Part Five - The 'Team of the Sixties'
History shows that most decades are synonymous with one football team that dominated. For instance Liverpool ruled in the 70s and 80s, Manchester United in the 90s and Wolves in the 50s. But the 60s was very much an open decade, with a number of teams all enjoying short bursts of success and nobody dominating for a sustained period.
Early in the decade, Spurs became the first team to win the double in the 20th century, won the FA Cup again and then the Cup Winners Cup, England's first success in Europe. Liverpool then won two titles and an FA Cup in three years from 1964-6, while Manchester United finally recovered from Munich to win two titles and become the first English team to win the European Cup in the latter part of the decade.
One team who didn't enjoy any sustained success is Everton, but their fans will still have you try to believe they did and are very bitter that their 'achievements' go unnoticed today. One Blue, George Orr, was so incensed that a couple of years ago he even wrote a book called 'Everton in the 1960s, A Golden Era.'
When this was published, their match programme did a feature on it and had a good moan too, saying that 'one team and one era is frequently ignored…Catterick's Everton team dominated English football in the 1960s….. you'd be hard pressed to unearth any video evidence or literature about that era.'
For the record, there are lots of books available about football in the 60s. Shankly's Liverpool, Nicholson's Spurs and Busby's United have all been well read about. The truth is nobody wants to hear about Everton buying the title in 1963.
As for videos, well only the really big games were televised anyway and obviously Everton didn't appear in many of those. One thing you certainly won't find on film is coverage of Everton's European campaigns in the 60s, when Dunfermline, Ujpest Dosza and Real Zaragoza knocked them out.
Compare this to the Reds who reached a semi final and final in their first two seasons in Europe, or Newcastle, West Ham, Leeds and Manchester City who all won European trophies that decade.
Conveniently forgetting their European ineptness, one of the reasons Evertonians put forward for thinking they dominated the 60s was that they achieved an average league placing of 4th. They also say that they won two league titles, in 1963 and 1970, as well as the FA Cup in 1966.
Now I'm not disputing that Everton won these honours, but isn't 1970 in the next decade? As for the average league placing, Liverpool's average in the 1990s, you know that decade when we were shit and useless, was 4th. We won 1 league, 1 FA Cup and 1 League Cup in the 90s and had a bad decade, yet Everton achieved less in the 60s and are expecting the BBC to produce commemorative videos and books about it.
And they wonder why people like me call them Britain's Bitterest.