied with three in the second half – by legends Graeme Sharp, Andy Gray, and Trevor Steven. Tricky Trev offers his memories here.
My two favorite stories about the match involve our talismanic midfield general, Peter Reid, and our manager, Howard Kendall. Early in the contest, one of the German players attempted to maim Reid with a lunging tackle (some things don’t change – a few weeks ago Bayern players targeted Wayne Rooney’s bad ankle; Rooney eventually left the match and, following a brief return to the line-up, will miss the remainder of the season).
Reid’s injury was so bad that the trainer told him he would have to be replaced. Reid responded: “Bollocks, just stick some cotton wool in there.” Reid persevered. Playing with one red sock from the blood, he turned in an inspirational performance.
At half time, Everton hadn’t scored. But Kendall encouraged his team by reminding the players that in the second half they would be playing towards the Gwladys Street end, where the most rabid supporters sit. “Just kick towards Gwladys Street, ” HK implored, “the fans will suck it into the goal.”
And so they did – three times.
Everton would be crowned English League and Cup Winners Cup champions in 1985, but missed out on a treble, losing to Manchester United in the FA Cup final. The following season, we would be denied the chance to play for the European Championship because English teams were banned from Euro competitions after Liverpool fans rioted at the 1985 European championship final in Brussels.
1985 remains the high-water mark in our European endeavors, and it was the win at Goodison over Bayern Munich that made it happen.
Cheick out the beginning of the match, and feel the passion of the Goodison faithful:
And here are the final four minutes, including Steven’s goal.
Finally, you can see all four goals from the match in this tribute to the 1985 club (beginning at around 3:30)
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