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EXCLUSIVE: Toffees hero Peter Reid blames European ban for setting Everton back 'numerous years'

Everton legend Peter Reid has blamed the European ban on English clubs for dismantling the successful Toffees team of the 1980's.

It might be hard to envisage given their current circumstances, but Everton were twice crowned champions of England in a decade dominated by their Merseyside neighbours, Liverpool.

Under Howard Kendall, the Toffees won the 1984-85 league title and shortly after defeated Rapid Vienna 3-1 to claim the European Cup Winners Cup, their first ever continental triumph. An extra-time winner from Manchester United's Norman Whiteside prevented Everton from winning their second FA Cup in a row, and more importantly, an illustrious treble.

Eleven days after their loss at Wembley, across the English channel, football fans would lose their lives at the European Cup final clash between Juventus and Liverpool.

Played at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, the tie was marred with crowd violence prior to kick-off. After Reds fans stormed the Juventus end, a wall collapsed and crushed supporters. 39 were pronounced dead and over 600 were left injured.

The repercussions came swiftly as UEFA banned all English clubs from competing in Europe. The ban would be upheld until the 1990-91 season.

When asked by Tribalfootball what Everton could've done to sustain their success, Reid pinpoints the ban as the primary reason for their demise.

"If you look back at the time, I think the European ban hit Everton more than any other football club," said Reid.

"I think that was a big turning point in the history. Howard Kendall went to Bilbao and a lot of the young players moved because they were ambitious and Everton weren't in Europe.

"I think that was a big cloud over the football club and that was a decision that set them back numerous amounts of years."

Everton would go on to win their second title of the decade in the 1986-87 season. But the lack of European competition took it's toll on the club.

Gary Lineker moved to Barcelona in 1986 after scoring 40 goals the previous season; even Kendall joined Athletic Bilbao after the 86-87 triumph. Over the following years, stars such as Adrian Heath (Espanyol), Gary Stevens (Rangers) and Trevor Steven (Rangers, Marseille) would also leave England.

By the end of the decade, the remnants of Everton's famous 1985 Cup Winners Cup side were spread across the country and Europe, including the 1985 PFA Player of the Year winner Reid, who joined Queens Park Rangers in 1989.

The 1994-95 FA Cup is the only major trophy Everton have won since their 1986-87 league triumph.

Peter Reid has a new book out titled: Cheer Up Peter Reid: My Autobiography - you can purchase it by clicking on the link here.

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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