A lifelong Evertonian has offered Everton supporters the chance to relive and gain a unique insight into the club's last ever league title winning season.
A new book, written by lifelong Blue Paul McParlan, titled: “The Forgotten Champions – 1986-87: Everton's Last Title” - recounts Everton’s 1986/87 title winning campaign in a way no one has ever done before.
McParlan draws on personal recollections, extensive research and interviews with players Kevin Ratcliffe, Alan Harper and Paul Power to recreate the dramatic season.
The book recalls the decisive and empathic match-winning sequences over Christmas and the following Easter and outlines how against all the odds the Blues became champions of England once again.
To date the title remains the last one claimed by the Blues, and McParlan brings the unforgettable campaign to life with a fascinating 330-page tale.
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And when asked how the book came about, he admitted to the ECHO he felt the time had come for the team to get the recognition it richly deserved.
He said: “It was just something I set myself a challenge to do. I have written numerous articles in the past and just felt the next stage for me was to have a go at writing a book.
“And I was just kind of thinking when I was watching the Howard's Way film, this is a great film about the team but there is hardly any mention about the 1986/87 title win.
“The more I thought about it the more I thought no one has actually covered this season in detail and historically it is our last ever title win.
“And it will probably be our last ever title win at Goodison Park, so I just felt it needed a record of how that season unfolded.
“I didn’t just want to do it as match reports or anything like that. I wanted to do it more in terms of background and what it was like watching football in the 1980s.
“Some of the back stories from the players and I was lucky enough to interview Kevin Ratcliffe, Paul Power and Alan Harper, who all gave me some great insight and stories that aren’t in the public domain.
“I’ve tried to make it as lively to read as possible and not just all facts and there are some good humorous stories in there.”
Before McParlan continued: “I think Howard’s Way did an excellent job at giving Everton their rightful place in football history because that 1984/85 side was a tremendous team.
“But the 86/87 side featured the likes of Dave Watson, Paul Power, Alan Harper played so many more games, Wayne Clarke and Ian Snodin. So you could argue it was a different team altogether.”
Premiered in November 2019, Howard’s Way tells the inside story of Howard Kendall’s Everton team in the 1980s and charts their rise from a previous decade of struggle and misfortune.
Included in the film is plenty of insight and unheard stories from those involved in the club’s rise to becoming one of the best sides in Europe.
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And McParlan has revealed that Evertonians can expect more of the same from Ratcliffe, Harper and Power in the book.
“There was lots of insight and in terms of speaking to Kevin Ratcliffe, the captain, he was a real source of useful information," he said.
“For example, even going back to the season before when the club signed Gary Lineker, he said Howard approached him one day and said we are thinking about signing Gary Lineker.
“And Ratcliffe said to be honest Lineker has never given me any problems. The one you want to go for is Alan Smith, the other forward. He is the better player.
“But Kendall didn’t go along with that and of course signed Lineker. I also found it interesting that Kendall tried to sign Ratcliffe at Blackburn Rovers before he came to Everton.
“But one thing that came across from all three of them was what that journey was like coming back from Norwich.
“What the party was like on the coach coming back to Liverpool. Them telling the coach driver to drive back as slow as possible.
“All three of them said that was the highlight of their Everton career, that party atmosphere coming back from Norwich City.
“Even more because they had won the title against all odds. It was a real sense of achievement having not only won it, but by winning it by nine points.”
McParlan also explained to the ECHO how a lack of television coverage during that season led to the book getting its title.
“In the 86/87 season there was hardly any television coverage because for that season, the BBC decided not to do a Match of the Day highlights programme,” he recalled.
“So the only time you saw your side on the BBC was when there was a live Sunday game as the BBC contract had seven live games and the ITV contract had seven too.
“But when we won the title at Norwich City, on a Bank Holiday Monday, there wasn’t a highlights package of us winning the title.
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“The total coverage on all the terrestrial channels at the time was 1 minute and 15 seconds. That is all we got.
“And that is why I called the book 'The Forgotten Champions' because it is incredible to think that a title winning side had so little coverage.
“And Everton the club didn’t even produce a video package of it or anything like that. You can’t even get a DVD of the match.
“It kind of ties into that narrative that it was a great team, but not many people got to see them live and they never ever got the recognition they deserved.”
The Forgotten Champions - 1986-87: Everton's Last Title is published by Pitch Publishing and released on Monday, September 27. ISBN:9781785318665. RRP £16.99 for hardback. A Kindle version is also available.