Wembley revisited: Everton players of yesteryear relive Cup final days that made a lasting impression

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The Independent Online
Ray Wilson

1966: Everton 3 Sheff Wed 2

ENGLAND'S left-back in the 1966 World Cup-winning side appeared in two great Wembley finals that year, the first Everton's 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday. He tried management but lost enthusiasm for the game, becoming a funeral director in Halifax.

I WOULD suggest that 1966 has to be in the top three FA Cup finals in my lifetime. At the end Sheffield Wednesday became the first beaten team ever to do a lap of honour. The wonderful thing was that everyone was writing it off. We had played Manchester United in the semi-finals and Wednesday played Chelsea. Everyone was dreaming of a United-Chelsea final because Chelsea were a remarkable side then - a bit like this year when people wanted United and Spurs.

It turned out to be a wonderful, open game. There wasn't the hype and television attention in those days but the final has always been something special. Probably people who were not involved thought of that final as being something of a sideshow because of the World Cup coming up. But it seemed to me that the Evertonians were not a bit interested in the World Cup, only our final.

Wednesday set off like a house on fire; they were a young side and we were experienced. I thought they would settle down after half-time but for the first 10 minutes they kept at us. We were two down in the second half so then had to go forward, so in a way it was better that we had gone two down rather than the game stay at 1-0 and us not want to risk another goal. Then in the last third of the game we overwhelmed them with three goals in 16 minutes.

The lovely thing for me was that it was my first win of any kind in my career. I was 31 and beginning to think everything was going to pass me by without a medal. Then I got two of the best in a few weeks. I can't even remember who gave us our medals - I think it may have been Princess Margaret. It was all a blur. Afterwards my wife and two kids had a rapid holiday down in South Wales before I rejoined the England squad.

After the World Cup I carried on playing for England for a couple of years, but then I got a bad injury. I tried to come back but I should have called it a day at 34. I had a season at Oldham and two at Bradford City where I was assistant coach; then they offered me the manager's job but I didn't feel happy doing that for the rest of my life. I wanted to live in this area so I joined my father-in-law in his business. I don't miss football but I enjoy the reunions with the '66 team. There's one coming up. It will be sad without Bobby.

Tony Cottee

1989: Everton 2 Liverpool 3

NOW back at West Ham where he built his reputation as a prolific scorer, he spent six seasons at Everton, scoring 99 goals. Although an East Ender, he feels great affection for Merseyside, especially after playing in the 1989 final shortly after the Hillsborough disaster.

I DON'T remember thinking of it at the time, but I suppose that final against Liverpool was similar to the one Manchester United played against Bolton Wanderers in 1958 after the Munich tragedy. Hillsborough overshadowed the game. From our point of view at Everton, it was a no- win situation; everyone wanted Liverpool to win because of Hillsborough. If we had won, everyone would have said we shouldn't.

When we got through the semi-final against Norwich we then found out what had happened in the other game. It became a very trying three or four weeks leading up to the final. You had to be conscious of what people on Merseyside were going through, and at the same time it made you appreciate life a bit more. I remember when I was at the memorial service the young lad singing "You'll Never Walk Alone". It was obviously a song I had no great love for as an Everton player, but suddenly you realised what it meant.

I thought in the game itself we started well, but then John Aldridge scored with their first attack. It just looked as if we were going to lose 1-0, but then Stuart McCall came on as a substitute with 25 minutes to go and managed to score right at the end of 90 minutes. I remember asking the referee how long to go and he said there were 23 seconds. In extra-time Rush got another, but so did McCall. Then Rush got the winner - four goals from substitutes!

The years since the final have been a roller-coaster for me. I seem to have hit some unbelievable highs and unbelievable lows. The Cup final was the end of my first season at Everton. Afterwards it became a difficult time. Possibly one of the problems was that after 1987 the championship team broke up very quickly and the club went through a transitional period which I think is still going on.

Everton will buy some quality players this summer and do very well next season, possibly on the back of a Cup final triumph which I really hope they get. But I think my career suffered at Everton because of that transition. There had been great expectancy. I went there as the record transfer fee at £2m. When I got a hat-trick on my debut everyone thought I could do it every week. But I did score one goal in every two games, so I think the fans appreciated what I did.

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