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A look back in time: Everton 4-4 Liverpool, FA Cup fifth round replay, 20 February 1991

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Everton 4- 4 Liverpool 

FA Cup fifth round replay

20 February 1991

Howard Kendall: For 120 minutes the momentum ebbed and flowed between the two teams in a night of high drama.

Ray Atteveld: It was a quite amazing game to be playing in, because I think in all four situations we were one goal down and got back up every time, that was the spirit that was in the team in this game. It’s always very strange, very unique to play the same team in the city and the crowds are mixed, not segregated crowds; one colour is there and the other colour is there. You see them sitting next to each other – that for me was a unique experience in these games.

Andy Hinchcliffe: It’s one of those things where you have to watch it back to fully appreciate. When you’re stuck in the middle of a game like that and you’re flying around, and the goals are flying in, and the emotions... That’s what I do remember of the game itself, the emotions involved; the noise and the colour. It was just crazy, but then when you watch the game back and realise what you’ve been able to do. To be behind four times and to keep pulling it back and keep pulling it back, it was an extraordinary game and one you have to re-live and re-watch to understand what had gone on, because it was like a whirlwind. I’d never experienced a game like it.

Howard Kendall: I watched this unfold from the dugout, where alongside me I had my last substitute, Tony Cottee. I’d used Tony infrequently since returning three months previously, but I told him to warm up and with four minutes to go brought him on for Pat Nevin. With just seconds remaining, and just one previous touch to his name, it paid off. Stuart McCall flicked the ball on and Cottee ran in to tuck it past Bruce Grobbelaar. Three-three. Extra time. There were further twists to come. Southall saved brilliantly from Rush and Venison, before John Barnes put Liverpool ahead with a curling 30-yard shot into the top corner. Many sides would have crumbled, but Cottee was in inspired form. Six minutes from time he equalised again to set up another replay a week later, again at Goodison. 

Tony Cottee: It was just one of those games where I was in the right place, right time. It’s quite funny really because I travel around the world, around Europe and around the country, and a lot of Evertonians say, ‘Oh that must have been the best game you ever played in.’ I say, ‘Well I didn’t play in the game,’ because I didn’t. I didn’t come on until 84 minutes on the clock, and then everyone remembers me scoring the two goals, but I didn’t start the game. What’s even funnier is the Liverpool fans say, ‘Oh it’s your fault Kenny Dalglish resigned.’ I say, ‘How’d you work that out?’ They say, ‘Well you scored two goals, we drew four all and Kenny resigned.’ So I get blamed for that by the Liverpool fans.

Andy Hinchcliffe: Even watching it 10 years on you get a sense of what the game was all about. People call it the most extraordinary cup tie ever played, because you just don’t see matches like that. To play in it was a bit of a whirlwind.

Neville Southall: It was a game that had everything: goals, saves, tackles, a brilliant crowd; it was a proper old-fashioned game of football, one of the best I’ve ever played in.

Pat Nevin: You couldn’t forget those ties. It’s a shame because as a footballer you want to remember the real positives. I would argue that was the worst season, we finished in mid-table, whereas with Colin we were disappointed with sixth, so it seemed a bit odd! It was a pretty mid-table team by that point, you think wait a minute, ‘Are we really any better?’

Ray Atteveld: The speed of the game, the pace of the game was enormous. My wife, last week put a video on Facebook and somebody responded with sending her part of this game. She said to me ‘Ray, wow this is so quick!’ Even in that era it was quick, it was going up and down. That was amazing to play in and be a part of it.

John Ebbrell: They’d scored four great goals, proper goals, they’d footballed us, and we’ve tackled the ball into the net, they’ve had mistakes, we’ve bundled the ball into the net, it’s 4-4. I’m an Evertonian, I don’t care. It was just amazing, an amazing night. 

48 hours after the replay, the Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, shocked football by resigning.

John Ebbrell: I can remember being at Bellefield and we were just running round as we did, and a fella just popped his head over the fence and said, ‘Have you heard? Kenny Dalglish has resigned!’ It’s amazing going back thirty years and how it’s all changed, you couldn’t do that here now like. A fella has just popped his head over, and I didn’t know. I’m running around thinking, ‘Jesus,’ and Graeme Sharp’s just said something like, ‘Oh yeah the Pope’s dead as well you know.’ Graeme had a real great sense of humour, it was a cutting remark. He obviously knew but I didn’t, but I pretended I did as I ran round. I was gobsmacked. Absolutely gobsmacked.

Kevin Sheedy: I wouldn’t say it was the pressure because Kenny’s played and managed at the top, it was just a personal decision. It was a strange one, I think it caught everyone by surprise when Kenny announced, but he’s a shrewd man so there was reasons for it.

Neville Southall: I think that Merseyside football lost something more intangible the day Kenny left Anfield. Because he was such a great man and such a defining figure, the whole city struggled to come to terms with his departure. He had been a giant through Hillsborough and everyone respected him for that. He brought dignity and class to Merseyside football. As Everton players we measured ourselves against him and what he’d achieved at Anfield. To beat Liverpool with Kenny in charge was a great achievement; he elevated the Merseyside derby to a different plateau and I don’t think that the rivalry between the two clubs has been the same since.

Howard Kendall: Although Liverpool have fared better than Everton since then and have continued to win cup competitions, league success has remained elusive for both teams. It was really the end of an era of winning for Liverpool that you could trace back to 20 years earlier and that dramatic FA Cup semi-final defeat of the Everton team I was playing in.

Everton returned to Anfield a week later for a second replay. The game was settled by Dave Watson’s early goal.

Dave Watson: It came quite early in the game. It bounced down in the box and I’ve battered it with my left foot. I thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve woken them up and they’ll come at us now!’ It was a hell of a strike and it was great to score the winning goal. I was with [the caretaker management team of] Ronnie [Moran] and Roy [Evans] at Liverpool. I knew Kenny as well. When you see the job get to people it shows how much it means. We loved it and I was made up we beat them and I got the winning goal, but when it settles down, and you see people have left their jobs it’s a bit touching. The victory for the team is the most important thing. It’s nice to get the winner.

Iain Jenkins: Dave Watson was a warrior. If we were training every single day he was on the bike and on the machines forty five minutes before we even trained. He was the fittest, he was a powerhouse, he was a machine. There weren’t a lot of home grown players there, but Waggy was a Scouser; he was born and bred in Liverpool and knew about the city where some others didn’t. He was excellent.

This is an extract from Faith of our Families: Everton FC: An Oral History, by James Corbett. Available here: http://www.decoubertin.co.uk/faith 

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